Saturday, July 30, 2011

Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa changes leadership

Capt. Richard Soucie (right), salutes Capt. James E. Tranoris (left) during the Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa change of command ceremony July 29 with Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr. (center), commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. Soucie relieved Tranoris as commander of MSCEURAF, one of five worldwide operational commands that are part of the Navy's Military Sealift Command, headquartered in Washington, D.C. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Keen

In a ceremony today at Naval Support Activity Capodichino in Naples, Italy, Capt. Richard Soucie assumed command from Capt. James E. Tranoris of Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa, also called MSCEURAF, MSC's Naples-based office.
MSCEURAF is responsible for MSC ships operating in the European and African theaters and is dual-hatted as Commander, Task Force 63, coordinating and providing transportation and delivery of personnel, equipment, fuel, supplies, repair parts, mail and ammunition via air and surface logistics assets to sustain U.S. forces in the European and African theaters.
Soucie reports to MSCEURAF from his most recent duty as director of the Plans and Policy Division in the manpower and personnel directorate at U.S. Central Command Headquarters in Tampa, Fla.
"The opportunity to command comes rarely in a career. I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected for major command and to have the opportunity to assume command of such a great organization," said Soucie. "CTF-63 and Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa have consistently provided superb logistics support to the warfighters in a vast area of responsibility. I am looking forward to continuing their exceptional reputation for service and support to the fleet."
Soucie enlisted in the Navy in 1978 and was subsequently selected into the Limited Duty Officer Program in May 1988 as a surface operations officer. He served aboard aircraft carriers USS Forrestal and USS John F. Kennedy and on the staffs of Commander, Carrier Group Two and Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two.
Soucie's shore tours include the Navy Center for Tactical Systems Interoperability; Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; and the Navy Personnel Command.
During the ceremony, Tranoris received the Legion of Merit for his performance as commander of MSCEURAF. Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, spoke about the many accomplishments Tranoris made during his tour.
"Today, I am blessed to have the opportunity to speak on subjects about which I know a great deal . the service of Commodore Jim Tranoris and the contributions of his great task force to our nation's defense," said Harris. "Task Force 63 has performed superbly. All the things we do here in the 6th Fleet, all around Europe, and throughout Africa, would not get done if we didn't have Task Force 63. Jim leads, and his staff manages, the day-to-day business of getting the 'beans, bullets, and butter' where they need to be."
During Tranoris' command, MSCEURAF and CTF-63 saw operations markedly increase in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector.
"This is not a culmination of my efforts alone, but the collective efforts of a very dedicated group of men and women, military and civilian, afloat and ashore that I have had the privilege and honor to command, or maybe a better word is influence over the past 26 months," said Tranoris after receiving the Legion of Merit. "The professionals at CTF-63 and MSCEURAF together have accomplished a tremendous amount of good work with regard to logistics support throughout the European and African theaters of operation."
Tranoris is transferring to the NATO Maritime Component Command on the island of Nisida, Italy.
MSEURAF is one of five worldwide operational commands that are part of the Navy's Military Sealift Command, headquartered in Washington, D.C.
MSC operates approximately 110 non-combatant, merchant mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

Missile frigates of PLA navy kick off first-ever visit to Katar

Missile frigate Wenzhou of the eighth escort flotilla of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the Gulf of Aden arrives the port of Doha, capital of Katar, July 30, 2011. Missile frigate Wenzhou, Maanshan and supply ship Qiandaohu arrived in Doha on Sunday, kicking off the first-ever visit by PLA navy to Katar, which will last for five days. (Xinhua/Chen Shaojin)

Former Army Official Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Accepting Illegal Gratuities from Contractors in Iraq

A former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for accepting illegal gratuities from multiple Iraqi contractors and for stealing from Iraqi fuel reserves, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
David Charles Pfluger, 56, of Abilene, Texas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings in the Western District of Texas.   Judge Cummings also sentenced Pfluger to three years of supervised release and ordered the defendant to pay $24,000 in restitution.   Pfluger pleaded guilty to a four count indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy, two counts of accepting gratuities, and one count of conversion of third party property by a U.S. official.   According to court documents, Pfluger was deployed to Forward Operating Base Ridgway in Iraq, and assigned the role of “Mayor” of the base.    As the “Mayor,” he was the officer in charge of the physical facilities of the base and had extensive contact with the various local contractors doing work on the base.   While serving in this role, Pfluger agreed with a U.S. Army translator and various local contractors to accept gratuities in the form of cash, jewelry and clothing from various contractors.   The gratuities were paid in return for official acts Pfluger performed which benefitted the contractors, including encouraging contracts for those contractors, relaxing security procedures for them and providing them fuel from Iraqi fuel reserves which he had no authority to access. Pfluger received the money, jewelry and clothing in Iraq and sent it home through U.S. mail, often hiding the money inside books and letters.   In total, Pfluger admitted to receiving approximately $11,500 in cash from this scheme, plus an unknown amount of clothing and jewelry.
This case was prosecuted by Special Trial Attorney Christopher L. Peele of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, on detail from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  The case was being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigations Division, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI.

