Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hagel Congratulates South Korea’s New Defense Minister

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone this evening with Han Min-koo, South Korea’s new defense minister, and later with former Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

It was the first conversation between Hagel and Han, Kirby said in a statement.

Hagel congratulated Han on his appointment and looks forward to working with him to continue growing and strengthening the U.S.-South Korean alliance, the press secretary said.

In his conversation with Kim, now the director of South Korea’s National Security Office, Hagel thanked him for his partnership while he was defense minister and indicated that he looks forward to working with Han, Kirby said.

Hagel Expresses Condolences to Dutch Defense Minister

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today expressed his personal condolences in a telephone call with Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaer of the Netherlands for the 192 Dutch citizens who lost their lives on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

In a statement summarizing the call, Kirby said Hagel reiterated President Barack Obama's pledge to support an international investigation into the July 17 incident.

The two leaders also discussed the security situation in Ukraine and the difficulty investigators are experiencing in gaining unimpeded and secure access to the crash site, the admiral said.

“Minister Hennis-Plasschaert highlighted the Netherlands' desire to have the victims returned to their families as soon as possible,” Kirby added, “balanced with the need to support and complete a credible investigation.”

Hagel and Hennis-Plasschaert also discussed the importance of a strong and united response to the tragedy and promised to stay in touch regarding the situation in Ukraine, he said.

ROK Navy Embarks George Washington, Improves Bilateral Warfighting Readiness

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh, Commander, Task Force 70 Public Affairs

WATERS WEST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (NNS) -- Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Commander, Maritime Task Flotilla (MTF) 7 Rear Adm. Kim Jong-Il, and members of his staff, embarked the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Shiloh (CG 67) as part of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) for five days while conducting bilateral operations off the coast of the Republic of Korea.

The ROKN sailors boarded the ships while in port Republic of Korea to work side by side U.S. Navy sailors with the intent of improving the collective warfighting readiness of the two forces and learn each other's tactics, techniques and procedures.

"I see three main benefits to bringing Maritime Task Flotilla 7 of the Republic of Korea navy on board George Washington and integrating them with Task Force 70 staff," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. "It allows MTF 7 staff to see the tactical operational deployment of a carrier strike group in the West or East Sea and therefore improve their situational awareness of how we would operate during a contingency.

It allows them to provide us with their knowledge of the specific environmental and operational factors in the waters immediately surrounding Korea and share their lessons learned, tactics, techniques and procedures, thereby elevating our staff's warfighting readiness. Lastly, it allows us to operate together, and the more often we operate together in peacetime, the more likely we will be able to integrate smoothly during the confusion that might be surrounding a contingency."

While aboard, the visitors toured the ship's spaces to become familiar with Sailors' daily lives, compare standard operating procedures and learn about how the U.S. Navy conducts operations underway.

"By embarking the carrier with my staff and living on board for a few days we are able to see how the U.S. Navy operates an aircraft carrier, how Sailors live and work on board and how the crewmembers implement our shared tactics in the combined operations we are having together," said Kim. "Although we do operations together on a regular basis, by coming here and seeing the crew operating with my own eyes, I am now able to go back and pass along this knowledge and information to ROK navy."

The U.S. Navy regularly conducts bilateral operations with its partners and allies in and around the Korean peninsula to strengthen maritime interoperability and enhance forward-deployed proficiency while operating with foreign military forces.

"When we are doing a mission in the Korean theater of operations, by U.S. Navy and ROK navy training and conducting exercises together, we can carry out that mission more effectively and more successfully," said Kim. "In the areas where we need improvement and development in terms of procedure and tactics, by working side by side we can identify those areas and have discussions to improve them step by step."

GWCSG provides a combat ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its partners and allies by supporting security and economic stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

NAS Meridian Welcomes 24th Commanding Officer

By Penny Randall, Naval Air Station Meridian Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR STATION MERIDIAN, Miss. (NNS) -- Capt. Scott Bunnay become the 24th commanding officer of Naval Air Station Meridian during an official change of command ceremony July 18. He relieved Capt. Charles C. Moore II who served as the installation's commanding officer since July 2011.

"This assignment brings me happily back to Mississippi to command NAS Meridian," said Bunnay who completed flight training and received his Wings of Gold and designation as a naval aviator in July 1994 from Training Air Wing One on board the installation. "Please rest assured the service members and civilians of NAS Meridian will continue to strive to be the best possible citizens, leaders, friends and neighbors."

The guest speaker for the ceremony was Capt. Steven H. Blaisdell, chief of staff for Navy Region Southeast.

"Meridian is true Navy town USA," Blaisdell said. "You cannot have success without support and it is evident that Capt. Moore has developed a tremendous partnership among the team at NAS Meridian. He knows how to take care of his Sailors and staff, and at the same time accomplish the goals of the Navy. I send a sincere thank you to all the Sailors, Marines, civilians and contractors who make this base run."

