Wednesday, April 23, 2014

USAFE-AFAFRICA leadership team visits 501st CSW

by Capt. Brian Maguire
501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

4/22/2014 - RAF ALCONBURY, United Kingdom -- The U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa leadership team visited with the 501st Combat Support Wing during a base tour April 15.

Airmen from six of the seven 501st CSW installations in the United Kingdom and Norway came together to brief the USAFE-AFAFRICA leaders and highlight the diverse and innovative nature of the wing.

"During my tour here, I saw a lot of innovation," said Gen. Frank Gorenc, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander. "People taking it upon themselves to go to their supervisor and say 'I think we can do this better, and this is what we should do to get the job done.'"

The general, Mrs. Gorenc and Chief Master Sgt. James Davis, USAFE-AFAFRICA command chief, met with Airmen and family members from across the wing, to hear about the award-winning programs that enable mission success across the wing's mission sets.

"The world's greatest Air Force - powered by Airmen, fueled by innovation - I love that vision," Gorenc said. "That vision includes an aspiration to be the very best, and states who is responsible for achieving the world's greatest status - our Airmen."

During an all-call with Airmen in the RAF Alconbury Theater, Gorenc shared his mission statement for all of USAFE-AFAFRICA, and how the 501st CSW fits into the Forward, Ready, Now concept.

"We're forward, we're ready and we're ready now," he said. "That's all you need to remember. The Airmen of 501st are living this every day, you deliver all three elements of Forward, Ready, Now."

Davis echoed the general's comments, noting how all the Airmen they met knew where they fell within the mission.

"I'm excited about this visit - this is my second opportunity to come here, and you've all got it," said Davis. "Throughout the day, we've heard the theme Forward, Ready, Now, regardless of what section we visited."

Gorenc concentrated on the mission, calling it the North Star because that is what guides every Airman's actions. He also focused on two other important areas: safety and sexual assault.

"Safety - the reason it's important is that it's combat capability. How long does it take to replace a 10-year Airman? It's not a trick question. It takes 10 years," Gorenc said. "The idea that you can replace a seasoned veteran of 10 years with a new 3-level and get away with the same level of mission accomplishment can create a safety issue, so be aware of your surroundings and remain safe."

While emphasizing the need to step in and prevent sexual assault, the general spoke about recent changes to the law and Air Force programs to ensure all Airmen understood what resources they had available.

"I want to talk about sexual assault. We have a problem." said Gorenc. "Everybody's got to be part of the solution, because this challenge will not be addressed until Airmen at all levels help squash it."

Davis added that it was important for everyone to have the same message, and he stressed the communication aspect among all Airmen.

"I asked your senior NCOs 'how do you all communicate?' It is even more critical to have a good line of communication when you're dispersed across the U.K. and Norway," said Davis. "Everybody has to get on the same sheet of music, whether you're sitting at Molesworth, Alconbury, Croughton or Menwith Hill, and that takes effort, that takes work."

During the closing comments of the all-call, Gorenc emphasized the role every Airman plays in accomplishing the mission and what they need to focus on to face the changes rippling across the Air Force.

"In times of change, you need to continue to trust your leadership, respect your peers and mentor your subordinates," said Gorenc. "That's the only way to get through change in a positive way and to create an Air Force in the future that will be faithful to a proud heritage."

Deployed AWACS squadron flies 4,000th combat sortie

by Maj. Khalid Cannon
380th Air Expeditionary Wing

4/22/2014 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- On April 5, the 968th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron flew their 4,000th combat sortie, a milestone that began in 2007.

"This accomplishment is not only a testament to the aircrews and staff that have rotated through the AOR, but also a phenomenal feat for AWACS maintainers," said Air Force Lt. Col. Ed Goebel, 968th EAACS commander and a native of Norman, Okla. "The significance of this is even greater because it occurred in conjunction with the Afghanistan elections."

The aircrew integrated with elements of the Theater Air Control System to provide tactical command and control to coalition air assets in Afghanistan, protecting ground forces and providing security on election day, said Goebel.

Goebel highlighted the behind the scenes work of the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

"The Airmen of Sentry Aircraft Maintenance Unit were key to this milestone of 4,000 sorties," Goebel said. "The effort of the maintenance team is impressive as the combined operations and maintenance AWACS team ensures E-3B/Cs are successfully launched every day."

The mission of the 968th EAACS is to provide battle space awareness and tactical command and control in any mission set throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

The squadron, which is the only deployed Airborne Warning and Control System unit in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, also works with other TACS elements to provide situational awareness of friendly, neutral and hostile activity, as well as command and control.

