Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Milcom Blog Logs - 9/25/2008 - Central Florida

Here are some great Milcom Blogs logs from Anonymous in Central Florida on 9/25/2008.

1314 120.950 SEALORD
BOLT 41 (KC-125R, 91st ARS) direct Craig

1323 267.500 SEALORD
FANG 1 (F-15, 125th FW) direct Jax

1327 306.000 Jax NAS
LIMA LIMA 45 (P-3C, VP-30) calling 80, on 'Base', contact 135.050 at CARPS/CARRS

1334 292.100 MacDill AFB
'we are looking at it' / discussing circuit breaker issues, will RTB and full stop

1531 231.750 Grumman
WIZARD (E-8C, Northrop Grumman)

1532 225.725 Grumman
WIZARD calling STAR 1

1533 267.500 SEALORD
_____ 85 VFR to Beaufort, 10 miles off the coast

1558 314.050 Tyndall AFB
WHAM 1-2, mention VOODOO 1 and 4 to HYDRA

-Recorded logs 1300 - 2300 EDT-
120.950 SEALORD N
____ 49, FL 250

138.250 Homestead ARB 93rd FS V-15
AKULA air-air (F-16C)

138.475 Patrick AFB
KING 70 (HC-130P, 93rd RQS) with JOLLY 22 (HH-60G, 301st RQS) "on secondary Victor"

FOX 619 calling Ops

142.300 Homestead ARB 93rd FS V-14
SHARK 21-22 air-air (F-16C)

143.800 Homestead ARB 93rd FS SOF V-1
MAKO 13 Code 3 (F-16C)

227.075 Eglin AFB W-470A
BURNER 1-2 (sounded like F-22's)

228.225 Moody AFB 71st RQS Ops
___ 15 "on Uniform" (Probable KING 15)

234.800 FL ANG 125th FW 6-Aux
Unid air-air

234.925 Tyndall AFB
Unid ACM

251.250 FL ANG SOF 125th FW
SNAKE with ETA (F-15)

253.700 FL ANG 125th FW 7-Aux
Unid air-air

255.500 Patrick AFB 920th RQW Ops

267.500 SEALORD S
318.600 Jax NAS SEALORD Discrete

284.500 SEALORD N
MASH 61 (KC-135R, 72nd ARS)
_____ 49, direct Taylor then Tinker

285.725 Avon Park Range S Tac U-10
MAKO currently with JTAC

292.200 Avon Park Range Ops
KING 15 PJ drops
SHARK 21-22
MAKO 11-12

311.000 MacDill AFB LIGHTNING Ops
PAT 757 (self ID as King Air)
RCH 4833 (KC-135R, 64-14833, 91st ARS)
PISTON 43 (KC-135R, 927th AMW)
314.200 FL ANG 125th FW 8-Aux
Unid air-air

321.000 Patrick AFB 920th RQW Ops

339.700 Jax NAS W-158 Discrete
SNAKE 1 ACM vs unid (female pilot)

343.000 FL ANG 125th FW 9-Aux

344.600 MacDill / Patrick Metro
Unid requesting WX for MacDill Aux Field (Avon Park Range)

361.400 Tyndall AFB
Unid ACM (sounded like F-22's)

376.900 Jax NAS W-157 Discrete
Unid ref altimeter

385.300 Jax NAS W-157 Discrete
Unid ACM

Milcom Blog Logs - 9/23/2008 - Central Florida

Here are some great Milcom Blogs logs from Anonymous in Central Florida on 9/23/2008.

120.950 SEALORD N
LIFTER 35 (C-17A, 437th AW) to AR-202 to meet BOLT 22 (KC-135R, 91st ARS)

225.350 Pinecastle Target
RAM 31-32 (F/A-18C, VFA-83)

284.500 SEALORD N
FANG 4 (F-15, 125th FW)

267.500 SEALORD S
SNAKE to Button 7 (F-15, 125th FW)
BLUETAIL (E-2C, VAW-121) with SEALORD, strike coord to Avon Park via FINNS ALTRAV,
5 aircraft, includes VICTORY tanker, BONES 21-22 (F/A-18F, VFA-103), CAT 23-24.
BLUETAIL looking for lat/long for 31 Juliet bomb box.
WILDCAT 21 (F/A-18C, VFA-131)

285.725 Avon Park Range - S Tac
BONES 21-22
CAT 21-22
VIC 21 (FAC-A; F/A-18F) "break left, missile in the air"
MAKO 11-14 (F-16C, 93rd FS)

289.200 Pinecastle Range Control

292.200 Avon Park Range Control
VICTORY 21 will be FAC-A; CAT 23-24, BONES 22, possible VICTORY 23 to join
MAKO 11-14, to Button 10
SHARK 21 (F-16C, 93rd FS)

306.000 Jax NAS
Unid P-3 air-air

314.050 Tyndall AFB
Unid ACM, mention HYDRA on Button 1

361.400 Tyndall AFB
Unid ACM

371.350 Jax NAS P-3 Base Common
____ BRAVO, passes ETA, fuel request

-USS Eisenhower logs-

313.825 MARSHAL Button 16


RAM 21

324.175 RAM Tac
ACM; RAM 32; CAT calling "RAM on your Tac"
Discussing approach protocol, monitor Button 1 after MARSHAL check in

RAM 22

335.675 RED CROWN
103, 201, 211, 203

Unid air-air


Unid air-air

351.675 STRIKE
Mention of DEFIANT GREY (USS Vicksburg?)
201, 211

Unid air-air

Unid, "visual, track East"

360.350 VICTORY Tac?
203, 201

BLUETAIL, unid aircraft discussing 31 Juliet box (to drop un-expended ordinance)

363.600 AIC?
VIC 21 (201); 203 single mission tanker to Avon Park
211 switching Avon Park
CAT 21 switching Avon Park

"try Button 8"
HAMMER 31-32


Unid passing fuel quantity gage issue. (Possible maintenance REP freq)

Milcom Blog Logs - 9/27/2008 Central Florida

Here are some great Milcom Blogs logs from Anonymous in Central Florida on 9/27/2008.

120.950 SEALORD S
OMEGA 71 Heavy (B707 tanker, Omega Air Inc)
TEAL 73 (WC-130J, 53rd WRS)

225.350 Pinecastle Range Target
VICTORY 51-52, button 19 Aux
RAM 71-72

267.500 SEALORD S
BLUETAIL 602, players north into 5 Xray and Yankee,
3 Xray and Yankee.
OMEGA 71 Heavy, sweet/sweet with the boat; RTB Cecil Field.

284.500 SEALORD N
MAD FOX 2 (P-3C, VP-5)

289.200 Pinecastle Range Control "SEALORD"
BLUETAIL coordinating event flights
CAT 51-52
RAM 71-72
200, 206, to Button 4 Red Crown on check out

313.825 USS Eisenhower - MARSHAL Button 16
210, 303, 401, 406, 416, 503; pushes to Tower Button 1; CCA Button 15 and 17.

317.350 USS Eisenhower - DEPARTURE
BLUETAIL 601, will be controlling STRIKE and MARSHAL

318.075 USS Eisenhower
Unid "Button 19" (radio sounded like BLUETAIL)

324.175 USS Eisenhower RAM Tac
RAM 71-72 air-air

326.350 USS Eisenhower
VIPER 1-2 / "104 your Tac"
Unid air-air

327.175 USS Eisenhower
"check in Button 9 Pri" , "switch Button 12"
Mention going 333.300
VIPER 1-2 / SNAKE 3-4
"DOG, 04; CAT, 5 to 9's" "can switch my Tac 12"

