Archive for November, 2008

November 30, 2008

USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) is a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class AEGIS destroyer.
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USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She is part of the 7th Fleet and homeported at Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan.

The ship is named after John S. McCain, Jr. and John S. McCain, Sr., both Admirals in the United States Navy. John S. McCain Jr. commanded the submarines USS Gunnel and Dentuda during World War II. Subsequently he held a number of posts, rising to Commander-in-Chief of the United States Pacific Command before retiring in 1972. John S. McCain Sr. commanded the aircraft carrier Ranger (CV-4), and acted as commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force during the latter stages of World War II. They were respectively the father and grandfather of John S. McCain III, former naval aviator captain, U.S. Senator representing Arizona, and Republican nominee for president in the 2008 election.

John S. McCains keel was laid down on September 3, 1991 at the Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Bath, Maine. The ship was launched on September 26, 1992, sponsored by Cindy McCain, wife of Senator McCain. John S. McCain was commissioned on July 2, 1994 at Bath Iron Works; former President George H. W. Bush, was the ceremony’s principal speaker,and John McCain spoke as well.

On 16 February 2007, John S. McCain was awarded the 2006 Battle “E” award.

Source: Wikipedia

American Freedom Fighter

November 30, 2008

This US Air Force F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter prototype, constructed by hand before full production of the aircraft started, now proudly bears America’s colors.

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HMS Invicible (R05)

November 30, 2008

HMS Invincible (R05) is a light aircraft carrier, the lead ship of three in her class and a former British Royal Navy flagship. On 6 June 2005 the Ministry of Defence announced that HMS Invincible would be mothballed until 2010, available for reactivation at 18 months’ notice. She was decommissioned on 3 August 2005. She is the sixth Royal Navy ship to bear the name.

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USS Kitty Hawk to Decommission in January

November 30, 2008

USS Kitty Hawk is expected to be decommissioned at 10 a.m. on the morning of Jan. 31, 2009, in Bremerton, Washington.



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The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk is the first in a class of three super carriers. Constructed by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation at Camden, N.J., Kitty Hawk was commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on April 29, 1961. It is the second U.S. Navy ship named after the small North Carolina town near which Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the first-ever successful, controlled, powered aircraft on Dec. 17, 1903.
Following commissioning, Kitty Hawk’s first commanding officer, Capt. William F. Bringle, took his new ship around South America to its new homeport in San Diego. Kitty Hawk departed San Diego in September 1962 on her first extended Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment. From 1963 to 1976, Hawk and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 completed eight extended deployments, including six in support of American forces in Vietnam.
On April 29, 1973, USS Kitty Hawk was converted from an attack aircraft carrier, or CVA, to a multi-mission aircraft carrier, or CV, at Hunter’s Point Shipyard in San Francisco.  Most noticeably, changes to the ship’s jet blast deflectors allowed Kitty Hawk to launch and recover the Navy’s new F-14 Tomcat and this included the moving of aircraft elevator no. 1 outboard by a few feet, making it raise and lower at a slight angle.
In March 1976, Kitty Hawk underwent a yearlong, $100 million overhaul in Bremerton, Wash. Also, the ship’s original Terrier missile launchers were replaced with NATO Sea Sparrow missiles.
In the late ’70s, the ship teamed with CVW-15 for another WESTPAC deployment, which included search and assistance operations to aid Vietnamese refugees. Hawk also offered contingency support off the coast of Korea. The deployment was then extended to support contingency operations in the North Arabian Sea during the Iran hostage crisis. Hawk returned to San Diego in February 1980, and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Battle Efficiency “E” as the best carrier in the Pacific Fleet.
In January 1982, Kitty Hawk returned to Bremerton for another yearlong overhaul. Following comprehensive upgrades Kitty Hawk deployed with CVW-2, in 1984 as the flagship for Battle Group Bravo. The ship returned to San Diego Aug. 1, 1984, and in July 1985, Kitty Hawk and CVW-9 deployed again as flagship for Battle Group Bravo. CVW-9 crews logged more than 18,000 flight hours and 7,300 arrested landings.
Kitty Hawk bade farewell to San Diego Jan. 3, 1987, setting out on a six-month world cruise. Hawk and CVW-9 spent 106 consecutive days on station in the Indian Ocean, being awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Meritorious Unit Commendation. The cruise ended at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard July 3. Six months later, Kitty Hawk began a six-month overhaul.
With the return of CVW-15 to its decks, Kitty Hawk began its second deployment around “the Horn” of South America to its original homeport of San Diego Dec. 11, 1991.

