Monday, February 28, 2011

Essex ARG Arrives Off Cambodian Coast for MAREX

USS Essex at Sea February 26, 2011 - The Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived off the coast of Shinoukville, Cambodia, Feb. 26 to participate in the Cambodia Maritime Exercise 2011 (MAREX 11).
MAREX 11 is a theater security cooperation visit designed to enhance interoperability and improve capabilities of the U.S. Armed Forces and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).
"The U. S. Navy is always honored to have the opportunity to visit the Kingdom of Cambodia," said Capt. Bradley Lee, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11. "Visits such as this help to further strengthen the relationship between our two governments."
The port visit is intended to provide crew members of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) with a chance to serve as goodwill ambassadors for the U.S., promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
During the visit, the ARG will embark 60 RCAF personnel to introduce them to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief procedures and Essex shipboard operations.
"Essex will conduct shipboard operations, such as damage control, navigation and engineering operations with the Royal Cambodian Navy," said Lt. Justin Jomoto, PHIBRON 11 plans and policy officer. "By teaching and showing their navy what we do, we give them a perspective of how another navy operates."
Beach Master Unit 1 and Assault Craft Unit 1 will conduct a beach survey to ensure the beach is suitable for landing craft to storm the beach.
ARG Sailors will conduct two community service projects, one at the Goodwill School and the other at Villiage d'enfant de Shinoukville, a local orphanage, where Sailors will be able to interact with and read to the kids.
Both countries look to enhance their combined military efforts across a wide variety of humanitarian roles.
"Cambodia has also demonstrated a willingness to cooperate closely on counterterrorism, peacekeeping, disaster response, and medical and health related activities," said Lee.
The 31st MEU medical team will work with Cambodian medical personnel to provide primary care services, dental care, optometry and ophthalmology at the Al-Mujarharine Islamic Center in Kampong Som. They will treat numerous medical conditions, such as hypertension, skin infections, dental problems, vision problems and asthma.
Marines will also conduct jungle warfare training, aviation demonstrations and visit, board, search and seizure training while in Cambodia.
Toward the end of the exercise, Sailors and Marines will participate in a sports day with local Cambodian citizens, where they will compete in a variety of sports, including soccer and volleyball.
The Essex ARG reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Construction Begins on Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier

Newport News February 25, 2011 - Advance construction started on the nation's newest aircraft carrier Feb. 25 with a "first cut of steel" ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News, Va.
The steel plate cut will be used in the construction of the carrier, which has yet to be named, but will be designated CVN 79.
The carrier represents the second in a new class of ships designed to replace Enterprise and Nimitz-class carriers and save more than $5 billion in total ownership costs during its planned 50-year service life when compared to Nimitz-class carriers.
"Today we mark the beginning of the advance construction of CVN 79, second of the Gerald R. Ford-class of aircraft carriers," said Rear Adm. Michael McMahon, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Aircraft Carriers. "It's an important step in continuing carrier construction using advanced technologies and efficiencies to reduce both ownership and procurement cost in this new class of carriers."
Ford-class aircraft carriers, while retaining the same hull form as the Nimitz class, contain several advanced technology systems including Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching Systems, advanced arresting gear, dual band radar, a redesigned smaller island and a new propulsion plant. The first ship in the class, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), is also under construction at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News and is scheduled to be delivered to the fleet in September 2015.
The PEO for Aircraft Carriers, an affiliated PEO of Naval Sea Systems Command, focuses on the design, construction, system integration, delivery and life-cycle support of all aircraft carriers.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Zealand Earthquake Relief

Please make a donation to help the people recover from the devastating earthquake through the New Zealand Red Cross. We have included a link at our three websites:


Dave Shirlaw

Northrop Grumman Completes Main Mast Installation on USS Theodore Roosevelt

USS Theodore Roosevelt (b) (thumbnail)
Newport News February 24, 2011 - Northrop Grumman Corporation completed a significant work performance milestone on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) with the installation of the final section of the ship's main mast today.
The carrier is undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at the company's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va., the nation's sole designer, builder and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.  An important aspect of this availability includes modernizing the ship's island with the latest technology and installing a new main mast.
"Our combat systems team has performed extremely well, working through some significant challenges and extreme conditions to meet this milestone," said Krueger Jackson, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding construction superintendent for the CVN 71 program. "The teamwork, skill and dedication of our craftsmen involved in this effort has positioned us well for meeting the challenges that lie ahead during this RCOH."
The 70-ton structure provides a platform for radar and communication systems high above the ship for maximum coverage. During refurbishment, the original round mast pole was removed and replaced with a modified, tapered square pole to increase strength and keep electrical and piping systems enclosed for survivability purposes. It is also larger, which allows for waist-high safety rails and easier access to all areas by internal ladders. 
USS Theodore Roosevelt (a) (thumbnail)
"Reinstalling the mast represents a tangible and highly visible achievement for USS Theodore Roosevelt and Northrop Grumman," said Theodore Roosevelt Executive Officer, Capt. Douglas Verissimo. "The final shape of the ship is taking form during this very complex overhaul in getting this ship back in the water again where she belongs."
The removal and reconfiguration of the island structure and main mast began shortly after the ship arrived in 2009. 
The USS Theodore Roosevelt is undergoing its refueling and complex overhaul at Newport News. The project is scheduled to last more than three years and will be the ship's one and only refueling and complex overhaul in a 50-year life span. Launched in 1984 and delivered to the Navy in 1986, USS Theodore Roosevelt is the fourth Nimitz-class carrier built at Newport News.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

“It was like an apartment building on its side”

By Holly Bridges

The crew of SAR Lapis Arrow from L to R: aircraft commander, Capt Jeff Powell, flt engr MCpl Murray Slack, SAR techs Sgt Dan Leger and MCpl Kelly Matthews, flt engr Cpl Dave Galant and first officer Capt Steve Siket. Photo by Capt Mike O'Brien.