335.675 USS Eisenhower - RED CROWN
211, 303, 310, 406, 410, 412, 503

335.925 USS Eisenhower
"go Button 9 Pri"
DOG 72

338.100 SEALORD
Unid calling to check in for 4Xray area

343.575 USS Eisenhower - INDIA ROMEO Button 8 (self ID)
BLUETAIL still hearing escorting on the Blue Force Control freq

348.025 USS Eisenhower
Mission AAR tanking (Probable DOG or VICTORY Tac)
104, 103 to Button 10 to coord for gas
"going our Tac 9"

351.675 USS Eisenhower - STRIKE Button 3
OMEGA 71 Heavy, no contact with INDIA PAPA
210, 401, 406, 410, 416, 503, 601

357.350 USS Eisenhower

360.325 USS Eisenhower Button 9 (self ID)
DOG 105 and 106, Tact callsign DOG 23-24 check in, ACM.
VICTORY 31-32 with KILO
BLUETAIL 602 with KILO on Button 9, no contact AD C&R pri or sec.
BLUETAIL AIC (Air Intercept Control), POISON 11-14
VIPER 1 (side 312), SNAKE, DOG 11 (side 102) check in with BLUETAIL
CAT 11-12 (side 410)

360.350 USS Eisenhower
Unid air-air

363.275 USS Eisenhower Button 5 (self ID)
"104 on Button 5"

363.600 USS Eisenhower Button 12
BLUETAIL, any joy Vicksburg on FAD 1?
Forward control for Red Air on Button 10
211 to Button 12 for Control
106, 203, 204, 501
RAM 51 (301)
CAT 51-52 switch Pinecastle Range
VICTORY 51, to Button 11 for 1v1 AIC control
RAM 301 (RAM 71) to OMEGA
602 calling 501 on Button 12

365.825 USS Eisenhower
Unid air-air, 51, 54
"go 306.575 Aux"

366.000 USS Eisenhower
VIPER 1-2 to 4 Xray and 4 Yankee, VIPER 3-4.
(BLUETAIL controller also working "E-2 LNO")
Mention of Halyburton (FFG-40)
CAT 31-32, one CAT to simulate missile run to the ship, cleared down to the deck
DOG 71

367.250 USS Eisenhower
CAT 21 air-air

369.050 Unid

Ike has started activity for today.

OMEGA 71 Heavy has checked in with STRIKE (351.675) as the AR tanker.
BLUETAIL passed OMEGA was track 6105.

1618 363.600 USS Eisenhower
BLUETAIL working 200, traffic in area is MAD FOX, 300 7 Xray is clear

1618 366.000 USS Eisenhower
BLUETAIL with INVADER JACK 327, up Strike Alpha and Jax Center / INVADER JACK 250, bullseye Tampa 30-00, 080-00

1619 357.350 USS Eisenhower
BONES 11-12

1619 327.175 USS Eisenhower

1620 267.500 SEALORD
BLUETAIL 601 calling MAD FOX 2

1623 289.200 Pinecastle Range

1624 284.500 SEALORD
MAD FOX 2 have 2 contacts

1627 365.825

1630 313.825 USS Eisenhower MARSHAL
503 'low state'

1647 351.675 USS Eisenhower STRIKE
OMEGA 71 HEAVY check in with STRIKE, BLUETAIL track 6105

Add: 335.925, unid to contact BLUETAIL.

343.575 USS Eisenhower - INDIA ROMEO
OMEGA 71 check in

Little Rock Air Force Base shifting focus

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AFPN) -- Officials from the 19th Airlift Wing will accept operational control of Little Rock Air Force Base Oct. 1 from 314th AW officials to become the base's host wing here. The 19th AW is an Air Mobility Command wing and the 314th AW is an Air Education and Training Command wing. With an AMC wing taking command, the focus of the base shifts from training to combat.

According to Air Force senior leaders, an AMC airlift wing at Little Rock AFB was in the best interest of the Air Force to meet today's mission requirements. As a result, a series of realignment actions on base and numerous aircraft and unit realignments took place, considerably shifting the wing's mission focus from student training to mobility employment.

While serving as Little Rock AFB's host wing, the 314th AW supported both AMC's 463rd Airlift Group and the Arkansas Air National Guard's 189th Airlift Wing. As AMC officials activate the 19th AW, it will inherit the mission and tradition of excellence of the 314th Airlift Wing including base operating support responsibilities such as maintenance, medical services and mission support.

The 19th AW dates back to 1927 when the U.S. Army Air Corps created the unit as the 19th Observation Group.

AMC's mission is to deliver maximum war-fighting and humanitarian effects for America through rapid and precise global air mobility.

The 314th AW will become the tenant wing and continue to train C-130 Hercules aircrews.

Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr. will assume command of the 19th AW as Col. Charles K. Hyde assumes command of the 314th AW. Col. James Johnson will be the 19th AW vice commander while Col. Mark Vlahos will remain 314th AW vice commander. Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley will become the 19th AW command chief and Chief Master Sgt. Richard Turcotte, Jr. will be the new command chief for the 314th AW.

The change of command ceremony will take place Oct. 1at 10 a.m., hosted by Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Feest, 19th Air Force commander at Randolph AFB, Texas, followed by the activation ceremony for the 19th AW and assumption of command by Brig. Gen. Schatz, hosted by Maj. Gen. Winfield W. Scott III, 18th Air Force commander at Scott AFB, Ill.

USS Ford Returns

The USS Ford returned to Naval Station Everett in Washington State September 28 after spending more than five months at sea.

San Antonio Makes Inaugural Transit Through Suez Canal

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Brian Goodwin, Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group Public Affairs

The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) steams through the Mediterranean Sea. San Antonio is deployed as part of the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katrina Parker/Released)

USS SAN ANTONIO, At Sea (NNS) -- The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) made its first transit through the Suez Canal as part of the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group Sept. 23.

San Antonio's first transit through the Suez Canal marked its entry into the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

"As we enter the Fifth Fleet area of operations, we will conduct Maritime Security Operations, maritime infrastructure protection and will work to deter destabilizing activities in order to help create a lawful maritime order," said Cmdr. Kurt Kastner, San Antonio's commanding officer.

San Antonio relied on the skill and expertise of its Sailors to successfully maneuver the Suez Canal's navigational challenges.

"As the first of the class making the transit, we are figuratively in uncharted waters," said Kastner. "However, we have plenty of experience, knowledge and resourcefulness in the crew, which made for a smooth transit."

One of the challenges of the transit was the narrow passage San Antonio had to navigate.

"The path through the Suez is only 119 meters wide with water as deep as 14.8 meters," said Lt. j. g. Kathleen Friel, San Antonio's navigator. "Therefore, the turns made by the helmsman need to be precise when adjusting course."

San Antonio is deployed as part of the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group supporting maritime security operations (MSO) in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area of operations. MSO help develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

USS Howard Monitoring MV Faina

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The U.S. 5th Fleet continues to actively monitor the situation with Motor Vessel Faina, the Belize-flagged cargo ship, which was captured Sept. 25.

San Diego-based destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) is on station and is in visual range of MV Faina, which is anchored off the Somalia coast near the harbor city of Hobyo.

"Howard is on-station," said Cmdr. Curtis Goodnight, Howard commanding officer. "My crew is actively monitoring the situation, keeping constant watch on the vessel and the waters in the immediate vicinity."

Two other pirated vessels, MV Capt Stefanos and MV Centauri, are also anchored at this location.

This incident highlights the complexity of the situation in the region. MV Faina is owned and operated by "Kaalybe Shipping Ukraine" and is carrying a cargo of T-72 tanks and related equipment. Its crew is comprised of citizens from Ukraine, Russia and Latvia. There is no indication that the ship had a security team aboard.

Howard is part of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, which is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO).

MSO help develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

CAP provides rescue resources during emergencies

by Christine Harrison Air University Public Affairs

John Salvador, Civil Air Patrol's director of operations, explains the capabilities of the CAP National Operations Center at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., Sept. 16. The center is CAP's communication hub during disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFPN) -- When disasters strike, there is a select group of volunteer pilots, search and rescue teams, and trained observers who help those in need. Missing persons, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes and downed aircraft are some of the situations to which the Civil Air Patrol responds at a moment's notice.