In August 1992, Kitty Hawk was appointed as Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet’s “ready carrier.” The ship embarked Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 5; Commander, Destroyer Squadron 17 and CVW-15 for work-ups before deploying to the Western Pacific in November. Kitty Hawk spent nine days off the coast of Somalia supporting Operation Restore Hope. Kitty Hawk began her 18th deployment in October 1996. During the six-month underway period, the ship visited ports in the Arabian Gulf and Western Pacific. Hawk returned to San Diego April 11, 1997, immediately beginning a 15-month overhaul.
Kitty Hawk departed San Diego July 6, 1998, to assume new duties as America’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier from USS Independence (CV 62). Hawk also welcomed aboard CVW-5, operating from Atsugi, Japan. Kitty Hawk arrived at her new operating location of Yokosuka, Japan, Aug. 11, 1998.
Kitty Hawk set sail for a planned three-month deployment March 2, 1999 and was ordered to the Arabian Gulf to enforce the No-Fly Zone over Southern Iraq. CVW-5 pilots flew more than 8,800 sorties in 116 days, including 1,300 combat sorties, dropping more than 20 tons of ordnance. Hawk returned to Yokosuka Aug. 25, 1999.
In 2000, Kitty Hawk conducted routine local area operations and participated in Exercise Cobra Gold and Exercise Foal Eagle, and departed again in March 2001 for a spring underway period.
On March 22, 2001, Kitty Hawk became the first aircraft carrier to go pier-side in Singapore at the new Changi Naval Base Pier.
In October, 2001, following the terrorist attacks at the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Kitty Hawk deployed to the North Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The ship served as an afloat forward staging base for U.S. special forces.
Kitty Hawk received orders in February 2003 and was soon involved in Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom in the North Arabian Gulf, serving 104 continuous days at sea. Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka May 6, entering a dry-dock period ending Oct. 17.
Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka May 6, entering a dry-dock period ending Oct. 17.
2004 was an eventful year that involved a series of inspections, exercises, and port visits. On Feb. 19, a new chapter in the book of Kitty Hawk Strike Group’s history began with the first landing of an F/A-18F Super Hornet on board Kitty Hawk’s 4.1-acre flight deck during the ship’s 12th FDNF underway period. The VFA-102 “Diamondbacks” introduced the improved F/A-18 E/F “Super Hornet” to the 7th Fleet area of operation, replacing the F-14 Tomcat, after more than 30 years of service.

Kitty Hawk capped off the year with Annual Exercise 2005, which ran from November 9 to 18. ANNUALEX provided Kitty Hawk with the opportunity to increase its military partnership with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. Kitty Hawk was one of 61 naval vessels which participated, including: two U.S. submarines; 10 other Navy ships; and 49 JMSDF ships.

The ship departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka, June 8, 2006, for its 16th FDNF underway period. During the 99-day deployment, the ship took part in Exercise Valiant Shield, a multi-service war game involving three carrier strike groups, 22,000 personnel, and 280 aircraft June 19 to 23. It was the largest military exercise conducted by the United States in Pacific waters since the Vietnam War.

The carrier then pulled into Otaru, Japan, on Hokkaido Island from July 1 to 5 after Valiant Shield. Also during the deployment, the crew made three more port visits: Singapore; Fremantle, Australia; and Laem Chabang, Thailand.

Dozens of distinguished visitors boarded the carrier during this underway period for tours. Visitors included the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, the Royal Thai army commander in chief, and various officials from Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, and Japan.

The ship returned to Yokosuka September for a short period before departing for its summer deployment.

During this two-month deployment, Kitty Hawk and embarked Carrier Air 5 traveled more than 15,200 nautical miles and launched more than 8,000 aircraft.

After a stop in Sasebo, Japan, the strike group took part in the 18th Annual Exercise, a week-long exercise which had more than 100 American and JMSDF ships training together, between November 9 and 14.

The deployment’s last stop was Hong Kong, from November 23 to 27. Kitty Hawk’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division organized 20 tours of Hong Kong and its surrounding areas, including mainland China, for 702 Sailors.

The ship also hosted Japanese author Hiromi Nakamura who interviewed 41 Kitty Hawk Sailors for a book about Kitty Hawk’s flight deck.

After returning to its homeport on December 10, the ship settled down for the holiday season and the New Year.

