Naval Base Guam Kicks Off Chamorro Month

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Guam – Service members, island residents and base patrons gathered as U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) to kick off Chamorro Month with a cultural celebration in front of the Navy Exchange Guam on NBG March 8.

The event, themed “Know the Language of Our Elders and Use it Every Day,” brought together local and military communities to celebrate the Chamorro heritage.

“I think I represent most if not all military folks and families that get the honor and privilege to be stationed on Guam,” said Capt. Mike Ward, NBG commanding officer. “Not just to enjoy a beautiful March day like today but also to appreciate and experience the culture that is the Chamorro culture. We would not get exposed to this anywhere else and it’s a unique culture, a rich tradition. Things like the huts, the food, the language, the mighty proa, the latte stone – those are things we learn about as temporary residents here. It makes us better Sailors, better families and better people.”

Ward expressed his gratitude to the base and local organizations including the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC), Agat and Santa Rita mayors offices, Guam Visitors Bureau and Department of Chamorro Affairs for their support during the festivities.

“Thank you for coming out and bringing the Chamorro culture to life here on the installation,” he said. “There is a Chamorro word for cooperation and working together, Inafa’maolek (in-nah-fah-MAO-lik). It’s emblematic of an event like this, but it’s also emblematic of our relationship with the community here. We are a part of this community, and we want to take our time in our busy schedules where we’re meeting missions, moving ships and moving Sailors on and off this base to honor and recognize the culture that surrounds us.”

Highlights of the event included a blessing by Chamorro cultural group Pa’a Taotao Tano (pah-AH-tahow-tahaow-tah-NOO) and presentation of a Chamorro hut filled with local produce, plants and artifacts.

The hut, constructed of natural materials, was put together in a matter of days by local organizations including the Santa Rita and Agat mayors’ offices.

Agat Vice Mayor Agustin Quintanilla said building the hut is a tradition of the village in collaboration with NBG in honor of Chamorro Month.

“It’s very important to show the military that we do still have our hearts and our beliefs,” he said. “It’s a learning experience for them.”

FFSC Family Advocacy Educator Erlinda Montecalvo said communication and language played an important role during the event as signs with Chamorro words and English translations were displayed throughout the festivities.

“We have a community of sisters and brothers here that need to learn our language, need to learn about our culture,” she said. “And when they go out the front gate, that they would have a good community of families out there, too. It’s communication. We need to help them to communicate with our sisters and brothers out, beyond the gates.”

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/

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NNS130312-01. Navy’s First Littoral Combat Ship Visits Pearl Harbor

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker, Public Affairs Support Element West, Det Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) — The Navy’s first littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam March 11.

The ultra- modern U.S. Navy ship, bearing a four-color camouflage combination of flat black, haze gray, haze white and ocean gray, arrived at Pearl Harbor after departing her homeport of San Diego to deploy to the Asia-Pacific region.

Following a brief port visit, USS Freedom will deploy to Southeast Asia and Singapore for approximately eight months. Marking the first of many planned rotational deployments to the Western Pacific for the new LCS platform, Freedom will conduct maritime security operations with regional partners and allies.

The ship was specially created to be able to maneuver in areas of water difficult for many larger Navy ships. The littoral zone refers to the part of a sea, lake or river that is close to the shore.

“This vessel, the littoral combat ship, is really designed for operating in the littoral shores of the land, what we commonly refer to as brown water,” said Cmdr. Timothy Wilke, USS Freedom commanding officer. “It does have a capability to operate in blue water, but it’s mainly focused on bridging that gap of what we have in our ship class right now.”

After making initial port visits in Hawaii and Guam, Freedom is expected to participate in the International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) in Singapore and in select phases of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series in Southeast Asia.

“Getting this ship out on this deployment is just important, and it is really unique that it is occurring on the heels of a week that ends on the 15th of our anniversary for the 3rd Fleet and the 7th Fleet,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “This deployment will also capstone looking at the operational concepts; minimal manning, maintenance, and the business of rotational presence for this class of ship.”

Haney also talked about the ship’s crew and their responsibilities with the new ship.

“Freedom’s maiden deployment is another clear signal of the Navy’s enduring commitment to maintain security and stability in the vital Asia-Pacific Region. Rotationally deploying our new littoral combat ships improves our warfighting capability and directly supports the Navy’s rebalance strategy to the Asia-Pacific,” said Haney.

During the first-ever LCS deployment, Freedom will demonstrate her operational capabilities and allow the Navy to evaluate crew rotation and maintenance plans. Fast, agile, and mission-focused, LCS platforms are designed to employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare. Freedom will be initially manned by her “Gold” crew of 91 Sailors to include mission package personnel and an aviation detachment to operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter.

Freedom will remain homeported in San Diego throughout this rotational deployment to Southeast Asia. Midway through Freedom’s deployment, a crew-swap will be conducted with her “Blue” crew, commanded by Cmdr. Patrick C. Thien.