Established in 1941, CAP is the official auxiliary of the Air Force, and its first national board chairman was Gen. Carl Spaatz. Its initial missions were sighting and bombing U-boats off American shores during World War II. Today, search and rescue and aerial reconnaissance make up the bulk of its missions.

CAP, which receives most of its taskings from the 1st Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is headquartered at Maxwell AFB. Co-located with the headquarters, the CAP National Operations Center is the organization's communication hub during disaster relief operations. There, the headquarters' director of operations has at his fingertips real-time, full-motion video from CAP aircraft or ground vehicles, instantly uploaded still images of federally designated targets such as dams and bridges, and state-of-the-art communication tools.

"We are currently working four missions in Texas," said John Salvador,director of operations for the CAP. The missions were in response to the destruction of Hurricane Ike. "[The Federal Emergency Management Agency], 1st Air Force and the state of Texas gave us several targets for aerial damage assessment. We are also working several targets in Louisiana."

The key to CAP's success with all of its missions is its ability to call upon volunteers and its fleet of high-wing, single-engine aircraft.

"It costs CAP about $120 per hour to operate [an aircraft] during a mission," Mr. Salvador said. "There is no way any other organization could maintain that operating cost, and it is something we could not do without our volunteers."

On average, it costs $1,600 per hour to operate an unmanned aircraft and $2,600 for a HH-60G Blackhawk helicopter, according to CAP statistics.

CAP members throughout Texas gathered recently to help fellow citizens recover from Hurricane Ike. Pilots, observers and ground crews from the Texas wing received taskings filtered through the headquarters here, then went out the photograph coastlines, especially in Galveston, while crews in the Northwest were searching for a missing person and pilots in Virginia were preparing a public relations flight.

The most visible and recent CAP search mission was when aviator Steve Fossett went missing in Nevada in 2007. Mr. Salvador said that the Civil Air Patrol spent almost $230,000 in five weeks looking for the renowned American adventurer, whose light aircraft never arrived at its destination.

Volunteers with CAP do receive military training, but 21,810 of its 56,530 members are cadets who receive aerospace education and training from senior members. Cadets become senior members at 21 years of age.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

USNS Mercy Returns

The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy arrived back at its homeport of San Diego September 25, following a four-month humanitarian mission to Southeast Asia.

USS Pennsylvania Completes Historic Deterrent Patrol

Sailors assigned to the Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarine USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) spell out the word “Fifty” as they return to Naval Base Kitsap, Navy Region Northwest. Pennsylvania has just completed its 50th Patrol at sea and a significant moment in history for the submarine. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Chris Otsen (RELEASED)

SILVERDALE, Wash (NNS) -- The blue crew of USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) recently returned from the ship's 60th Strategic Deterrent Patrol. This historic patrol marked a significant milestone as it was the 500th successful patrol of the Ohio-class submarine Trident II D5 Strategic Weapons System (SWS).

"I am honored that Pennsylvania was in position to complete this historic patrol and milestone for the ballistic missile submarine fleet, and I'm extremely proud of my crew for their efforts in successfully completing this patrol," said Cmdr. Brad Neff, commanding officer of USS Pennsylvania (Blue).

Pennsylvania is one of 14 ballistic missile submarines in the Navy today. Eight are stationed in Bangor, Wash., with the other six stationed in King's Bay, Ga.

Each SSBN operates with two complete crews, identified as blue and gold, who alternate responsibility for taking the submarine to sea on mission. This command structure provides national defense planners better than 65 percent operational availability for each submarine and optimizes maintenance schedules ensuring each submarine can serve the nation for 40 years as designed.

"As the maritime strategy illustrates, preventing wars is as important as winning wars. For 500 straight patrols of the Trident II D5 weapon system, the ballistic missile submarine force has done just that," said Neff.

USS Theodore Roosevelt Deploys in Support of Maritime Security Operations

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Monique Hilley, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is escorted out to sea after leaving Naval Station Norfolk. Roosevelt deploying as part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Lolita M. Lewis/Released)

USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At sea (NNS) -- More than 5,000 Sailors departed their homeport Sept. 8 as USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), flagship of the Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG), left for a regularly-scheduled deployment to support maritime security operations.

The strike group's ships are prepared to conduct a variety of missions, including forward naval presence, maritime security operations, crisis response and theater support cooperation.

Roosevelt deploys with embarked Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22.

"Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group units have completed all requirements for deployment and are prepared to achieve any missions we will be tasked to execute on deployment in support of theater commanders," said Rear Adm. Frank Pandolfe, commander, TRCSG.

The strike group recently completed a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), made up of more than 15,000 service members from six countries working together to advance the art of coalition operations, as well as learning to maximize the unique capabilities and strengths of each member of the combined force.

Roosevelt Commanding Officer, Capt. Ladd Wheeler, praised his crew for the work they did in preparation for the deployment. He said the ship is ready; the crew is well-trained, and everyone is excited to get a chance to implement their training during the deployment.

"We can all take great pride in the men and women we are sending forward to represent our country," said Wheeler. "They have each worked diligently to ensure that they are properly trained, and Theodore Roosevelt is prepared for a variety of missions we may encounter while on deployment."

Other TRCSG assets include the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61); the guided missile destroyers USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nitze (DDG 94); the attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761); and the fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 3).

USS Wasp Undocks Ahead of Schedule At NNSY

U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263, Marine Aircraft Group 29, prepare for flight on the deck of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). Wasp is on surge deployment to the Middle East carrying the Osprey to its first combat deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zachary L. Borden

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- USS Wasp (LHD 1), in Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) for an eight-month docking phased maintenance availability (DPMA), undocked Sept. 18, one day ahead of schedule.

"Wasp has met or exceeded all key events in this availability, and the early undocking sets the stage for future success," said Charlie Caudle, NNSY project superintendent.

"[The undocking was] a very long and tedious process that went smooth as silk, which is exactly as it should be," said Capt. Dan Fillion, Wasp commanding officer. "The whole event from planning to execution was a superlative example of the excellent maintenance team on Wasp."

In addition to Caudle, the Wasp team is headed by deputy project superintendents Bryan Holberton and Lt. Cmdr. Robin Ball.

The fiscal year 2008 DPMA has more than 124,000 man-days of work, with NNSY performing more than 24,000 man-days of core work on the ship's elevators, forced draft blowers and boilers. The remainder of the DPMA work is being done by BAE Systems and the alteration installation team. Major jobs include a new local area network system, fuel oil compensation stability and MV-22 Osprey modifications which allow the ship to operate, maintain and transport the tilt rotor aircraft effectively.

"The Wasp team has done a phenomenal job of coordinating the efforts of multiple organizations to integrate required maintenance and modernization work to be successful at this stage of the availability," said NNSY's Commander, Capt. Richard D. Berkey.

According to Berkey, this unique availability tested the limits of the NNSY-industry partnership in Hampton Roads.

"The collaboration at the project level with all parties was critical to making this successful and the relationships have been very positive and productive," said Berkey.

NNSY, a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) field activity, is one of four public shipyards that play a major role in maintaining America's fleet and providing wartime surge capability to keep the nation's ships ready for combat.

USS O'Kane, USS Reuben James Depart Pearl Harbor for Western Pacific

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael A. Lantron, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS O'Kane (DDG 77) departed their homeport of Naval Station (NAVSTA) Pearl Harbor Sept. 25 for a Mid-Pacific Surface Combatant Operational Employment.

The Mid-Pacific Surface Combatant Operational Employment program calls for nine of the 11 Hawaii-based surface combatants to conduct intermediate/advanced training and regular deployments in the Western Pacific, and is designed to improve the U.S. Pacific Fleet's war fighting readiness and effectiveness.

