Military News

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

IKE CELEBRATES 33 YEARS

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ridge Leoni USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE) celebrated the 33rd anniversary of IKE's commissioning while kicking off the Planned Incremental Availability (PIA), Oct. 18.

IKE, the second Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, is currently docked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) for scheduled maintenance and modernization.

IKE's Commanding Officer, Capt. Marcus Hitchcock, shared the history of IKE's official start in the United Stated Navy while addressing the crew and NNSY workers in the ship's hangar bay.

"Today we are celebrating IKE's commissioning which happened on this day in 1977," said Hitchcock. "IKE was commissioned on Pier 12 at Norfolk Naval Station, by the Honorable Harold Brown, then Secretary of Defense, and Mamie Eisenhower, the ship's sponsor and wife of President Eisenhower was in attendance."

While celebrating the anniversary of IKE's commissioning, Hitchcock and the crew took the opportunity to celebrate the beginning of PIA.

"I know we are going to do the best we can during this project," said Hitchcock. "Our shared values during PIA are teamwork, energy, dedication, respect and most importantly integrity; this is how we will get through this project smoothly and on time."

Chrystal Brady, NNSY's Project Superintendent for IKE's PIA, also spoke of the significance of the team concept during the availability.

"We have all pulled together very well so far in the set up of PIA," said Brady. "This will be the largest PIA ever done in a six-month availability and calls for teamwork and diligence to make the due date in April."

On July 28 of this year, IKE returned home to Norfolk Naval Station wrapping up the second of two nearly back-to-back deployments within a seventeen-month period. Hitchcock stated that IKE has earned this overhaul period.

This Day in Naval History - Oct. 20

From the Navy News Service

1824 - U.S. schooner Porpoise captures four pirate ships off Cuba.
1944 - 7th Fleet lands more than 60,000 Army troops on Leyte, Philippines, while Japanese aircraft attack.
1952 - Task Force 77 establishes Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) Hunter/Killer Teams of two ECM-equipped aircraft and an armed escort of four Skyraiders and four Corsairs.
1967 - Operation Coronado VII began in Mekong Delta, Vietnam.
1983 - Due to political strife, USS Independence (CV 62) is ordered to Grenada.

Shooting Incident Likely Was Random, Pentagon Says

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2010 – An early morning shooting at the Pentagon’s exterior walls today likely was a random event, the director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency said.

No one was injured, and the threat level at the Pentagon has not been increased as a result of what Steven E. Calvery called “an isolated event.”

At about , Calvery said, Pentagon officers said up to seven shots rang out from the area of the Pentagon’s south parking lot. Access was halted to the lot and all building entrances.

“Pentagon police, Virginia State Police and Arlington County Police conducted sweeps of the area, with no initial findings,” he said The reservation was declared safe and reopened at 5:40 a.m.”

A subsequent interior search revealed that bullets shattered exterior windows on the Pentagon’s third and fourth floors, but did not penetrate them, Calvery said. As a result, he added, Virginia State Police shut down portions of Interstate 395 and its high-occupancy vehicle lanes to look for any potential evidence.

The offices where the bullets struck are under renovation and were unoccupied, Calvery said.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency is working jointly with officials from Arlington County and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Calvery said, adding that a crime-scene search was under way to determine whether more bullets struck the building.

The FBI is looking into the possibility of a connection to a similar incident at the National Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Va., over the weekend, Calvery said.

Law enforcement officers aren’t sure what type of weapon was used, and investigators had found no shell casings, Calvery said. No suspect description was available, and officials know of no specific threats, he added. Surveillance video is being reviewed for evidence, he said.

Meanwhile, Calvery told reporters, witness interviews continue, and the FBI is performing ballistics tests on the bullet fragments.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency acted quickly, he noted.

“We took prompt action at immediately closing down the reservation [and] vehicular access, as well as access to the building pretty quickly once the shots were verified,” he said. During the 40-minute shutdown, officers swept the parking lot for clues. “We weren’t sure what was going on out there, and we wanted to make sure it was safe,” Calvery said.

Security recently was beefed up at the Pentagon’s Metro entrance, which Calvery said is a result of an after-action review from a March 4 shooting at the Pentagon.

“We made those changes and we think it provides a higher level of protection of people transiting in and out of the Pentagon,” he said.

Officials are evaluating whether more security measures are needed, Calvery said, but he expressed confidence in the protective posture that already was in place.

“I personally think our security is pretty robust at normal times,” he said.

An investigation into the incident continues.

Mullen: Nation Must Recognize Sacrifices of Troops, Families

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2010 – Americans must recognize the sacrifices and struggles of today's troops and their families and work harder to reintegrate them into their communities, the nation’s top military officer said yesterday.

The past nine years of war and multiple combat deployments have stressed the force, leaving in their wake veterans and families who return home only to have to start putting their lives back together, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a USO Gala in Chicago.

"These years of battle have steeled them for an uncertain future, because when our men and women come home, the battle doesn't end," Mullen said. "Quite frankly, for many it's just the beginning."

Mullen told the audience that one of the reasons he and his wife travel the country speaking at local events is to keep America connected to its troops. He said that many Americans don't realize what the troops and families go through to serve in the military, nor do they realize the value they bring to their communities when they return home.