The 378-foot Freedom was constructed at Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wis., and was the first naval vessel to be built and commissioned on the Great Lakes since World War II. LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.  
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NNS130312-15. San Antonio Receives Second “Battle E”

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lacordrick Wilson

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — The crew of the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) received the Battle Efficiency, or Battle “E” award, March 7.

The Battle “E” award is a tribute to the ship’s overall readiness and was determined by a yearlong evaluation of San Antonio’s accomplishments during training exercises and various command inspections.

The San Antonio was nominated by Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) Four and has received the Battle “E” two years in a row while under the leadership of commanding officer Cmdr. Neil Koprowski.

“I am overwhelmed with excitement and pride for the ownership of a second Battle E,” said Koprowski. “The Sailors have put in hard work to sustain our superior ship performance and winning this award demonstrates to the Navy that this is the world class crew that I know it is.”

Personnel aboard the San Antonio are now authorized to wear the Navy “E” ribbon and Battle “E” device.

“It’s great to have the crew wear the Battle ‘E’ ribbon for the second consecutive time,” said Command Master Chief Timothy Bailey. “This achievement is a true reflection of the crew’s commitment in demonstrating excellence in every evolution and the day-to-day workloads.”

San Antonio’s consecutive wins sets a standard for other ships in the fleet, one that Navy leadership believes is achievable.

“Winning the Battle ‘E’ for the second year in a row shows the Navy as a whole that high levels of operational readiness is attainable and maintainable,” said Capt. Brad Skillman, commadore, PHIBRON Four. “Capt. Koprowski and his crew are the standard-bearers for the rest of the fleet and I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments.”

The crew plans to continue to maintain that level of efficiency while on their scheduled deployment.

“We have put in a lot of hard work over the past two years,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Aaron Nicholson. “This will show others that we as a crew are ready and we are willing to take on any thing that comes our way.”

San Antonio is deploying as part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group with embarked Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Norfolk, visit www.navy.mil/local/pacennorfolk/.  
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NNS130312-12. USS Makin Island Receives First Battle “E” Award

From USS Makin Island Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) — The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) was named a recipient of the 2012 Battle Efficiency (Battle “E”) award, March 9, marking the first time the ship has received the prestigious award.

Vice Adm. Thomas Copeman, the commander of Naval Surface Forces, and commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, made the official announcement via naval message traffic.

The Battle “E” is the Navy’s top performance award presented only to the ships that achieve the highest standards of performance readiness and efficiency.

Award criteria is designed to measure and recognize a command’s sustained superior performance and battle efficiency in an operational environment throughout the competition calendar year.

Makin Island spent the first half of 2012 deployed to U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. Following deployment, the ship maintained a steady operational tempo with underway periods in support of Marine Air Wing aviation operations, San Francisco Fleet Week and midshipmen training periods.

Ships competing for the Battle “E” are evaluated and graded in five specific areas: maritime warfare; engineering and survivability; command, control, communications and information warfare; logistics management, and ship safety. Makin Island received command excellence awards in all five categories for 2012.

“It’s an honor for our team to receive this kind of recognition,” said Capt. Cedric E. Pringle, Makin Island’s commanding officer. “The Battle ‘E’ award is a result of the hard work of everyone on board. It validates our focus on continuous improvement across the entire spectrum of warfare readiness. This award will also strengthen our commitment to excellence in all that we do.”

Every Makin Island Sailor who was a member of the crew during 2012 is now eligible to wear the Battle “E” ribbon on their uniform. Any Makin Island Sailor who already has a Battle “E” award from a previous command can now add an additional “E” device to the ribbon.

The Navy Battle “E” program and accompanying ribbon was established July 1, 1974, by then-Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf in order to recognize ships and aviation squadrons who are the best in the fleet in all areas of battle readiness.

Makin Island returned from a seven-month deployment June 22, making history as the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the ship saved over $15 million in fuel costs and the Navy expects to see fuel cost savings of more than $250 million, over the course of the ship’s lifecycle. Lessons learned during Makin Island’s maiden deployment prove the Navy’s commitment to energy awareness and conservation and will positively influence future ship designs for several decades.

This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary of the Navy’s energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.

The ship is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability (PMA) at Naval Base San Diego. During this seven month PMA period, Makin Island will receive numerous equipment upgrades, modernization, and general repairs. The PMA period will also help to ensure the ship will reach the full service life of at least 40 years.

For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.  
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NNS130312-03. Peleliu Awarded Battle “E” for 2012

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jasmine Sheard, USS Peleliu Public Affairs

USS PELELIU, At Sea (NNS) — The amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) received the Battle Efficiency Award, March 8.

Commander, Naval Surface Force Pacific announced via naval message the award of the Calendar Year 2012 Battle “E” and Command Excellence Awards for Pacific Fleet. Peleliu competed with amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), both part of the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). Only a single ship per squadron may be nominated for this award.

A ship achieves the Battle “E” for sustained superior performance in an operational environment throughout a 12-month cycle in mission areas of maritime warfare, engineering/survivability; command, control, communications and information warfare, logistics management, and ship safety.

“Winning the Battle ‘E’ is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and extraordinary effort by the entire crew,” said Capt. John D. Deehr, Peleliu’s commanding officer. “There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of individual requirements that must be met during a year in order to be eligible for the award.”