"The sortie was a benchmark not only for our squadron and the AWACS community, but for Operation Enduring Freedom," said Air Force Capt. Kinsley Jordan, aircraft commander and a native of Little River, Kan. "We are able to go up every day and offer the best combat support in every way, shape and form."

The most important thing Captain Jordan's aircrew provides is vital information to troops on the ground and the pilots that support them, he added.

"We give the commanders the full combat picture," said Captain Jordan. "Every mission counts and every time we step to the jet, people are depending on us. This is the most impactful job I've ever had."

According to unit history, the squadron was formed during World War II as the 858 Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on September 14, 1943. The B-24 Liberator squadron flew bombing missions over Germany and received the Distinguished Unit Citation.

The AWACS aircraft returned to Southwest Asia following the end of major combat operations in 2003, said Goebel. The original units deployed from Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces and the enduring squadron activated in the spring of 2013.

"I was an Air Force Academy cadet on 9/11, and right after it happened I purchased a nickel from Ground Zero," said Air Force Capt. Tysen Pina, an air battle manager and native of Roswell, Ga.

"I've carried it with me on every combat sortie I've flown over Afghanistan and Iraq," Tyson said. "To be here to support Afghanistan's first free election and contribute to the democratic process is important to me."

Hagel Notifies Egypt of Upcoming U.S. Certification

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel informed his Egyptian counterpart yesterday that Secretary of State John F. Kerry soon will certify to Congress that Egypt is sustaining the strategic relationship with the United States and is meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.

In a statement summarizing Hagel’S phone call to Egyptian Defense Minister Col. Gen. Sedki Sobhy, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said these certifications are required to obligate fiscal year 2014 funds for assistance to the Egyptian government.

“Secretary Hagel told General Sobhy that we are not yet able to certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition,” Kirby said, “and he urged the Egyptian government to demonstrate progress on a more inclusive transition that respects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Egyptians.”

Hagel also informed Sobhy of President Barack Obama's decision to deliver 10 Apache helicopters in support of Egypt’s counterterrorism operations in the Sinai, Kirby said.

“The secretary noted that we believe these new helicopters will help the Egyptian government counter extremists who threaten U.S., Egyptian, and Israeli security,” he added. “This is one element of the president’s broader efforts to work with partners across the region to build their capacity to counter terrorist threats, and is in the United States’ national security interest.”

Face of Defense: Air National Guard Brothers Deploy Together

 By Air Force Senior Airman Desiree W. Moye
386th Air Expeditionary Wing

SOUTHWEST ASIA, April 23, 2014 – One benefit of having family members serving in the military is the rare opportunity that allows them to serve together in a deployed location.

It has been a major comfort to three California Air National Guard airmen assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing together. The Morales Talento brothers are deployed from the 146th Airlift Wing, Channel Island Air National Guard Station, Calif.

The eldest, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Luis Morales Talento, is a supply specialist with the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Group. His brothers – Air Force Senior Airman Walter Morales Talento, a maintenance operations center controller, and Air Force Airman 1st Class Guido Morales Talento, a crew chief -- serve with the 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

In 1992, when Luis was 8 and Walter was 4, they moved to the United States from Guatemala with their parents. They said they believe they are living out their late father's dream of serving in the U.S. Air Force.

"I'm really proud that we have fulfilled a lifelong dream our father had for himself and for his boys," Walter said.

As they grew up in a household that was both humble and authoritarian at times, the brothers said, their father was always supportive of the military. They remember him taking them to air shows each year, igniting a fire of patriotism in each of them.

"Every time we saw an American flag, my dad continuously reminded us and never failed to proclaim, 'That's your flag, boys,'” Luis said. “I did not connect the dots until I joined the Air Force and understood the powerful meaning behind the pride our flag solidified."

Many years after those memories, each brother decided to serve his nation by enlisting in the military. Luis joined in 2004, and never lost hope that Guido and Walter would follow suit.

Before he followed suit and enlisted, Walter said, he admired his brother’s contributions to their state and their nation. After hearing so many positive stories about the military, he added, he made his decision.

"I just became inspired to follow in his footsteps,” he said. “I chose the [Air National Guard] over active duty because it allowed me to finish school, be able to live close to my family, and more importantly, serve with both of my brothers on the same base."

Guido, the youngest brother, needed more coaxing before enlisting. To help him make his decision, Walter and Luis voiced told him about opportunities he wouldn't find on a recruiting brochure by sharing their individual perspectives.

