Saturday, September 27, 2014

Amphibious Squadron Three Hosts Essex ARG and 15th MEU Combining Ceremony

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph Ebalo, USS Essex Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines of the Essex Amphibious Readiness Group (ESXARG) and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) were joined together during a combining ceremony on board the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), Sept. 26.

The event was held to officially recognize the formation of roughly 5,000 Sailors and Marines that make up the ESXARG with the 15th MEU. The ESXARG is led by Amphibious Squadron Three and is comprised of Essex, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23), Tactical Air Control Squadron Eleven (TACRON 11), and Naval Beach Group One (NBG 1).

"This combination of Marines and Sailors together showcases how we can operate simultaneously and seamlessly as one amphibious force," said Brig. Gen. Joaqin F. Malavet, commander, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade. "But most importantly this is about our people, and the human element of our mission to take care of each other and be proud of this new journey as one whole team."

During the ceremony, top leaders from units belonging to the ESXARG and 15th MEU addressed more than 120 Sailors, Marines and guests about the advantages of working together.

"We truly are the 'Swiss Army Knife" of our nation," said Capt. Clinton Carroll, commander, Amphibious Squadron Three. "As a sea-based force, we offer highly maneuverable, scalable, flexible and responsive options to our leaders in today's dynamic global security environment."

The mission of the ESXARG is to help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and provide humanitarian/disaster response as well as support the Navy's Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.

"The Essex, Anchorage, Rushmore and all of our steel and gear are most impressive," said Col. Vance L. Cryer, commander, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. "Now combine that with unity of one command, several units joined together to focus one mission and work together on the daily task at hand, and that is even more impressive."

Cryer added that the sheer power of our amphibious assault ships, tanks and vehicles is a remarkable site.

The ceremony on board the Essex's flight deck concluded with parading of the colors and a cake cutting. Afterwards the Sailors and Marines had an opportunity to tour all the ships of the ESXARG and meet each other.

"I am proud of what we have formed today and I'm confident we will be able to answer our nations call," said Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three. "By the looks of all the motivated Sailors and Marines around me, I can honestly say that we are in very good and very capable hands, regardless of the mission."

The ESXARG is scheduled to deploy in 2015. While deployed, the ARG/MEU team serves as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.

CNIC Fire and Emergency Services Recognizes Firefighters in Ceremony

From Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Thirty Navy fire and emergency service professionals were recognized for their outstanding performance this year in a ceremony on Sept. 24 at the headquarters for Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) in Washington D.C.

The ceremony was part of an annual two-day training event for CNIC regional fire chiefs.

Commander, Navy Installations Command Vice Adm. William French presented the awardees with plaques and certificates as a token of appreciation and praised the firefighters and their teams for a job well done.

"I don't think we say often enough how proud we are of you," said French. "We are proud of the great job you do each and every day to protect all of us."

Competition for the awards is based on ten different categories. Entries are used to compete at both the Navy and Department of Defense (DoD) levels. Service professionals from Navy Installations Command claimed four of the DoD awards and 10 Navy awards for this year.

Rick Brockman, deputy director Fire and Emergency Services Program, spoke about the importance of the fire and emergency teams.

"Fire and emergency services provide Sailors with a peace of mind," said Brockman. "Sailors and their families can feel comfortable their homes are in good hands while the Sailors are deployed. We allow them to have that piece of mind because they know they have a professional force covering them."

According to Brockman the selection process for the winners was extremely difficult.

"It was highly competitive and was based on documented performance," he said. "These awardees are the best of the best for fire and emergency services."

In the department category fire stations are evaluated on customer service, department level awards, such as accreditation, certifications and other recognition, innovation, quality of life initiatives (within or outside of the department) and firefighter health and safety initiatives.

The individual awards are based on accomplishments, job performance, technical competence, leadership ability, initiative and resourcefulness.

Winners of the DoD award:
* DoD and Navy Heroism of the year- Naval District Washington
* DoD and Navy Civilian Fire Officer of the Year- Mr. Pete Sorensen- Navy Region Japan
* DoD and Navy Fire Prevention Program of the Year- Navy Region Southwest
* DoD and Navy Medium Fire Department of the Year- Naval Station Rota

Navy winners were:
* Navy EMS Provider of the Year- Mr. James Pickett- NSB Kings Bay
* Navy Fire Service Instructor of the Year- Mr. Akinori Chiba, Navy Region Japan
* Navy Civilian Firefighter of the Year- Mr. Naoto Hashiguchi, Navy Region Japan
* Navy Military Firefighter of the Year- ABH1 Kaleb Willi, Naval Station Rota
* Navy Military Fire Officer of the Year- TSGT Matthew Walls, Navy Region Hawaii
* Navy Small Fire Department of the Year- Navy Submarine Base Kings Bay
* Navy Large Fire Department of the Year- Navy Region Northwest
* Navy Fire Chief of the Year- Regional Fire Chief Bruce Kramer

Navy Commands Celebrate Flexible and Innovative Work

From Chief of Naval Personnel

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy commands recognized for their flexible workplace practices are sharing their methods with the fleet to help leaders provide the best opportunity for developing and retaining Sailors and civilian employees.

Nine Navy commands were honored with the When Work Works Award, which highlights organizations across the country for creating effective workplaces for employee and employer. The commands have utilized a variety of practices to enhance morale and productivity, including an emphasis on providing telework opportunities, initiatives to support health and fitness, and an emphasis on supporting career goals for individuals.

The recipients of the When Work Works Award were announced in August, and as commands get ready for the 2015 application cycle, leaders are sharing what worked to help them develop their talented teams.

"Award winners, like Naval Station Great Lakes, are recognized for their command accomplishments along with their ability to help Sailors set and attain their professional and personal goals outside of work," said Lt. Francis (Shannon) Sweeney, Life-Work Balance lead, Plans and Policy, Chief of Naval Personnel Office of Diversity and Inclusion . "That includes college courses, obtaining degrees, United Services Military Apprenticeship Program certification, or community involvement. When command triads can accomplish the mission and be flexible enough to support Sailors' other pursuits, that is a win for the Navy."

The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) in Orlando, Fla., has won the When Work Works Award for two years in a row.

"As the Navy's primary center for advanced training simulation, we are always seeking better and faster ways to accomplish our mission for the warfighter," said Capt. Wes Naylor, NAWCTSD commanding officer. "We learn from experience and experiments, we focus on innovation, effectiveness, and performance, and we are open to changing our assumptions and developing new approaches to solve problems."

Naylor adds that a focus on balance with at home and work life makes their Sailors and civilian employees happier and more productive.

Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Lemoore, Calif., and Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), Pensacola, Fla., have won the award two out of the past three years.

The nine commands that were recognized for 2014 are:
Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii;
Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla;
Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), Pensacola, Fla;
Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio;
Naval Sea Logistics Center, Mechanicsburg, Pa;
Naval Station Great Lakes, Great Lakes, Ill;
Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), Lemoore, Lemoore, Calif;
NOSC - Shreveport, Bossier City, La;
Submarine Learning Facility, Norfolk, Va.