Newport News Shipbuilding Successfully Redelivers USS Albany (SSN 753)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Jul 29, 2011 - Huntington Ingalls Industries today announced that the company's Newport News Shipbuilding division has successfully redelivered the Los Angeles-class submarine USS Albany (SSN 753) to the U.S. Navy. The redelivery took place today, one day earlier than originally planned, following successful sea trials.
The ship began its Docking Continuous Maintenance Availability March 15 at Newport News Shipbuilding. The work included upgrades to the submarine's sonar, navigation, communication, combat and weapons systems and maintenance work on the propulsion, weapons, sonar, auxiliary and habitability systems.
"USS Albany is being redelivered to the Navy today ahead of schedule and on budget," said Becky Stewart, vice president for submarine programs at Newport News Shipbuilding. "This maintenance availability was very successfully accomplished because of the teamwork and talent of the craftsmen and craftswomen of Newport News Shipbuilding, our Navy partners, and the ship's officers and crew. USS Albany is ready to go back to sea and perform her missions. We look forward to continuing to support the Navy in the maintenance and repair of submarines here and abroad."
USS Albany was the 18th Los Angeles-class submarine built by Newport News Shipbuilding. The ship's keel was laid April 22, 1985. The submarine was launched on June 13, 1987, and commissioned into service April 7, 1990.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gowind OPV L’Adroit begins first sea trials

The Gowind offshore patrol boat L’Adroit began its first sea trials on Wednesday 27 July for DCNS to validate the seakeeping and other nautical qualities of the vessel.
These initial sea trials mark the beginning of the next phase of the ambitious Gowind OPV programme, which spearheads DCNS’s efforts to win a larger share of the markets for small- and medium-displacement surface ships. The sea trials are beginning in line with the contract schedule, just 14 months after construction started on the Gowind L’Adroit, an innovative offshore patrol boat designed for maritime safety & security missions.
“The start of these first sea trials is a symbolic milestone that testifies to the remarkable teamwork between DCNS, the project’s investors and co-contractors, and the trial crews,” said Gowind OPV programme manager Marc Maynard. “Everybody has brought their knowledge and expertise to the table, and their unflagging commitment has made it possible to consistently meet the programme’s ambitious industrial milestones.”
During the sea trials, more than 50 technicians on board the vessel are conducting an intensive test campaign to validate its seakeeping and other nautical qualities. After testing the ship’s fire-fighting, flood control and other safety systems, the onboard team will be running trials with the propulsion system and checking vessel manoeuvrability. Alongside these sea trials, tests will also be conducted on the ship’s navigation systems (log, position, heading), inertial platforms (positioning) and other systems.
When the vessel returns to dock, outfitting of the last equipment compartments and painting work will continue. Construction is scheduled for completion by DCNS at the end of 2011.
The start of sea trials with the Gowind OPV L’Adroit again demonstrates DCNS’s ability to design and build a highly innovative ship in less than 24 months and in strict compliance with budget commitments.
OPV L’Adroit is being built under a DCNS-funded programme and will be made available to the French Navy for three years on completion. The three-year loan period will enable the Navy to qualify the OPV as ‘sea proven’, giving DCNS an exceptionally strong argument when promoting the Gowind family on the international market.
The Navy will demonstrate the Gowind’s relevance and operational value for current and emerging missions on the high seas, from area surveillance to anti-piracy, counter-terrorism, fisheries policing, drug interdiction, environmental protection, humanitarian aid, search & rescue and maritime safety & security.
OPV L’Adroit has a length of 87 metres, an at-sea endurance of 3 weeks and a range of 8,000 nautical miles. With a top speed of 21 knots, the vessel has a helicopter flight deck and can accommodate UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) operations. It is designed for reduced crewing, with a complement of 30 and space for 30 passengers.
The ship features a number of major innovations for navies, commandos and coastguards: 360° panoramic visibility from the bridge, a single integrated mast for 360° radar coverage, covert deployment of fast commando boats in less than 5 minutes and provision for UAVs and USVs (unmanned surface vehicles). The Gowind family also benefits from DCNS’s extensive experience in IT and command information systems. Vessels in the Gowind family can be readily tailored for extended area surveillance and, when working in conjunction with shore-based control centres and other networked ships, for the automatic detection of suspicious behaviour by ships and other craft.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (July 27, 2011) - The Philippine Navy's newest ship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during a scheduled port visit. The ship, a former U.S. Coast Guard cutter, is on its maiden voyage to the Republic of the Philippines to join the Philippine Navy Fleet. As a multi-mission surface combatant ship, Gregorio del Pilar becomes the first gas-turbine jet engine-powered vessel in the Philippine Navy fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico/Released)