"After my first brother joined, I was sad, because he had never been away,” Guido said. “I definitely have a strong sense of pride in my country, but did not want to leave home. Essentially, it was my oldest brother, Luis, [who] recruited me by taking me to the base, showing me around and showing me what I could accomplish. It further encouraged me to join when Walter did."

Being able to talk about common experiences and share similar comforts from home while in a deployed location is perfect for growing resilient bonds, the brothers said. Though they work different shifts, they make it a priority to check up on one another as often as possible and participate in activities.

"I really feel blessed to have both of them here with me during my first deployment overseas,” Walter said. “I love the fact that we hang out, enjoy meals together, work out, and even joined the base honor guard together.”

Luis said he constantly reminds his brothers of little things that can help them be the best airmen possible, and that Guido pushes them all to stay physically motivated.

"I am proud to say that each of us has won first place in different events here around the base,” Walter said. “We hope to come in first place in the half marathon coming up later this month."

Generating Airpower: Weapons bring the bang

by Senior Airman Derek VanHorn
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/23/2014 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- (This article is part of a series featuring the 35th Maintenance Group on their ability to generate airpower for the 35th Fighter Wing's Wild Weasels. The 35 MXG is compiled of 22 career fields that support the mission of the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, the only SEAD wing in Pacific Air Forces.)

Loaded with radar-guided and heat-seeking missiles, bombs and a sniper targeting pod, the look of a fully loaded F-16 Fighting Falcon can be downright intimidating. But for a certain group of people here, it's an empty one that sends chills down their spine.

"It's an indescribable feeling," said Staff Sgt. Andrew Waddell, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load crew team chief. "It's hard to explain what it's like loading a 2,000-pound bomb on a jet and seeing it come back empty knowing it potentially ended someone's life."

Waddell works in the weapons section where they're responsible for loading munitions, troubleshooting and maintaining weapons on 44 F-16 Fighting Falcons at Misawa.

Their "office" is a 9,999-foot flightline, and their shifts begin with a roll call in a cramped Aircraft Maintenance Unit with constant noise and traffic that offers temporary respite from the outdoors. They spend their days loading and unloading jets in the snow, rain, sleet and blistering sun.

It's a blue-collared lifestyle; long hours are expected and the workload is dependent on the performance of the jets. With Misawa pilots flying more than 6,000 sorties annually, weapons troops are constantly prepared for action.

"It's hard work, but we know what we signed up for," said Airman 1st Class Deandre Thomas, a load crew member with the 35 AMXS. "We have to push sorties to keep our pilots sharp, so the mission is always going to come first."

The mission of the 35th Fighter Wing is the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, the only SEAD wing in Pacific Air Forces. With the largest area of responsibility of any Air Force major command, PACAF is responsible for over 100 million square miles and demands a dynamic and combat-ready posture from 35 FW Airmen.

"We're manned for war contingency where jets land and we turn that sortie and send it immediately back out," said Master Sgt. Lucian Williamson, 14th AMU weapons section chief who supervises 57 weapons maintainers. "The F-16 is a multi-role fighter, so we have to be ready for any type of weapons load. Our jets are capable of fighting offensively and posturing defensively, as well as executing air-to-air and air-to-ground missions."

Williamson said weapons troops stay prepared by remaining certified on a large variety of munitions during monthly certifications in the group's "load barn" - a hangar designated for timed load outs. Each load crew has around 20 minutes to complete each load, with varying time requirements determined by designated mission requirements.

Load crews are made up of inseparable three-man teams who work together to arm a jet with its entire weapon set for each sortie. They stick together their entire time stationed together on each base, adding to the already strong sense of ownership and teamwork associated with the maintaining lifestyle.

"The weapons career field is one where you must rely very strongly on wingmen," said Senior Airman Darious Furlow, 35 AMXS load crew member whose been working with F-16s for four years. "Every step we make has to do be done with the help of at least two others."

The end result of a successful load can be devastating to an adversary. For weapons maintainers, that's the goal - prepare their pilots to inflict the most appropriate damage possible.

"We give the aircraft its fighting capability," Waddell said. "Without weapons, we as an Air Force bring no threat to the fight."

The typical SEAD load out includes three AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, one AIM-9 Sidewinder and two AGM-88 High-speed Anti-radiation Missiles, according to Lt. Col. John McDaniel, 35 FW F-16 pilot and special assistant to the commander.