Under Moore's leadership, the installation provided the highest quality support for its tenant commands, skillfully managed response to disasters, and received numerous accolades.

"I consider the responsibility of being the commanding officer of NAS Meridian an incredibly humbling experience. The installation will be in great hands with Capt. Bunnay," Moore said. "I could not have done this job without the loving support from my family."

Moore guided 400 personnel in providing facilities and services with a $30 million budget, which enabled 73,400 flight operations more than 135,735 flight hours at two airfields which led to the winging of 387 naval aviators during his tenure.

He orchestrated $65 million in repairs and renovations, which facilitated the graduation of 6,350 students from Naval Technical Training Center Meridian and 2,100 students from Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron One.

Moore's extensive leadership was further evidenced by the installation's awards, including Southeast Region's small installation nomination for the 2011 Installation Excellence Award, the Secretary of the Navy's Gold Energy Award, the National Weather Service's StormReady Community designation, three consecutive Ney Five Star Accreditations, the 2013 Retention Excellence Award, Southeast Region's 2013 Environmental Stewardship Community Service Flagship Award, and 2013 Chief of Naval Operations Installation Environmental Restoration Award.

Moore's next assignment will be commanding officer of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Illinois.

Bunnay's Navy career has included assignments with the EA-6B Prowler Fleet Replacement Squadron, Electronic Attack Squadron 129 at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., and with Electronic Attack Squadron 135 assigned to the "World Famous Black Ravens," where he deployed as part of Carrier Air Wing Eleven aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) supporting Operation Southern Watch and later aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in support of Operations Southern Watch and Desert Fox.

In May 1999, Bunnay reported to the Combined Air Operations Center of NATO's 5th Allied Tactical Air Force in Vicenza, Italy. He served as the electronic warfare coordination cell chief in support of Operation Allied Force. In November 1999, he reported to VAQ-129 as an instructor pilot and served as a familiarization and navigation instructor, safety officer and landing signal officer.

In May 2002, Bunnay was assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 136 (VAQ-136), part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces home ported in Atsugi, Japan, for his department head tour. As a "Gauntlet," he deployed in 2003, as part of Carrier Air Wing Five aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), supporting Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. He served as the safety officer, administrative officer, electronic warfare officer, and operations officer while with VAQ-136.

In December 2004, Bunnay reported to The Joint Staff, Directorate for Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Systems. While serving as an action officer, he earned a master's degree in the management of information technology from the University of Virginia. Following selection for aviation command, he reported to VAQ-129 as executive officer in June 2007.

In June 2008, he reported to Electronic Attack Squadron 132 as executive officer and assumed command of the "Scorpions" in April 2009. During his tenure, the squadron completed the first fleet transition from the EA-6B Prowler to the EA-18G Growler.

Following his operational command tour, Bunnay reported to the RAND Corporation in August 2010 as a federal executive fellow. In August 2011, he reported to the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy.

NAS Meridian supports 24 tenant commands providing aviation and technical training. It accomplishes its mission of "Training the Warfighter" by providing timely, quality services and facilities in an environmentally safe, secure community. Departments working under the commanding officer form the backbone for the entire installation's functioning.

N96 Holds Change of Command

By Lt. Robert Myers, Director Surface Warfare Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Peter Fanta relieved Rear Adm. Thomas Rowden as director, Surface Warfare (OPNAV N96) during a change of command at the Pentagon July 18.

Rowden, a native of Washington, D.C. assumed command as N96 in January 2012 and ensured resourcing requirements for surface combatant ships operating around the world.

While under Rowden's command, N96 planned and programmed current and future readiness, including maintenance, modernization, manpower, sensors, weapons and training for surface ships to complete their assigned missions. The N96 team supports ships which include, but are not limited to, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Zumwalt-class destroyers (DDG 1000) and the future large surface combatant replacement for the 2030s timeframe.

"It has been a privilege to lead an outstanding group of professionals- active duty, civilian and contractor - charged with building the budget for all elements of the surface force," said Rowden. "I have no doubt that Surface Warfare will continue to move forward and meet high expectations."

A graduate of the United States Naval Academy and native of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Fanta assumed command as N96 following his last tour of duty as deputy director for Resources and Acquisition (J8) in Washington, D.C.

"I am excited to be the new Director of Surface Warfare and I look forward to the hard work ahead," said Fanta. "We will continue to work together, set the standard even higher, and meet the needs of the fleet."

Fanta's at sea assignments include: Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 5, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 2 and Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group. He was also the commanding officer of USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and commanding officer of USS Falcon (MHC 59).

His previous shore assignments include: director, Ballistic Missile Defense and Combat Systems Integration, Surface Warfare Division (N86F); executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller); senior fellow, Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group; chief, Programming and Budget Joint Staff (J8) and chief, Programming Branch, Navy (OPNAV N8).

N96 is aligned under the deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems (OPNAV N9).