Posts Tagged ‘Navy’

Navy Announces Decision on Mayport Homebasing

January 15, 2009

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Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations & Environment, B.J. Penn, signed a Record of Decision for the Mayport Homeporting Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Jan. 14.

The Navy’s decision is to implement the preferred alternative, which is to homeport a single nuclear powered aircraft carrier (CVN) at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport, and to complete associated infrastructure modifications. These include dredging, infrastructure and wharf improvements, and construction of CVN nuclear propulsion plant maintenance facilities.

“We have studied this issue very carefully and considered multiple factors,” said Donald C. Winter, Secretary of the Navy. “This allows the Navy to obtain the benefits of fleet dispersal without negatively impacting our carrier capability or operations. Homeporting a carrier in Mayport best supports the Navy’s mission and safeguards our nation’s security needs.”

Homeporting a CVN at NAVSTA Mayport reduces risks to fleet resources in the event of natural disaster, manmade calamity, or attack by foreign nations or terrorists. This includes risk to aircraft carriers, industrial support facilities, and the people that operate and maintain these crucial assets.

Mayport allows for advantages of fleet dispersal and survivability without impacting operational availability. On the West Coast, the fleet accepted some reduced operational availability associated with homeport dispersal. Ships lose operational availability during the additional transit time required to reach operational and training areas from the Pacific Northwest.

By establishing a second CVN homeport on the East Coast, the Navy gains the dispersal advantage without the increased transit time. The proximity to training areas and transit time to operating areas is about equal from Norfolk and Mayport.

West Coast CVN homeports and maintenance facilities are not viable options in planning for Atlantic Fleet CVN assets in the event a catastrophic event occurs in the Hampton Roads area. The nuclear powered aircraft carriers are too large to transit the Panama Canal, requiring a 12,700 nautical mile voyage around South America to reach the closest CVN homeport on the West Coast at NAVSTA San Diego.

The EIS examined potential environmental consequences of constructing and operating facilities and infrastructure associated with homeporting additional surface ships at NAVSTA Mayport. It assessed 13 alternatives, including a “no action” alternative. The EIS evaluated resources in the Mayport area that may be affected by the proposed action, such as air and water quality, biological resources (such as marine mammals and threatened and endangered species), land use, cultural resources, and socioeconomics. The EIS also accounted for cumulative impacts from other activities in the Mayport area.

For more information on the record of decision, go to www.mayporthomeportingeis.com.

(NNS)

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Mine Warfare ‘Shifts Colors’ to Southern California

December 28, 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.

The Navy’s mine warfare community is “shifting colors” from Texas to Southern California. The mine warfare ships, squadrons and support units will begin to leave prior to the end of this fiscal year 2009.

Sailors negotiating for orders in support of mine warfare (MIW) should know that the mine warfare community is planning to move from Ingleside, Texas, to Southern California.

Naval Station Ingleside has been the Center of Excellence for Mine Warfare since the base opened in 1992.

“Sailors know that there is a fleet concentration area here, specifically for surface mine warfare,” said Chief Navy Counselor Malcolm T. Schneider, Navy counselor for the mine warfare community.

“Many Sailors who take orders here are either from Texas, want to retire here or know that because there is a surface mine warfare fleet concentration here, they can go from sea duty or shore duty and back without moving their families,” said Ingleside’s Senior Enlisted Leader Senior Chief Dewite Wehrman.

However, Naval Station Ingleside is slated to close in September 2010, based on a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision.

“The mine warfare community is shifting homeports beginning Spring 2009,” added Schneider, an 18-year Navy veteran who is a native of Cleveland.

With that shift, goes the fleet concentration center. The mine countermeasures ships, along with dedicated personnel, equipment and support will move to the San Diego area.

“As the transition of the ships and staffs take place, supporting systems such as CMS/ID (career management system/identification), will reflect the changes,” Schneider said. “Sailors within their projected rotation date window now, who are negotiating for orders to any mine countermeasures (MCM) crews or ships, are headed to Southern California, not Texas.”

