Military News

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ike Hosts Tours, Kicks Off Norfolk Navy Week

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zach Martin, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower welcomed visitors aboard for tours, Oct. 8, signaling the start of Norfolk Navy Week 2011, a celebration of the Navy's long-standing and continued relationship with Virginia's Hampton Roads communities.

Naval Station Norfolk kicked off their celebration of the week-long festivities with a Fleet Fest opening their gates to the public for an open house.

A centerpiece of the Fleet Fest was a chance to visit the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Eisenhower.

"The community gets to see what we do to protect their freedom, and it helps them feel like they're a part of us," said Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate Jorge Estrada, of Eisenhower's Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department.

Guests were ferried down the pier to the ship, up the brow and into the hangar bay where they were presented with static aircraft displays, visual presentations, and plenty of Eisenhower Sailors ready to explain and demonstrate how they contribute to the mission readiness of today's Navy.

"My role in Fleet Fest is to show the visitors our ship, show them what we do on Ike, and keep them together so they [remain safe]," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Doug Herbert of Eisenhower's Medical Department who assisted as a tour guide.

Guests aboard the ship expressed their gratitude toward the Sailors' continued sacrifices in protecting the country's national interests, both at home and abroad.

"I liked being able to see the bulk of what it is Sailors do. It's impressive, and I can't say enough how much I thank each and every servicemember," said Barbara Taylor of Suffolk, Va.

Along with static displays and presentations in the hangar, guests rode the ship's aircraft elevator to the flight deck where Sailors explained the process required to launch and recover an F/A-18 Super Hornet in support of the Navy's mission.

The Peterson family of Hampton Roads said their time aboard Eisenhower's flight deck was the highlight of the tour. They also enjoyed riding the elevator.

Following the flight deck tour, the guests departed, but most remained in the ship's shadow for activities near the pier including a children's play area, car show, live entertainment and various concessions.

"It's nice to see all the quality that goes into manning a ship, and I love to see what goes on there," said Francesca Novollo of East Shodsberry, Pa.

Norfolk Navy Week is one of 21 Navy Weeks being held across America in 2011 as part of an ongoing program to educate and inspire America's public by allowing them to see firsthand what the Navy brings to their communities.

NBK Hosts 2nd Annual Women's Symposium

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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Scott A. McCall, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors and Coast Guardsmen from around Navy Region Northwest participated in the second annual Women's Symposium Mentorship Program on Naval Base Kitsap (NBK), Oct. 7.

The program is designed to provide mentorship to female service members stationed in the Northwest by providing them support and guidance.

"It's very important on NBK in general. A large population of our Sailors here are female," said NBK Command Master Chief (SS) Shaun Peirsel. "If they don't feel like they're a part of the command and being utilized, then I'm going to lose out. And I'm not going to be able to accomplish my mission."

The symposium's primary focus was to highlight the role women have played in the military throughout history.

"Women have always found a way to impact the military, and they were doing it even when people would tell them, 'no you can't do this,'" said Peirsel.

Coast Guard Command Master Chief for the Maritime Force Protection Unit Bangor Penny Koons said that women have been pioneers for a long time, and there's a lot of history for women in the military.

"Women have been involved in every military conflict since the American Revolution in 1775," said Koons. "However, it was really in 1942, during World War II, when men were being shipped overseas that women were needed to step up and fill factory jobs - they were even needed to fill in for the military. WWII was a really important time for our women because it opened the doors."

The symposium included a panel discussion which gave service members the opportunity to ask senior enlisted leadership questions on various topics including professional and personal conduct and raising a family while on active duty.

Master-at-Arms 1st Class (SW/AW) Elisha Chandler said attending the symposium was not only beneficial to women but, indirectly, for men as well.

"We're here not only to support each other, but to be better Sailors for our junior peers [and that includes] men, too."

Piersal said symposiums like these impacts more than the Navy, but the armed forces in general.

"This country will be better protected by the armed forces if we are all working together," said Peirsal. "It's not about male, female, race or [anything else]. It's about people caring about protecting their country."

Sailors Visit Food Shelter during Albuquerque Navy Week

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Pat Migliaccio, Navy Office of Community Outreach

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (NNS) -- Three Sailors from the Virginia-class submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) volunteered their time, Oct. 4, for a meet and greet, and to serve meals to more than 200 homeless individuals at the Joy Junction homeless shelter during Albuquerque Navy Week.

"It was great for the Navy to be here and give support," said Master Chief Machinist's Mate Joaquin Arroyo, one of the Navy volunteers. "Everybody needs help sometimes. Joy Junction gives individuals a place to stay and learn a skill until they can get back on their feet."

Joy Junction is New Mexico's largest homeless shelter and first opened its doors in 1986. It is the only shelter in New Mexico that will take in a single parent with children, and provides shelter and assistance for approximately 200 to 300 individuals on a daily basis.

"We don't want to be known as just a shelter but a stepping stone to better accommodations," said volunteer coordinator Jonathan Matheny. "Everyone here has a story. They're not just homeless."

After dinner, the "Destroyers" a pop/rock group from Navy Band Southwest had the crowd up on its feet and cheering with an electric performance of classic rock and roll hits.

"The people really appreciated us being here," said Arroyo. "As a 'global force for good,' our job is to reach out and help anyone who needs assistance, be it overseas or at home."

"Coming to Joy Junction shows the Navy who you're protecting and doing your job for; people who can't protect themselves," added Matheny. "It doesn't get any more poignant than that."

The visit coincided with Albuquerque Navy Week 2011, one of 21 Navy weeks planned across America this year. Navy Weeks are designed to show Americans the investment they have in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.

For more information about the 2011 Albuquerque Navy Week, go to