Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kearsarge Conducts Successful MISSILEX

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael R. Gendron

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) ran a successful test of its Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) system during an at-sea missile exercise (MISSLEX), June 14.

The exercise simulated a possible real-life event, where the ship shot down a rapidly approaching drone.

"This is as close to an actual engagement that the ship will probably ever see," said the work center supervisor in charge of the fired missile, Fire Controlman 2nd Class Tyler J. Brozenick. "There's an actual drone coming toward the ship, and we're able to track it by radar and physically shoot the missile from the launcher. Nothing's fake, it's all live."

Brozenick said that although the exercise is over quickly, there's at least a full month's preparation prior to it.

"It takes a lot of prep work to get organized with the Aviation Ordnancemen to bring the missile on board, and then the Fire Controlmen coordinate to load the missile into the launcher," said Brozenick. "Everybody puts in a lot of hard hours."

According to Brozenick, live RAM tests are rarely done. This was, however, the second conducted in the last five years onboard the Kearsarge.

"It's exhilarating," said Brozenick. "You can see the launcher moving around to get a lock on the drone, and then those two end-caps pop off. All of the sudden, you see this giant flash of smoke, this giant rocket leaves the rail, and you hear the boom."

Brozenick went on to state that extra excitement was added when the RAM made direct contact with the drone, also known as skin-to-skin.

"As long as we get near it and it explodes, that's good. But if we can actually get skin-to-skin, that's perfect and what we need," said Brozenick. "It adds the little extra that just boosts morale."

The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are underway participating in ARG/MEUEX, a scenario-based amphibious integration exercise, in preparation for a future deployment. Kearsarge is scheduled to deploy fall 2015.

Lincoln CO Speaks at Philippine Independence Day Celebration

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Wampler

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln's Commanding Officer Capt. Ron Ravelo spoke during a ceremony held at the Philippine Cultural Center in Virginia Beach, June 12.

Ravelo, the first and only current Filipino-American commanding officer of a Navy aircraft carrier, gave remarks at a celebration commemorating the country's national holiday and to partake in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Ravelo, in attendance with his family, thanked the cultural center for the invitation to observe the traditions and pageantry presented at the ceremony, which included the presentation of a proclamation from the Virginia State Assembly and a parade of Philippine flags.

"Today's ceremony has allowed me to connect with my own Filipino heritage, as well as share this heritage with my wife and son," Ravelo said. "I look forward to returning to the cultural center and interacting with the Filipino community over the course of my two year assignment."

Festivities continued outside as the Cultural Center's color guard raised the United States and Philippine flags as national anthems were played.

Ravelo, members of the Philippine Cultural Center's council, two Virginia State Assembly delegates and Cmdr. Yvette Costales, an intelligence officer with U.S. Fleet Forces Command, then participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the back annex of the center.

Philippine Independence Day is an annual national holiday to commemorate the country's declaration of independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.

Typically, the holiday is observed with community festivals, government-sponsored activities, and educational activities for students.

Lincoln is currently undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News.

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.

Meteorology, Oceanography Commander Visits Veterans Home

From Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Public Affairs

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NAVMETOCCOM) met with more than 80 veterans and leadership of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Mass., during a Navy executive outreach visit June 9.

"Meeting men and women who have served our country is always an honor," said Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, commander, NAVMETOCCOM. "Many of these veterans have served in World War II, Korea and/or Vietnam. It was a privilege to hear their amazing individual stories and to thank them for their service."

The home's nearly 300 residents include the largest population of World War II veterans at any facility in New England. Nearly 50 percent of the residents are Word War II veterans, 25 percent served in the Korean War and 22 percent served in Vietnam.

Gallaudet toured the home with its superintendent, Paul Barabani, and deputy superintendent, John Paradis. The rest of visit was dedicated to meeting the home's residents and answering questions about today's Navy.

In an emotional highlight of the day, Gallaudet presented the World War II Victory Medal to Navy veteran Reinhold Seifert of Springfield. While standing the lookout watch aboard USS Ulysses (ARB-9) anchored off Okinawa during the Typhoon of June 1945, Seifert sighted a mine that had been cast off from one of the other ships in the anchorage. The gunners were ordered to shoot and destroy the mine as it drifted toward Ulysses, thereby saving the ship and crew.

Gallaudet's two-day visit to Springfield was part of the Navy's executive outreach program, designed to increase Americans' understanding of the Navy's mission, capabilities and relevance to national security.

The trip also included several meetings with local business leaders, Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps students at a local Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) high school, state and town government officials, TV and radio appearances, as well as an editorial board with local newspapers.

NAVMETOCCOM directs and oversees the collection, processing and exploitation of accurate, relevant and timely oceanographic, meteorological, hydrographic, precise time and astrometric information. NAVMETOCCOM was recently assigned as CTG 80.7 and is part of the Navy's Information Dominance Corps. As such, the command is the Navy's physical maritime battlespace authority.