In addition to the MCM ships moving, other mine warfare commands moving to the West Coast include MCM Crews, MCM Class Squadron, MCM Squadron 1, MCM Squadron 3, Mobile Mine Assembly Group, and Mobile Mine Assembly Unit 15.

“Having realistic expectations and maintaining a positive outlook for the impending move to San Diego is the best thing that Sailors can do,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tracey Mays, who manages Sea Special Programs for Navy Personnel Command. “As many of the Sailors in this area have spent the majority of their careers in Texas and with the current economic situation, many will be faced with various challenges that will require tough decisions. As such, command leadership is vital to ensuring the smoothest transition possible for these Sailors.”

Sailors interested in the exceptional opportunities within the mine warfare community, should speak with a detailer or command career counselor.

Fifi Kieschnick (NNS)

Joint Region Marianas to Stand Up at Andersen AFB, Guam

December 27, 2008
Glacial Guam

Glacial Guam

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The Joint Region Marianas will stand up in January as Andersen Air Force Base officials will relocate installation management functions to the commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas located on Guam.

This was a result of almost four years of planning to implement this change to the law as a result of Base Realignment and Closure Commission legislation in 2005.

To address concerns from base members, Andersen AFB leaders held two town hall meetings Nov. 21 to discuss issues base appropriated funded employees may face when installation management oversight and funding transfers to the Navy. Comparable meetings for nonappropriated fund employees are scheduled for Dec. 5.

The meeting was an interactive forum for Brig. Gen. Philip M. Ruhlman, the 36th Wing commander, to outline some of the details. During the briefing, the general explained the Joint Region Marianas structure and said the transition would be as transparent and uneventful as possible. While the majority of Andersen AFB civilian employees will become Navy employees, they will work in the same place, doing the same thing, for the same organization and boss. He also explained how he will continue to serve as both mission and installation commander for Andersen AFB, while acquiring a third “hat” as deputy commander of Joint Region Marianas.

General Ruhlman described the resources that would be transferred to the Navy. He said 49 installation support functions will move from Air Force to Navy running the gamut from fire protection and emergency services to children and youth programs.

During the meeting, civilian employees voiced a variety of concerns to include loss of jobs, retention of pay and seniority and if they had to physically move to Navy.

While the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s official guidance allows for reduction in forces and other force shaping measures, their unofficial stance has been to encourage joint bases to minimize or avoid these if possible, according to officials in the Andersen AFB Development Office. At present, there are no plans to use these measures as Andersen AFB stands up Joint Region Marianas. There will be no change in pay upon transfer to Navy.

Employees will transfer in their current position and be paid at their current pay grade and salary. Seniority relative to other employees will be determined after the transfer, and will depend on whether the employee remains in the existing organization or is part of a merged function.

Furthermore, as it stands today, no appropriated fund employees will have to move to a new duty location as a result of Joint Region Marianas implementation.

Andersen AFB officials will begin to transfer installation management functions to the Navy on Jan. 31, 2009, and is required to complete the process by Oct. 1, 2009. However, base officials expect the impact of this to be relatively minor due to the unique structure of Joint Region Marianas, whereby Andersen AFB retains its Air Force commanding officer and identity.
Jamie LeSard (AFNS)

Heinz: Joint Strike Fighter Program ‘Aggressive,’ but Balanced

December 14, 2008

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Despite a recent report that warns of burgeoning costs in the Joint Strike Fighter program over the next six years, the program’s deputy executive officer argues that the aircraft’s development is supposed to be more aggressive than legacy aircraft and called it a “fundamental fallacy” to rigidly compare the JSF to F/A-18 and F/A-22 aircraft, reports Inside Defense.