Members of 103 Search and Rescue Squadron, 9 Wing Gander, N.L. battled 100-kilometre an hour winds at sea in late January to perform what some crew members say was the most challenging boat hoist of their careers.
The mission pushed man and machine to the limit, all in an effort to pluck an ailing seaman off the deck of a Liberian container ship 170 nautical miles (approximately 315 kilometres) southwest of St. John’s, N.L. Under the international Beaufort scale of wind speed ranging from 0 as calm to 12 as a hurricane, this was a seven. Even the Hibernia oil platform, where crews normally refuel before returning home, was closed because of high winds.
“We train every day for this kind of mission so we can pull it off in sea state seven,” says flight engineer (flt engr) Master Corporal Murray Slack, a former Army infantryman and aircraft maintainer who performed the hoist as part of his training aboard the CH-149 Cormorant.
“It was intense,” says MCpl Slack. “We were working hard. It was the worst boat mission I have ever done for weather. All my other hoists were pretty tame.”
What made the hoist so challenging is the fact the 176 x 31 metre Lapis Arrow was a moving target.
Flt engr Cpl Dave Galant, who supervised MCpl Slack on the mission, says many people think hoisting patients and search and rescue technicians (SAR techs) on and off large ships is easy because the decks are so large. Not so, says Cpl Galant.
“In this case, the winds were so strong that the hoist sequence became extremely challenging because of the way the ship was moving,” says Cpl Galant. “It was like an apartment building on its side. It was rocking side to side and bobbing up and down. One minute we were over it and then a wave would come up and move her 40 or 50 feet away from us in a heartbeat.
“We train to watch the waves and time the hoist perfectly to place the SAR techs on the deck without injuring them. If a wave comes up and you’re lowering at the same time, they might get injured. It was definitely the most challenging hoist I have ever seen.”
Sergeant Dan Leger, the first SAR tech to be lowered down, says it was a tiring ordeal. “I pretty much flew my way down just putting my arm out to stop myself from spinning around. Getting back up was difficult because the hook that the [flight engineer] was trying to lower to us was just sailing in the wind. Sometimes it was flying at a 45 degree angle. The cable kept getting caught in the light stanchions on the deck.” Luckily, a Lapis Arrow crew member climbed up the stanchion to untangle it.
The hoisting sequence required everyone to be on top of their game. The pilots, flt engr(s) and SAR techs worked as a team, talking on headsets, to keep the helicopter in a steady hover over the ship. Harnessed to the floor of the helicopter and kneeling out the side door, MCpl Slack maintained visual contact with the boat and talked pilots through which way to con the helicopter.
“The flight engineer is basically the eyes of the pilot,” says Cpl Galant. “They know if we’re talking very calmly and steadily everything’s going OK. Everything’s in the intonation of your voice and we’re trained for that. If you’re calm, the pilots are calm. If you start sounding hurried, the pilots know something’s going on.”
First officer Captain Steve Siket says every pilot is “only as good as his flight engineer” especially in the case of east coast missions such as this one with 50-knot winds. He says the mission put the crew on a fine line between becoming a “zero or a hero”.
“None of us on that crew, and there were some pretty seasoned guys on that helicopter, had ever seen anything like that. I flew 26 missions last year and I don’t remember any of them but this one I will definitely remember the entire sequence over that boat.
“There was a lot of potential for a lot of things to go very wrong very quickly.”
Despite the challenges, the seaman was airlifted to St. John’s where he was transported to hospital. All in all, it was “another day at the office” for the crew of “SAR Lapis Arrow” – with one notable exception – the “office” is one of the harshest and most unforgiving workplaces in Canada.
“SAR Lapis Arrow exemplifies the best of the CF contribution to Canada's national SAR system,” says Major Steve Reid, commanding officer of 103 (S&R) Sqn. “The professionalism and team work displayed in the face of these tremendously difficult conditions would not have been possible were it not for the invaluable contributions of our squadron technicians and support personnel who enabled a timely and effective response.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Missing ground party located

24 February 2011 - 2:00PM
Two men missing as part of a Norwegian Antarctic expedition have been found alive and well, and have provided rescuers with new information that may help locate their three crew members missing since Tuesday 22 February (NZDT).
A rescue mission was launched after the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) picked up a signal from a distress beacon registered to the yacht Berserk about 5pm on Tuesday 22 February. The yacht’s position at that time was 18 nautical miles (33km) north of Scott Base, in the Ross Sea.
The Berserkis a 48ft (14m) steel hulled sailboat. It is understood there are three people on board, and that the vessel had dropped two explorers onto Antarctica for the purpose of attempting to reach the South Pole. Four of the all male crew are understood to be from Norway, and a fifth from the United Kingdom. There has been no communication from the vessel, and its distress beacon is no longer transmitting.
However, at about 1pm today (NZDT), contact was made via satellite phone with the two men from the ground party, who gave their position as about 100 miles from Scott Base. Both are alive and well. They also provided rescuers with information about the possible location of their crewmates and the missing vessel, which is still be checked by RCCNZ.
A further update will be provided once more information becomes available.

RCCNZ tasked the New Zealand Navy vessel HMNZS Wellington to assist in the search for the Berserk on Tuesday 22 February (NZDT). After completing a search early yesterday (23 February), the vessel turned back due to extremely difficult weather in the region, including winds up to 150kph. Yesterday, RCCNZ tasked the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin and the Heritage Expedition vessel Professor Kromov to join in the search.

The Steve Irwin arrived in the area around 7.00am today (NZDT), and has been using its helicopter, a Hughes 500, to carry out a search focusing on a 30-55 mile area of shoreline around the sailboat’s last known position. The vessel is also searching on the water for any trace of the men and their missing vessel.

The helicopter had previously found no trace of the vessel or its crew, though the Steve Irwin did spot a liferaft about 7.30am today reportedly lost from the HMNZS Wellington.
About 4000 square kilometres have so far been covered by the search, which has been hampered by extreme weather conditions in the last 48 hours, and a lack of firm information about the Berserk’s intentions.

RCCNZ has been in contact with Scott Base, but no other aircraft are available for searching at this stage.