"We have to recognize our veterans and their families for what they are: not a burden, but an opportunity," he said. "They are talented, skilled leaders who have so much to offer and contribute to their communities, not only during their military service, but throughout their entire lives.

"I truly believe that today's returning warriors and their families are the next great generation," Mullen said.

Mullen hailed the efforts of the USO and other organizations who have mobilized to provide community-based support for veterans and families. Still, he said, more needs to be done.

"Even with all the generosity and good will, too many veterans and military families still struggle to receive all the support they need," he said.

Returning troops and veterans often struggle with physical and mental injuries, anxiety and depression, he said. Their family dynamics are changed by the challenges of post-traumatic stress.

Mullen said some veterans find it difficult to translate their military experience into viable jobs and careers, noting that the job search is made even more difficult during a struggling economy. The homelessness rates among today’s veterans are rising past those of Vietnam veterans, he said, and too many veterans consider suicide an option.

"Not a day goes by that I don't think about the pressures on these young men and women and the sacrifices of their families -- challenges that all of us must help them shoulder as they have already shouldered such burdens for us," the chairman said.

And it's not just the returning veterans who need community support, Mullen noted. The families of servicemembers killed in combat also need help. "Not a moment goes by that I don't think about the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice," he said.

The USO and communities play a vital role in tapping into the skills of veterans, the admiral said, mobilizing support for families and helping to build resilience against visible and invisible wounds of war.

He recalled his time aboard ship as a young naval officer, and said that at each port he would seek out the familiar USO sign.

"It seemed as though the USO was always there -- everywhere and anywhere," he said. "It felt as though the USO volunteers were not just serving us -- they were serving alongside us."

But for all of the comforts it provides to troops overseas, it is the connection at home that makes the group most valuable, Mullen said.

"It isn't just a taste of home that you provide. … It's a sense of appreciation," he said. "It's knowing that the people you fight for back home are fighting for you too."

Veteran Celebrates 100th Birthday

Marine Chief Warrant Officer Sam Domino is 100 years old, July 12, 2010. This Veteran’s life and career are notable in his dedication to the Marines, his country and his family.

In the Marine Corps, he served in two major conflicts, World War II and Korea, as well as stations throughout East Asia.

The son of Italian immigrants, Warrant Officer Domino was an exceptional athlete in his youth, lettering in baseball, football and track. His studies in agricultural engineering at university were interrupted when his father, a store keeper, lost everything in the great depression.

That’s when he joined the Marine Corps for his first tour of duty, earning less than $20 a month. He was to later re-enlist and make the Corps a career.

Domino was married for nearly 50 years to the love of his life, Anne. They had four children who gave them six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Proud to say he “loved the Corps,” he served as a valet to Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, in the early days of World War II. His tour of duty included service on the USS Augusta, a heavy artillery cruiser.

Domino served in Okinawa for five years during the occupation and sadly remembers the many marines who died there.

He spent a total of 27 years in the Marine Corps, retiring in the late 1950s. After leaving the Corps, he worked for the State of Florida Department of Transportation.

Domino loved to garden and tended his orange trees, vegetables and flowers until he reached 95 years of age.

His daughter, Madeline, enjoys looking through photos of his days training at Paris Island, his tours of duty to China, the Philippines, the Panama Canal, Australia and Japan.

About her dad, she says, “Dad is truly an amazing person and a great father and husband. He is always complimentary of my mother who followed him around the country on his U.S. assignments and reared the children, many times alone.

“As a father, dad always offered guidance to his children and instilled in us the virtues of faith in God, hard work, honesty and the value of an education. We are so blessed to have dad with us on this momentous occasion. We love you dad!”

A lifetime member of the Masons, Warrant Officer Domino was saluted on the NBC Today Show on July 12. The local Veterans Affairs Medical Center will celebrate his 100th birthday with a special party in his honor.

By Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

MCPON Celebrates Navy Birthday with Guantanamo Service Members

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Leona Mynes, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Service members from all branches of the U.S. military and civilians celebrated the Navy's 235th birthday during an Oct. 16 ball at the Windjammer Ballroom at Naval Station Guantanamo (GTMO) Bay, Cuba.

More than 300 people attended the event, including guest speaker, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West.

The celebration, themed "U.S. Navy Sailor–235 Years of Tradition," highlighted the history and heritage of U.S. Navy Sailors around the world.

"As we celebrate our Navy's birthday and look toward the future, we should take the time to look back at our impressive history and consider how it has shaped us into the Navy we are today," said West.

The Navy includes more than 430,000 active and reserve Sailors, more than 200,000 civilian employees, more than 3,700 functional aircraft and 288 deployable battle force ships.

"Throughout our long and illustrious history, we have experienced a continuum of changing times," said West. "The United States Navy has remained steadfast and ready, answering every call our nation has given. Here in GTMO, your service is simply outstanding and is essential to our maritime strategy.

West added that U.S. Navy presence is global, and the missions in which Sailors are involved remains constant.

"Today, America's Navy is very much a global force for good, on-station around the world, around the clock," said West.