Friends and family watched from the pier as their loved ones set sail for the Pacific Ocean.

"It's what they're here to do," said the spouse of an O'Kane Sailor. "The best we can hope for is they come back to us safely."

"We're absolutely ready to do this," said Cmdr. Joseph Naman, commanding officer of Reuben James. "We've spent a lot of time underway recently and are trained in all areas, so this is nothing new to the crew."

Reuben James and O'Kane returned June 8 from a two-month deployment as part of the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in support of the global war on terrorism.

Departing their friends and family after a short period of time can be strenuous, but the Sailors are ready for the challenges that are to come.

"It's going to be another great experience," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Adan Ramos, assigned to O'Kane. "We're all confident and ready to do everything we're tasked to do."

Guided missile destroyers provide multimission offensive and defensive capabilities, and can operate independently or as part of carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups.

Frigates fulfill a Protection of Shipping (POS) mission as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) combatants for amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups and merchant convoys.

Friday, September 26, 2008

USS Mitscher DC Teams Prepare for Joint Warrior

USS MITSCHER, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) are using the remaining days of September to hone their skills in damage control as the ship transits the Atlantic Ocean to participate in the Joint Warrior course, a multinational exercise held off the coast of Scotland.

With drills and exercises conducted daily, Sailors assigned to Mitscher's damage control division said their transit across the Atlantic gives them a chance to get back to the basics and ensure damage control teams are proficient in their levels of knowledge.

"Right now we are conducting daily drills for the at-sea fire party," said Damage Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Frank Sampsel, a member of the ship's damage control division. "We are also holding training for the repair lockers, hose handling, flooding and the P-100 submersible pump. The goal is to ensure that all damage control kits go through extensive training."

Damage Controlman 1st Class (SW) Kevin Parham emphasized the importance of having every crew member qualified in a diverse cross-section of damage control and ready for potential shipboard emergencies.

"It is vital for the entire crew to be competent in damage control," said Parham. "With our smaller crew compliment, and the fact that this is a warship, the survival of the ship during an emergency rests on the quality of the training the crew receives."

The entire ship benefits from sound damage control drills and training Sampsel said.

"Having the entire crew trained in damage control helps to better the ship," said Sampsel. "Familiarization with damage control equipment and firefighting ensures that we are capable of handling any emergency that comes our way."

Joint Warrior will begin in early October and is expected to last approximately two weeks. The exercise will involve air, sea, and ground assets from participating allied and NATO forces.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

USS Curts Departs Palau

By Lt.j.g. Bryan Boggs, USS Curts Public Affairs

KOROR, Palau (NNS) -- USS Curts (FFG 38) departed Koror Sept. 20 after a scheduled six-day port visit during her return homeward after a Western Pacific and Persian Gulf deployment with the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.

While in port, crew members offered ship tours to local school children as part of a a community relations (COMREL) project. The children were enthusiastic and curious about life aboard a naval vessel.

"Usually our COMRELs involve painting or some physical labor. This was different; we just interacted with the kids and had a lot of fun getting to know them," Dumpit said, adding, "It was nice change of pace," said Storekeeper 3rd Class (SW) Clifford Dumpit.

Later, a U.S. Navy Seabee battalion stationed on Palau paired up with the Curts crew and aided in the distribution of more than 850 pounds of hygienic material and toys as part of Project Handclasp. The material was distributed to the local hospital and to local schools where it was graciously received, said Cmdr. Yvette Davids, Curts' commanding officer.

"Building a relationship with the community through COMREL tours and Project Handclasp made a lasting impression on Curts' Sailors," Davids said. "It is with great hopes that these small contributions share in expressing the crew's profound thanks in Palau's warm welcome to Curts' crew throughout the visit.

The crew spent the rest of their time exploring the Palau's famous Rock Islands, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming with stingless jelly fish, and hiking.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, the U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets covering 52 million square miles, with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.

USS Nassau Concludes Hurricane Ike Disaster Response Efforts

GALVESTON, Texas (NNS) -- USS Nassau (LHA 4) weighed anchor Sept. 23 to return to her homeport in Norfolk, Va., after a week of supporting local, state and federal civil authorities in Galveston's recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

Nassau's Sailors and Marines accomplished a variety of disaster relief tasks set out by local officials. They distributed 16,440 meals ready-to-eat; 13,835 cases of water; 25,285 bags of ice; took part in emergency debris removal, clearing 1,075 cubic yards of debris; delivered medical aid for 12 minor medical cases; and assisted in bringing critical infrastructure, such as the Port of Galveston and Scholes International Airport, back on line.

"Our Sailors and Marines were able to come to the aid of their fellow Americans," said Capt. Bob Lineberry, commander, Amphibious Squadron 6. "Disaster relief and humanitarian assistance is a capability that we take around the world, and it was just as important to help our own citizens. We will sail away from here proud of our accomplishments."

Amphibious assault ships like Nassau have unique capabilities and can provide a variety of assets that can support recovery efforts following natural disasters. Nassau brought two MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue helicopters from the "Dragon Whales" of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 28, Detachment 4; Tactical Air Control Squadron 21; four landing craft utilities from Assault Craft Unit 2; Beachmaster Unit 2; Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 (Seabees); and Fleet Surgical Team 2 to Galveston.

The ship also deployed Galveston Assistance Team – Overhaul Recovery (GATOR) which is a team of more than 300 Sailors from the ship who volunteered to provide additional manpower ashore.

U.S. Fleet Forces directed Nassau Sept. 17 to proceed to Galveston following Hurricane Ike's landfall. U.S. Fleet Forces is the maritime component command of U.S. Northern Command, Department of Defense's lead supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The ship was already underway conducting routine training operations off the coast of Virginia when called upon to prepare for possible disaster relief efforts for Hurricane Ike.

Nassau's mission is to embark, deploy and land a Marine landing force by helicopter, attack aircraft or amphibious vehicle. This multipurpose ship has a highly trained crew and ready capabilities to perform many types of missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

USS De Wert Intercepts 3.6 Metric Tons of Cocaine

USS DE WERT, At Sea (NNS) -- While on patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, units assigned to the U.S. Navy's 4th Fleet and the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a fishing vessel carrying over three metric tons of cocaine Sept. 20.

The combined team of USS De Wert (FFG 45), with embarked helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 46 Detachment 1, and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 101 intercepted the fishing vessel in a nighttime interdiction, capturing seven suspected narcotics smugglers and the large cargo of cocaine with an estimated import value of $96 million.

While De Wert was coming alongside the fishing vessel experienced a mechanical problem and LEDET 101 and De Wert's Rescue and Assistance Team were deployed to render assistance and to ensure the safety of the vessel's crew. Subsequent to the rendering of assistance, a search of the vessel revealed 145 bales of cocaine. The narcotics were seized under the authority of the Coast Guard LEDET.

This seizure comes just a week after Sailors from USS McInerney (FFG 8) and LEDET 404, in conjunction with Patrol Squadron 26, intercepted a self-propelled semi submersible in the Eastern Pacific Ocean carrying over seven metric tons of cocaine.

The coordinated actions of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) were instrumental to the successful interdiction of narcotics.

De Wert, homeported in Mayport, Fla., is deployed in Latin America under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/ U.S. 4th Fleet, conducting counter illicit trafficking operations in support of JIATF-South, U.S. law enforcement and participating nations drug control policy.

De Wert is also supporting the U.S. Maritime Strategy by conducting theater security cooperation events, such as community relation projects Project Handclasp distributions, in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Navy Ships Depart for Joint Warrior Exercise

By Lt. j.g. Arlo Abrahamson, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 24 Public Affairs

Blog Editor Note: For my friends in the UDXF and the UK, a US Navy monitoring opportunity close to home.