Meanwhile, the Professor Kromov is expected in the area about 4-5pm (NZDT), depending on the sea and weather conditions.
Weather in the area is currently good for searching, with relatively calm seas, winds of 25 knots (45kph), and good visibility.
RCCNZ is in contact with the Norwegian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Hovedredningssentralen), which is working with the missing crew’s families.
It is the southern-most search conducted by RCCNZ within New Zealand’s search and rescue region.

Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group Departs for Deployment

San Diego February 23, 2011 - The Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group (BOXARG) and 13TH Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed San Diego for a scheduled seven-month deployment, Feb. 22.
"The Boxer ARG/13th MEU team are fully integrated, fully certified and ready to carry out the Navy's maritime strategy abroad," said Commander, Amphibious Squadron 1, Capt. Curtis J. Shaub. "We are looking forward to this deployment to demonstrate those capabilities, both operationally as well as in partnerships, with allied countries and other U.S. forces in the global theater."
BOXARG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45). 
"Our Navy, Marine Corps team is deploying with a multi-mission capable force ready to perform and excel at any tasking required by our component fleet commanders," said Capt. Frank Michael, Boxer commanding officer.
BOXARG, with embarked 13th MEU, is deploying to the western Pacific and U.S. Central Command areas of operation with the ability to accomplish a variety of missions supporting the Navy's maritime strategy including combat missions, humanitarian assistance, counter piracy and promoting peace and stability in the region. The readiness group's forward presence is paramount to reassuring the United States' commitment to regional security and promoting global economic stability and local prosperity. 
The more than 4,000 personnel include nearly 1,800 Sailors and 2,200 embarked Marines from 13th MEU. The 13th MEU is led by Col. David Coffman, U.S. Marine Corps. BOXARG/13th MEU can operate as a combined expeditionary strike group or deploy assets to provide support for multiple missions.
Other elements of the BOXARG include: Fleet Surgical Team 3; Tactical Air Control Squadron 11; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Det. 5; Assault Craft Unit 1, Det. C; Assault Craft Unit 5, Det. C and Beach Master Unit 1, Det. E.
BOXARG helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within 3rd Fleet's 50-million square mile area of responsibility in the eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the Navy's maritime strategy when forward deployed. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Admiral Provides Details of Somali Piracy Killings

USS Sterett (DDG 104)

Washington February 22, 2011 - Four pirates are dead and 15 are in custody, but not before they killed four Americans in the bloodiest piracy incident in recent history, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command told reporters in a conference call today.

Navy Vice Adm. Mark I. Fox, who also commands the Navy’s 5th Fleet, said the pirates shot Scott and Jean Adams of California and Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle of Washington state. The surface vessel Quest was sailing around the world when the Somalis hijacked it off the coast of Oman.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One that President Barack Obama authorized the use of force if there was an imminent threat to the hostages. He said the president was informed of their deaths at 4:42 this morning.
“The loss of our fellow Americans is a tragedy,” Fox said from his headquarters in Manama, Bahrain.
The admiral gave a timeline of the action. Pirates captured the vessel about 190 nautical miles southeast of Masirah Island, Oman, Feb. 18. Four U.S. Navy warships responded: the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf and the guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett and USS Bulkeley.
The ships found the vessel and made contact with the pirates via bridge-to-bridge radio, and began a series of negotiations. Yesterday, two pirates boarded the USS Sterett to continue negotiations.
“At 8 a.m. this morning … a rocket-propelled grenade was fired by the pirates from the Quest toward the Sterett,” Fox said. “Immediately thereafter, gunfire erupted from inside the cabin of the Quest. Several pirates appeared on the deck of the Quest and moved up to the bow with their hands in the air in surrender.”
U.S. special operations forces closed in on the Quest in small boats and boarded the yacht. “They discovered that all four hostages had been shot by their captors,” Fox said. The service members took immediate steps to provide medical care, but the four Americans died of their wounds. The boarding party also found two dead pirates aboard the vessel.
The special operations forces did not fire weapons during the boarding, Fox said.
“While clearing the vessel, two additional pirates were killed,” the admiral said. “The remaining 15 suspected pirates are in U.S. custody.”
Fox said two additional pirates were killed as the special operators cleared the boat. One was killed with a pistol, the other in a knife fight, the admiral said. There were no casualties to service members or damage to Navy ships. The Navy and the FBI are investigating the incident.
Fox said the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

Monday, February 21, 2011

U.S. Coast Guard Reserve celebrates 70 years

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The U.S. Coast Guard Reserve celebrate their 70th anniversary today. To the public, the Coast Guard is a seagoing service whether wearing their operational dress uniforms or service dress blue. But co-existing with the active duty members are a trained workforce with a unique blend of civilian and military education and experience; who maintain the same dedication of service to the American public and the Coast Guard as the sea service’s active component.
The Coast Guard Reserve was established by the passage of the Coast Guard Reserve and Auxiliary Act of February 19, 1941. On November 23, 1942, Congress enacted Public Law 773 establishing the Women’s Reserve as a branch of the Coast Guard. Members of this branch became known as SPARs, an acronym drawn from the service’s motto, Semper Paratus, Always Ready.
More than 92% of the 214,000 personnel who served in the Coast Guard during World War II were reservists serving in all Coast Guard mission areas, with an additional 125,000 personnel serving in the Temporary Reserve.
In Spring 1973, the reserve exercised its first involuntary recall to support flood response operations in the Midwest. Some 134 reservists were recalled. Between then and 1990, only one other involuntary recall was invoked: the Mariel Boatlift exodus from Cuba in 1980. Additionally, reservists played a major role in the Coast Guard’s 1996 TWA Flight 800 response and the 1999 John F. Kennedy, Jr. and EgyptAir Flight 990 tragedies.
In recent times, the value of the Coast Guard reservist has been paramount to the success of major Coast Guard responses. From the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina response, to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon response, the Coast Guard would not have been able to complete the mission without the service of the reserve forces.

