Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Program Offers Museum Visits to Service Members, Families

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2015 – From Memorial Day through Labor Day, service members and their families can visit more than 2,000 museums in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa courtesy of collaboration among the Blue Star Museums, the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Defense Department.

At the Phillips Collection art museum here May 20, the kickoff of the sixth year of the Blue Star Museums featured the presentation of the colors by the St. John’s College High School Junior ROTC, remarks by leadership and a tour of the collection for military families.

Ellyn Dunford, wife of Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., commandant of the Marine Corps, hosted the first Blue Star Museums event in San Diego six years ago. She said visiting museums can have long-range affects.

“Museums celebrate tolerance and freedom, teach respect for cultural differences, facilitate a sense of individual and collective identity and power through knowledge, nurture and understanding of our connections to the world and each other,” she said. “Military families spread messages throughout the world as they change duty stations as they move, and they eventually leave the military and go back to our communities and bring with them that wealth of knowledge and experience.”

Something for Everyone

Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said the Blue Star Museums program has something for everyone.

“Parents of young children tell us that they go to museums to learn new things and have family time together,” she said. “Blue Star Museums helps them do both; by helping military families learn about the cultural resources in their communities and offering a fun, high-quality experience that’s budget friendly, as well as family friendly. We’re proud to help connect museums to military communities nationwide.”

Military Families

For Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet, wife of retired Marine Corps Col. Greg Douquet, the Blue Star Museums program holds a special place in her heart.

“In 2010, when this program began, we had gotten a one week’s notice that my husband was going to go to Afghanistan for a year, so he packed his bag, shaved his head and went off. It was a tough year for all of us,” she said. “Museum-going enhances resilience. It’s a nice, free activity in a beautiful setting that uplifts you, and you’re also being told you’re important. When you go to into the museum, the folks behind the counter say, ‘We’re so glad you’re here. Welcome, this is yours for the summer. It’s free because we appreciate what you do.’”

Douquet said she and her children -- Sophie, 17, and Charley, 13 -- have been to 27 Blue Star Museums and plan to visit more with her husband.

A Welcome Break

For Patricia Ochan, taking a tour of the Phillips Collection is a welcome break from doctors’ appointments. She is the wife of Marine Corps Sgt. Jimmy Ochan, who is with the chemical and biological incident response force unit out of Indian Head, Maryland.

“This program is a great way for families to come out and spend time together,” she said. “We spend a lot of time in the hospital for my husband’s doctor’s appointments, so for us to be able to come out here is a huge break. We get to spend more time with our son and show him things. When he grows up and looks back, he’ll be happy and respect the fact his dad exposed him to these good things.”

During his three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Ochan suffered post-traumatic stress and injuries from an improvised explosive device blast.

The Program

The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card, a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military, National Guard, reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and up to five family members.

Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. For questions on particular exhibits or museums, contact the museum directly. To find participating museums and plan a trip, visit the Blue Star Museums website, arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

USS Theodore Roosevelt Advances 264 Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Brown, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (NNS) -- On the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) 264 Sailors were advanced to the next pay grade during a frocking ceremony, May 24.

Capt. Daniel Grieco, Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer, personally presented a frocking letter to each Sailor and congratulated them for their achievement.

"I can't say how proud I am of this entire crew," said Grieco. "One of the great things I have the pleasure of doing as a commanding officer is to see you all progress and promote so we can put more responsibility on you and you can advance your careers to go on and do great things."

Frocked Sailors receive the right to wear the uniform and assume the responsibilities of their next pay grade as a result of their hard work and dedication while continuing leadership development.

"It feels great to make [petty officer 2nd class]", said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Rick Jones, from Cambridge, Maryland. "It's motivation to work harder for my people and help them advance."

Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Eddie Lowery Walsh, a native of Lynnwood, Washington, attributed his recent success to hard work and help from his mentor.

"This feels absolutely amazing," said Lowery. "I studied every night in my rack for four months. Hard work will take you a long way in the Navy."

The Navy has used the term frocking throughout its history, but frocking was not officially referred to as part of an advancement policy until published in the Bureau of Naval Personnel Manual in 1974.

TR promoted 143 Sailors to third class petty officer, 94 to second class petty officer and 26 to first class petty officer.

Abraham Lincoln CPO 365 Helps Maintain Naval History

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Derry Todd, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Chief petty officers and first class petty officers from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) cleaned spaces aboard the Iowa-class Battleship USS Wisconsin (BB 64) in Norfolk, May 20, as part of a CPO 365 community relations event.

Lincoln Sailors have adopted four spaces aboard Wisconsin and are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and habitability of those spaces. The chiefs and first class petty officers visit Wisconsin monthly as part of the CPO 365 program.

"In addition to maintaining general cleanliness we plan to bring our spaces to life and make them look as realistic as possible for the tourists and families that visit," said Chief Information Systems Technician Arial Anderson, the CPO 365 event coordinator.

Wisconsin was first commissioned into naval service April 16, 1944 and since then has been re-commissioned twice and decommissioned three times. Since Dec. 7, 2000, the battleship has been docked next to the Nauticus museum in Norfolk.

"The Wisconsin shows people who aren't in the Navy a window into what we do, how we live and operate," said Aviation Electrician 1st Class Mike Shipley. "Everything on a ship should be clean, tidy and purpose driven and it seems like the Wisconsin illustrates that well."

In 2006, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, requiring that the battleships USS Wisconsin and USS Iowa (BB 61) be kept and maintained in a state of readiness in case their service was ever again required.

"I think helping maintain the Wisconsin is really awesome," said Shipley. "It gives Sailors a sense of heritage. Being here on the Wisconsin reminds me that even though this ship was built generations ago we are still doing the same type of duty to this day."

One of the CPO 365 primary functions is mentorship, and this community relations event in particular held a unique opportunity.

"After each rehabilitation project we receive Naval Heritage and History training from the staff members, many of whom are retired chief petty officer's and first class petty officers," Anderson said. "Naval history is an important part of the CPO 365 program because as chiefs we are expected to know and teach our Sailors naval history and integrate into daily leadership."

Lincoln is currently undergoing refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz-class to undergo an RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone.

Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.