USS Mitscher DDG-57 US Navy Photo

USS DOYLE, At Sea (NNS) -- Ships led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron (COMDESRON) 24 left the U.S. East Coast for Scotland Sept. 19 to participate with allied navies in Joint Warrior, a coalition exercise designed and led by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) in the United Kingdom.

Sailors from USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Doyle (FFG 39), USS Klakring (FFG 42), USS Hawes (FFG 53) and USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195) will play a prominent role in the exercise intended to improve interoperability between coalition naval forces and prepare participants for upcoming deployments.

"Joint Warrior will provide our Sailors with an opportunity to engage in a variety of training scenarios that explore real-world challenges on a strategic, operational and tactical level – in a controlled environment," said Capt John Kersh, commander, DESRON 24. "We will focus our efforts on enhancing our ability to operate in a multinational, multi-platform environment."

The exercise supports the Navy's Maritime Strategy, which revolves around partnerships and a global maritime network of many countries' navies with the goal of patrolling the world's seas. The exercise also serves as a deployment certification event for the participating U.S. ships, preparing ready maritime forces for global assignment.

"The relationships we make during Joint Warrior are vital to ensure we are ready to engage in a host of global maritime security operations," said Lt. Cmdr. Gil Ayan, material officer for DESRON 24.

"We become more effective by operating with allied navies and leveraging our individual strengths. This builds trust and mutual cooperation, which will make us a more capable combined force in a real-time operational environment."

Joint Warrior will begin in early October and is expected to last approximately two weeks. It will involve air, sea and ground assets from participating allied and NATO forces.

"This exercise captures the essence of our teaming concept with allies and partners in the execution of the Maritime Strategy," said Kersh. "The bottom line is that five U.S. ships and a host of allied ships will come away from this exercise at the top of their game and ready to support joint maritime operations worldwide. The exercise is a win-win for everyone involved."

COMNAVSURFOR Visits USS Rushmore As Ship Prepares for INSURV

The amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) heads out to sea after dispatching Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) during a mechanized amphibious raid in support of exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2004. RIMPAC is the largest international maritime exercise in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands. This year's exercise includes seven participating nations; Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. RIMPAC is intended to enhance the tactical proficiency of participating units in a wide array of combined operations at sea, while enhancing stability in the Pacific Rim region. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Jane West

By Ens. Ryan de Vera, USS Rushmore Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, Commander, Naval Surface Forces (COMNAVSURFOR) and Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet toured USS Rushmore (LSD 47) Sept. 11, as the ship continued to make preparations for a visit by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV).

INSURV is a Congressionally-mandated inspection set to ensure that ships of the United States Navy are properly equipped for prompt, reliable, sustained mission readiness at sea.

Rushmore's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Calvin Slocumb, along with Capt. Rodney Clark, commander, Amphibious Squadron 7, hosted Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis on a pre-INSURV tour. During the tour, Curtis spoke with several Rushmore Sailors to find out what their jobs were and how they were preparing for INSURV.

"I talked to Vice Adm. Curtis about the repairs we made to one of our main reduction gears," said Chief (Sel.) Engineman Gabriel Carreon. "I also told him how we took the opportunity to conduct training for other Sailors while we worked on our equipment."

Rushmore is scheduled to have their INSURV the week of Oct. 27. During INSURV, inspectors will visit every compartment aboard and assess the ship's overall readiness to ensure the ship is ready to fight.

TACRON-21 Ensures Safe Air Operations in Galveston

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Riza Caparros, USS Nassau Public Affairs

Lt. Cmdr. Jason Arganbright directs a CH-53 Super Stallion assigned to the "Blackhawks" of Helicopter Mine Counter Measures (HM) 15 to land onto Balls Senior High School football field in Galveston, Texas. HM-15 is conducting flight operations to Galveston, Texas, to support civil authorities in disaster recovery as directed in the wake of Hurricane Ike. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Lydia Bock/Released)

GALVESTON, Texas (NNS) -- A detachment of Air Traffic Controllers from Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 21 embarked USS Nassau (LHA 4) in support of relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

The squadron, based out of Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia Beach, Va., sent a detachment of 21 personnel to suport air operations as the need to land aircraft in unusual terrain became apparent.

Upon arrival of USS Nassau to waters off the southern Texas coast, TACRON 21 personnel established a Landing Zone (LZ) with advisory air traffic control service at Galveston's Ball High School and Galveston Scholes International Airport while the tower at that field was out of service. Establishment of those LZs enhanced the safety of operations of MH-53 helicopters and MH-60S helicopters just four days after the storm hit southern Texas.

Lt. Cmdr. Jason Arganbright, the officer-in-charge (OIC) of the two LZ teams assisting in the efforts, explained the need for such help when the relief headquarters was set up on the grounds of Ball High School.

"This landing zone was uncontrolled," said Arganbright. "We are here to ensure safety for those aircraft being used so they can safely take off and land in this unusual area."

First responders were on scene at the established relief headquarters, including Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.

Arganbright emphasized the need to protect the first responders.

"For the safety of those people giving help on the ground, we also are there to make sure they are safe as the helos are coming and going over their heads," he said.

Galveston's Ball High School is located centrally in the west side of Galveston Island, where Hurricane Ike caused the most damage. According to first-responder officials, as many as 10,000 people remained in the area as the hurricane made landfall.

There was so much debris caused by the storm as water surged 15 to 20 feet above sea level. Roads were closed, electricity and clean, potable water were lost. Transportation by air, such as a helicopter, became an ideal way to quickly gain access to the affected areas.

"We are a large portion of the air puzzle," he continued, "providing services of air planning all the way through execution afloat and ashore. Without our services, transport by air from the sea to this area would have assumed a higher risk."

USS Nassau and other military units are working together in support of civil authorities to help the recovery process in Galveston and other areas of Texas damaged in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

USS Nassau, Disaster Recovery Team Offer Aid in Galveston

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) David Wyscaver

GALVESTON, Texas (NNS) -- The disaster recovery team (DRT) embarked on Amphibious Assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) arrived in Galveston, Texas, Sept. 18 to support disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

The DRT consists of Sailors from Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 (ACB-2) stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek (NABLC). They are deployed to aid in situations such as natural disasters.

"The main mission of our unit is to provide relief support wherever it's needed, whether it be by construction, electrical assistance, clearing debris, chopping down trees, search and rescue or just helping to fix facilities. Whatever the relief efforts call for, we are there to provide," said Builder 2nd Class (SCW) Anthony Marshall, Amphibious Construction Battalion 2.

The unit hit the beach of the Texas Coast Sept. 18 via Landing Craft Unit (LCU) where they began using their large equipment and versatile capabilities to provide emergency debris clearance at critical infrastructures, such as the Port of Galveston.

"Everybody in the unit will play a huge part, ensuring we all handle our individual responsibilities for the team and coming together as one to help those we are here to help," said Steelworker Construction Recruit Lane Adger, steelworker ACB-2.

"We have a very good team, and it is one team, one fight. Everyone's skills are augmented through one another, and there's so much training involved to help prepare us to step in at anytime and get the job done," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class John Southwell, medical department leading petty officer ACB-2.

In order to carry out each particular task in conjunction with civil authorities, communication is key in coordinating what resources are needed and where they will be the most effective during the recovery efforts.

"I'm serving as the liaison officer for Navy Task Group Ike," said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Lull, training and readiness officer for Amphibious Squadron 6. "I'm going to be on land in Galveston coordinating any information Nassau will need to help them complete their mission in supporting the relief efforts."

A few Sailors involved in the mission offered their personal feelings on what it means to be a part of the recovery process.

"I'm originally from Leport, Texas, and this storm has damaged the home I grew up in along with my aunt's vacation home," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman (AW) Cody Blair. "It feels really good to know I can help make a difference in restoring the area I once called home."

Lull agreed.

"I was born in San Antonio and lived in the Sugarland area as well. It's great to be back and be able to help out."