“The Coast Guard depends on the Reserve force to be always ready to mobilize with critical competencies in boat operations, contingency planning and response, expeditionary warfare, marine safety, port security, law enforcement, and mission support,” stated Adm. Robert Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard, in his U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Policy Statement.

The Thirteenth Coast Guard District, Guardians of the Pacific Northwest, have a reserve component of more than 750 men and women who provide their civilian and military education and experience to serving the American public.
“I joined [the Coast Guard Reserve] because everyone I talked to about the Coast Guard spoke positive about their experiences and the missions,” said Ens. Matt Tighe, a Coast Guard reservist assigned to the Thirteenth District Operational Planning Branch.
Tighe, who in his civilian position is a King County Sheriff’s Deputy, manages the systematic plan that assures the Coast Guard will not suffer a disruption of operations during a tragic event that affects the Coast Guard’s assets or infrastructure.
I take my job seriously because, “lives are at risk if we shut down,” said Tighe.
For 70 years, and surely many more to come, one of the proven keys to the Coast Guard’s success has been the Coast Guard reservist. Today’s Coast Guard Reserve Forces include more than 8,100 members who found the time to manage a civilian job as well as military service. No matter what the mission, when it occurs or where, the Coast Guard reservist has been ”Always Ready” to serve the American public.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Essex ARG Completes Cobra Gold 2011

Ships of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group, along with Royal Thai Navy ship HTMS Surin (LST 722) and USS Stockdale (DDG 106), steam in formation during exercise Cobra Gold 2011. Cobra Gold is a U.S. and Thailand co-sponsored multi-national exercise to improve interoperability between participating nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eva-Marie Ramsaran/Released)
USS Essex at Sea February 19, 2011 - The Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) completed its part in the U.S-Thai sponsored joint, multinational exercise Cobra Gold 2011 (CG 11) Feb. 19 in the Gulf of Thailand.
Throughout the exercise, militaries of the Kingdom of Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and Malaysia worked with more than 7,200 U.S. service members to demonstrate the ability to rapidly deploy a joint task force to conduct combined operations at sea and ashore.
“We were able to achieve all our goals of interoperability and training by working side by side with our Thai counterparts,” said Capt. Bradley Lee, commander, Amphibious Squadron 11 (PHIBRON 11). “We were additionally able to learn some lessons from our Thai counterparts and we greatly appreciate their hospitality to our Sailors and Marines.”
CG 11 was punctuated with multiple training evolutions, including a non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) exercise, a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercise and a mock amphibious raid. The raid involved more than 11,000 personnel of various nations and utilized almost all of the ARG’s assets.
“The amphibious assault best exemplified the team work and bilateral training that we get from this exercise,” said Lee. “The coordination of air space and sea space furthered our understanding of each other's tactics and techniques, which will prove invaluable should we have to do any of the scenarios in a real environment.”
For the NEO exercise, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and Assault Craft Unit 5 worked together to transport more than 100 Japanese, Thai and American mock evacuees from Hat Yao Beach to Essex for medical care and protection.
The exercise demonstrated the ARG’s ability to evacuate civilians during a time of crisis.
“The NEO exercise was an enormous undertaking, but it went very smoothly,” said 1st Lt. Patrick Grainey, 31st MEU NEO team leader. “We utilized helicopters and amphibious craft from various countries and hit our timelines right on the dot.”
The 31st MEU Force Reconnaissance Platoon conducted the VBSS exercise onboard USNS 1st Lt. Jack Lummus (T-AK 3011) Feb. 18. Fifty-six Marines fast roped from five CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters and searched the vessel for an on-board target designated in the training scenario.
“We conducted a fast, safe boarding and secured our target,” said Marine Capt. Tyson N. Schroeder, assault force commander. “A good VBSS team is an invaluable asset to have when conducting operations at sea. There are a lot of challenges to taking control of a steaming ship, but our team proved they have what it takes.”
The U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand have been working together for 178 years. CG 11 was the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote peace and security in the Western Pacific. This year’s exercise marked the 30th anniversary of the CG series.
Lee added, “I look forward to the next Cobra Gold and hope that we are able to build on the synergy that we achieved this year to create an environment even more integrated and efficient.”
The ARG consists of the 31st MEU, embarked aboard Essex, the amphibious transport dock USS Denver (LPD 9) and the dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42).
The Essex Amphibious Ready Group reports to Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Enterprise Strike Group Transits Bab el-Mandeb Strait, Enters Gulf of Aden

SUEZ CANAL, Egypt (Feb. 15, 2011) The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) approaches the Friendship Bridge as it transits the Suez Canal. Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on a routine deployment to conduct maritime security operations and to provide support to operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jesse L. Gonzalez/Released)

USS Enterprise at Sea February 18, 2011 - Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) transited the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and entered the Gulf of Aden, Feb. 18 in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
Enterprise, the world's largest aircraft carrier, transited the strait along with guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) and fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8).
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Strait of Bab el-Mandab is a key chokepoint between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and a strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean. It is located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Three to four billion barrels of oil per day are shipped through the Strait, making it a vital waterway for the global economy.
"The Bab el-Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden are strategically important to the United States as an important sea lane for lawful shipping and transit," said Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, Commander of Enterprise CSG. "Our presence in the region helps ensure this freedom of navigation and the defense of these interests."
Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing One are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR to conduct maritime security operations and to provide support to operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

