Military News

Monday, October 25, 2010

This Day in Naval History - Oct. 25

From the Navy News Service

1812 - USS United States (Capt. Stephen Decatur) captures HMS Macedonian.
1924 - Airship USS Shenandoah (ZR 1) completes round-trip transcontinental cruise that began Oct. 7.
1944 - During Battle of Leyte Gulf in Battle of Surigao Straits, U.S. battleships execute the maneuver of "crossing the tee" of the Japanese forces. In Battle Off Samar, escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts heroically resist attacks of Japanese Center Force. In Battle Off Cape Engano, 3rd Fleet carriers attack Japanese Northern Force, sinking several small carriers.
1950 - Chinese Communist Forces launch first offensive in Korea.
1966 - Operation Sea Dragon logistics interdiction began.
1983 - U.S. Marine and Army troops land on Grenada to evacuate U.S. citizens threatened by the island's unstable political situation.

Bataan Team Completes Deck Landing Qualifications

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Erin Boyce, USS Bataan (LHD 5) Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) wrapped up a week at sea Oct. 22 where they conducted deck landing qualifications with the Second Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW) and a detachment from Helicopter Sea Squadron (HSC) 26.

The ship's flight deck is a necessary ingredient for the required Deck Landing Qualifications (DLQs), which can serve as the initial or recurrent qualification of aircrews required to carry combat troops and passengers to and from amphibious ships.

"Recurrent DLQ periods keep the air department and Amphibious Air Traffic Control Center (AATCC) current and proficient in the handling of aircraft," said Marine Corps Maj. James Lukehart, Bataan's air operations officer. "The more proficient the ship is, the more effective and efficient we are at providing services to the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU), resulting in a safer, more combat-ready force."

For Bataan's flight deck team, the DLQs served as an opportunity for some necessary training.

"We carry out DLQs to ensure pilots flying aircraft are in good hands," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) 1st Class (AW/SW) Louis Citizen, Bataan's flight deck supervisor. "That means landing signal enlisted personnel (LSE) are qualified to land them safely on deck; aviation boatswain's mates (Fuels) understand the proper fueling and defueling requirements of the aircraft, and crash and salvage personnel are fully qualified to handle any causality that may happen."

Lukehart, also a Marine Corps rotary-wing pilot, said launching and landing from ship's like Bataan can provide one of an aircrew's most challenging environments.

"There is no such thing as too much training aboard the ship," said Lukehart.

MV-22B Osprey's from Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 and 261; CH-53E Super Stallions from Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 464; AH-1W Super Cobras from Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons (HMLA) 169 and 269; UH-1N Hueys from HMLA-467; and MH-60S Seahawks from HSC-26 took part in the qualifications aboard Bataan.

"Bataan has been extremely supportive throughout all of our evolutions," said Lt. j.g. Philip Saulnier, the HSC-26 detachment communications officer. "Bataan's air department provided us with air traffic control support for three helicopters, particularly during the DLQs, replenishments at sea, and AATCC services."

Saulnier said the direct support from Bataan has led to a more robust search and rescue capability for fleet support during upcoming deployments.

"When coordinating with my counterparts in the Fleet Marine Force (FMF), I am extremely proud to be part of the Bataan team," said Lukehart. "The crew of Bataan has consistently exuded a can-do attitude, and provided excellent support. Marines feel at home when they come aboard this ship."

USS Constitution Celebrates 213th Launching Day Anniversary

By Seaman Shannon S. Heavin, USS Constitution Public Affairs

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- USS Constitution and her crew got underway Oct. 21 to celebrate her 213th launching day anniversary.

More than 300 Sailors and guests embarked the ship as she departed her pier in Charlestown at approximately , following morning colors.

"For over 200 years, this ship has used both force and diplomacy to advance American interests all over the world," said Cmdr. Timothy Cooper, Constitution's 71st commanding officer. "Her mission today is one of education and outreach, and I can think of no better way to accomplish that mission than getting Constitution underway. The fact that today is her 213th birthday makes this underway all the more special."

The ship then fired a 21-gun salute in the vicinity of Fort Independence on Castle Island. Fort Independence is a state park that served as a defense post for Boston Harbor at one time. Sailors also taught guests about "Old Ironsides'" history.

"With buoyant spirits, we embarked upon this vessel filled with awe and pride to celebrate the eagle of sea's 213th birthday," said Bobby Power, local historian.

