Saturday, March 08, 2014

USS Roosevelt Arrives In Split for Port Visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert, USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs

SPLIT, Croatia (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) arrived in Split, Croatia for a routine, regularly scheduled port visit, March 8th.

The port visit is designed to continue Naval Forces Europe-Africa's efforts to strengthen maritime partnerships with European countries. In addition these visits improve maritime safety and security in the region.

During the visit, Sailors will have the opportunity to meet with the people of Croatia and experience the rich culture and history the country has to offer.

"The entire crew is looking forward to our port visit in Split, Croatia," said Cmdr. Jay Clark, USS Roosevelt's commanding officer. "It is uncommon to have port visits so close after each other, but the crew is ready to see the beautiful sights in Split. We are always proud to share the culture and tradition of the U.S. Navy with our partner countries and we plan to be gracious guests as we enjoy the sights, food, and Croatian culture."

Roosevelt is on a scheduled deployment as a part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

USFF Announces 2013 DRA Sea, Shore Sailor of the Year

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Phillippe Beaufort, U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- NORFOLK, Va.(NNS) - USFF's deputy commander Vice Adm. Nora Tyson announced the 2013 U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) Direct Reporting Activities (DRA) Fleet Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year (SOY) during a ceremony at the Norfolk Waterside Sheraton, March 6.

Aerographer's Mate 1st Class Stella G. Swartz, of Denver, CO, assigned to U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, San Diego, was named USFF DRA Shore SOY, and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Rosalinda, of Las Vegas, NV, assigned to Marine Corps Forces Command, was named USFF DRA Sea SOY.

Seven finalists from more than 1,000 commands belonging to USFF participated in a week of activities designed to highlight the individual accomplishments of the seven finalists. Each candidate also underwent an intense review board to determine who would be chosen as the USFF Sea and Shore SOYs. Hampton Roads military and civilian supporters sponsored various social functions leading up to the announcement. Tyson awarded each of the finalists a Navy Commendation Medal for their outstanding achievements.

"I can't tell you enough how proud I am of each and every one of you. I know how hard it is to only select one of you for the sea and one from the shore. You are all the best of the best and I know you will continue to be your very best," said Tyson in a speech to the finalists.

"You are here not just for what you've accomplished this year, but for what you've done for our Navy, our county, your commands and your shipmates your entire career. You are the enlisted leaders of today and the future Master Chiefs and Officers of tomorrow."

Swartz and Finnerty will go on to compete against Sailors selected from both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, and compete to become the Fleet SOY. The four Fleet SOY finalists will be automatically selected for chief petty officer.

The Chief of Naval Operations established the SOY Program in 1972 to recognize the outstanding Sailors of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleet. The program is designed to recognize the best all-around Sailors from the ranks of E-4 through E-6.

Sea Sailor of the Year finalist:
- AG1(IDW/AW/SW/EXW) Curtis J. Lester, U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, San Diego
- HM1 (FMF/SW) Aaron I. Csatro, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command
- LS1(EXW/AW) Kenneth D. Haney, Naval Special Warfare Command
Fleet Shore Sailor of the Year finalist:
- CTR1(IDW/AW/SW) Alexys E. Gomoll, Navy Strike and Air Warfare Center
- ET1(SW/AW) Bryce D. Brown, Strike Force Training Atlantic

For more news from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, visit

Navy Helps in Search for Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 8, 2014 – The U.S. Navy is contributing to the international search effort for a Malaysia Airlines jet that dropped off the radar of Subang, Indonesia, traffic controllers early Saturday morning while over the South China Sea, according to a statement from the U.S. Seventh Fleet public affairs office.

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. Saturday local time and was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6:30am Beijing time. The flight has 227 passengers from 14 nations, mainly China, and 12 crewmembers. According to the Malaysia Airlines website, three Americans were also aboard.

Today, the USS Pinckney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer homeported in San Diego, was dispatched to the southern coast of Vietnam to join teams from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in search and rescue efforts already underway, according to the Malaysia Airlines website.

Pinckney was conducting training and maritime security operations in international waters of the South China Sea. The ship could be in vicinity of the missing jet within 24 hours and carries two MH-60R helicopters that can be equipped for search and rescue.

The Seventh Fleet PAO says a P-3C Orion aircraft also will depart shortly from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, bringing long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the efforts.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by this tragic event,” PAO officials said in the statement, which also requested that all questions about the event be directed to the Navy Office of Information, or CHINFO, duty officer.

Bataan responds to Vessel in Distress

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mark Hays

AEGEAN SEA (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) received a distress call today.

When Bataan's Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter arrived on-scene the Hellenic Coast Guard was responding to a grounded Turkish Flagged Container Vessel, Yusuf Cepnioglu. The SAR team observed the Turkish vessel listing.

Upon request for assistance, the aircraft lowered a rescue swimmer and recovered two Turkish mariners and returned to Bataan. The rescued mariners were assessed by Bataan's medical team, and were transferred to the Hellenic Coast Guard.

DOD Official: Quadrennial Review’s Focus is Protecting Homeland

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 7, 2014 – Two countries that have long concerned the United States in terms of national security -- North Korea and Iran -- are mentioned first in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, a document that a senior Defense Department official told reporters this week has a renewed emphasis on protecting the homeland.

The congressionally mandated review of national defense strategy establishes priorities for defense spending, assets and a rebalancing of the military in anticipation of the security challenges the nation is likely to face in the coming years, all in light of an increasingly tight fiscal situation.

In explaining the objectives to foreign journalists this week, Christine E. Wormuth, deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans and force development, said the United States remains concerned about North Korea in particular, which she called a “major challenge” for the United States in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The regime remains very insular and closed, and has engaged in a series of provocations,” Wormuth said, adding that the United States is working closely with South Korea to ensure stability on the Korean Peninsula.

“I think we’ve developed, together with [South Korea], a counter-provocation plan that’s designed to help us coordinate and respond to potential future provocations more effectively than ever before,” she said.

North Korea tested a long-range missile this week in what was described as a reaction to annual U.S. and South Korean military exercises. “I think we feel confident that with the force that we have going forward and the strategy that we have, that we will be able to meet our responsibilities with [South Korea] to address threats that we might see from North Korea,” Wormuth told reporters a day after the missile test.

Wormuth called the U.S. military’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region announced two years ago an important part of the U.S. strategy and said U.S. officials are paying close attention to China’s military modernization.

“We would like to see more transparency in terms of Chinese intentions behind the various elements of its modernization,” she said. China this week announced plans to increase defense spending by more than 12 percent.

The Quadrennial Defense Review also says the United States must stay ahead of the ballistic missile threat posed by Iran. To that end, Wormuth said, the strategy highlights the importance of investing in national missile defense in light of Iran’s growing capabilities, and added that the strategy anticipates a lot of continued instability in the Middle East in general, especially involving ongoing Sunni-Shia tensions and the consequences of revolutions rooted in the Arab Spring.