McDaniel said pilots fly in four-ship sorties, eliminating immediate air threats and carrying out SEAD mission requirements as necessary.

"There are a lot of people who play a big role in making the mission happen," McDaniel said. "We can't do this without everyone playing their part."

It's the epitome of teamwork, and it begins on the ground. By nature, maintainers stay out of the spotlight. They keep a close circle, running each other ragged with good-tempered ribbing and knuckle-breaking work. But when it comes down to it, they know their value and their impact can't be masked.

"It's a special feeling knowing our hard work behind the scenes might be the difference in saving the lives of troops downrange," Waddell said. "It's both prideful and surreal."

Furlow is less reserved, and maybe rightfully so - his load crew won the 35 FW's most recent Load Crew of the Quarter competition.

"There's an old saying that a good weapons troop is a pilot's best friend," Furlow said. "Everyone has an important role and we all work together, but you can't execute the mission without weapons."

Brain injury can be treated effectively at JBER clinic

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Wes Wright
JBER Public Affairs

4/21/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- 'Traumatic brain injury' has become a buzzword in the military with the Department of Defense deeming it the "signature injury of the war on terror."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a traumatic brain injury occurs when there is a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury which disrupts the normal function of the brain.

Symptoms include headaches, sensitivity to noise or light, nausea, vision problems and dizziness, just to name a few.

Experts in the field agree diagnosing and treating TBI can be a difficult endeavor requiring devoted and highly skilled professionals.

To provide this, last year the TBI Clinic opened at the JBER hospital.

"The mission of the TBI Clinic is delivering comprehensive, evidence-based treatments to the mind, while providing the highest standard of care to the person," said Tech. Sgt. Seth Russell, 673d Medical Operations Squadron noncomissioned officer-in-charge of the clinic.

A dedicated staff of 13, which includes neuropsychologists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists and nurse case managers, as well as an entire hospital, stands ready to help treat patients within their respective disciplines.
They compose JBER's capability to diagnose and treat TBI cases.

"Cases we see come primarily in the form of a concussion or some other traumatic blow to the head," said Air Force Maj. Joel Cartier, 673d MDOS licensed clinical social worker and TBI clinic director. "It's like a bruise on the brain. There's swelling and centralization of blood."

TBI symptoms are classified by the medical community in three categories: physical, cognitive and emotional.

Physical symptoms include headaches, dizziness and sensitivity to light.

Cognitively, patients can experience concentration problems, attention problems and difficulty finding words.

Emotionally, there can be irritability, anxiety and depression.

The physical symptoms of TBIs eventually go away, and the rest can be treated through a variety of medications and therapy, Cartier said.

"The physical signs of a TBI will go away. The symptoms can often times linger. That is the issue we deal with a lot," Cartier said.

"If you were to do an MRI on somebody who had a concussion two to three months after the fact, you're not going to see anything. But the psychological problems can persist."
Cognitive problems present their own unique challenges to Cartier's team.

"To address cognitive problems patients may have, we have to retrain the brain," Cartier said. "We have speech and language pathology and occupational therapy to help with those sorts of things."

Cartier said it can be difficult for patients to tackle the associated stress that can come with a TBI.

"If I have a TBI, my brain isn't working as well as it used to and that, in and of itself, is stressful," Cartier said. "In the military, we generally have somewhat stressful
jobs - lots of demands and expectations placed upon us. So, if my job was at
all stressful in the first place, now I have the stressor of not being able to function as well with those same stressors.

"We oftentimes take that stress home and it bleeds over into the family which can cause family problems."

Russell and Cartier agreed dealing with TBI is the easy part of their job.

"If it's strictly TBI, that's the easy part," Cartier said. "The problem is with a TBI is we're generally dealing with so many other things - chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. PTSD is oftentimes more difficult to deal with than an a TBI."

According to the National Council on Disability, PTSD and TBI are often addressed together for two reasons.

First, the symptoms may be similar, so it is difficult to distinguish between the two injuries.
Second, the two are often related - especially in the military, where a large proportion of brain injuries are suffered due to explosions in a combat zone - which are often traumatic.
Although PTSD is a biological/psychological injury and TBI is a neurological trauma, the symptoms of the two injuries have some parallel features.

In both injuries, the symptoms may show up months after someone has returned from war, and in both injuries, the veteran may 'self-medicate.'

Overlapping symptoms include sleep disturbances, irritability, physical restlessness, difficulty concentrating and some memory disturbances.

While there are similarities, there are also significant differences.