USS Nassau and other military units are working together in support of civil authorities to help the recovery process in Galveston and other areas of Texas damaged in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

Air Guard has 'turned the corner' after BRAC

by Master Sgt. Greg Rudl, National Guard Bureau

Three years after the Base Realignment and Closure rulings, the Air National Guard is finally starting to settle down, the director of the Air National Guard said Sept. 17 here.

"We're actually at a point in history where things have turned the corner," Lt. Gen. Craig R. McKinley told a crowd at the Air Force Association's 24th Annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition.

"Our main task right now ... is to recapitalize our force, to design a 21st century Air National Guard that makes sense, that works well with its governors and that integrates sufficiently with the U.S. Air Force," he said.

For example, General McKinley highlighted a Mississippi unit that was scheduled to close in 2011, but has found new life in a new mission.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz announced Sept. 16 that a new training mission has been designated for the Mississippi Air National Guard's 186th Air Refueling Wing at Key Field. "Project Liberty" will create a temporary mission qualification training detachment for the RC-12 aircraft there that will train about 1,000 students during the next two years.

The RC-12 is the Air Force's newest manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. Nearly $100 million has been obligated to bring up to seven RC-12 aircraft to the base beginning in January.

On the new mission side, General McKinley also recognized the work that the 107,000-member Air Guard is doing in the unmanned aircraft systems and singled out units in North Dakota, New York, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and, in particular, California's 196th Reconnaissance Squadron at March Air Reserve Base.

He credited members of the 196th RQS, who fly the MQ-1 Predator, for its proactive efforts in transitioning to the UAS.

"They saw an opportunity to seize upon new technology and an emerging mission," he said. He added that 33 percent of the Predator missions flown in the Air Force are flown by Air Guard officials.

Addressing the Air National Guard's domestic response role, General McKinley said that it learned its lessons from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He compared those responses to inexperienced youth soccer -- full of energy but lacking coordination.

"We were all like little soccer players rushing to the scene trying to do everything at once," he said. "Since Katrina and Rita, we've integrated and partnered with U.S. Transportation Command and Northern Command so that we can apply forces just as we do overseas here at home."

The general credited the Louisiana Air and Army Guard for evacuating 7,000 people out of New Orleans prior to Hurricane Gustav.

"These are people that could have probably not have survived in the hospital without power -- people on ventilators, people with critical needs. We put them on airplanes and moved them. That was a tremendous effort," he said.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Milcom Blog Logs - 9/22/2008 Central Florida

Here are some great Milcom Blogs logs from Anonymous in Central Florida on 9/22/2008.

1304 156.800 Ch-16
FREEDOM STAR departing the tanker berths. LIBERTY STAR also
heard a short time later. Both are NASA SRB Booster Recovery ships.

1308 7457.0 usb
AFA2GF Region 2 stations with traffic-none, other check in's:
AFA2-T-FL / AFA2HR-Orlando FL / AFF2F / AFA2AE-Deltona

1333 157.075 Coast Guard RANGE CONTROL
"switch guard back to Station Canaveral"

1539 6947.0 usb Link-11
10 stations polled, slow baud rate / signal S5

1541 292.200 Avon Park Range Control
KING 15 (HC-130P, 71st RQS) cleared to enter the range

1613 6235.0 usb Link-11
Signal S5, one station S9+

1626 288.900 Tyndall AFB
CUJOE 1-2 'JDAM would not power up'; mention of Aux 2
(sounded like F-22's)

1626 8971.0 usb Jax NAS
TRIDENT 45 (P-3C, VP-26) calling FIDDLE, relay to Golden Hawk,
Spare Group 6, then direct with Golden Hawk

1731 311.000 MacDill AFB LIGHTNING OPS
AUTO 71 (KC-135R, 927th ARW) 30 min out, 10 med crew members

Late evening monitoring of the USS Eisenhower Carrier Support Group.
CVW-7 / CWC callsign prefix INDIA

AG 100 VFA-143 F/A-18E DOG
AG 200 VFA-103 F/A-18F VICTORY
AG 300 VFA-83 F/A-18C RAM
AG 400 VFA-131 F/A-18C WILDCAT / CAT
AG 610 HS-5 HH-60F/SH-60F CANVAS

2000-2300 EDT:
120.950 SEALORD N
225.350 Pinecastle Target
267.500 SEALORD S
277.800 USN Fleet Tac
289.200 Pinecastle Range Control "SEALORD"
313.825 MARSHAL
318.075 107, 110
324.175 RAM air-air
335.675 RED CROWN
335.925 "cleared to ___"
351.675 STRIKE
357.350 VIPER air-air
360.350 Possible VICTORY air-air
363.600 RAM 51-52, 305, 312, 602

-Misc HF logs-
4369.0 usb WLO with weather broadcast and traffic list
4444.0 usb Link-11 (weak signal)
4517.0 usb MARS Region 3 Net
4620.0 usb Link-11
5071.0 usb Link-11 (QRM from nearby broadcaster)
7635.0 usb Civil Air Patrol Net
8177.0 usb Link-11

Saturday, September 20, 2008

USS Nassau delivers critical help to Galveston

by Capt. Nicholas J. Sabula Air Force News Agency

A high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle or Humvee exits from an utility landing craft Sept. 18 on the beach near Galveston, Texas. The Humvee was from the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau anchored off Galveston to provide disaster response and aid to civil authorities as directed in the wake of Hurricane Ike. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

GALVESTON ISLAND, Texas (AFPN) -- Military heavy equipment and teams began arriving onshore here Sept. 18 as part of a tremendous assistance effort for an area devastated by Hurricane Ike.

Teams from the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau began the process of bringing supplies, equipment and people ashore to help with cleanup efforts.

A Navy construction battalion, who are experts in rebuilding roads or bridges, is part of the relief effort.

"We're working with the state of Texas and the mayor of Galveston (in Texas) in providing them the services that they need here," said Navy Capt. James Boorujy, the USS Nassau commanding officer. "They're in charge and we're supporting them any way we can.

The Naval officer in charge of the relief operation is Navy Capt. Bob Lineberry, the Amphibious Squadron 6 commander. As commander of the squadron, Captain Lineberry also holds the title of commodore, given to officers who command a squadron of ships.

"We're here to support the Mayor for as quick of recovery as possible," Captain Lineberry said. "Our people are trained with the machinery to remove debris in a variety of environments. Fallen trees, broken machinery, our guys are trained for these types of missions and we'll do them where the mayor desires us to be."

Officials from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, as the Joint Forces Maritime component commander to U.S. Northern Command, directed the ship to provide maritime disaster response at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency assisting first responders on scene and citizens affected by Hurricane Ike.

From the USS Nassau, members of the Assault Craft Unit departed for an eight-mile journey to Galveston's beach. The unit, using four landing craft utility boats, transported heavy equipment from ship to shore, including Humvees, backhoes, front-end loaders and other heavy machinery, equipment and Sailors for the emergency debris removal efforts.

"We're responsible for the movement of vehicles, cargo and personnel from ship to shore," said Navy Chief Petty Officer Reggie Sherrod, one of four craftmasters running the LCUs. "I can carry 200 tons, composed of equipment and force personnel."

More than 1,000 Sailors and Marines are coming ashore to assist in recovery efforts. The four LCUs arrived at the beach, conducted a beach landing, bringing equipment and specialty teams such as a beachmaster unit and three disaster relief teams ashore Sept. 18, while the masses of Sailors are being brought ashore on the LCUs Sept. 19 to assist in the enormous task of getting the city back on its feet.

Once shoreside, the beachmasters play an important role in getting forces onto land.

"Our role is to setup a command center, control the traffic of personnel and cargo from ship to shore," said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Hernandez, assigned to Beach Master Unit 2. "Once ashore, it will be put to use for whatever Galveston needs. We coordinate with members of city who tell us where the need it."