USS New York Completes Final Contract Trials

Norfolk February 17, 2011 - USS New York (LPD 21) successfully completed final contract trials and returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Feb. 4.
The trial, run by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), is part of a series of post-delivery test and trials during which the ship and its major systems are exercised, tested and corrected as required.
Following the trial, INSURV officials noted that since the ship's July 2009 acceptance trial, the ship had made improvements across several systems and is ready for sustained combat operations.
"USS New York and her crew proved once again that they are an extremely capable fleet asset" said Jay Stefany, LPD 17 program manager within the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. "By successfully demonstrating all required underway events, we are validating that this class continues to improve with each ship."
The four-day trial began with pre-underway checks Feb. 1, and continued to evaluate the material condition and performance of the ship's major systems. During these trials, the ship's crew successfully demonstrated a variety of systems including main propulsion, engineering and ship control systems, combat systems, damage control, food service and crew support to the team of Navy experts.
Among the highlights of the trial, USS New York successfully completed a full power run, self defense detect-to-engage exercises, rapid ballasting and deballasting, steering, and anchor handling demonstrations during an underway period.
This final contract trial completes the rigorous rounds of testing the ship has undergone to demonstrate its operational capability. Last year, LPD 21 spent 15 days at sea conducting tests of the ship's weapons systems, resulting in a successful completion of Combat Systems Ship Qualifications Trials off the East Coast of the United States.
Engine assessments, well deck and underway replenishment qualifications, and aviation certification were also completed last year. These trials confirmed the continuing improved class trend in system reliability and quality assurance programs.
The ships of the San Antonio (LPD 17) class functionally replace more than 41 ships (LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113, and LST 1179 classes of amphibious ships) providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern, sea-based platforms that are networked, survivable, and built to operate with 21st century transformational platforms.
These versatile ships incorporate both a flight deck to accommodate CH-46 helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, and a well deck that can launch and recover landing craft and amphibious vehicles. The San Antonio class' increased vehicle space and substantial cargo carrying capacity make it a key element of 21st century amphibious ready groups, expeditionary strike groups, or joint task forces.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations and an affiliated PEO of the Naval Sea Systems Command, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.
Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

F-35 Test Pilot Wins MCAA Test Pilot of the Year

On Feb. 10, 2011, Lt. Col. Matt Kelly of the F-35 Integrated Test Team at Naval Air Station Patuxent River was recognized as Test Pilot of the Year by the John H. Glenn Squadron of the Marine Corps Aviation Association. Pictured are Lt. Col. Kelly and family with former Sen. John H. Glenn and wife Annie. (Photo courtesy of MCAA)

NAS Patuxent River February 17, 2011 - On Thursday, Feb. 10, the John H. Glenn squadron of the Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA) recognized Lt. Col. Matthew “Squirt” Kelly of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 and the F-35 integrated test team as their test pilot of the year.
Selected from a competitive pool of candidates, the Marines recognized Kelly for his significant contribution to the F-35 developmental program. Kelly was the first pilot to fly the F-35B supersonic, the first military pilot to fly the F-35C, and is the team lead for military F-35 test pilots at Patuxent River. 
"An outstanding achievement for Lt. Col. Kelly and a testimony to his leadership during a critical time for the F-35 program,” said Brig. Gen. Gary L. Thomas, Assistant Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Aviation. “The example he provides for all acquisition professionals will inspire the hard work and dedication that will deliver this much needed capability to our warfighters.”
“It’s an honor to have been nominated and selected,” said Kelly. “The real credit goes to the outstanding flight test team of the Integrated Test Force at VX-23. I’m proud that future generations of Marine aviators will benefit from the work our team is doing here.”
Kelly was also featured in a recent Discovery Channel Canada segment on the F-35.
More than 150 attendees, including squadron namesake, former Sen. John H. Glenn, recognized Kelly at the MCAA squadron’s sixth annual meeting. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

USS Abraham Lincoln Arrives for Singapore Visit

Singapore February 16, 2011 - USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 arrived in Singapore, Feb. 16, to enjoy liberty, meet with local professionals and colleagues, and serve the community.
Approximately 5,000 Lincoln and CVW 2 Sailors will visit the island to experience the rich culture and history of one of the world's most thriving nations. 
While in Singapore, Lincoln will host a reception for nearly 400 distinguished visitors. Guests of honor include Republic of Singapore Navy Fleet Commander, Rear Adm. Joseph Leong and U.S. Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman.
"Singapore continues to be one of our strongest strategic partners in Asia and a key contributor to international maritime security; the region is more stable, secure and prosperous than ever thanks to our maritime cooperation efforts," said Rear Adm. Mark Guadagnini, Commander, Abraham Lincoln Strike Group.
During the reception and following days, more than 1,000 visitors are expected to tour the ship, including notable guests from the Singapore Sailing Federation, members of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, numerous international ambassadors, law enforcement officials, and Ms. Singapore 2009 Rachel Kum.
Students from the National University of Singapore's School of Public Policy will also receive a tour and a special presentation on women in leadership roles from Capt. Carol A. Hottenrott, Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9.
While in Singapore, Lincoln Strike Group Sailors will participate in six community service events, including a visit to the Riding for the Disabled Association of Singapore, an organization which provides free, therapeutic horse riding lessons to children and adults with disabilities from all over Singapore. 
"By working together to expand our partnership, Singapore and the United States will continue to foster and enable the conditions for prosperity within the Southeast Asian region, and free use of the sea lanes by all peaceful nations of the world," said Guadagnini.
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is in the U.S. 7th Fleet's area of responsibility as part of a routine deployment to promote peace, cooperation and stability in the region. The ships of Lincoln Strike Group currently reach all corners of 7th Fleet, from the USS Shoup in Australia, to USS Halsey underway near Hong Kong, and USS Cape St. George visiting Phuket, Thailand.
Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group consists of flagship USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, San Diego-based guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), and the embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. Ships assigned to DESRON 9 include the Everett-based destroyers Momsen (DDG 92) and Shoup (DDG 86), as well as USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

Monday, February 14, 2011

SECNAV Presents Three Silver Stars to Naval Special Warfare Sailors

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus congratulates Chief Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician Gerardo Sosa after presenting him with the Silver Star medal at Naval Special Warfare Group 1. Sosa was awarded the medal for clearing 200 yards of a suspected mine field by hand during combat operations in Afghanistan while deployed with SEAL Team 7. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Morton/Received)