For example, with PTSD, individuals may have trouble remembering the traumatic event, but otherwise their memory and ability to learn is intact.

With TBI, the individual has preserved older memories, but may have difficulty retaining new memories learning new things.

At each initial screening, Cartier's team determines if a patient with a concussion may potentially have PTSD.

Depending on their findings, some patients are referred for additional treatment.
Russell said TBI is getting much more attention at a federal level lately as leaders realize the impact of the injury.

Additionally, the Department of Veteran Affairs has expanded benefits for veterans with TBI and announced new regulations to make it easier for those vets to receive additional disability pay.

However, Cartier does not believe thses changes will result in over-diagnosis of TBI cases.

"TBI isn't easy to fake," Cartier said. "We have a lot of different assessments we do to tease out whether or not you're having cognitive deficiencies."

Russell believes the recent influx of TBI diagnoses is because "medical professionals have gotten smarter in the way we've assessed it and calling it what it is."

Cartier emphasized the importance of people seeking out help if they even think they might have experienced a TBI.

"It's critical for people to come get the help they need," Cartier said. "In any TBI, the expectation is that you can get better.

We can help you get back on track.

"You might not be able to make it all the way back to who you were before, but the progress we make will be of value."

Russell echoed his boss's statement.

"Life is too short not to live it well," Russell said. "Get the help you need before it gets the best of you."

For more information, people can contact the TBI clinic at 580-0014.

See your primary care provider for a referral before scheduling an appointment.

New Detail on Former Blue Angels CO Investigation

From Office of the Chief of Information

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The ongoing investigation into allegations of misconduct by the former commanding officer of the Navy's flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, has revealed additional detail about the inappropriate work environment that existed over two years ago.

According to the investigation, Capt. Gregory McWherter, while serving as the commanding officer of the Blue Angels, tolerated an inappropriate work environment within the squadron which may have violated the Navy's sexual harassment, hazing and equal opportunity policies.

"All Navy leaders, whether assigned to a highly visible unit like the 'Blues,' or to our installations, squadrons, ships and submarines, are held to the highest standards. The Navy expects everyone, from those officers in command positions to Sailors on the waterfront, to provide principled and highly ethical leadership, stressing discipline, accountability, and the importance of treating shipmates with dignity and respect," said Vice Admiral David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces.

Following a complaint filed with the Navy Inspector General, McWherter was relieved of his duties as executive officer of Naval Base Coronado in San Diego on April 18 by Commander, Navy Installations Command.

The complaint alleges that lewd speech, inappropriate comments, and sexually explicit humor were allowed in the workplace and in some case encouraged by the commanding officer. It was further alleged that pornographic images were displayed in the workplace and shared in electronic communications.

In response to this complaint, Admiral Harry Harris, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet directed an investigation to inquire into the facts and circumstances surrounding these allegations. The investigation team, led by a Flag Officer, is currently investigating the alleged misconduct and will submit a report upon completion of their review.

"We remain fully committed to accountability, transparency, and protecting the integrity of ongoing investigations," said Buss.

The team is currently continuing their training and no changes have been made to their performance schedule.

Veterans Entrepreneurship Program is dog-gone good for one retiree

by Capt. Joe Simms
927th ARW Public Affairs

4/22/2014 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Many veterans spend more than half their lives serving their country, and they carry this core value with them long after they hang up the uniform and join the civilian workforce.

This desire to serve others is what drove retired Master Sgt. Joe Halenka during his 26 year career in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve and continues to drive him today.

Joe, a former boom operator and husband of Master Sgt. Roxanne Halenka, 927th Air Refueling Wing here, found himself working for a pharmaceutical manufacturer after he retired in 2010 but he knew he could do more with the next chapter in his life.

One day while walking his dogs he realized what he needed to do was become his own boss and provide a service for military and civil service workers who spend hours and days away from home.

"Walking my two dogs every day, I noticed how many pets were inside their apartments just wanting to go outside and play," he said. "Roxanne and I can relate to dog owners whose work schedules don't allow them to care for their pets during the day so we decided to start a company to provide the dogs food and water, take them for a walk, and provide transportation to the vet or groomer if needed."

"Joe and I saw a need in our neighborhood and we wanted to provide a solution so we started Halenka's Dog Service," Roxanne said.

Like many new entrepreneurs, Joe and Roxanne knew what they wanted to do but weren't sure where to begin until they found the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Florida.

The VEP provides training and entrepreneurial services for former military members and disabled vets looking to start a new business. The program is funded by donations to the university and is available at no cost to the veteran.