Russia test fires Sineva missile in Barents Sea

Sineva missile

Russia successfully test fired a Sineva submarine launched ballistic missile in the Barents Sea on Wednesday, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov said.
The missile was launched from the Northern Fleet's Yekaterinburg nuclear powered submarine and hit a designated target at Kamchatka's Kura test site in Russia's Far East.
The RSM-54 Sineva (SS-N-23 Skiff in NATO classification) is a third-generation liquid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile that entered service with the Russian Navy in July 2007.
It has a maximum range of over 10,000 km and can carry four to 10 nuclear warheads.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

John C. Stennis Deploys with Carrier Strike Group 3

BREMERTON, Wash. (July 25, 2011) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) departs Naval Base Kitsap. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Steckler) 
USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) said goodbye to their family and friends July 25, as the ship departed Naval Base Kitsap for San Diego to embark Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9. 

The carrier, with its embarked air wing, USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and Destroyer Squadron Twenty-one, which includes USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), will deploy from San Diego Friday, July 29. 

Stennis is the flagship for Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 3, headed by Rear Adm. Craig S. Faller. 

"It is great to have our families and friends with us today," said Rear Adm. Faller. "We are all family, and it's important to take time to honor that and ensure our families are 'connected' in a meaningful way as we deploy." 

The strike group will support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, counter-piracy and maritime security operations. They will also work closely with allies to build regional security, freedom of the seas and long-term stability. 

"This carrier has 5,000 Sailors aboard, and today we welcome the families on board to share that special moment before we head underway and do our nation's bidding," said Stennis' Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald Reis. "The families are the core support to ensure that the Sailors are cared for while they're underway. Like all services, being separated from your families is extremely difficult, but the United States Navy has dealt with that since its conception and we have done it better than any other service." 

Stennis has a flight deck of about 4.5 acres and towers nearly seven stories above the sea. The ship is capable of carrying a crew of about 5,600 sailors, more than 3.5 million gallons of fuel, 70 aircraft, and enough weapons and stores for extended operations without replenishment. 

Stennis' embarked air wing consists of the F/A-18C Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, E-2C Hawkeye 2000, C-2A Greyhound and MH-60R/MH-60S. The aircraft can be used to conduct strikes, support land battles, protect the CSG or other friendly ships, and implement a sea or air blockade. 

"We are a nation at war," said Faller. "That war is going on as we speak in Afghanistan. We will be joining that fight, and supporting those operations. Also, we are still involved and engaged in Iraq. We expect to be involved and supporting those operations as well." 

During this seven month deployment, the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is prepared to respond to any operational situation with flexibility and sustainable force on short notice in order to protect America's vital interests . 