The ship also fired an additional 17 shots as she passed the U.S. Coast Guard Station, the former site of the Edmund Hartt shipyard where Constitution was built. Each round of this salute honored the 16 states that comprised America when Constitution launched in 1797 and one in honor of the ship. Constitution then returned to her berth at approximately

Finally, Cooper announced the 2010 junior and senior Sailors of the year and the 2010 winners of the Berenson and leadership awards. The Berenson award winner went to the Sailor who consistently gave the best tours of Constitution. The leadership award went to the Sailor who demonstrated the best leadership qualities as determined by peers.

"Winning junior Sailor of the year on board the USS Constitution's birthday underway is a sheer honor, in that I see the rich history that has shaped us today," said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class (SW) Jacob Wallace. "I am proof that hard work pays off."

It took Constitution's crew three attempts in 1797 before successfully launching her Oct. 21. The first failed attempt came Sept. 20 and the second two days later. She kept getting stuck in the mud due to her heavy weight.

Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston Harbor. She is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors a year.

Enterprise, Carrier Air Wing One Complete Blue Water Certification

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alex R. Forster, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and embarked Carrier Air Wing One (CVW 1) successfully completed their Blue Water Certification Oct. 21 during Carrier Strike Group Twelve's Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).

Blue Water Certification qualifies the carrier and air wing to conduct flight operations without a divert airfield available. Prior to becoming certified, aircrew can only fly with secondary landing sites in range, for use in case of emergencies.

"One strength of a carrier is being able to operate autonomously without the need of other airfields. Our assets launch from and return to our deck," said Cmdr. Carroll W. Bannister, the Big E's air boss.

The certification process took the ship and the air wing two days to complete and required everyone to work seamlessly together.

"It is a total team effort that must be continuously monitored, tweaked and executed – no one's part is more important than the other's," said Bannister. "Everyone has to work in an efficient manner for all facets of the certification to come together. My part is to ensure that the orchestration is done and to ensure all parties are acting in concert."

Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic provided an evaluation team for the event, with Big E earning an exceptional grade upon completion of Blue Water Certification.

"It is one of the final pre-deployment 'checks in the box' for Enterprise," said Chief Air Traffic Controller (AW/SW) Douglas E. Cooke, Case III Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) supervisor and leading chief petty officer of OC division.

This certifies that not only CATCC and the flight deck are ready to deploy, but that the ship as a whole is ready, said Cooke.

"The combat systems personnel must assure the radars and communications work, the reactor and engineering department have to supply steam to the catapults and propulsion plants, and supply and AIMD (Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department) must keep parts in stock and maintenance up-to-date to keep aircraft flying," said Cooke. "It's really a whole team evolution for the entire command."

Blue Water Certification was a monumental accomplishment for the Big E, as the crew gears up for its first deployment in three years.

"I couldn't be more proud of the Sailors and Marines serving on Big E," said Capt. O.P. Honors, USS Enterprise commanding officer. "We had a difficult goal to accomplish, and our team knocked it out of the park."

Enterprise Strike Group consists of Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87), USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), Carrier Air Wing 1 and Destroyer Squadron 2.

Enterprise Strike Group is conducting COMPTUEX as part of its work-ups in preparation for an upcoming deployment. For more information about Enterprise, Carrier Strike Group 12 or Carrier Air Wing 1 visit www.Enterprise.navy.mil, www.ccsg12.surfor.navy.mil, and www.cvw1.navy.mil.

Navy Demonstration Highlights Bio-Fuels Capability

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Jamieson
Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

NORFOLK NAVAL STATION, Va., Oct. 25, 2010 – The U.S. Navy last week conducted a demonstration here featuring an experimental riverine command boat which uses an alternative fuel blend of 50 percent algae-based and 50 percent NATO F-76 fuel oil.

The demonstration is part of an initiative to support Navy Secretary Ray Mabus' efforts to reduce the fleet's reliance on fossil fuels and is part of a series of progressively complex tests and evaluations scheduled through 2012.

Rear Adm. Philip Cullom, Chief of Naval Operations' director of energy and environmental readiness, which leads the Navy's Task Force Energy, said the demonstration was a historic step on the road toward energy independence for the Navy.

"What you've seen today is a mean, green riverine machine," Cullom said. "This demonstration is a great example of the fleet answering the Secretary of the Navy’s call. He told us a year ago that by 2020 half of our platforms at sea would be operating on an alternative fuel other than petroleum. We made an important step toward that goal today."

The initiative toward a Navy running on alternative fuels is multi-purpose, the admiral said.

"Our primary mission for Navy energy reform is to increase warfighting capability, both strategically and tactically," Cullom said. "From a strategic perspective, we are reducing reliance on fossil fuels from unstable locations. Tactically, efficient use of energy resources extends our combat range and use of non-petroleum fuels assures multiple supplies are available."

