Military News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

USS Hopper Crew Welcomes Frank Rose



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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Space and Defense Policy, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC), toured the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) July 18 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Rose met with the Commanding Officer Cmdr. David Snee aboard the ship where they discussed the future of Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), assets, its integration aboard naval ships, and toured various spaces including wardroom, combat information center and the bridge.

"The primary purpose of my visit is to consult with my Navy colleagues on cooperation in missile defense," said Rose. "And I received a fantastic and informative visit aboard USS "Amazing Grace" Hopper."

During his visit, Rose discussed the operations of the Pacific-based destroyers such as USS Hopper, their capabilities and role with the current defense systems as well as possible upgrades to newer systems.

"It was an opportune visit, and we were fortunate to host Mr. Rose and give him a brief on what we did on our most recent deployment to the Arabian Gulf," said Snee. "We talked about our collection missions and BMD missions, as well as high-visibility Missile Defense Agency (MDA) tests conducted last month."

Snee discussed the importance of a naval presence in the Pacific that is capable of conducting defense missions with proper support and training of the crew.

"In the Pacific theater, we not only conduct BMD missions but also air defense, submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare - we bring all the capabilities in this one ship to the region," he explained. "We are in a 'no fail' business. When the ships are called to do a BMD mission we cannot fail in what we do and that requirement is near and dear to the crew onboard. It trickles down to all the jobs on the ship, from cooking to engineering. The crew members all understand how important our mission is. You get only one opportunity to track a ballistic missile and shoot it down, and if you have missed that opportunity a lot of people can die."

The U.S. presence and its future in the Pacific were a crucial part of Mr. Rose's visit to Hawaii.

"It is critical to our defense posture in this region. We currently have ships with Aegis BMD capability in the Pacific," said Rose. "Given the importance of capabilities to the mission in the region, Secretary of Defense Hagel has directed that additional ships be sent here in the next couple of years."

Rose also added, "Creating the new strategic environment depends on strong cooperation with our allies and partners. In order to make this vision a reality, President Obama has made international cooperation on missile defense a key priority, and we are pursuing a region-by-region approach."

Upon completion of his visit, Rose shook hands and thanked the Sailors stationed aboard USS Hopper for the important job that they do in the service of their nation.

USS Hopper is named for Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, a naval officer and a pioneering computer scientist. The ship is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 31, deploying to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.

Aegis BMD system was developed by the MDA in cooperation with the Navy. It is a sea-based element and provides warships with the capability of intercepting and destroying short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Rose's primary task is advising on key issues related to arms control and defense policy. These issues include Ballistic Missile Defense, space security policy, and conventional arms control. His responsibilities also include liaison with the U.S. Intelligence Community on issues related to the verification of arms control treaties and agreements.

NIOC Pensacola Holds Change of Command



By Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Pensacola held a change of command ceremony July 18 at the Mustin Club, Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Vice Adm. Jan E. Tighe, commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F), presided over the ceremony in which Cmdr. Joseph D. Sears relieved Cmdr. Patrick A. Count as commanding officer of NIOC Pensacola.

"Over the past two years, NIOC Pensacola has transformed itself in response to our urgent need to grow the U.S. Cyber Command Cyber Mission Force (CMF) capability and capacity," said Tighe. "You have adapted from a principally national foreign intelligence focused mission to creating foundational teams in the CMF supporting global cyber missions."

During the ceremony, Count thanked his Sailors for a rewarding tour and acknowledged the support his family has provided throughout the years.

"Command, no matter how big or small, how short or long, is the assignment of a career and a sign of trust. I'm honored to have served it with you-a dedicated team of the best professionals I've ever served with," said Count.

Count will attend Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama in pursuit of a Masters in Strategic Studies.

Sears just completed his tour at Navy Information Operations Command Maryland where he served as the N3/CTF 1060 operations officer directing cryptologic and cyber operations supporting fleet commanders worldwide.

"I thank you for your gracious hospitality, professionalism, and your time showing me around and explaining to me what it means to be a part of NIOC Pensacola. It is a privilege and honor to lead this team," said Sears.

Sears, a Lexington, Kentucky native, graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. Sears also attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California where he received a Master of Science in Computer Science in 2004.

Over the past two years, NIOC Pensacola's team has evolved from being focused solely on support to various National partner offices and their product lines to being positioned as a formidable member of U.S. Cyber Command's Cyber Mission Force (CMF).

Today, NIOC Pensacola is the Navy's Cyber Combat Support Team (CST) Center of Excellence with all five Navy CSTs located here, and sets the standard for all service CSTs.

USNS Mercy Hosts Midshipmen during RIMPAC



By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Pyoung K. Yi, USNS Mercy Public Affiars

USNS MERCY, At Sea (NNS) -- The crew of Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) are hosting two midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014, July 14 to Aug. 10.

The midshipmen are aboard the Mercy to further their professional development as future leaders of the fleet by introducing them to underway hospital operations, expose them to how the Navy prepares itself, manages mass casualty situations on a hospital ship and give them a sense of day-to-day life at sea.

"It's the first time midshipmen have been aboard Mercy," said Lt. j.g. Erin Dowling, a ward nurse aboard Mercy. "It is very beneficial for these two midshipmen to be on a floating medical treatment facility (MTF) that does strictly medicine and nursing."

Midshipman 1st Class Vikram Mukherjee and Midshipman 1st Class Chelsea Sehifferle, upcoming seniors at the Naval Academy, plan on pursuing careers in the medical corps. To date, they said they've enjoyed their time on the ship and have been impressed with the mission-first mindset and personable demeanor of the ship's staff.

"Everyone has been very hospitable, easy to approach and very knowledgeable," said Mukherjee, from North Carolina. "They seem to be experts in their field and I can really sense the passion with which they go about their duties."

The two midshipmen have been shadowing junior officers, who have been providing mentorship and sharing their experience with the midshipmen during their time aboard the ship. The junior officers are also helping the midshipmen learn about underway operations underway while answering questions about the different jobs people have on the ship.

"I've learned how all the different medical professionals work together - the doctors, nurses and corpsmen, and I get a sense of the 'we-must-operate-as-one-team' type of ethos on the MTF," said Sehifferle, from California.

Thus far, the midshipmen have participated in several activities, including serving as runners during a mass casualty drill, playing injured patients during a medical evacuation exercise, standing on the ship's bridge as it got underway and are scheduled to take a tour of the People's Republic of China, People's Liberation Army (Navy) hospital ship Ark Peace (T-AH 866).

"They are learning how a floating MTF is run," said Dowling. "How we triage patient care for the MTF and disseminate the patients to various parts of our hospital, like the intensive care unit, ward, and casualty receiving."

Sehifferle said the crew has been very supportive of them and are eager to share with them the lessons they have learned as Sailors.

"Everyone from the Medical Staff to the Military Sealift Command have been more than willing to help integrate the midshipmen into their daily schedule making this a great learning opportunity for all parties involved," said Lt. Cmdr. Iradj Stroble, a medical officer working with the midshipmen.

As the midshipmen are aboard Mercy during RIMPAC, they have immersed themselves in the ship's various training evolutions and are interacting with the international military medical community, including officials from the Canadian Armed Forces and the People's Republic of China, People's Liberation Army (Navy) [PLA(N)].

"With all the training and the drills were conducting, as well as the opportunity to interact with the other countries' military medical personnel, our ship's personnel are teaching the midshipmen time-tested wisdom to ready them for their next journey," said Mercy's Command Senior Chief Dedrick Walker.

Stroble added that the time the midshipmen spend aboard Mercy will help them make a well-informed decision concerning the next step in their naval careers and will prepare the ship's crew for hosting the next wave of midshipmen on a summer cruise.

This year's RIMPAC marks the first time in the exercises history that hospital ships have participated. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the California coast and Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Crafting with Hell Fire: HTs' Various Welding Techniques



By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Oscar Albert Moreno Jr., USS George Washington Public Affairs

USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- Hull technicians (HT) aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) operate tools that use temperatures as high as 8,500 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the habitability of the ship is in top condition.

HTs use different welding techniques to fuse metals together, fill in cracks and permanently fix defects to ensure the ship's hull structure is sound.

"We are in charge to ensure that whatever flows through the ship doesn't go off on a tangent," said Hull Technician 1st Class Cornelius Klein, from Chicago. "We fix, repair and replace pipes, piping systems, doors, hatches and bulkheads. We ensure that whatever can go wrong doesn't go wrong."

According to Kirksey, the ship's pipe shop and ship fitters are capable of three different welding techniques: stick welding, tig welding and brazing.
Stick welding involves using a stinger, which is a torch and an electrode, or a flux coated welding rod, that is lit to start a chemical reaction. Stick welding binds two metals together, like an angle iron to a bulkhead. After the weld is finished, the excess flux is chipped off and wire brushed to perfection.

Tig welding, also known as tungsten inert-gas welding, involving using argon gas to keep the metal from oxidizing, and a torch and a filler rod fuses two metals together.

While with tig welding, HTs ensure that the welding does not burn through the metal and the amount of heat administrated is enough for a proper fusion to form. Brazing involves using acetylene, a combustible gas, to start up the chemical reaction while utilizing oxygen as a constant heat source to melt filler metal over a seal. Steps to braze properly begin with ensuring the seal area is properly cleaned. HTs then use heat and filler metal to fill a hole in a joint. Additional filler metal is traced around the seal and then left to cool slowly to reduce the likelihood of cracking.

"We take great pride in our work, from large scale jobs down to the simplest tasks," said Hull Technician 2nd Class Kevan Kirksey, from San Bernardino, California. "On a daily basis, we work with heat that burns through metal. Therefore, every weld we do around the ship is done with extreme precision to ensure the weld is refined and our personnel complete jobs without injuries."

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Fitzgerald Strengthens Relations with Japan through Goodwill Port Visit



By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin V. Cunningham, USS Fitzgerald Public Affairs

FUKUOKA, Japan (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) arrived in Fukuoka, Japan, July 18 for a goodwill and friendship building port visit.

This marks Fitzgerald's first visit to Japan's sixth largest city.

"We are excited to interact and learn more about the beautiful Japanese culture and share a bit of our own," said Cmdr. Robert Y. Shu, Fitzgerald's executive officer. "The port visit represents an opportunity for Sailors to serve as goodwill ambassadors of the U.S. It also serves as an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to regional partnerships, and foster growing relationships."

During this port visit, Fitzgerald plans to foster international relationships through friendly interactions including community relations events and sporting competitions.

"Visiting a port like Fukuoka gives us the opportunity to see other parts of Japan and interact with people that don't often see American Sailors," said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Jordan K. Belcher, from Witchita, Kansas. "I'm proud to be able to represent my country in a new place."

Fostering relations with allies through friendly community interactions in port is part of America's maritime strategy to build a joint coalition force of allies capable of ensuring maritime security.

Fitzgerald is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, a key element to 7th Fleet, the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with approximately 60 ships, 250 aircraft and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.