Once equipment arrives on shore, it is checked and put into action.

"We'll make full use of the vehicle we have," said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Levon Poel, a disaster relief team member with Amphibious Construction Battalion 2, who is responsible for all equipment being brought ashore. "We have a bulldozer, we can help with grading the beach, clearing any debris they have, whatever they need."

Sailors coming ashore will also be assisting with points of distribution for supplies.

The USS Nassau made a 2,000-mile journey to Galveston, arriving off coast in the evening of Sept. 16.

"We were actually underway heading here before the hurricane hit", Captain Boorujy said.

"Almost immediately upon arrival, there was extensive coordination and integration with lead government agencies in order to make to beach (Sept. 18)," Captain Lineberry said.

The ship deployed for the same mission following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"It's a good feeling knowing we're coming out here to help our country," Petty Officer Hernandez said. This is one of the things we're ready for. We came to serve our country no matter where -- here, Iraq, Afghanistan, stateside. Wherever we're needed, we'll go."

HSL-42, USS Kauffman Maritime Operations Enhance Regional Security

By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class J.T. Bolestridge

Operations Specialist 1st Class Daniel Elliot evaluates a tactical image in the combat information center of the guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) during an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise with the Chilean navy. The ASW exercises were conducted off the coast of northern Chile supporting Partnership of the Americas 2008. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class J.T. Bolestridge (Released)

USS Kauffman, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG-59); Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42 (HSL-42), Detachment 7; and the U.S. Coast Guard completed maritime interdiction operations focusing on the interruption of narco-terrorist activities in Caribbean waters Aug. 24 – Sept. 13.

Sailors and Coast Guardsmen on board Kauffman worked closely with Joint Interagency Task Force South (JAITF-South) to conduct counter illicit trafficking operations. JAITF-South is a multi-service, multi-agency joint task force of the U.S. armed forces and was established in 1989 to promote security cooperation and coordinate country team and partner nation initiatives to defeat the flow of illicit traffic.
Kauffman Operations Officer Lt. James Wright said the tasking focused directly on that mission and helped protect partner nations as well as the United States.

"The tasking here focused on the interdiction and interruption of narco-trafficking," said Wright. "Many partner nations in the Caribbean suffer from the effects of narco-trafficking."

HSL-42, Det. 7 played a key role throughout the operations. Lt. Cmdr. Brian Reardon, the HSL-42, Det. 7 officer in charge (OIC), said his Sailors have worked day and night in support of counter narco-terrorism (CNT) operations.

"Our guys have been flying two or three, three-hour flights per day in support of CNT operations," said Reardon. "We use our sensor suite to provide a complete nautical picture up to 150 nautical miles away from Kauffman. Once targets are detected on radar we are able to visually identify them, even at night, using forward looking infra red (FLIR) camera and night vision devices."

Reardon added that the greatest challenge and success that HSL-42, Det. 7 faced during the operations was the maintenance and logistics needed to operated in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Area of Focus (AOF).

"The 16 enlisted maintainers that we deploy with have done an outstanding job keeping our aircraft, Proud Warrior 426, ready to fly while working in very hot and challenging conditions," said Reardon.

"CNT operations have been a great opportunity for us to showcase the unique capabilities that a light airborne multi purpose system (LAMPS) helicopter detachment brings to the table," said Reardon. "This taste of "real world" operations shows that when working together with its host ship, a LAMPS helicopter is a force multiplier that is vital to CNT operations."

USS Kauffman and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42 are assigned to Task Group 40.0, and are currently deployed along with USS Farragut (DDG-99) in support of Partnership of the Americas 2008 (POA 08). Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 Commodore, Capt. Rudy Laco, who commands Task Group 40.0, said that the Sailors on board Kauffman made the POA vision a reality.

"The interoperability and the success of the interdiction operations were just what we envisioned when we planned for Partnership of the Americas," said Laco. "As with any operation at sea, it's the Sailors on board who take our vision and turn it into visible and impacting results."

POA 08 operations are being held from April to October throughout South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. POA 08 emphasizes interoperability and cooperation between U.S. and partner nation's maritime forces through a variety of exercises and events.

USNS Carl Brashear Christened

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Damien Horvath, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Joe R. Campa Jr. addresses the crowd at the christening ceremony for USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7) held at General Dynamics NASSCO. MCPON was the principal speaker for the event, which also included remarks from Mr. Frederick Harris, President of General Dynamics NASSCO, Master Chief Kenneth Green, Command Master Chief of Military Sealift Command, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released)

USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7), which will be the newest ship in the U.S. Navy's Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo/ammunition ships owned and operated by Military Sealift Command when delivered, was christened and launched Sept. 18 at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.

The ship is named in honor of Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, the first African-American to qualify and serve as a master diver in the Navy.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead attended the ceremony and addressed the importance of the ship's name.

"The naming of a ship is a very significant event. The Navy has practiced naming and christening for 211 years," said Roughead. "The USNS Carl Brashear embodies the spirit and character of this remarkable individual. This is a statement of our beliefs and an affirmation of our values and those of Carl Brashear. I could not be more pleased to have his spirit in this ship."

The keynote speaker of the christening ceremony was Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Joe Campa Jr. MCPON spoke about the American spirit epitomized by Carl Brashear and how his perseverance, devotion to the Navy and passion for diving serve as examples for every American.

"Carl Brashear's legacy may have been developed through his time in the Navy," said Campa. "But his story belongs to many more than just those of us who wear the uniform.

"His story is one of the American spirit, nurtured on a farm in Kentucky – and one that will live forever on the deckplates of this ship and in the heart of every Sailor. The character of our Navy changed the day Carl Brashear decided nothing was going to stop him from pursuing his dreams."

Campa, the Navy's 11th MCPON, told an audience that included several active and retired Navy divers, actor Robert De Niro and Sailors from all over the San Diego area, that when he meets Navy personnel around the world, he is constantly reminded that Brashear's spirit lives in each of them.

"I believe their spirit is a reflection of our Navy as a whole, and when I look into the eyes of those young Sailors, I see Carl's legacy staring back."

Lauren Brashear, the master chief's eldest granddaughter, serves as the ship's sponsor. Campa told her and the rest of the Brashear family that, "Carl's honor is also yours. Just as you share his name, you share the immense respect of the entire United States Navy."

Brashear's story was the subject of the 2000 movie "Men of Honor" starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert De Niro.

"I'm awestruck," said De Niro. "To have witnessed this launching and be even indirectly connected to this story of perseverance and selfless service is an amazing feeling. I am truly honored to be here."

The 689-foot USNS Carl Brashear is the seventh ship of the Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo/ammunition ships for the Navy's Military Sealift Command. NASSCO began constructing the ship in May 2007 and is scheduled to deliver it to the Navy in the second quarter of 2009. When the Carl Brashear joins the fleet, its primary mission will be to deliver food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to combat ships at sea.

Friday, September 19, 2008

USS McInerney, Coast Guard Bust Submarine Loaded With Cocaine

By Lt. Kelly Chufo, USS McInerney Public Affairs Officer
(US Navy Photo)

USS McInerney (FFG 8) and embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 404 seized a submarine vessel carrying seven tons of cocaine off the coast of Guatemala Sept. 13.

In the early morning hours, McInerney and LEDET 404, in collaboration with Patrol Squadron (VP) 26's Combat Air Crew 12, successfully interdicted a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel carrying an estimated $107 million worth of cocaine 350 miles east of Guatemala.

The 59-foot-long steel and fiberglass-hulled SPSS was detected by VP 26's P-3C Orion aircraft. The air crew vectored McInerney to a position near the illicit vessel. McInerney launched two rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIB) with members of both McInerney's and LEDET 404's visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) teams.

The suspects attempted to evade capture and drown any evidence of the operation but eventually complied to the boarding teams' instructions, allowing USS McInerney to capture the SPSS before it was scuttled.