Amphibious Squadron 3 department heads evaluated the ships of the group for battle readiness and recommended Peleliu for the award due to the ship’s sustained performance.

“Peleliu’s performance in a variety of different warfares was really quite superior,” said Lt. John Judy, Amphibious Squadron 3 submarine operations officer. “The Battle ‘E’ isn’t just about one particular aspect a ship does. It incorporates several different aspects of engineering, of maritime excellence, of communications, of logistics. It really brings in the whole picture of what Peleliu is doing.”

In addition to the Battle “E,” Peleliu earned the Black “E” for Maritime Warfare, the Green “E” for Command, Control, Communications and Information Warfare, the Blue “E” for Logistics Management and the Yellow “E” for Ship Safety.

“I’m really proud of USS Peleliu and the crew’s outstanding accomplishments in 2012,” said Capt. Shawn Lobree, commander, Amphibious Squadron 3. “Hearing the news Peleliu won the 2012 Battle Efficiency award was the best news I’ve had all year. It’s a great honor to earn this distinction. Just to meet all of the wickets and become eligible is a huge challenge in itself. Peleliu earned this recognition after a combination of a year or more of really hard work and outstanding performance across the board.”

Peleliu is the flagship for the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

For more news from USS Peleliu (LHA 5), visit www.navy.mil/local/lha5/.  
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NNS130311-22. COMNAVAIRLANT Selects Sailors of the Year

By Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (COMNAVAIRLANT) announced the selection of the Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year during a luncheon aboard Naval Station Norfolk, March 8.

On behalf of Rear Adm. Ted N. Branch, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, Capt. Mike Wallace, chief of staff, COMNAVAIRLANT announced Aviation Electrician’s Mate 1st Class (AW) Christopher J. Anderson as COMNAVAIRLANT Shore Sailor of the Year and Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW/SW) Cheyenne N. Shasky as the force’s Sea Sailor of the Year.

Both Sailors were selected from ten candidates representing more than 40,000 men and women serving in the sea and shore components within Naval Air Force Atlantic. Each represented their respective commands after being selected as that commands Sailor of the Year.

Anderson is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., as leading petty officer for avionics division. He enlisted in the Navy in April 1999.

Shasky is aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in Norfolk, Va., and serves as the acting leading chief petty officer for combat systems department CS-7 and CS-8 divisions. Shasky enlisted in the Navy in August 1999.

Both Sailors will advance to the next selection process to determine the Sailors of the Year for U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

“Each of you has already won,” Wallace said. “The fact that you are here is evidence that you are the very best of the best at your command, and you represent them well. Your individual accomplishments have brought you here, and I salute you all.”

For more news from Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, visit www.navy.mil/local/comnavairlant/.  
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NNS130312-07. Albuquerque Visits Thailand During Western Pacific Deployment

By Lt. Cmdr. Lara Bollinger, Submarine Group 7 Public Affairs

SATTAHIP, Thailand (NNS) — The Los Angeles class fast attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) moored alongside USS Frank Cable (AS 40) in Sattahip Bay, Thailand, March 10 for a visit as part of its Western Pacific deployment.

With a crew of approximately 140 Sailors, Albuquerque will conduct a multitude of missions and showcase the latest capabilities of the U.S. submarine fleet.

“We’re looking forward both to developing our working relationship with our partners in the Royal Thai Navy and to exploring the charming culture and natural beauty of Thailand.” said Cmdr. Chris Cavanaugh, Albuquerque’s commanding officer.

Measuring more than 360 feet long and weighing more than 6,900 tons when submerged, Albuquerque is one of the most technologically advanced submarines in the world. The ship is capable of supporting a variety of missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, intelligence collection, and mine warfare.

“We have worked hard over the past several months in both preparation for and execution of this deployment,” said Command Master Chief Richard Penny, chief of the boat. “This port visit will be a great opportunity for our crew to get some much needed rest and relaxation, and take the time to enjoy everything that Thailand has to offer.”

For most of the crew members, this is their first time visiting Thailand.

“I’ve always dreamed of visiting Thailand,” said Yeoman Seaman Garcia. “I’m looking forward to indulging in Thailand’s unique heritage.”

Albuquerque is the second U.S. warship to be named after the namesake town in New Mexico. She is homeported in San Diego.

For more news from Commander Submarine Group 7, visit www.navy.mil/local/csg7/.  
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NNS130312-06. Frank Cable Arrives in Thailand

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gabrielle Joyner, USS Frank Cable Public Affairs

SATTAHIP, Thailand (NNS) — Submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) anchored off Sattahip, Thailand, as part of its extended underway in the Western Pacific, March 9.

Frank Cable’s current mission while on deployment is to improve relations with navies in the region.

The expectation for this particular port visit will focus on cooperation between the U.S. Navy and Royal Thai Navy, and will involve participation by the crew in community service (COMSERV) events.

“Our mission will improve our ability to operate together in the event of a situation where the Thai and U.S Navies have to operate together, ” said Capt. Pete Hildreth, commanding officer of Frank Cable.