Kitty Hawk then went through a four-month maintenance period, during which the ship hosted Vice President Dick Cheney.

The carrier then departed May 23 after completing sea trials and pilot refresher training, known as carrier qualifications.

Kitty Hawk kicked off the summer cruise with Talisman Saber 2007, in which the United States and Australia combined land, sea and air forces. The exercise brought together more than 12,000 Australian and 20,000 U.S. personnel from all branches of the armed services.

The ship made port visits to Brisbane and Sydney, Australia. Then-Prime Minister John Howard and current Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Academy Award Winning Actor Russell Crowe made visits to Kitty Hawk while it was moored in Sydney.

Kitty Hawk then participated in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007, one of the largest annual exercises in the Western Pacific. The week-long exercise involved about 30 ships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 U.S. Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines who worked together to build joint combat skills.

The 30 ships involved with Valiant Shield were from three carrier strike groups: Kitty Hawk’s, USS Nimitz’s (CVN 68) and USS John C. Stennis’s (CVN 74). During the exercise, Rear Adm. Rick Wren, commander of the Kitty Hawk strike group and Task Force 70, had command of all three strike groups.

The ship also took part in Malabar, a six-day exercise that took place in the Indian Ocean’s Bay of Bengal, involving more than 20,000 personnel on 28 ships and 150 aircraft from the United States Navy, Indian navy, Royal Australian navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and the Republic of Singapore navy.

The ship returned to Yokosuka September 21. After a short in-port period, Kitty Hawk set out for its final fall deployment October 21.

Kitty Hawk participated in the 19th Annual Exercise, the maritime component of Exercise Keen Sword 2008. The exercise was the largest joint exercise for the Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. Kitty Hawk also had a port visit in Muroran, Japan. This was the first time a U.S. Navy ship made a visit to the port.

The carrier pulled to its homeport November 27 after 38 days at sea. Kitty Hawk stayed in port for a 5-month maintenance period before setting out to complete sea trials and carrier qualifications.

Kitty Hawk departed Yokosuka, Japan, for the final time on May 28, 2008, and headed to Guam, where it requalified pilots and crews from Carrier Air Wing 5.   Then, the ship took part in exercise RIMPAC off Hawaii.  The 10-nation exercise was Kitty Hawk’s final operational commitment, as when it left Hawaii at the end of July for San Diego, its operational life was over.  On August 6, the final trap and catapult shot was made, and the ship pulled in to San Diego the next morning for turnover with USS George Washington.

Once the turnover was complete, Kitty Hawk off-loaded much of its equipment and, on Aug. 28, left San Diego for Bremerton, Wash., and eventual decommissioning.   Aboard for this five-day transit were 38 plankowners and dozens of other former crewmembers.   The ship pulled in to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton on Sept. 2.









 Data courtesy USN

C-17 Smoke Angel

November 30, 2008

A US Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft from Charleston Air Force Base creates a Smoke Angel through the turbulence of its vortex.

Dassault Rafale

November 30, 2008

The Dassault Rafale (or “Squall” in English) is a French twin-engined delta-wing highly agile multi-role fighter jet aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation and flown by the French Navy from aircraft carriers.

Find this and other exciting images as posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

USAF “Death Gliders”

November 30, 2008

Artist concept turns a USAF B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and two US Air Force F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jets into UFO death gliders from outer space.

Stargate and Star Wars sci-fi fans and military aviation enthusiasts alike will be thrilled to hang these soaring aircraft on their walls. Find this and other exciting images as posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

US Navy Needs More Amphibious Ships

November 30, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009

Naval Calendar 2009

Our Naval Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US Navy and allied naval forces in action. Buy the Naval Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Inside Defense reports that the Navy is mulling adding more amphibious ships to the fleet as part of the force structure changes detailed in a draft of the tri-service Naval Operations Concept (NOC) 2008, which aims to “operationalize” the maritime strategy signed by the three naval service chiefs in October 2007.  (paid subscription required)

The Blue Angels

November 30, 2008

The perfect gift for the patriot, sailor, pilot or military enthusiast on your Christmas or Channukah list. The US Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatic team soar under the American Revolutionary motto “Don’t Tread On Me!”

Find this and other exciting images as posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

At the end of World War II, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the Chief of Naval Operations, ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in Naval Aviation. The Blue Angels performed their first flight demonstration less than a year later in June 1946 at their home base, Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida. Flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat, they were led by Lt. Cmdr. Roy “Butch” Voris.