Read the full report at www.insidedefense.com (paid subscription required)

USS Ohio Completes First 15 Month Deployment as SSGN

December 14, 2008

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USS Ohio (SSGN 726), the first operational Trident guided-missile submarine, pulled into Naval Station Pearl Harbor Dec. 8, before returning to its homeport of Bangor, Wash., from its maiden deployment.

“It’s a great opportunity to be in Hawaii,” said USS Ohio Commanding Officer Capt. Dennis Carpenter. “Our ship has been deployed for 15 months, and for a lot of our guys it’s their first time here. We’re also excited some of the families were able to come out and welcome their guys home in paradise before we actually have to go home to winter.”

The submarine departed Naval Base Kitsap, Oct. 14, 2007, for its maiden deployment, which began a month ahead of schedule. Claiming many firsts, Ohio was the first Trident guided-missile submarine to complete an equator and prime meridian crossing, the first to achieve SEAL/diver dry deck shelter certification, the first to complete three highly-successful national tasking missions and the first to earn two Navy Expeditionary Medals.

“It’s unprecedented,” Carpenter continued. “To get out there and conduct mission after mission and demonstrate to our allies our capabilities; it’s extraordinary.”

Ohio visited Busan, Republic of Korea; Subic Bay, Philippines; Yokosuka, Japan and Guam, where the submarine conducted crew exchanges between the Blue and Gold crews, which allowed the submarine to remain on station in support of national tasking. During her visit to Busan, Ohio accomplished another submarine first: the ship hosted a joint special operations task force during Exercise Key Resolve/Foal Eagle to demonstrate the joint command and control capability of the new SSGN platform.

“That’s the great thing about USS Ohio; we can go anywhere in the world in a relatively short period of time,” Carpenter said. “We’ve put a lot of miles on our submarine.”

Another memorable event during Ohio’s maiden deployment was the burial at sea of a veteran of World War II. Ohio crew member Machinist’s Mate 1st Class (SS) Jason Witty spread the ashes of his grandfather, Eugene Stanley Morgan, in the Philippine Sea, honoring Morgan’s request to be buried with his shipmates of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Morgan was one of 316 survivors of the sinking of the cruiser on July 30, 1945.

Ohio, the first Trident submarine ever built, returned to the fleet February 2006 after a $250 million, year-long refueling and a $750 million, two-year conversion from a ballistic missile submarine. With this conversion, Ohio and the subsequent convert submarines provide the fleet with the ability to quickly embark and deploy to provide command and control functions for special operations forces and a large volume strike platform in its operating theater.

Cynthia Clark (NNS)

Nations Gather to Prep for Black Sea Interoperability Exercise

December 14, 2008

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Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, hosted representatives of 11 nations Dec. 2-4 for the initial planning conference for the 37th annual Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel.

BALTOPS 2009 will take place in the Baltic Sea June 8-19, 2009 and is the largest international exercise organized in the Baltic.

The purpose of BALTOPS is to promote mutual understanding and maritime interoperability between U.S. Navy, NATO and Partnership for Peace (PFP) participants through a series of multilateral training exercises. Carrier Strike Group 12 is assigned as the primary planning, coordination and execution command for the exercise.

For the 2009 BALTOPS exercise, 12 countries are scheduled to participate: Estonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“The purpose of BALTOPS is to bring all of the nations together in one exercise,” said Cmdr. J.G. Olaf Albrecht, the head of the delegation from the German Navy Fleet Headquarters. “We learn how other navies work and how to live together in the Baltic Sea, especially the nations which are former Soviet nations such as Lithuania and Latvia. It’s a very educational experience.”

The initial planning conference is only one step in the preparation for a successful BALTOPS.

“We have more planning conferences left; the main planning conference will be hosted in Germany,” said Lt. Sam Bethune, Carrier Strike Group 12 exercise lead planner for BALTOPS. “And the final planning conference will be hosted by Poland. Not only are these nations helping to plan the exercise, but they’re hosting our conferences so we can learn a little bit about their country and culture as we do the planning.”