The VEP is comprised of three phases: a five-week self-study component, an intense eight-day training program at the University of Florida in Gainesville and an eight month mentorship program where the university provides a mentor to work with the business owner as the venture progresses.

According to the VEP website, this three phase program offers an innovative and effective combination of focused, practical training in venture creation and growth, as well as support for the graduates of the program.

"It was an intense screening process, over 100 applied and only about 30 were accepted from as far away as Alaska," Joe said. "To be selected you had to answers questions such as 'When you look out five years, what specifically would you like to accomplish?' and you had to provide a business model for them to review."

Joe and Roxanne's business model is based on the idea of a young military member who wants to take their family to Disney World but can't take their pet with them.

"We established the company with the deployed military member or civil service employee families in mind who are unable to take their pets on a daily walk or want to go on a family vacation and want to keep their pets at home and not have to pay for kennel fees," Joe said.

In the first month after creating Halenka's Dog Service LLC, Joe and Roxanne were able to find eight clients through word of mouth and hope to expand to 20 in the next few months.

"Our philosophy is a tired dog is a happy dog and we want to offer the best service for the best price while showing our customers and their pets the respect and courtesy they deserve," Roxanne said.

All applicants must meet three requirements to be considered for the VEP.

Veterans must have separated with an honorable discharge, have been identified as a disabled vet by the VA or DoD or "service distinguished" based on exemplary military conduct and demonstrate an intense interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership.

Joe begins the Phase II portion of the program May 3 which is the "Entrepreneur Bootcamp". This week long course is an opportunity for hands-on learning and interaction with faculty and exposes participants to the "nuts and bolts" of business ownership, according to the VEP website.

"What I'm most excited about VEP is being able to soak up the knowledge and experience of the instructors and speakers and gaining perspectives and ideas," Joe said.

"I truly believe knowledge is gained through experiences and this is a program to help individuals like myself who want to help society and explore ideas."

May Programming Aboard the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA

WILMINGTON, NC – The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA announces the programming schedule for May, 2014.

Showboat—Systems & Design
May 17, 2014
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
$40 per person.  $35 for Friends members or active military.

As the first of the 10 fast battleships which served in WWII, NORTH CAROLINA paved the way for those battleships that followed. Hampered by treaty restrictions, naval architects still managed to weave the various ship systems together into an efficient and elegant naval weapons system – the first battleship constructed in sixteen years. LtCol Ken Rittenmeyer, USAF (Ret) will provide participants with an insightful afternoon program explaining these various shipboard systems – armor, fuel, propulsion, electrical, etc. – that make NORTH CAROLINA an effective warship and how they are skillfully incorporated into this engineering wonder.  A one-hour presentation followed by a two-hour shipboard exploration comprise this engaging program.

The tour is limited to 12 participants age 18 and older. It is not appropriate for those who have difficulty climbing narrow ladders or over knee-high hatches. Wear warm, comfortable, washable clothing, sturdy, rubber-soled shoes and bring a camera!  Registration and payment are due by Thursday, May 15th. Tour is $40/$35 for Friends of the Battleship or active military. Call 910-251-5797 extension 3001 for reservations.

49th Annual Memorial Day Observance
May 26, 2014
Time: 5:45 pm

On Memorial Day, May 26, 2014, at 5:45 pm, people of all generations from across the State will gather together on the deck of the Battleship to pay their respects. Governor Pat McCrory will take part in the observance and will speak to the importance of military members and their contribution to North Carolina and North Carolina’s economy. This year we are also proud to have guest of honor and key note speaker Brigadier General Robert F. Castellvi, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations, East/Commander, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

An emotional ceremony, preceding and concluding with military musical arrangements provided by the 440th NC Army National Guard Band, and a 21-gun salute, the Executive Director of the Battleship, Captain Terry A. Bragg and members of the USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship Commission invite the public to this free event.

Summer Hours

Starting Friday before Memorial Day, May 23, 2014, going through Labor Day, September 1, 2014, the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA will be open 8:00 am until 8:00 pm with the last ticket sold one hour before closing.

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is self-supporting, not tax supported and relies primarily upon admissions to tour the Ship, sales in the Ship's Store, donations and investments. No funds for its administration and operation come from appropriations from governmental entities at the local, state or federal levels. Located at the junction of Highways 17/74/76/421 on the Cape Fear River.   Visit or follow us on and for more information. Relive with the crew on the Battleship Blog The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is an historic site within the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (