Saturday, September 06, 2014

USS Ross Arrives in Romania

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

CONSTANTA, Romania (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) arrived in Constanta, Romania, for a scheduled port visit, Sept. 5.

Ross' presence in Romania reaffirms the United States' commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the region.

"Our visit to Romania is so much more than just a port call," said Cmdr. Tadd Gorman, commanding officer of Ross. "A ship's primary mission is not just at-sea training and maintaining warfighting readiness, but we also have a unique opportunity to meet new people and build relationships."

This is Ross' first port visit since beginning her patrol in the Black Sea. While in Constanta, Sailors will be engaging with their Romanian counterparts and hosting dinners for guests and dignitaries.

"I have never been in the Black Sea before, and now getting to experience some of the Eastern European culture is just a fantastic opportunity," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Brett Ragan.

Ross, forward deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.

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.

U.S. Naval Academy Hosts Judo Champion

By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Caswell

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- The United States Naval Academy (USNA) Judo Club hosted Asian Judo Championship gold medalist, Mr. Gaku Fujii, Sept. 5.

Fujii was invited to the USNA as part of Judo education solidarity foundation sponsor program organized by Sensei Yashuharo Yamashita. The USNA Judo Club sponsors recognized Judo martial artists, and holds martial arts training throughout the academic year.

"Over the last 40 years, the program has been gaining momentum to what it is now," said Fujii. "I am grateful to be sponsored as the 4th Judo representative from Japan to help to instruct these students."

Established prior to World War II, the Judo club has a long-standing history at the academy.

"Over a hundred years ago, Judo was brought to the United States and it was brought here to the Naval Academy," said Fujii.

The history of judo in the Navy goes back to 1905 when Yoshitsugu Yamashita, a pioneer of judo in the United States, having taught President Theodore Roosevelt in the White House, arrived at the Naval Academy to perform a demonstration. The academy was so impressed with the display, that Yamashita was hired to teach judo classes to Midshipmen, making it one of the oldest sports at the academy.

"Between then and now there was war and the Judo program slipped to the side," said Fujii.

Years after WWII, Judo was brought back to USNA and helped to mend relations between the US and Japan. International relations are beneficial for both countries, but the Midshipmen gain experience and knowledge they can carry with them for rest of their lives.

"The sponsored guests usually have more experience than even our highest belt holders," said Midshipman 2nd Class Angela Carandang, Judo club member. "We get training that we don't normally get. We are shown tips and tricks that build basic techniques that we can develop to advanced forms of those techniques and hopefully master."

Fujii's two weeks as a guest instructor has shown him the potential and drive of Midshipmen to learn and excel.

"I know some of the students are new to Judo, but they are strong and learning quickly," said Fujii. "I really want to see them continue training and succeed in whatever they do. I feel like they are my own students."

Starting Judo is hard at first but the training can be a Midshipman's highlight to their day.

"I fell in love with Judo very quickly," said Carandang. "It is my first contact sport, and during days when I'm stressed, it really helps me relieve that stress. Judo has really helped me step out of my shell. I wouldn't have imagined myself holding my own against a 250-pound man. It really helped me look at myself in a way I hadn't before."

The final training session ended with a presentation by the Judo club to Fujii. He plans to return to Japan to train for upcoming competitions and takes with him his experience at the USNA.

"I'm honored to have been able to come instruct," said Fujii. "I would like to come back and see how much the students have grown."

The Judo club's first completion was the Shufu Eastern open, August 30, where Mishipmen 1st Class, Dane Oshiro, took 1st place in the 170 pound weight class. The Judo Club's next competition is against Air Force, Sept 19.

Naval War College Students Graduate MAWS: Operational-Level Planning Course

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist James E. Foehl, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Thirty-five students from the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force graduated from the U.S. Naval War College's (NWC) joint service Maritime Advanced Warfighting School (MAWS), Sept. 5.

MAWS, a 13-month program that begins in August, is leveraged around the core curriculum of the intermediate-level course (ILC) and focuses on operational art-of-war and the Navy and Joint planning processes.

"This school is important, not just to the Navy, but our country as a whole, because it teaches and gives a specific tool set to our military that helps us excel," said Capt. Richard LaBranche, NWC's MAWS program director.

Students who graduate from the MAWS program receive a Joint Planner-ONE (JP1) Additional Qualification Designator and normally go on to serve in operational-planning billets.

"Operational-level planning ensures that when you have a strategy and national policy that all the tactical actions that take place are in alignment with those higher level objectives," said LaBranche. "What the MAWS graduate is able to do is come up with a plan to use joint and maritime power in order to achieve the commander's objectives."

MAWS also serves as an integral component of the NWC educational mission to develop strategic and operational leaders with the skills required to plan, execute, and assess combined, joint, and naval operations.

Over the course of the academic school year, MAWS students complete 120 hours of electives in the first two trimesters, all focused on operational art-of-war and the Navy and joint planning processes. Their final trimester is Joint Military Operations (JMO), completed with MAWS in order to fulfill case study and planning process requirements for the course.

"We teach the JMO course, tailored to operational planning," said LaBranche. "We go over case studies of past operations, have students dissect the plan for the operation pertaining to the case study, find out where it was planned well and where it could've been planned better."

"Students then re-plan [the operation], do a staff-ride to the location of where that plan took place and look at the operational environment," said LaBranche. "They study the terrain and the environment so that they can apply their knowledge in actuality."

Following completion of the core-curriculum trimesters, students graduate from NWC but continue on with a three-month capstone project before completing MAWS and earning their JP1 designator.

During the capstone, students participate in a real-world planning problem for a combatant commander, fleet commander, or a numbered fleet commander.

"We were tasked with providing a concept of operations to Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)," said 16-year Navy veteran, Cmdr. Spencer P. Austin, a MAWS program graduate. "They gave us an area they're looking to develop ideas about to work with."

The students worked together over the course of the summer to provide valuable inputs and ideas to influence real-world situations.

"We were able to apply that planning process, start to finish, as if we were out there in the fleet, go through the entire process without distractions, and provide a full brief and several white-papers to the maritime operations center director at COMPACFLT," said Austin.

Austin also noted the significance that comes with the preparation and delivery of briefing the commander.

"There's some maturation that happens when you do that. It also gave some of the students that are going to work out there an opportunity to talk with their future bosses and get a feel for what they're going to be doing."

"Anybody who's serious about their profession should consider attending this school. There's an educational opportunity here that you won't get anywhere else," said Austin. "This is the first time in my career I learned how to do planning properly. The operational-level of war requires a very detailed, structured approach to planning and the MAWS course teaches that."