BALTOPS is an important experience because it improves interoperability among the participating nations and creates forces that are able to easily integrate into multinational, multiwarfare operations.

“It’s a great exercise and a great experience for everybody who will take part because it’s unique,” said Albrecht. “Normally, we don’t train with the United States, so this is the only time we have training with Americans inside the Baltic. It’s a very important thing.”

Through the dedication and the hard work of everyone involved, Bethune hopes this upcoming BALTOPS will be as successful as the previous 36 BALTOPS.

“We had great participation at this conference,” said Bethune. “We hope for even better participation at our next conference in Germany. We accomplished all of our goals, so we’re moving ahead in pretty good shape. It was a very successful event, and having it here in downtown Norfolk was a treat.”

Clark Meredith (NNS)

Piracy Map Online

December 14, 2008


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OR

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UNOSAT, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Program, released a 3D map of piracy incidents in the Gulf of Aden for 2008. This 3D perspective map illustrates the relative spatial density of reported pirate incidents in the Gulf of Aden for 2008.

Read more

Hampton Roads Boaters Ignore Naval Vessel Protection Zone

December 13, 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.

The Coast Guard is encouraging boaters in the Hampton Roads area to familiarize themselves with the federal regulations governing the security zone surrounding all naval vessels more than 100 feet in length.

Recently boaters have been approaching naval vessels too closely within the Port of Hampton Roads. Protecting naval vessels from sabotage and terrorist acts is one of the country’s and the Coast Guard’s highest priorities.  For this reason, Congress mandated a 500-yard Naval Vessel Protection Zone to be established around all U.S. naval vessels more than 100 feet in length.

When within 500 yards of a naval vessel, all boaters, both commercial and recreational, shall operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course.  In addition, boaters must comply with all direction given by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel inside the 500-yard zone.  No vessel or person may approach within 100 yards of the naval vessel unless authorized by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel.
Read the full article

Weak Economy Drives Military Enlistment

December 13, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

In 2008, as the stock market cratered and the housing market collapsed, more young members of the Army, Air Force and Navy decided to re-up. While several factors might explain the rise in re-enlistments, including a decline in violence in Iraq, Pentagon officials acknowledge that bad news for the economy is usually good news for the military.

In fact, the Pentagon just completed its strongest recruiting year in four years, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Massachussetts Declares Freedom Week

December 12, 2008
Old Ironsides

Old Ironsides

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The governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts proclaimed Dec. 2-5 USS Freedom Week in honor of the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) and the U.S. Navy for its dedication to the ideals of democracy and the preservation liberty for all.

Upon Freedom’s morning arrival to Charlestown Navy Ship Yard in Boston Dec. 5, where she moored behind USS Constitution, the Boston Fire Department Commissioner Roderick J. Fraser Jr. presented the proclamation to Freedom’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Don Gaberielson, in the pilot house during a tour of the ship’s spaces.

“Being parked here next to USS Constitution for me is a really special moment because I have really strong feelings about our tradition and our legacy in the Navy,” Gaberielson said.

The following day Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Dustin Foster from USS Constitution participated in the presentation of colors with Chief Quartermaster (SW) Stephanie Kotatis, as canons firing from the Constitution sounded morning colors.

“Today’s colors was a celebration of Navy heritage with the oldest commissioned warship doing colors aboard the newest commissioned combat ship,” Foster said. “This a real honor for me to come on board Freedom today and conduct colors with the crew here.”

“It was very interesting to hear a canon go off,” Kotatis said. “I sort of wish now my first duty station when I joined the Navy was aboard the Constitution because you seem to learn more about the culture, history and traditions of the Navy.”

More than half the crew attended colors on the flight deck to witness the traditional routine carried out with a mix of the old and the new.

“It was nice to be on board the ship today, and I’ve been really excited to see what it’s like to be aboard this new ship,” Foster said. “I already know what is like to be aboard an old ship in the Navy.”

Ken Hendrix (NNS)