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) presented three Silver Star Medals to Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Sailors during a visit to NSW commands, Feb. 11.
Ray Mabus presented the awards to recognize the actions of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Jared Tuxill, Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Gerardo Sosa and Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Joseph Molina, while they were deployed to Afghanistan in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"The awards that I presented today recognize uncommon heroism and uncommon valor," said Mabus. "It shows the skill level, the dedication and the patriotism, and its one of the best things I get to do - to recognize the people for what they do for us."
While the awardees were acknowledged for their courageousness and nerve in combat, they were both humbled and honored to receive their awards directly from the SECNAV.
"It's an honor to have the Secretary of the Navy award me the Silver Star," said Sosa. "I'm sure he has a lot on his plate; for him to make the time to be here today means a lot. It's a reflection of all the hard work everybody in our community has accomplished."
The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States, while engaged in military operations with a friendly force. It is the fourth highest military honor that can be awarded to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the third highest awarded for valor.
Three bronze stars with combat "V" were also awarded to Molina, Lt. Cmdr. John Green and Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Thomas Shea, for their actions while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Bronze Star is awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. It's the ninth-highest military award in the U.S. Armed Forces and the fourth-highest combat award given for bravery.
The valor device, or combat "V," establishes the award as resulting from an act of heroism in combat.
Since 9/11, NSW personnel have been awarded 77 Silver Stars and 765 Bronze Stars for their contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After the ceremony, Mabus was presented with a memento boat paddle by Rear Adm. Garry Bonelli, deputy commander Naval Special Warfare Command; to commemorate the event.

Friday, February 11, 2011

GHW Bush Strike Group Completes COMPTUEX

Frigate SPS Almirante Juan de Borbon (F 102) participating with the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group COMPUTEX which ended February 11th. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Richard J. Stevens.
Mayport February 11, 2011 - George H.W. Bush Strike Group (GHWBSG) and embarked Carrier Air Wing 8 completed a successful Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in the Atlantic Ocean Feb. 11, following three weeks of drills and exercises in preparation for their scheduled combat deployment later this year.
"I am extremely proud of the George H.W. Bush Strike Group's performance during COMPTUEX," said Rear Adm. Nora Tyson, Bush Strike Group commander. "Our Strike Group and coalition team have come together and formed an effective and cohesive fighting unit."
COMPTUEX is designed to test every capability of a Strike Group, with the goal being to hone warfare skills and tactically execute as one cohesive unit as the Strike Group prepares for its inaugural combat deployment. The training exercise is part of the intermediate phase of the Inter-Deployment Training Cycle.
Strike Group ship boarding teams performed almost 20 practice visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) evolutions, while the air wing totaled 3,777 hours of flight time during 1,808 sorties flown.
"It was a very successful three weeks," said Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8) Commander, Capt. Jeff Davis. "The strike group made great advancements in the integration of the warfare commanders to project coalition naval power."
The successful completion of COMPTUEX was the result of a total team effort from GHWBSG, which includes five U.S. ships, a Spanish frigate, a French destroyer, and the embarked air wing, totaling roughly 7,500 Sailors.
Though many Bush Sailors are looking forward to their first port call in Mayport, Feb. 11, following a busy 23 days at sea, Tyson said the team will need to be ready to get back to work as soon as liberty expires to begin the final stage of pre-deployment training, the Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX).
"We still have a lot of work ahead of us in order to be certified as combat-ready for our deployment, and I look forward to JTFEX as the perfect opportunity to further refine and perfect our teamwork and warfighting competencies at sea."
The Bush strike group is comprised of CVW 8, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), the guided-missile cruisers USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and USS Anzio (CG 68), Destroyer Squadron 22 ships USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and USS Truxtun (DDG 103), the French destroyer FS Primauguet (D 644) and the Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbón (F 102).

Dedication for Royal Australian Navy River-class frigates

Canberra February 11, 2011 - A plaque, which, for the first time officially recognises the service to the nation of all 12 of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) River-class frigates, and the crews who served in them in war and peace, will be unveiled tomorrow, 12 February in Sydney.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon said the plaque dedication ensured the RAN River-class frigates and their crews were recognised and honoured in our naval history.
“The River-class frigates are all named after Australian rivers, were built in Australia and were in service with the RAN from 1942-1979,” Mr Snowdon said.
“All but one of the River-class frigates were sold and scrapped after they were decommissioned, with HMAS Diamantina preserved as a museum ship at the Queensland Maritime Museum.”
Mr Snowdon said the Australian Government was pleased to be able to provide funding for the plaque through the Saluting Their Service commemorations grants program.
The Saluting Their Service commemorations grants program supports projects and activities which directly commemorate Australia’s servicemen and women who served in wars, conflicts and peace operations.
Lieutenant Vince Fazio (retired), President of the HMAS Condamine Association, served onboard HMAS Condamine, which saw action during the Korean War. He commissioned the plaque after receiving the Department of Veterans’ Affairs grant.
“I’m expecting about 70 guests at the ceremony. Veterans from the majority of the 12 River-class frigates including a couple of veterans from HMAS Hawkesbury, which saw action during World War II,” Lieutenant Fazio (retired) said.
“The President of Gascoyne together with the President of Culgoa will be invited to unveil the plaque, representing the first and last of class ships.
“It will be great to catch up with some old mates,” he said.
Commander Shane Moore CSM, Director of the RAN’s Naval Heritage Collection, said that an important part of Australia’s naval history had been preserved with the plaque dedication.
“Outside the Navy community, little is known about these frigates and the men who served on them. You could argue that historians have overlooked their fine service to the nation but, it is fitting that it has now been recognised through this plaque.”
The plaque unveiling and dedication service will be held at 11am, 12 February at the RAN Heritage Centre, Garden Island and will be followed by afternoon tea.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Crew bids farewell to HMS Chatham

London February 10, 2011 - The crew of Plymouth-based Royal Naval warship HMS Chatham said goodbye to their ship this week at an official decommissioning ceremony.
The event was staged in the rain alongside the ship at HM Naval Base Devonport, on Tuesday 8 February 2011, in front of about 100 family members, friends and VIPs, including civic and other representatives from the vessel's affiliated town of Chatham.
A religious service was conducted by a Royal Naval chaplain, and live music by the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines entertained the audience.
Admiral Sir Ian Forbes, the ship's first commanding officer, gave the introductory speech during a ceremonial parade and guard comprising the ship's crew. He described how the newly-built ship was the most advanced in the world when he took command.
Prior to the jetty-side ceremony a VIP cocktail party took place on the ship and the decommissioning cake was cut by one of the longest serving sailors on board.
The current commanding officer, Commander Simon Huntington, addressed his crew on parade, emphasising his ship's glorious past and praising them for their contribution to her achievements:
"Rather than lament the loss of a fine ship, I urge you to celebrate what she has achieved. In the words of her sponsor Lady Roni Oswald, I know you will find that what Chatham has achieved in the last 20 years is widely admired throughout the Royal Navy.
"She has been an enormously successful, happy and reliable ship throughout this period and, wherever you find yourselves serving next, you can always be extremely proud of what you achieved."
Commander Huntington also looked forward, saying the current ship represented a continuation of the preceding long line and proud history of namesake ships over many decades. In the same way, he saw the next generation of frigates as carrying on this tradition.
Members of the crew will also say farewell to their affiliate town when they exercise their historic right to the Freedom of the Borough of Medway with a special last parade through the streets of Chatham in Kent between 1130hrs and 1230hrs, from the High Street to the council offices, on Saturday 12 February.
HMS Chatham has provided 20 years of service to the Royal Navy, employed on operations around the globe in times of conflict, and also contributing to anti-piracy, anti-narcotics and humanitarian operations and the protection of British Overseas Territories.
Last year HMS Chatham returned from a seven-month deployment off the coast of Somalia where she was the lead vessel for Operation OCEAN SHIELD, the NATO contribution to counter-piracy in the area.
The crew received accolades for the disaster relief they provided to Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, while active operations included the Sierra Leone civil war in 2000 and off the coast of Iraq in 2003. The ship also attended the handover of the sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997.
HMS Chatham is one of the Royal Navy's four Type 22 frigates, all Devonport-based, which are being decommissioned under the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review.
These ships are the longest serving frigates in the Royal Navy. HMS Cornwall, HMS Cumberland and HMS Campbeltown will continue to support operations in the Middle East and in UK waters until later in the year.
HMS Chatham was laid down at Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd in 1986, launched in 1988 and is the last of the four Type 22, Batch 3 frigates. She is the seventh Royal Navy ship to bear the name - one of her predecessors had the honour of transporting the body of Admiral Lord Nelson from HMS Victory to Greenwich Hospital, where he lay in state until his funeral at St Paul's Cathedral.

USS O'Kane Returns to Pearl Harbor

Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Clifton Jackson performs preventive maintenance on the MK-45 5-inch/54-caliber lightweight gun aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS O'Kane (DDG 77). O'Kane is deployed as part of Commander, Task Force-Iraqi Maritime supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elisandro Diaz/Released)

Pearl Harbor February 9, 2011 - USS O'Kane (DDG 77) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Feb. 8, following a scheduled seven-month deployment to the U.S. Central Command and western Pacific regions.
O'Kane was deployed as a part of Commander, Task Force-Iraqi Maritime, supporting maritime security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
"The deployment was wonderful," said Cmdr. Derek Trinique, USS O'Kane commanding officer. "The crew did an outstanding job in every mission, ranging from the 5th Fleet to the 7th Fleet. It feels great to be back in Hawaii and to be in command of this ship, and this crew is a real honor for me."
Trinique also spoke about some of O'Kane's operational activities while on deployment.
"We spent five of our seven months in the (Arabian Gulf), and while there, we helped protect Iraqi oil infrastructure, provided maritime security for coalition efforts and partnered with our allies to further enhance maritime security," Trinique said.
As the ship moored at Bravo Pier, Sailors were happy to be home as they were greeted by their families.
"It's great to be home," said Yeoman 3rd Class Jorge Cuellar-Lopez. "This homecoming experience almost feels surreal for me. Overall I think we did a great job on deployment. We went to some good ports, and now it's capped off with our return home."
Guided-missile destroyers like O'Kane provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities and can operate independently, or as part of carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups and underway replenishment groups.
O'Kane is a part of Destroyer Squadron 31 and Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

U.S. aircraft carrier docks in southwest Turkey coast

February 9, 2011 - The nuclear powered U.S. aircraft carrier USS Enterprise docked in the southwestern Turkish bay of Marmaris amidst strict security measures on Tuesday, local media reported.

A perimeter of security pontoons was set up around the supercarrier as two Turkish coastguard boats patrolled the bay, the Anatolia news agency said. The ship will be harbored at Marmaris for four days, where its 5, 800 personnel will be allowed on land in groups of a thousand. Many local tour boats were waiting around the ship to bring the crew ashore. Some brought the first wave of sailors to the port, where they were able to shop at Marmaris' covered bazaar.
USS Enterprise is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. She is nicknamed the "Big E" and measures 342 meters in length, the longest naval vessel in the world.
Her 94,781 tons displacement ranks her as the 11th-heaviest supercarrier, after the 10 carriers of the Nimitz class of the U.S. Navy.
Source: Xinhua