Sailors assigned to Riverine Group 1 here conducted the demonstration, performing maneuvers meant to simulate actions taken during offensive operations.

Rear Adm. Michael P. Tillotson, commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, said the most impressive aspect of the demonstration was that there was no functional impact on how the boat performed.

"The coxswain of the boat told me he couldn't tell a difference between the bio-fuel mix and the normal fuel," Tillotson said. "I think that is a testament to how practical and beneficial this fuel can be for our people, our Navy and our country."

Cullom said the bio-fuels program will benefit servicemembers by increasing efficiency and extending the ranges they can travel without refueling.

"This program is going to benefit our people," he said. "If this extends the range of a pilot, say, one more pass around a carrier, it could mean the difference in allowing that pilot to get home to his or her family safely."

The testing and demonstration of alternative fuels for ships is led by Naval Sea Systems Command's advanced fuels program office. The office, working in coordination with the Task Force Energy Maritime Working Group, supports the Secretary of the Navy's efforts to reduce total energy consumption on naval ships.

Bataan Makes ULTRA-C Preparations

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Erin Boyce, USS Bataan (LHD 5) Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va (NNS) -- The crew of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) returned to Norfolk, Va. Oct. 22 following a week at sea preparing for an upcoming Unit Level Training Assessment for Certification (ULTRA-C).

During ULTRA-C, inspectors from Afloat Training Group (ATG) Mid-Atlantic will come aboard and review Bataan's training teams and crew in the areas of damage control, seamanship, medical readiness and combat systems.

The crew spent the week drilling in each of these areas. Each day underway, the schedule featured a total ships survivability exercise (TSSE), which included flexing all 10 of Bataan's repair lockers, elements of the ship's combat systems, a fully manned combat information center, and the ship's medical team.

"Everybody has a role to fulfill," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Richard Rock, assistant leading petty officer of the medical department. "In any given scenario or drill, the integration of all the training teams will test the flexibility, capability and overall training of the crew to save and fight the ship."

In addition to proficiency, ATG inspectors will take a look at the crew's level of knowledge and qualifications, and evaluate a number of the ship's programs, including zone inspections and electrical safety.

Bataan's assistant damage control assistant, Lt. j.g. Robert Mayo said, starting, maintaining and finishing the week-long assessment with an strong, upbeat collective attitude will help carry the crew to success.

"The Sailors do a phenomenal job every time we have certifications to pass, and they demonstrated that throughout this week of training," said Mayo. "They always have great attitudes."

Although the crew picked up the pace of its preparations over the last week, Bataan's training teams provide consistent guidance and training year-round to keep the crew operating at high levels in all warfare areas.

"We've gone through several scenarios; integrated training team (ITT) training, stretcher bearer evaluations, and taken quick looks at our programs to gauge where we are at this time," said Rock.

He said he is 100-percent confident in the crew's ability to train, self assess and correct when necessary and that the combination of those three things will lead to success during ULTRA-C and moving forward.

CGC Healy – Return to port

Written by: LT Connie Braesch
Post Written by Ensign Emily Kehrt

After a summer in the Arctic, Healy pulled into our homeport of Seattle October 12.  On the way south, we stopped in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to drop off the scientists from our final mission, and Kodiak for a port call. We also pulled into Juneau to pick up friends and family for a Dependents Cruise. Some of our family and friends were able to join us on our transit home from Juneau because once the science parties depart Healy has extra berthing areas which can be use for dependents.

Although the weather wasn’t too great (96 knots of relative wind!), we were able to show our families and friends the beautiful Inside Passage. This is the same route that cruise ships usually take going between Seattle and Alaska. As we pulled into Pier 36 at Coast Guard Sector Seattle, many of the family members who weren’t able to join us for the cruise were waiting on the pier.

When I last posted, we were working with NASA researchers. Since then, we’ve had two more science missions. The second mission of the summer was our third year of collaborating with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent, working together to map the Extended Continental Shelf and the Arctic seafloor. Healy has very good sonar bottom-mapping capabilities – we actually map the seafloor constantly whenever we’re underway. For this mission, however, we mostly broke ice for the Louis S. St-Laurent, who was trailing seismic gear which can map deep into the sediment layers of the seafloor. Our final mission this summer involved deploying subsurface moorings which measure various facets of the water column, such as conductivity, temperature and salinity.

Our summer science missions were very successful, but the crew was really excited to get home to their families and spend some time in Seattle. Buildings and trees are a nice change of scenery from white ice stretching into the horizon. Not to forget that sailing for months at a time crunching through thick, Arctic ice takes its toll on the cutter. Spending the winter in port allows for a long dockside maintenance period, which will give us time to get Healy ready for another Arctic summer next year.