Monday, July 25, 2011


On 22 June 2011, Rear Admiral Guido Rando, Italian Navy, handed over the responsibility of the Deputy Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia, Op ATALANTA, to Rear Admiral Christian Canova, French Navy.
The handover was conducted in the Operational Headquarters (OHQ) in Northwood near London. As he departed, Rear Admiral Rando said:-
“I have found the six months I have been the Deputy Operation Commander of EU NAVFOR ATALANTA a challenging but invaluable experience. At the end of this period, I wish to express:
- my thanks to men and women of the OHQ’s staff, who supported our action with their skilled knowledge and experience and outstanding work;
- my deepest gratitude and appreciation to our men and women aboard ships and aircrafts and ashore in the area of operation, which spent several months of their life so far from their hometown and their families providing security, safety, protection and hope to thousands and thousands of people living or sailing in that area;
- my sincere feeling of solidarity and my prayers toward those innocent seafarers in captivity, struggling with the iniquity of their condition: could they soon recover their freedom and join their beloved families that are suffering their condition as well.
- my best wishes of “fair winds and following seas” to my successor.”
Rear Admiral Canova joins the staff of EU NAVFOR following his appointment as Inspector of the French Navy. Prior to this he was the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation’s Flag Officer for Future Capabilities Development in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. He is familiar with the Indian Ocean and Somalia having been deployed many times in the area. On taking-up his appointment he said; “It is an honour to take over from such a talented and seasoned officer such as RADM Guido Rando who has steadily held the duties of Deputy Commander ATALANTA at EUNAVFOR Somalia Headquarters in Northwood during the past six months.
I am proud and eager to follow his path and carry on this challenging and demanding assignment. I intend to pursue aggressively in the spirit of my predecessor the mission of EUNAVFOR Somalia which is primarily to escort merchant vessels carrying the humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) at a time when the Horn of Africa is facing the most terrible drought and famine since 1984”.
EU NAVFOR Somalia - Operation ATALANTA's main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the 'World Food Program' (WFP) and vessels of 'African Union Mission in Somalia' (AMISOM), and to protect vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy. EU NAVFOR also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

China building EMP arms in case of conflict over Taiwan: report

07/24/2011  (CNA)
Washington, July 22 (CNA) China is developing electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons that it plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, the Washington Times reported Friday. 
The paper said the arms are part of China's so-called "assassin's mace" arsenal -- weapons that could give a technologically inferior China a chance of defeating U.S. military forces. 
The report was based on newly de-classified intelligence released by the U.S. National Ground Intelligence Center on the lethal effects of EMP and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons. 
EMP weapons mimic the gamma-ray pulse caused by a nuclear blast that can knock out all electronics, including computers and automobiles, over wide areas, the paper said. The phenomenon was discovered in 1962 after an aboveground nuclear test in the Pacific disabled electronics in Hawaii. 
"For use against Taiwan, China could detonate at a much lower altitude (30 to 40 kilometers) . to confine the EMP effects to Taiwan and its immediate vicinity and minimize damage to electronics on the mainland," according to the intelligence report that was produced in 2005. 
China's electronic weapons are part of what are called "trump card" or "assassin's mace" weapons "based on new technology that has been developed in high secrecy," the report said. 
According to the report, China has conducted EMP tests on mice, rats, rabbits, dogs and monkeys, causing eye, brain, bone marrow and other organ injuries. 
China's EMP capability could be used in two different ways: as a surprise measure after China's initial strike against Taiwan and U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups moved into a vulnerable position, and as a bluff intended to dissuade the United States from defending Taiwan with a CVBG, the Pentagon acronym for carrier strike groups, the report added. (By Chou Yung-chieh and Sofia Wu) 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Military Sealift Command Pacific welcomes new commander

Military Sealift Command Pacific change of command ceremony
Capt. Sylvester Moore (right), Capt. Jerome Hamel (center) and Rear Adm. Brian LaRoche, deputy commander, Military Sealift Command, pose following the Military Sealift Command Pacific change of command ceremony July 21 in San Diego, where Moore relieved Hamel. MSCPAC is one of five worldwide operational commands that are part of the Navy's Military Sealift Command, headquartered in Washington, D.C. --U.S. Navy photo by Sarah E. Burford, Military Sealift Command Pacific

Military Sealift Command’s San Diego-based office, MSC Pacific, changed leadership today as Capt. Sylvester Moore assumed command from Capt. Jerome F. Hamel. The ceremony was held aboard fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego.
MSCPAC is responsible for MSC ships operating in the Eastern Pacific and is dual-hatted as Commander, Task Force 33, directing the underway delivery of fuel, provisions, ordnance and towing services to Navy combatants in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of responsibility.
Moore comes to MSCPAC from the Board of Inspection and Survey where he served as assistant deputy chief of staff.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve our Navy at MSC and to work alongside the professionals within the MSC organization, especially our team at MSCPAC,” said Moore.
Moore’s sea tours include USS Okinawa, USS Belleau Wood, USS Independence, USS Juneau, USS Dubuque and USS Harry S. Truman. His shore tours include officer-in-charge at Port Operations Little Creek; executive officer of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and commanding officer of Naval Brig Norfolk. Moore has deployed in support of operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Rear Adm. Brian LaRoche, deputy commander, Military Sealift Command, served as guest speaker for the change of command ceremony and presented Hamel with the Legion of Merit for his outstanding performance as commander of MSCPAC.      
Since assuming command of MSCPAC in May 2009, Hamel has overseen a wide range of operations and exercises, including two Operation Deep Freeze resupply missions to Antarctica, the deployment of hospital ship USNS Mercy on the 2010 Pacific Partnership humanitarian assistance mission and the 2010 Rim of the Pacific exercise.
Hamel will report to Commander, Naval Reserve Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., where he will serve as Chief of Staff.
“It was an honor to serve with the professional mariners of MSC,” Hamel said at the ceremony. “Day and night, our mariners delivered to the sailors of 3rd Fleet and our tug and salvage crews supported tow, dive and deep ocean recovery operations. Ashore, at MSCPAC, it was a pleasure to work with the sealift team.”  
MSCPAC is one of five worldwide operational commands that are part of the Navy's Military Sealift Command, headquartered in Washington, D.C. 

Navy Tests Unmanned Mine Sweeping System

The Navy successfully completed shore-based and at-sea integrated system tests on the prototype Unmanned Influence Sweep System at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, in Panama City, Fla., throughout early July 2011.
Designed for the LCS as part of the mine countermeasures mission package, the system provides unmanned mine sweeping capability that keeps warfighters out of the mine field. The system consists of an unmanned surface craft that carries and tows the minesweeping payload.
The test, known as Phase 1 Sweep Operational Checkout, consisted of confirming that the new sweep system can be deployed and retrieved from a surface craft and that it tows properly. The test was the first use of the prototype Sweep Power Subsystem which includes magnetic and acoustic sweep systems. The first phase of testing was completed on July 1. Phase II is currently ongoing.
"The first day of testing was executed flawlessly. The team performed very well and the system operated as expected. The data gathered during this first phase of testing will provide key performance parameters and establish benchmarks for the remainder of the test event," said Stephen Olson, Unmanned Maritime Systems assistant program manager for UISS System Integration and Test.
This summer's test program includes a full signature test and full mission profile where the entire UISS system will be tested in a series of integrated systems tests planned to demonstrate minesweeping capability in preparation for littoral combat ship mission package integration.
"This is another important step in our efforts to deliver evolutionary technology to the fleet," said Rear Adm. Jim Murdoch, program executive officer for Littoral Combat Ships.
An affiliated program executive office of Naval Sea Systems Command, PEO LCS provides a single program executive responsible for delivering the Littoral Combat Ships to include seaframe, mission modules, mission systems, fleet introduction, and life cycle maintenance and sustainment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Three Ships Commissioned - First Photos!

PNS Rasadgar 23 47M AOG KL 27 Feb 08 L 12 Jan 09 Comm 19 Jul 2011 
PNS Madadgar 22 47M AOG KL 28 Apr 08 L 01 Mar 09 Comm 19 Jul 2011
PNS Alamgir F 260 EX USS McInerney Del 31 Aug 2010 Comm 19 Jul 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

RAN to Set Sail for Antarctic Wilderness

18 July 2011 By SBLT Sarah West

Thirty-one trainees from various categories of employment within the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) are on board the RSV Aurora Australis for an Antarctic trip-of-a-lifetime. It will give the Navy’s embarked trainees the experience of serving in  extreme weather and oceanic conditions, rarely ever seen by Navy  personnel.
Thirty-one trainees from various categories of employment within the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) are on board the RSV Aurora Australis for an Antarctic trip-of-a-lifetime. It will give the Navy’s embarked trainees the experience of serving in extreme weather and oceanic conditions, rarely ever seen by Navy personnel.
Thirty-one trainees from various categories of employment within the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) have been kitted-up with extreme weather protection gear for their upcoming Antarctic trip-of-a-lifetime.
The group, which includes Marine Technicians, Medics, and Communications Information Systems sailors under-training, ten General Experience ‘Gap Year’ sailors, and their supervisors, are preparing to sail on the RAN leased P&O icebreaker the RSV Aurora Australis to Macquarie Island, located in the subantarctic region, north of the Antarctic continent.
The Aurora Australis will depart for its voyage to the world heritage listed island this week to embark a group of Australian Antarctic Division employees who have been stationed in the subantarctic wonderland to carry out pest eradication activities.
The RAN personnel making the voyage were given polar survival kits by the Australian Antarctic Division which included Gore-Tex outer-layers, polar fleece mid-layers and thermal undergarments.
Richard Knowles, a Logistics Expert with the Australian Antarctic Division, said the gear will protect the Officers and Sailors from Macquarie Island’s unpredictable and often extreme conditions.
“It’s a cold place, and it’s a wet place, and they will need to use the layering principal to keep themselves dry.”
“If they don’t stay warm in the subantarctic climate they could be subject to hyperthermia,” said Mr Knowles.
The deployment will offer the Navy’s embarked trainees an opportunity to serve in weather and oceanic conditions rarely experienced by their colleagues. The group will work alongside P&O’s regular crew to gain some competencies required to qualify in their various employment categories.
SBLT Christopher Thornton, a Training Systems Officer embarked in Aurora Australis for the voyage, says working with civilians in their respective trades will give the trainees a well rounded understanding of their chosen professions.
“We will have marine technicians working in the engine room alongside civilian engineers, and trainees spending time at the helm and taking fixes on the bridge, and our medics will have exposure to polar medicine,” said SBLT Thornton.
“This voyage really will equip the trainees with the skills to deal with real life scenarios, in adverse and extreme weather conditions.”
The Officer in Charge of the Macquarie Island voyage, LCDR Tony Paterson, said sailing beyond 45 degrees south is a rare experience for anyone in the Navy. “Very few of us, in the Navy, ever get a chance to go much further south than the bottom of Tasmania, unless we have to rescue someone,” said LCDR Paterson. “So the experience will give our people an understanding of what it’s like to go this far south and work in these extreme weather conditions, and at the same time they’ll hopefully see animals in their native state that we very, very, rarely see.”
Richard Knowles, who has made numerous expeditions to Macquarie Island, agreed that the trainees were embarking on the trip of a lifetime. “Macquarie Island is an amazing place to go to,” said Mr Knowles. “The flora and fauna is quite exceptional. They can see elephant seals, a whole range of penguins, and albatross. They might even see some orcas if they’re lucky.”
The RAN and the Australian Antarctic division are both celebrating 100-year milestones this year with 2011 marking a century since the Navy was granted the “Royal” prefix in its title, and 100 years since the explorer Sir Douglas Mawson first sailed for Macquarie Island.

SBX Move

SEATTLE - The Coast Guard Cutter Swordfish, home ported in Port Angeles, Wash., travels to Elliott Bay, Seattle, alongside the Shell Platform Kulluk on July 19, 2011. The floating offshore drilling platform is heading into Vigor Shipyard for ongoing maintenance and planned, technical upgrades. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.
SEATTLE - The Coast Guard Cutter Swordfish, home ported in Port Angeles, Wash., travels to Elliott Bay, Seattle, alongside the Shell Platform Kulluk on July 19, 2011. The floating offshore drilling platform is heading into Vigor Shipyard for ongoing maintenance and planned, technical upgrades. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

George H.W. Bush Departs Bahrain, Returns to Sea

Sailors signal the completion of pre-flight launch checks on an F/A-18F Super Hornet aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).

George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWB CSG) resumed underway operations July 14, after completing a four-day port visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain. 
Sailors participated in recreational and cultural tours sponsored by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program and volunteered in four community relation (COMREL) projects.
More than 750 Sailors purchased tickets for discounted tours offered by MWR. Sailors experienced the cultural side of Bahrain, with food tastings and a tour of the Grand Mosque, as well as the recreational side while swimming with dolphins, fishing, golfing and going to a local water park. MWR subsidized more than 30 percent of the costs of the tours.
"The water park tour was a great way to stay cool in the heat," said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Laron Cooke. "Everyone got together after riding the slides to play water volleyball. It was a blast."
Additionally, Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain offered Sailors the use of their sports facilities and MWR set up basketball, softball and flag football tournaments aboard the base.
"Playing pick up games of basketball with fellow Sailors was exciting and enjoyable," said Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Fernando Landeros.
The ship's Command Religious Ministries Department organized several COMRELs during the port visit. 
The Sailors played a soccer match with a local Bahraini soccer team, tutored children in English, math and art at the Regional Institute for Active Learning and visited with residents of a local women's shelter.
"It's important to give back to the community, no matter what community you're in," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Kendrah Agostini, who participated in a COMREL at the women's shelter. "It's rewarding to take some of our limited liberty time and give to a good cause."
This was the fourth scheduled port visit for George H.W. Bush, which entered the 5th Fleet area of responsibility June 18.
George H.W. Bush Strike Group is made up of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2, aircraft-carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 staff, guided-missile cruisers USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and USS Anzio (CG 68) and guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and USS Truxtun (DDG 103).

Author of Pacific Air at the Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial (map)
Thursday, July 21, 2011, Noon
Free and open to the public
Contact: 202-737-2300
Author David Sears will present Pacific Air: How Fearless Pilots, Peerless Aircraft and Fast Flattops Conquered the Skies in the War with Japan, as part of the Navy Memorial’s “Authors on Deck” book lectures series.  Sears details how Navy planners, inventive fleet pilots and corporate entities like Grumman combined to produce a war-winning combat force that decimated Japanese air and sea power. Following the presentation, David Sears will be available for a Q&A and book signing.
In a grand sweeping narrative, Pacific Air tells the inspiring story of how, despite initial disastrous defeats, a generation of young naval aviators challenged and ultimately vanquished a superior Japanese air force and fleet in the Pacific.  The instruments of the United States aviators' triumphs were the elegantly designed F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat, as well as the lethal TBF Avenger torpedo bomber.  With superbly trained U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviators at their controls, these planes became the most successful aerial weapons in naval history.  A majestic portrait of a proud era from dual perspectives--the inventive minds of young aeronautical engineers and the deadly artistry of even younger combat pilots--Pacific Air brings this important yet underappreciated chapter of World War II vividly to life.
David Sears is a New Jersey-based historian author and speaker.  As a former naval officer who served during Vietnam, Sears brings an insider's knowledge of combat to this comprehensive history of the air war in the Pacific during World War II.  David's early career included service as a United States Navy officer with extensive sea duty aboard destroyer Gearing (DD-710) and a tour of duty as an advisor to the Vietnamese Navy during the Vietnam conflict. His subsequent corporate and business consulting experience included management positions at the New York Times Company and Dow Jones and Company. He lives in the New York Metropolitan Area

America's Tall Ship, Coast Guard Cutter Eagle to visit Boston

CG Barque Eagle

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, "America’s Tall Ship," is scheduled to arrive at the Charlestown Navy Yard, next to the USS Constitution, Friday at 9 a.m. as part of their 2011 cruise celebrating the 75th anniversary of Eagle’s construction.
The Eagle will be open for free public tours on the following dates and times:
  • July 22 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • July 23 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • July 24 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
At 295 feet in length, the Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service.
Constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German Navy, the Eagle was taken by the United States as a war reparation following World War II.
With more than 23,500 square feet of sail and six miles of rigging, the Eagle has served as a floating classroom to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience.
A permanent crew of six officers and 50 enlisted personnel maintain the ship and guide the trainees through an underway and in-port training schedule, dedicated to learning the skills of navigation, damage control, watchstanding, engineering and deck seamanship.
To follow the Eagle’s summer cruise, visit the ship’s Facebook page at:

USCGC Healy Report from the Arctic

July 18, 2011

Greetings from the Arctic,
Scientist’s eagerly unpack their gear excited to retrieve water and ice core samples at our first on-ice station of the mission.
Scientist’s eagerly unpack their gear, excited to retrieve water and ice core samples at our first on-ice station of the mission.
Over the past two weeks we crossed the Arctic Circle and were welcomed by our first snow fall of the summer! Welcome home honorable Polar Bears and returning science party members.
The crew and scientists enthusiastically began our first mission of the summer, entitled NASA Icescape II. The science party is comprised of 48 scientists, representing 19 different institutions and the focus of their research is to learn more about the refractive properties of sunlight in the Arctic environment, as well as changes in the Arctic Ocean chemistry and ecosystem related to climate change. We started the mission strong with a productive first on ice station, studying the properties and development of first year ice. The scientists described it as "one of the best ice stations ever!"
CAPT Havlik (right) Congratulates  MKC Malloy (left) on earning his permanent Cuttermans Pin after completing five years of cumulative sea time. Bravo Zulu MKC Malloy!
CAPT Havlik (right) Congratulates MKC Malloy (left) on earning his permanent Cuttermans Pin after completing five years of cumulative sea time.
The diverse equipment used to collect and profile data are: the Conductivity-Temperature-Depth Rosette (CTD), Profiling Reflectance Radiometer (PRR), Van Veen Grab, Thorium Pump (Th Pump), and Inherent Optical Properties Sensor (IOP). The CTD measures the conductivity, temperature, and depth of the water, which is used for biological and chemical testing. The PRR measures the surfacing and descent of light in the water column. The Van Veen grab is used to capture samples of the Arctic Ocean floor sediment. The Th Pump is a water filtration device that measures the Thorium isotopes in the water to determine particle cycling and microbial activity. Lastly, the IOP measures the basic optical characteristics of water as it interacts with light.
Over the course of the week we congratulated several crewmembers on professional achievements and awards. We congratulated MKC Malloy on earning his permanent Cuttermans Pin, after completing five years of cumulative sea time. We also Congratulated FS3 Gomes on her selection by the Chief’s Mess as the Sailor of the Quarter. A significant award that highlights a crewmembers professionalism, expertise, and exceptional hard work that had a resonant effect throughout the crew. Bravo Zulu on a job well done and on your professional achievements!
CAPT Havlik (right)  and Command Senior Chief Apolito (center) congratulate FS3 Gomes (left) on being selected as the unit's Sailor of the Quarter.  Bravo Zulu FS3 Gomes!
Command Senior Chief Apolito congratulates FS3 Gomes (left) on being selected as the unit's Sailor of the Quarter.
We ended last week on a high note as the Junior Officers prepared spice rubbed beef, chicken, seafood and sesame marinated tofu kabobs, for Saturday night morale dinner, and the evening culminated with the showing of “Battle Los Angeles” on the big screen in the Hangar. This past weekend, the scientists prepared assorted handmade pizzas and wings for morale night. Towards the conclusion of dinner, the crew and scientists alike gathered around as four scientists entertained the mess deck with live music, a genuine and new addition to morale night, followed by the showing of “The Fighter” in the Hangar.
Bravo Zulu to the Crew on a great start! The crew continues to tirelessly work alongside the science party, preparing excellent meals in the galley, monitoring day and night maintenance of equipment, and assisting with on-ice surveying, managing the safety of personnel, safe operation of the science equipment and diligently ensuring execution of day to day operations throughout the ship.
Until next time,
ENS Holly McNair
Public Affairs Officer

An audience of crew and scientist gather on the mess deck to listen to the live music at the conclusion of dinner during this past weekend’s morale night.
An audience of crew and scientist gather on the mess deck to listen to the live music at the conclusion of dinner during this past weekend’s morale night.
Scientists prep the Van Veen Grab for deployment over the side of the ship to collect sea floor sediment.
Scientists prep the Van Veen Grab for deployment over the side of the ship to collect sea floor sediment.

MST2 Dicks directs the crane operator as scientist monitor the deployment of the Th Pump.
MST2 Dicks directs the crane operator as scientist monitor the deployment of the Th Pump.

HMS Argyll ready 'in all respects' for coming challenges after passing rigorous training

Back and ready to take her place among the ships of the front-line fleet is the oldest and – thanks to a £20m year-long revamp – most potent frigate.
It took 13 months to turn an inanimate, largely lifeless, hull in the middle of a refit into a cutting-edge warship ready for anything that global events and nature can throw at her.
Nine months after emerging from that comprehensive makeover in Rosyth, the Devonport-based frigate came through her final, acid test: Operational Sea Training.
And passed, like she has done every trial and inspection this past year or so “with flying colours”.
Argyll began to ‘crew up’ in earnest in May 2010 – four months before her refit was due to conclude.
Just shy of 300,000 man hours were devoted to the ship’s refit as the Type 23 frigate received the latest version of the Seawolf air defence missile system, a new command system, one new main gas turbine, two generators, and the MOD’s latest e-mail and internet system, DII(F).
She emerged from that refit three days ahead of schedule – and has maintained that impressive pace throughout the long road back to front-line duties.
It all came to a head with two months in the hands of the Flag Officer Sea Training instructors and assessors this spring/summer.
A large part of the training consisted of simulated battles on a daily basis whether externally with enemy missiles, aircraft, ships and submarines or internally with fires, floods and machinery breakdowns – most of which occurred simultaneously on Thursdays on the infamous ‘Thursday War’.
The final phase of training was specific to the role that Argyll will perform for real towards the end of the year when she deploys east of Suez on maritime security patrols.
“Argyll is ready, in all respects, to undertake any operational tasking as part of the Fleet, said her Commanding Officer Cdr Paul Stroude.
“We have achieved this significant milestone with the perseverance, hard work and sheer determination of the crew.
“I am truly proud of the ship’s company and the team that delivered her refit. The name of HMS Argyll is now synonymous with professionalism of the highest order.”