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

31st MEU to Participate in Exercise Cobra Gold 2011

USS Essex at Sea February 6, 2011 - The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is scheduled to participate in training exercise Cobra Gold 2011, Feb. 7-18.
This will be the 30th year Thailand has hosted Cobra Gold, and it has become one of the largest land-based, combined military training exercises in the world.
"The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is eager to build cooperation through this 30th Cobra Gold exercise," said Col. Andrew MacMannis, commanding officer, 31st MEU. "The training our MEU conducts with partner nations prepares us to respond to a wide range of contingencies with our allies and contributes to theater security. Our partnership helps keep the Asia-Pacific region secure and stable."
Cobra Gold started as a bilateral exercise, but has grown to include Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea as full participants as well as other countries as official observers.
The training improves participating nations’ ability to conduct training, while strengthening relationships between militaries and communities.
This joint military training also ensures that the region is adequately prepared for humanitarian disasters, such as the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Cyclone Nargis in May 2008.
The U.S. and Thailand enjoy a long and successful history of cooperation; bi-lateral operations include security, law enforcement and public health.
The 31st MEU will showcase amphibious capabilities and conduct several training events, including operations from air and sea, at several Thai military installations.
The 31st MEU will employ AV-8B Harrier jet aircraft and CH-53E Sea Stallion, CH-46E Sea Knight, AH-1W Super Cobra and UH-1N Huey helicopters to execute various air training missions. The MEU will also utilize Combat Rubber Reconnaissance Craft and Amphibious Assault Vehicles to conduct amphibious maneuvers.
During the exercise, the 31st MEU is also scheduled to host three community relations projects, four medical and dental civil assistance projects, and one engineering civil assistance project, in order to promote a positive, lasting relationship with Thailand.
The 31st MEU includes more than 2,200 Marines and Sailors, and is comprised of four elements: the Command Element; Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines; Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 (Reinforced) and Combat Logistics Battalion 31.
The 31st MEU provides a forward-deployed, flexible, sea-based force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations in the Asia-Pacific region.
Always ready to respond, the 31st MEU is also prepared to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief when directed.
The 31st MEU is the only continually forward-deployed MEU, and remains the nation’s force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Iranian peace, friendship flotilla in Jeddah port Service: Foreign Policy (Propaganda)

The 40 year old corvette ALVAND, refered to by Iran as a destreoyer. Iranian propaganda lauds new construction of ships of this 1960s design in domestic yards as a world leading ship construction development. Wikipedia photo.

TEHRAN (ISNA)-Iranian peace and friendship flotilla have reached Jeddah port to continues navigation activities.
"Islamic Republic of Iran's navy flotilla arrived in Jeddah port on Sunday to continue mighty presence in high seas with the aim of fostering amicable relations and sending message of peace and friendship to regional countries," said Iranian naval force commander Habibollah Sayyari.
The flotilla involve Islamic Republic of Iran's Khark warship and Alvand destroyer.
He also expressed hope the country can send message of peace and friendship to regional countries through dispatch of Iranian flotilla to strategic Red Sea, Gulf of Aden as well as friend and Muslim countries' ports including Jeddah port in Saudi Arabia.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran's navy is determined to continue presence in high seas to protect interest of the country and spread message of peace and security in sensitive northern Indian Ocean," he added.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Truman Helps Train Future Pilots

USS Harry S Truman at Sea February 2, 2011 - Pilots from five Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRSs) embarked aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), began the final stage of their pilot training, Jan. 27
The pilots have conducted more than 800 launch-and-recovery cycles since they embarked Truman and are meeting specific standards and qualifications to become carrier-qualified (CQ) pilots.
Pilots from "The Gladiators" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106; "The Rawhides" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40; "The Vikings" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129; "The Flying Eagles" of VFA-122; and "The Greyhawks" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120, spent five days working toward their carrier qualifications.
"These are all fleet replacement pilots," said Chief Aviation Electrician's Mate (AW/SW) Michael Collins. "Before these pilots move on to fleet readiness squadrons, they have to complete this training. Upon graduating, they'll go to regular air wing squadrons; ready to fly over the beaches."
Helping these new pilots along the way to their success are qualified instructor pilots who are ready to pass their knowledge on to the trainees.
"The CQ phase is the pinnacle of their training," said Marine Capt. Brad Byers, VFA-106 FRS instructor. "We test their ability to get aboard safely both day and night, and they've been doing a great job out here. Truman's crew has certainly helped speed up the process of getting the pilots qualified efficiently. They did a great job throughout the entire evolution."
"The actual CQ process starts four-to-five weeks before we come out here," said Lt. j.g. James Gilbert, VFA-106 FRS pilot. "The boat is a completely different animal. Instructors did a great job ensuring our transition from shore to ship was as smooth as possible. Conducting flight operations on a ship is the most challenging part of being a carrier pilot, so the training we received on shore was invaluable."
Truman was chosen because it was best able to provide the squadrons with necessary resources.
"With Truman coming fresh off a deployment, the flight deck is still fully-qualified," said Collins. "Because of that, we're able to provide the requisite training, as well as the environment needed by each squadron to complete their final qualifications."
"The squadrons have been exceeding our expectations," said Lt. Cmdr. Rodney Moss, USS Harry S. Truman aircraft handling officer. "The flight deck is operating at cruise rate. By taking care of the new pilots, we have already formed that cohesive bond that we need to operate at this level. Everything has gelled together smoothly, and we are taking care of business safely, efficiently and effectively."
It generally takes up to three days per squadron for pilots to achieve the necessary requirements to qualify. For each fixed wing squadron, more than 300 launches and recoveries must be completed.
"I feel we have accomplished our mission," said Collins. "This entire evolution was a team effort, and the air wing couldn't have done it without Truman. The crew has been extremely good at helping us to achieve our goal this underway period."


Thursday, February 3, 2011

US Navy Paying for Canadian Ship Time?

HMCS Vancouver (seen here) in company with HMC ships Winnipeg and Protecteur departed today for Hawaii where they will practice protecting shipping as well as hunting and evading submarines. The two-week event, running Feb 14 to 24, will help train prospective U.S. Navy submarine Commanding and Executive Officers.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

HMS Mersey, Severn and Tyne in the Solent on a rare outing together Picture: LA(Phot) Kyle Heller, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Coast Guard celebrates Black History Month by honoring Tuskegee Airmen

Atlantic Beach NC February 2, 2011 - The Coast Guard observed the beginning of Black History Month with stories of the Tuskegee Airmen Tuesday.

Leonard Hunter, a spokesman for the Wilson V. Eagleson Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen in Goldsboro gave a presentation to more then 50 Coast Guardsmen.
Hunter recounted stories to the audience from the training days at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Ala., to the combat missions during World War II before concluding with the protest by airmen which led to the integration of the military.
From 1941 through 1946, 996 African American pilots graduated from Tuskegee Army Air Field, receiving commissions and pilot wings.
For more information on the Tuskegee Airmen visit