Hildreth said the ship is scheduled to take the USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) alongside.

“Another goal for this visit is to provide support for a submarine and finish the required repairs,” said Hildreth. “And making sure that the engagements with the Royal Thai Navy go well, and for us to execute a good port visit.”

There was a lot of excitement among Sailors on board as the ship approached Sattahip. For many, this was the port they were looking forward to most during this underway. Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Logan Freitag said he has big plans for his first time in the country.

“Between all the sea stories and the fact that I can ride an elephant or pet a tiger, who wouldn’t be excited,” said Freitag. “I want to ride an elephant, hike though some more jungles, as I did in Malaysia, and eat some good food.”

Sailors on board who have been to Thailand before say there are many activities for to enjoy, including a large nightlife scene, plenty of exotic tours, and lots of inexpensive shopping and dining. Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Courtney Montgomery said there is more to do and experience than just run of the mill tourism.

“I’m going to do the soccer/basketball community relations event,” said Montgomery. “I like going to high schools, and community relations are good because we can show them that we are regular people.”

Hildreth said being involved with the people and culture in Thailand will help build solid relationships between the countries. Sailors can do their part as individuals just by helping out the local community.

“I think it’s a benefit for the crew from a liberty standpoint as well as to our government,” said Hildreth. “I think a lot of us joined the Navy to see the world, and a port like Thailand is a good place to do that.”

Frank Cable conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

For more news from USS Frank Cable (AS 40), visit www.navy.mil/local/as40/.  
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NNS130312-13. Wreath-Laying Honors First Female Naval Aviator

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Harry Andrew D. Gordon, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) — Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fifteen (HM-15) celebrated Women’s History Month, March 3, with a wreath laying ceremony at the Naval Aviation Monument Park in Virginia Beach, Va.

The event, sponsored by the HM-15 Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Mess, commemorated the 40th anniversary of the first female naval aviators.

“[Chief Petty Officers] are the ones who remember when we did things and why we did things,” said Cmdr. Mark Leavitt, commanding officer of HM-15. “They are the ones that archive the history of this great Navy. This event in aviation is a part of our heritage that we need to hold on to and build on the importance of that date.”

Members of HM-15, also known as the Blackhawks, were in attendance during the ceremony. These members included division officers, chief petty officers, first class petty officers of the squadron, and civilian friends and family. All attendees celebrated the accomplishments of women in naval aviation.

“This organization [Navy] has realized the benefit and value of diversity,” said Leavitt. “Women in aviation make us a more diverse organization.”

During World War II, a group of women pilots were pioneers, heroes and role models. They were the Women Airforce Service Pilots, otherwise known as WASPs. They were the first women in history to be trained to fly American military aircraft in the United States. The women were trained to fly non-combat missions in order to free up male pilots to fly combat missions overseas.

From 1942-1944, 1,079 women successfully completed training to ferry aircraft, test planes, instruct male pilots and tow targets for anti-artillery practice. These women covered a wide spectrum of social and economic back grounds. They were nurses, teachers, secretaries, factory workers, waitresses, students, house wives, debutants, actresses, and there was even a chorus girl. But despite their different backgrounds, they were patriotic, strong in spirit and had a passion for flying.

During the ceremony, the guest speaker, Navy Lt. Rachel M. Barton, aircraft commander and helicopter pilot assigned to HM-15, quoted Doris Tanner, an original WASP.

“The myth of flying was ‘a glamorous, long white scarf flying in the wind; the breeze in your face.’ It was just that – a myth. The routine was back-breaking, hard, dirty work. It strained every ounce of endurance and courage we could muster. The dust and sand ground into our clothes, the sun burned our skin to leathery brown and our hair to dry straw. There were days when we wondered, why not quit and go home? Why didn’t we? Not a question that is easy to answer! Love of flying, love of a never ending challenge, and the pride of having a vital part in the defense of our nation. The desire to release the men for combat and thus ending the war and bring a loved husband or brother home, taking part in defeating the monster Hitler and liberate Europe. None of us knew exactly why, but every one of us loved the excitement and were determined to make it through and win those silver wings.”

The WASP program was deactivated Dec. 20, 1944, having flown about 60 million miles in operations. Thirty-eight WASPs were killed during the life of the program, including some in training.

Thirty years later, the Navy became the first service to graduate a female pilot. Lt. Barbara Allen Rainey was the first woman to receive the wings of gold Feb. 22, 1974.

Today, more than 54,000 women are on active duty and more than 10,000 females serve in the Reserves. In 2012; 873 women earned their wings of gold and women now comprise 10 percent of the naval aviation community.

The “Blackhawks” of HM-15 reached a milestone in female aviation, June 22, 2012. Barton was a part of the first all-female mine-countermeasure flight that took place in Bahrain. This event was significant, not only because the flight crew was all-female; but also because the maintenance crew was all-female, including the maintenance safe-for-flight chief. This was the first time there were enough qualified females in the same location to comprise a “female-only” mine-countermeasure flight.