Only two months later on August 25, 1946, the Blue Angels transitioned to the Grumman F8F Bearcat and introduced the famous “diamond” formation.

By the end of the 1940s, the Blue Angels were flying their first jet aircraft, the Grumman F9F-2 Panther. In response to the demands placed on Naval Aviation in the Korean Conflict, the team reported to the aircraft carrier USS Princeton as the nucleus of Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-191), “Satan’s Kitten”, in 1950.

They were reorganized the next year and reported to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, where they began flying the newer and faster version of the Panther, the F9F-5. The Blue Angels remained in Corpus Christi until the winter of 1954 when they relocated to their present home at NAS Pensacola, Florida. It was here that they progressed to the swept-wing Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.

The ensuing 20 years saw the Blue Angels transition to two more aircraft, the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger (1957) and the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1969).

In December 1974, the Navy Flight Demonstration Team began flying the McDonnell Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II and was reorganized into the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. This reorganization permitted the establishment of a commanding officer vice a flight leader, added support officers, and further redefined the squadron’s mission emphasizing the support of recruiting efforts. Cmdr. Tony Less was the squadron’s first official commanding officer.

On November 8, 1986, the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary year during ceremonies unveiling their present aircraft, the sleek McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, the first dual-role fighter/attack aircraft now serving on the nation’s front lines of defense. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have flown for more than 300 million spectators.

Data courtesy USN

Continuing Promise 2008 Over; USS Kearsarge Heads Home to Norfolk

November 30, 2008

The US Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LPD 3) sails under the proud American motto “Don’t Tread On Me!” Also available with Motto “Make My Day” and with no motto.

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USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), along with various embarked units, departed Georgetown, Guyana Nov. 22 to begin transit back to its homeport in Norfolk, Va., concluding four-months at sea in support of the Caribbean phase of Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.

Kearsarge’s mission during CP 2008 was to conduct joint civil-military operations including humanitarian and civic assistance, as well as veterinary, medical, dental and civil engineering support to six partner nations and to send a strong message of compassion, support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

“An incredible journey seems like an understatement for this mission,” said CP08 Mission Commander, Capt. Fernandez “Frank” Ponds. “The men and women of Continuing Promise have given their sweat, their tears and, at times, their blood to make this mission successful. We have broken through many barriers – language, cultural and government – to reach out to our neighbors in Central and South America and Caribbean in a gesture of goodwill and friendship. The bonds we have made will last for years to come and only grow stronger with future missions to the area.”

During the deployment, the CP 2008 medical contingent of more than 150 joint military and international military medical professionals and nongovernmental organizations, worked along side host nation officials to treat more than 47,000 primary care patients, dispense more than 81,300 prescriptions, provide veterinary care to nearly 5,600 animals and conduct more than 198,600 medical, dental and optometric services.

In addition to the primary basic medical care provided by the CP 2008 team, 221 patients were flown to Kearsarge for shipboard surgeries, including hernia repair and eye surgery.

One of the mission’s most memorable surgeries involved two eight-year old twin boys from the Dominican Republic who received eye surgery to correct Strabismus, a condition where the eyes do not properly align with one another.

“The boy’s have been dealing with this problem since they were born,” said Joselyn Altagracia Carmarena Vargas, the twin’s mother. “This blessing has been a long time coming, and our family is very grateful for everything that is being done for us.”

For the most of the doctors on the Continuing Promise team, the smiles, hugs and handshakes have made this mission worthwhile.

“It gives me great satisfaction to be able to have helped these boys in a way no one else could,” said Cmdr. Brian Alexander, an ophthalmologist embarked aboard Kearsarge for the CP 2008 mission. “The smiles on the faces of the twins and their mother were one of the biggest rewards I could have received.”

During the ship’s visit to Nicaragua, surgeons from Operation Smile, a worldwide children’s medical charity that provides free surgery to children born with facial deformities, performed more than 20 cleft lip and cleft pallet surgeries.

While in Guyana, the final stop in the CP 2008 mission, Kearsarge was also able to tackle unforeseen medical emergencies. Pilots from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Detachment 5, conducted an at-sea medical evacuation of a heart-attack victim aboard a nearby vessel, while air crew members from Marine Heavy Helicopter (HMH) Squadron 464, rendered emergency transport assistance at Kumaka District Hospital in Santa Rosa to a young girl suffering from appendicitis.

In addition to the medical care provided by the CP team, Navy Seabees attached to Construction Battalion Mobile Unit (CBMU) 202, and civil engineers from the Air Force’s 5th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Prime Base Emergency Engineer Force completed various construction and renovation projects in each of the countries visited during the mission.

In all, the joint-military engineering team built three schools, renovated 10 schools, clinics and hospitals, conducted 10 park/community center renovations, and performed five infrastructure related projects.

“I am very proud of the projects my engineers were able to accomplish in the short periods of time that we had to work. To build three school facilities from the ground up was an amazing accomplishment,” said Maj. Thomas Defazio, officer in charge of CP 2008 engineers. “We all felt privileged to be a part of this mission. The teamwork amongst the various organizations that came together was unbelievable. I also greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Seabees again. I think our organizations have much to learn from each other. We came as two separate units but left as one team.”

At each stop on the deployment, Kearsarge Sailors assisted the engineering team by participating in volunteer community relations projects at the sites and offering extra hands to help with landscaping, construction, painting and building playgrounds.
The Sailors also took great pride in getting to know the communities they worked in by organizing several sporting events including basketball, soccer and cricket.

Throughout the deployment, Kearsarge hospital furniture, clothing, books and medical supplies through the Navy’s Project Handclasp.

The ship also hosted numerous dignitaries, including presidents, prime ministers, U.S. ambassadors and ministers of health and defense.

Project Hope brought volunteers from numerous career fields, including pediatricians, nurses, nurse practitioners, general surgeons and anesthesiologists. The volunteers’ work ranged from patient tracking to helping coordinate large patient flow at the treatment sites and working with Navy surgeons in the ship’s operating rooms to medical counseling at the treatment sites.

“The men and women who make up the Continuing Promise team come from around the globe, from different military branches and different NGOs, but the one thing they all have in common is a desire to help their fellow man and make a difference in the lives of others,” said Ponds. “They each bring a uniqueness to the mission and have worked together seamlessly to make this deployment a tremendous success.”

During its four-month deployment, Kearsarge completed HCA missions in Nicaragua, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

Wasp-class amphibious assault ships like Kearsarge are designed with a variety of expeditionary mission capabilities, including rapid, projected humanitarian assistance worldwide. They also have the physical capacity to transport large amounts of medical and engineering supplies and equipment to most locations around the globe.

One month into the mission, Kearsarge put those capabilities to the test when it was called upon to divert its HCA operations in Colombia and assist with humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HADR) operations in Haiti after the country was struck by four tropical storm systems in less than a month.

Kearsarge’s ability to rapidly move personnel and cargo by helicopter and landing craft made it the ideal platform to support the humanitarian relief mission on short notice.

Embarked Marine and Navy helicopters flew more than 100 missions and landing craft units transported more than 30 loads of supplies. These operations led to the timely delivery of more than 3.3 million pounds of food, water, and other relief supplies.

“I could not have been more proud of the Kearsarge Sailors and all of the embarked units who have supported this mission,” said Capt. Walter Towns, commanding officer, USS Kearsarge. “No one hesitated to do what was necessary to keep this mission on course. We had men and women working in the rain and in the heat, giving their all everyday just to put a smile on the faces of those they were helping. They never once asked for thanks or recognition. For them, it was about being a part of something bigger. This is a deployment they will never forget.”

Kearsarge’s mission exemplified the United States Maritime Strategy which emphasizes deploying forces to build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interest.
USS Kearsarge is under the operational control of U.S. 4th Fleet.

U.S. 4th Fleet’s mission is to direct United States naval forces operating in the Caribbean, and Central and South American regions and interact with partner nation navies to shape maritime environment.

The Continuing Promise Caribbean Phase is the second of two HCA deployments to the Southern Command area of focus for 2008. The first Continuing Promise deployment was conducted by USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Pacific.

Embarked units and organizations aboard Kearsarge for CP included Commander, Amphibious Squadron 8, Fleet Surgical Team 4; U.S. Public Health Service; Navy Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202; Air Force Civil Engineering Squadron 5’s Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force; contingents of medical personnel from the armed forces of the Canada, The Netherlands, France and Brazil; Navy Assault Craft Unit 2; Naval Beach Group 2; Nongovernmental organizations International Aide, Operation Smile and Project HOPE; U.S. Navy Maritime Civil Affairs Squadron 2; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 464.

Amy Kirk (NNS)