Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pearl Harbor Survivor Receives Final Honors at USS Utah Memorial

By By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Diana Quinlan, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The ashes of Pearl Harbor survivor Chief Warrant Officer John W. Welton, U.S. Navy (ret.), were placed in the waters near the USS Utah Memorial on Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during a ceremony on July 2.

Among those in attendance were Welton's children Robert Welton, Sharon Chamberlin and other family members. Capt. Lawrence Scruggs, deputy commander, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, provided remarks as the guest speaker, and Lt. Richard Tiff, a chaplain with Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel, provided the benediction.

"It is another beautiful day in paradise," said Jim Taylor, Pearl Harbor survivor liaison, who spoke at the ceremony. "Perfect for honoring an American Hero. Today [Welton] would have been 96 - Happy Birthday John!"

Welton was born in Roseville, California, and joined the Navy in September of 1936. His career begun in the Asiatic Fleet, now known as the 7th Fleet, and later he was stationed in Pearl Harbor aboard the destroyer USS Sicard (DM 21) on the day of the 1941 Japanese attack.

Welton went on to serve throughout World War II and participated in numerous battles and campaigns all over the pacific theater, advancing his military career from enlisted ranks of Metalsmith Chief Petty Officer to chief warrant officer. He retired in December of 1953 with multiple awards including World War II Victory, China Service, American Area Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with two stars and others.

"John never wavered in faith or spirit, not on that dreadful day in infamy, nor in the remaining years to come," said Scruggs. "His work ethic and a great attention to detail would serve John well and would separate his Navy career from most in his rate. An officer highly respected by his peers, the enlisted men and the senior officers he served with."

Military honors included a gun salute and the presentation of the burial flag to the family by the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Honors and Ceremonial Guard. During the presentation of the flag, Robert and his sister Sharon joined hands and held them for the duration of the ceremony.

"I understood that it was a fantastic ceremony, but there is no way to put in words - it was so much more than I have imagined," said Robert. "Today would have been my dad's birthday, and I cannot think of a better way to honor him."

Robert also added, "Everybody wants to know how they will be remembered, and it is truly an honor to see someone in my family to be recognized in this way - our dad. It was overwhelming - an unbelievable experience, far more special than I would have imagined."

Welton is one of the many Pearl Harbor Survivors who joined his shipmates at USS Utah Memorial as their final resting place.

"Chief Warrant Officer John Welton, you have permission to come aboard," said Scruggs. "God bless you and your shipmates who rest here and those who have gone before us to secure the freedoms we so dearly enjoy today."

Submarine USS San Francisco Deploys

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anthony Walker, USS San Francisco Public Affairs

NAVAL BASE POINT LOMA, Calif. (NNS) -- USS San Francisco (SSN 711) deployed from Naval Base Point Loma for a scheduled six-month Western Pacific deployment, July 10.

The Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarine's deployment is in support of the Chief of Naval Operations' maritime strategy. San Francisco's missions will focus on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, which help establish conditions for regional stability.

The deployment is part of an on-going rotation of deployed forces to support maritime security operations and operations in international waters around the globe, working with other coalition maritime forces. During the past few months, San Francisco has conducted several training exercises off the coast of California and is fully prepared to deploy.

"The crew has put in a lot of hours training and preparing the ship for this deployment, and we are ready," said Cmdr. Jeff Juergens, commanding officer of San Francisco. "We're very thankful for all the support along the way, especially from our families, and we look forward to successfully completing our mission."

San Francisco was commissioned April 24, 1981. Displacing more than 6,900 tons, San Francisco has a crew of nearly 140 Sailors. It is one of five Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarines homeported in San Diego.

USS Oscar Austin Participates in Royal Navy Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class DJ Revell, USS Oscar Austin Public Affairs

USS OSCAR AUSTIN, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) participated in a U.K.-led maritime exercise in the Atlantic Ocean, July 10.

The exercise consisted of combat operations in all areas of warfare including anti-submarine warfare, anti-aircraft warfare, and surface warfare.

Naval units from the U.S., Germany and the United Kingdom included Royal Navy frigates HMS Richmond (F239), HMS Lancaster (F229), and HMS St Albans (F83); Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon (D35); and the German Navy's Braunschweig-class corvette FGS Ludwigshafen am Rhein (F264).

"We dealt with a lot of scenarios," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Gwendolyn Wadley, assigned to Oscar Austin, who participated in the exercise in the ship's combat information center. "Overall it was very busy and fast-paced, but it went pretty well."

The exercise also tested the various communications and defensives systems between the ships to help improve future training, tactical expertise and interoperability.

Following the exercise, Oscar Austin conducted a replenishment-at-sea (RAS) with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA Gold Rover (A271), further advancing cooperation between the two navies.

Oscar Austin, homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, is deployed in a multi-mission role to enhance regional maritime security with NATO and regional partners and allies in the Baltic region.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Submarine Group Nine Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ahron Arendes, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs

BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Commander, Submarine Group Nine conducted a change of command ceremony July 11 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

Rear Adm. Dietrich H. Kuhlmann III turned over command of Submarine Group Nine to Rear Adm. Dave Kriete at Deterrent Park.

Kuhlmann oversaw certification and conduct of 32 strategic deterrent patrols by Trident ballistic missile submarines maintaining 100% readiness during his tenure, as well as training and certification of crews for the guided-missile submarines USS Ohio (SSGN 726) and USS Michigan (SSGN 727) in support of six forward-deployed mission periods.

Kuhlmann's tenure also saw USS Maine (SSBN 741) earn the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) for completing 349 underway days in a 14-month period supporting various operations, USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) earn the MUC for completing the fastest return to strategic service ever for an ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) following a major maintenance period and subsequently complete an Ohio-class SSBN record-setting 140-day patrol, and USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) earn the 2013 U.S. Strategic Command Omaha Trophy for excellence in deterrence operations.

Kuhlmann acknowledged a number of key areas in the submarine mission, but it's the Sailors, he said, that are the most important.

"Our platforms are marvels of science and engineering, but in the end it has always been about having the best trained and motivated people," said Kuhlmann. "As we work together to adjust our Naval capabilities to the new fiscal realities, I am confident our Sailors will continue to make a difference."

"The submarine force sets the bar high, higher than the rest of the Navy, but together this team under your leadership has cleared that bar," said Vice Adm. Joseph P. Mulloy, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources, the ceremony's guest speaker. "I personally applaud your ability to command this team and to meet those objectives put forward by the Chief of Naval Operations."

Commander of Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer presented the Legion of Merit to Kuhlmann, after which Kuhlmann read his orders to the guests and service members in attendance. Once Kriete read his orders, Sawyer received his report of relief, marking the official change of command.

Kuhlmann's next assignment will be the Deputy Director for Resources and Acquisition, J8, Joint Staff.

Kriete comes to Submarine Group 9 from U.S. Strategic Command where he served as Deputy Director of Plans and Policy. His previous command tours include USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) Blue crew, and Submarine Squadron 6. While assigned to the Navy Staff from 2008 to 2010, he started the Ohio Replacement program.

"I believe that our job is not to tell our submarine crews how to do their jobs, but rather to create every opportunity for them to succeed" Kriete said. "Our job is not about us. It's all about the submarine crews There is no limit to what they can achieve if we all pull together in the same direction, with a steady strain every day."

JBPHH Holds Change of Command

By Karen S. Spangler, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Capt. Jeffrey W. James relinquished command of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) to Capt. Stanley Keeve Jr. during a change of command ceremony held on Ford Island, July 11. James took command of JBPHH on June 3, 2011.

James is retiring from the U.S. Navy after 30 years of service and plans to stay in Hawaii.
"I've lived here longer than I've lived anywhere else in my life. This is where we're staying after I transition out of the Navy," he said.

"This is my home now. Hawaii means a great deal to me and my family. We've been welcomed, and we've really embraced the aloha spirit. I really enjoy the culture, a lot that Hawaii has to offer. It's been great to serve here." James said.

"I look forward to being able to continue to join the community as we stay here beyond my Navy time and be part of the community and still have something to give back," he added.

James also had some advice to offer to Keeve as he takes command of joint base. "Aside from running the base, it's really about establishing and nurturing relationships we've got with the community," James said.

Prior to taking command of joint base, James served on the staff of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. His previous afloat assignments have included commanding officer of USS Hopper (DDG 70) and USS Pioneer (MCM 9) and as operations officer on USS Elliott (DD 967).

He served as an ordnance officer and navigator on USS Flatley (FFG 21). He also completed tours of duty at Naval Personnel Command and U.S. Northern Command.

Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, was the guest speaker for the ceremony. He praised James for his leadership of joint base.

"As commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Capt. James has been directly responsible for the Navy's third largest fleet concentration area with more than 87,000 Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, their families, Department of Defense civilians and contractors at the Navy's best homeport. Joint base is the home to the U.S. Pacific Fleet, submarine forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Hawaii Air National Guard and Pacific Air Force's key strategic flight line in the Pacific," Williams said.

"Capt. James' leadership has been critical in ensuring warfighting readiness, focusing on supporting forward operations, building strong partnerships, and meeting the needs of service members and their families. He built strong ties with our friends and neighbors in the community-fostering education, understanding and a real sense of aloha through the annual makahiki and in events with the Navy League, Chamber of Commerce and other groups," he said.

Keeve's previous assignment was as military assistant to the Defense Business Board in the Pentagon.

A surface warfare officer, he served tours of duty on USS Reuben James (FFG 57), USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). Some of his other assignments have included flag aide to the commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, commander of NATO Strike Forces Southern Europe, and director of professional development at the U.S. Naval Academy.

"Having served on a frigate homeported in Pearl Harbor 20 years ago, I've always had fond memories of my time on Oahu. Getting the opportunity to serve again on the island and to command such an important and historic joint installation is a great honor," Keeve said.

"I will endeavor to do my very best to lead and serve the men and women of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and to be a good partner with our neighboring towns and communities," he said.

Williams offered welcoming remarks to the new commander.

"Today, we welcome Capt. Stanley Keeve to beautiful Hawaii. Capt. Keeve brings a wealth of experience and skills to the base and to the waterfront. He has already hit the ground running-getting involved, showing his concern for Sailors and their families, and ready and willing to make a difference. He is the right leader at the right time with the right skill set, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he will accomplish in the months ahead," Williams said.