“Today, women serving in active duty billets have become so accepted that most of us don’t stop to think about it as we go about our daily lives,” said Barton. “It has become something that is accepted as normal. But on days like today, it is nice to take a few moments to stop and think about those who have served before us – the opportunities we now have due to their legacy, and the role that we now play in paving the way for future generations. In order to truly appreciate the life we have today, it’s important to know our past and how far we’ve come.”

For more news from Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, visit www.navy.mil/local/comnavairlant/.  
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NNS130312-11. Saharan Express 2013 Reaches Maritime Stakeholders

By Lt. Cmdr. Kevin West, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

DAKAR, Senegal (NNS) — More than a dozen organizations and agencies gathered at the Admiral Faye Gassama Naval Base in Dakar, Senegal, to explore maritime security issues as part of Exercise Saharan Express 2013 (SE-13), March 11.

The participants, both governmental and non-governmental, represent major stakeholders in West Africa’s maritime security.

The exercise, which began March 7, is an international maritime security cooperation exercise designed to improve maritime safety and security in West Africa.

“This is only the second time maritime stakeholders have been together as part of an Express-series exercise,” said maritime outreach project manager Kirsty McLean. “Civil society has a really important role to play in maritime security. Integrating all these agencies into the process makes a much more effective process.”

Participating agencies included the Department of Fisheries, World Wildlife Fund, World Bank Fisheries Project, the United Nations Office for West Africa, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, University of Dakar, Maritime Affairs Agency, Ministere de l’Environment, Ministere de l’Interieur, Ministere des Forces Armees, the presidentially appointed coordinating body for Senegalese maritime security HASSMAR, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the COMFISH fisheries project.

McLean said the goal of the tabletop discussion was to familiarize the participants with the purpose and process of the exercise and to document the flow of information-sharing for each of the scenario events.  “It’s an introduction of a whole society approach to maritime security in West Africa,” she said.

“It’s not just about fighting the bad guys who hurt people through piracy and the illegal trafficking of persons and weapons,” said U.S. exercise director Capt. Andrew Lennon. “We do that, yes, but there’s also a benefit to the economy in reducing the illegal fishing that’s going on. That’s a benefit to the economy of every nation in the region.”

SE-13, which has occurred annually since 2011, is one of the four African regional Express-series exercises known as Africa Partnership Station (APS). The regional maritime exercises test skills learned from previous APS training events.

As part of the U.S. Navy’s global maritime partnerships, APS was developed to support sustained, focused training and multinational and organizational collaboration on a regional scale in order to increase maritime safety and security in Africa.

Fourteen nations are participating in SE-13 including Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, France, The Gambia, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, The Netherlands, Portugal, Senegal, Sierra Leon, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.  
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NNS130312-04. NCIS, Belizeans Build Interoperability During Southern Partnership Station 2013

By Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Stagner, Southern Partnership Stations public affairs

LADYVILLE, Belize (NNS) — Agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Security Training Assistance and Assessment Team Atlantic (NCIS-STAAT-LANT) completed almost three weeks of training with members of the Belizean coast guard and police forces March 9.

The training, a part of Southern Partnership Station 2013, a 4th Fleet initiative designed to strengthen civil and maritime capabilities with regional partner nations in the Caribbean and Central and South America, included law enforcement techniques focused on observation and assessment, handcuffing, vehicle and personnel searches, building searches, rapid response and tactical movements.

“As our partnerships increase within this region and we continue to fight against narcotics and human trafficking, opportunities such as this become much more important,” said Dale Harmon, NCIS-STAAT-LANT physical security specialist. “This area is one where understanding our joint tactics and the ability for us to work together seamlessly could mean the difference between mission accomplishment and mission failure moving forward.”

Tom Krall, NCIS-STAAT-LANT physical security specialist and team leader agreed.

“Security is a necessary condition for economic prosperity and lasting democratic institutions,” Krall said. “Opportunities for us to work together alongside our partner nation civil and military services, sharing ideas and professional expertise, will improve interoperability and enhance regional maritime security.”

Observation and assessment might not appear to matter much on the surface, but to the people executing those tactics it could mean the difference between a criminal going to jail and going free.

“Many times there are crimes that take place in Belize that are never solved because the evidence is mishandled,” said Belize coast guard Seaman Shanton Swaso. “The work we’ve done together here prepares us to combat that trend.”

For the Belizeans who will continue to work against these trends, the time spent with American partners is tantamount.

“This is something we will have to do, and this partnership prepares us for that,” said Belize coast guard Seaman Chad Johnston.

Belizean coast guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Merlon Alvarez agreed.

“It goes beyond our training,” he said. “When the Americans come, I feel as though we truly become a joint force and a family.”

COMUSNAVSO/COMFOURTHFLT supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.  
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NNS130312-10. Naval Base Guam Kicks Off Chamorro Month

By Shaina Marie Santos, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) — Service members, island residents and base patrons gathered as U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) to kick off Chamorro Month with a cultural celebration in front of the Navy Exchange Guam on NBG March 8.

The event, themed “Know the Language of Our Elders and Use it Every Day,” brought together local and military communities to celebrate the Chamorro heritage.

“I think I represent most if not all military folks and families that get the honor and privilege to be stationed on Guam,” said Capt. Mike Ward, NBG commanding officer. “Not just to enjoy a beautiful March day like today but also to appreciate and experience the culture that is the Chamorro culture. We would not get exposed to this anywhere else and it’s a unique culture, a rich tradition. Things like the huts, the food, the language, the mighty proa, the latte stone – those are things we learn about as temporary residents here. It makes us better Sailors, better families and better people.”

Ward expressed his gratitude to the base and local organizations including the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC), Agat and Santa Rita mayors offices, Guam Visitors Bureau and Department of Chamorro Affairs for their support during the festivities.

“Thank you for coming out and bringing the Chamorro culture to life here on the installation,” he said. “There is a Chamorro word for cooperation and working together, Inafa’maolek (in-nah-fah-MAO-lik). It’s emblematic of an event like this, but it’s also emblematic of our relationship with the community here. We are a part of this community, and we want to take our time in our busy schedules where we’re meeting missions, moving ships and moving Sailors on and off this base to honor and recognize the culture that surrounds us.”

Highlights of the event included a blessing by Chamorro cultural group Pa’a Taotao Tano (pah-AH-tahow-tahaow-tah-NOO) and presentation of a Chamorro hut filled with local produce, plants and artifacts.

The hut, constructed of natural materials, was put together in a matter of days by local organizations including the Santa Rita and Agat mayors’ offices.

Agat Vice Mayor Agustin Quintanilla said building the hut is a tradition of the village in collaboration with NBG in honor of Chamorro Month.

“It’s very important to show the military that we do still have our hearts and our beliefs,” he said. “It’s a learning experience for them.”

FFSC Family Advocacy Educator Erlinda Montecalvo said communication and language played an important role during the event as signs with Chamorro words and English translations were displayed throughout the festivities.

“We have a community of sisters and brothers here that need to learn our language, need to learn about our culture,” she said. “And when they go out the front gate, that they would have a good community of families out there, too. It’s communication. We need to help them to communicate with our sisters and brothers out, beyond the gates.”

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/.  
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NNS130312-08. Mindfully Choose What You Eat, an Easy Way to Build Resilience

From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) — March is Navy Nutrition Month and is a perfect time to focus attention on nutrition and the importance of developing sound eating habits said Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Wallinger, a dietitian with the Navy Physical Readiness Office.

“You can make a difference by planning and acting on ways to stay healthy and build resilience for you and your family,” Wallinger said. “Being more aware of your choices and how your decisions affect your mood and energy levels can make a significant difference to your health and well-being.”

Wallinger suggests making a list of things that make you happy and ways to lower your stress to avoid using food as a way to deal with foul winter weather and the stress of uncertainty that comes to us via the news or changes at home and at work.

“Many people are tired of the winter weather and are looking forward to spring and outdoor activities,” Wallinger said. “Now is a great time to start planning and make those small changes that can have a huge impact on both your health and your mood.”

“Resilience at its core involves predictability, controllability, relationships, trust and meaning,” said Capt. Kurt Scott, director, Navy Behavioral Health, “and eating right is one of the things we can control. We have choices of what we buy at the grocery store and taking charge of what we eat can pay huge dividends.

“Planning meals, shopping and food preparation all take time, but including friends and family in those decisions builds a sense of togetherness and mutual support. Making good decisions together makes us all stronger individually and as families and commands,” said Scott.

What foods are kept around is important too. Having an abundance of foods high in sugar, salt and fat with few or no healthful choices available, makes healthy choices more challenging.

“The more apparent good choices are, the more likely we are to make them. Foods high in added sugar, salt and fat may give you a quick boost, but will not last long and often leads to guilty feelings and the need for another boost,” said Wallinger.

Keeping processed foods and treats tucked away and healthful foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains that nourish the body in plain sight can help get someone back into balance.

Rolled oats (Oatmeal) prepared in the microwave, for example, can make a great snack and helps to avoid all of the excess sugar and salt found in the prepackaged servings. Rearranging the pantry so the first foods seen are the healthful choices instead of chips and cookies, can help keep cravings at bay.

“A big part of resilience is controllability, being able to choose what happens to you,” said Scott. “Sailors are our greatest asset and increasing control over eating decisions contributes to resilience”.

Navy Nutrition has many resources available on the Navy Nutrition website at www.npc.navy.mil/support/navynutrition.  

For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.
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NNS130312-02. Navy Advises Sailors to Use Caution, Be Responsible During St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) — St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have become both a popular opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, and also one of the most dangerous times for drunk drivers.

This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday, March 17, but will likely be celebrated all weekend.

“Many will celebrate their ‘Irishness’ for the day, or weekend, by drinking as many pints of green beer, (Irish stout) and shots in as short a time as possible in a ritual that’s turned March 17 into one of the most alcohol-fueled days of the year,” said Dorice Favorite, director, Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office (NADAP). “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported more than 700 people were killed nationwide in accidents involving drunk drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2006 to 2010.

“Alcohol toxicity varies depending on the individual and the circumstances, therefore, it is difficult to determine a safe level,” explained Favorite. “Just because your friend can drink five pints of green beer and still somehow make it home okay, does not mean you will be as lucky if you try to match him. Planning ahead, just like you should any other time you go out will make St. Patrick’s Day a safe time out.”

Before all else, know yourself and your own limits.

– Buy a drink with ingredients that you’re familiar with the effects.
– Always stay hydrated with water.
– Pace yourself when drinking.
– Never drink on an empty stomach.
– Stop drinking if you start to feel drunk.
– Most importantly, choose a designated driver, or plan to call a cab

“Binge drinking can pose health and safety risks, including car crashes and injuries if you use poor judgment. Whether you are meeting a few friends at the local pub after work or attending a party, if you plan on drinking alcohol, don’t drive, ever,” Favorite said. “You’ll have fun and make it home safely.”

For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.  
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NNS130311-21. NAVFAC, Seabees, Civil Engineer Corps Celebrate Unique Heritage

From Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) — More than 500 people assembled in Crystal City, Va. March 9 for the annual celebration of the anniversaries of the Seabees, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC).

NAVFAC Commander and Chief of Civil Engineers Rear Adm. Kate Gregory hosted the special occasion to honor these organizations’ past, present and future.

“As we celebrate our storied past and many accomplishments, let us always remember to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and those wounded in service of our country. I am truly blessed to serve with each one of you. May god bless you and your families, the United States Navy, and our nation,” Gregory said.

This year’s ball marks the 71st anniversary of the Seabees, the 146th anniversary of the Civil Engineer Corps, and the 171st anniversary of NAVFAC, which was established in 1842 as the Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks.

Joan Bennett, widow of Seabee Medal of Honor recipient Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin Shields, was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the event. Shields was the first and only Seabee to receive the Medal of Honor. He was also the first Sailor to receive the Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam. She spoke of his accomplishments.

“Seabees believe he exemplified the ideals of a construction man and a fighting man by making the ultimate sacrifice to save his team members,” Bennett said. “Marvin would have been embarrassed and humbled (to receive the Medal of Honor), and would have been the first to say that so many people did heroic things that day.”

During the anniversary celebration, two Seabees were recognized for their outstanding achievements last year by the CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation.

The Steelworker 2nd Class Robert D. Stethem Award, recognizing outstanding individual moral courage in support of Seabee traditions while conducting actual operations, went to Builder 1st Class (SCW) Nicholas Mileham of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11.

The Rear Adm. Lewis B. Combs award, named for the Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks under Adm. Ben Moreell during World War II, and is presented to the individual who has made the most outstanding contribution in perpetuating the legacy of Seabee, CEC, and NAVFAC accomplishments and traditions, went to Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Vollmer of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment.

Also during the event, the Peggy B. Craig Lifetime Service Award was presented to 11 NAVFAC and Naval Construction Force employees, who were recognized for 20 or more years of “selfless and dedicated” service to NAVFAC, the 1st Naval Construction Division, the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering, or any subordinate unit.

This year’s winners were:
*James Aitken, NAVFAC Public Works Dept. Millington, Tenn.;
*Louis DiFilippo, NAVFAC Headquarters;
*Patricia Hankins, NAVFAC Atlantic;
*Ernesto Hinojosa, NAVFAC Southwest;
*Mary Ellen Kuhn, NAVFAC Atlantic;
*Ronald Matsuo, NAVFAC Far East;
*Arthur Mosley, NAVFAC Public Works Dept. Jacksonville, Fla.;
*Carolyn Richard, 1st Naval Construction Division;
*Ernest Richardson, NAVFAC Public Works Dept. Washington, D.C.;
*Raymond Taylor, NAVFAC Public Works Dept. Silverdale, Wash.;
*Robert Whitehorne, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic.

For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navfachq/.  
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NNS130311-19. Finalists to Compete to Perform National Anthem at Submarine Birthday Ball in Groton

By Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Commander, Submarine Group Two Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) — The Southeastern Connecticut Submarine Force Birthday Ball Planning Committee has selected the top 17 finalists to compete to perform the national anthem at this year’s 113th Submarine Ball in Groton, April 13.

The singers will compete in the second annual event scheduled for March 22 at the Dealey Center, which is located at Naval Submarine Base New London.

Chief Machinist’s Mate (SS) Patrick Mclellan, Naval Submarine School instructor and lead coordinator for the annual Southeastern Connecticut-based ball discussed the talented singers who submitted their auditions.

“This year we received more auditions than the previous year, but like last year, there was an abundant amount of great singers,” said Mclellan.

The finalists performing this year added Mclellan are a mixture of active duty submariners or spouses of submariners, as well as civilians who will all compete for an opportunity to perform the national anthem at the 113th Southeastern Connecticut Submarine Force Birthday Ball April 13 at the MGM Grand Hotel at Foxwoods Resort.

A total of four active duty submariners were chosen to compete this year. Two of the four active-duty submariners competed last year and are returning for a second chance to win the sing-off. They include: Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class (SS) Wesley Norton, assigned to Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS San Juan (SSN 751) and Yeoman 2nd Class Alex Kuen, assigned to the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 774).

“I’m excited about competing this year, and hopefully I can win,” said Kuen, who added that the sing-off has attracted a lot of attention this year, as well as the talent pool. “The talent pool this year is fierce.”

Norton’s wife Heather is looking forward to seeing her husband perform in person during the 2nd annual sing-off.

“Last year my husband was unable to perform in person, so we provided a CD of him singing one of his favorite country music songs,” said Heather. “This year, I’m going to look forward to actually seeing him in person on stage performing.”

The two other active-duty finalists competing, but for the first time, are the following: Lt. Cmdr. Jeremiah Minner, executive officer of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) North Dakota (SSN 784) and Machinist’s Mate Fireman (SS) Rudy Taylor, assigned to USS Toledo (SSN 769).

Taylor, who turns 21 this March, has experience singing in front of large crowds, he performed the national anthem two years ago while assigned to Naval Submarine School in Groton and discussed his excitement about competing this year.

“I’m excited because I love to sing, but also because I have a chance to represent my command and the submarine force,” said Taylor, who added that he has been singing since the age of 7.”

The remaining 13 finalists selected to compete in the 2nd Annual Submarine Birthday Ball Sing-off include the following: Stephanie Allyson Barry, ShaunaBeth Paradiso, Rachel Grindle, Jackie Guerrera, Meredith Brooke Kindred, Brittney Longyear, Kara Magnuson, Laura McKee, Yvette Mitchell, Noelle Pollack, Jamie Lassiter Salvatore, Bonnie Surowiec, and Natalie Turgeon.

The finalists will be performing in front a four-person judging panel consisting of: Sean Patrick McGraw, a country music singer and former Nashville Star semi-finalist who will judge alongside civilian and military counterparts, to include Capt. Dave Roberts, commanding officer, Naval Submarine School; Master Chief Musician Gregory W. Dudzienski, Navy Band Northeast Assistant Director, and Tom Russell, retired submarine veteran and chaplain of the SUBVETs Groton Base.

To check out the talent pool, who submitted their audition, visit the Submarine Birthday Ball’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/submarineballsingoff.

The finalist selected during the sing-off with the winning voice will receive a complimentary ticket for two to attend the ball, as well as a one-night stay at the hotel during the night of the event.

The Southeastern Connecticut Submarine Force Birthday Ball Planning Committee is an all volunteer, non-federal entity not endorsed by the Department of Defense.

For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.  

NNS130312-17. Current All Hands Up

From Defense Media Activity – Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) — All Hands Update features four newscasts today – One two- minute newscast and three one-minute newscasts.

First two- minute newscast-
– Unknown USS Monitor Sailors Laid to Rest
http://www.navy.mil/viewVideo.asp?id=18194  
http://youtu.be/wGz1yRnQWtw  

First one-minute newscast-
– Headlines for March 12th, 2013: Navy EA-6B Crash Kills Three in Washington State; USS Laboon Returns Home from Deployment
http://www.navy.mil/viewVideo.asp?id=18195  
http://youtu.be/Hc81z0sDHuM  

Second one-minute newscast-
– The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group Deploys
http://www.navy.mil/viewVideo.asp?id=18199  
http://youtu.be/0nQKHnqRKSg  

Third one-minute newscast-
– USS Underwood Decommissioned at Naval Station Mayport
http://www.navy.mil/viewVideo.asp?id=18197  
http://youtu.be/mUGxliv_S6U  

Defense Media Activity-Navy usually produces four All Hands Update (AHU) newscasts each day – one two-minute newscast and three one-minute newscasts. AHU can be seen throughout the day and evening on the Direct-to-Sailor (DTS) satellite television service available aboard 160 ships of the fleet and via the Navy Web site at www.navy.mil.  Check your local DTS program schedule for air times. AHU can also be seen throughout the world on the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS).
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NNS011215-13. This Day in Naval History – March 12

From the Navy News Service

1917 – All American merchant ships to be armed in war zones.
1942 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt designates Adm. Ernest J. King to serve as the Chief of Naval Operations, and commander in chief, U.S. Fleet, to which he was appointed Dec. 30, 1941.
1956 – In the first overseas deployment of a Navy missile squadron, Attack Squadron 83 left aboard USS Intrepid (CVS 11).

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Navy News Service is the official news wire service of the U.S. Navy, containing stories recently posted to the Navy Web site at www.navy.mil.  It is a product of the Defense Media Navy – 6700 Taylor Rd., Fort Meade, MD 20755. Reprints should be credited to the Navy News Service (NNS).

For the latest in Navy news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.  

For all Navy-related questions, review the FAQs posted at www.navy.mil or visit www.history.navy.mil.  

Media queries should be directed to the Navy News Desk at (703) 697-5342.
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Navy News Service is the official news wire service of the U.S. Navy containing stories recently posted to the Navy web site at www.navy.mil. It is a product of the Defense Media Activity – Navy, 6700 Taylor Ave, Fort Meade, MD 20755. Reprints should be credited to the Navy News Service (NNS). Powered by GovDelivery