After a full day of inventory and information gathering, four suspected illicit-traffickers and more than seven metric tons of cocaine were removed from the SPSS.

Information gathered during McInerney's interdiction, and other similar drug busts, help complete the mission of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) to prevent trafficking of illicit drugs throughout the SOUTHCOM area of focus, which encompasses Central and South America, the Caribbean and surrounding waters.

McInerney, homeported in Mayport, Fla., is currently deployed under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. Fourth Fleet, conducting counter-illicit trafficking operations for Joint Interagency Task Force-South in the SOUTHCOM area of focus.

As the naval component command of SOUTHCOM, NAVSO's mission is to direct U.S. Naval Forces operating in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions and interact with partner nation navies within the maritime environment. Various operations include counter-illicit trafficking, theater security cooperation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, military-to-military interaction and bilateral and multinational training.

Fourth Fleet is the numbered fleet assigned to NAVSO, exercising operational control of assigned forces in the SOUTHCOM area of focus.

USS Mesa Verde Completes Shock Trials

A 10,000-pound underwater explosion rocks the amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) during a shock test off the Florida coast. The test is part of Navy trials for the San Antonio-class ship, which was commissioned last December. U.S. Navy photo (Released)

USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) completed its third and final shock trial event off the coast of Mayport, Fla., Sept. 13. The ship performed well and is currently returning to Norfolk for post-trial inspection.

Mesa Verde's shock trials are part of the congressionally mandated Live Fire Test and Evaluation Program that requires realistic survivability testing on each new class of Navy ships. Mesa Verde is the third of the new San Antonio-class of amphibious transport dock ships.

The test results from a shock trial provide important information that is applied to follow-on ships and is used to improve the initial ship design and enhance the effectiveness and overall survivability of the ship and crew.

"I am truly excited about the performance of this crew and this ship to bring these shock trials to successful completion," said Capt. Shawn Lobree, Mesa Verde's commanding officer. "We were faced with some challenges, but the diligent efforts of Mesa Verde's crew and the test community, along with a little break in this season's very active hurricane season, allowed us to complete this important testing for this new class."

The first shot of Mesa Verde's shock trial was successfully conducted Aug.16. The second shot was delayed due to Tropical Storm Fay but was successfully executed Aug. 26. Concerns with other hurricane threats and sea conditions delayed the third shot until Sept. 13.

During shock trials, ships experience the effects of 10,000-pound explosive charge detonations which occur successively closer to the ship. These trials are critical to the ship and crew's survivability and provide the best means to assess the shock response of a manned ship and the interaction of the ship's systems and components.

Prior to conducting the shock trials, an environmental impact statement was issued to address the proposed event, the impact on air and water quality, marine life (including marine mammals and endangered and threatened species), commercial fishing and shipping, recreation, and economic and commercial resources. The Navy identified a preferred location offshore Mayport for the shock trials that met the project's purpose and need, satisfied operational requirements and minimized environmental impacts. The Navy incorporated protective measures to minimize potential adverse effects to the environment during and after the shock trials.

Mesa Verde was commissioned in December 2007 and is homeported in Norfolk.

USS Ingraham Successfully Concludes SRA with Sea Trials

By Ensign Todd B. Chen, USS Ingraham Public Affairs

EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) -- USS Ingraham (FFG 61) and her crew completed sea trials Sept. 11 as part of the last stage of the ship's three-month Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) period.

Ingraham went to sea to assess the ship's material readiness and to check equipment serviced during SRA. The purpose of sea trials is to ensure that ships have the capacity to rejoin the fleet as a fully operational unit.

"Sea trials are an opportunity to take the ship out for some fresh air and get a feel for her again," said Chief Warrant Officer Michael Sparling, Ingraham's SRA coordinator. "It gives the crew the chance to get reacquainted with the ship and check out equipment and systems which haven't been used since the last underway."

Among the major equipment tested during sea trials were the gas turbine engines and the ship's service diesel generators, which went through various repairs and tunings during the previous months.

"Our mission is to complete SRA and sea trials as expeditiously and as safe as possible", said Chief Petty Officer Michael Moran.

The ship's crew also performed other important evolutions, such as testing the anchor and the small boat davit, that helped Ingraham Sailors regain proficiency lost during the extended time in port.

"Sailors want to be at sea. No one truly enjoys the yard period," said Lt. Brian Hamel, Ingraham's chief engineer. "We look forward to getting back to business."

Cmdr. Matthew Ovios, commanding officer of Ingraham, was pleased with the overall results from the SRA period.

"An industrial maintenance period is crucial to keeping our ships ready for tasking, and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Todd Shipyard, and their sub-contractors did a good job of refurbishing and repairing a number of vital systems and ensuring that all jobs were completed on schedule. But I am extremely happy to be underway again, and I think the crew feels the same way."

Navy to Roll Out New ASW Mission Package

The first U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship, Freedom (LCS 1), the inaugural ship in an entirely new class of U.S. Navy surface warships, is seen conducting a speed run during Builders Trials. The ship is designed for littoral, or close-to-shore, operations and to provide access and dominance in coastal-water areas. (Photo provided courtesy Lockheed Martin /Released)

The Navy will roll out its new anti-submarine warfare mission package for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in a ceremony Sept. 19 at Naval Base Point Loma Naval Mine & ASW Command Complex, San Diego.

Vice Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Rear Adm. Mike Shatynski; Principal Civilian Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development, Jim Thomsen; Deputy Director of Surface Warfare, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Rear Adm. Michael K. Mahon; Commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Rear Adm. Michael C. Bachmann; Program Executive Officer for Littoral and Mine Warfare, E. Anne Sandel; and Commodore, LCS Class Squadron, Capt. Lewis Chris Nygard, are all scheduled to speak at the event.

"The delivery of the anti-submarine warfare mission package will provide the Navy with a persistent large area detection capability, through our advanced unmanned vehicles and bi-static ASW systems," said Sandel. "Tomorrow we will take a critical step forward in support of assured access in the littorals for U.S. Joint Forces."

LCS can be configured to deploy with any one of three interchangeable mission modules: the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) module; mine countermeasures (MCM) module and surface warfare (SUW) module also know as mission packages. The first ASW mission package (MP) will use several different vehicles -- MH-60R, unmanned air vehicle, unmanned surface vehicle -- and associated sensors -- towed array sonar, remote towed active source, USV dipping sonar, multi-static off-board source -- to detect, classify, localize, track and engage submarines in the littoral environment.

LCS is a new breed of U.S. Navy warship with versatile warfighting capabilities, capable of open-ocean operation but optimized for littoral and coastal missions. Operational experience and analyses indicate that future adversaries will employ asymmetric means to deny U.S. and allied forces access into critical coastal regions, such as strategic chokepoints and vital economic sea lanes.

The LCS seaframe and mission modules are specifically designed to defeat such "anti-access" threats, which include fast surface craft, quiet diesel submarines and various types of mines.

Navy Accepts Delivery of Future USS Freedom

Littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) returns to its homeport in Marinette, Wis., after completing acceptance trials in Lake Michigan. A littoral combat ship is a fast, agile, focused-mission ship designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. Freedom is scheduled to be delivered later this year and will be homeported in San Diego, Calif. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jhi L. Scott (Released)

Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast officially accepted delivery of Freedom (LCS 1) on behalf of the Navy from the Lockheed Martin/Marinette Marine/Gibbs and Cox team in Marinette, Wis., Sept. 18.

"This is a truly exciting day for the Navy. Today marks a critical milestone in fulfilling the need and realizing the vision we began just a few years ago," said Capt. James Murdoch, the LCS program manager. "Despite our challenges, the Navy and industry have continued to press on to build and deliver the first ship of a unique class, a ship class that will give our nation asymmetric advantages against maritime threats."

Since builder's and acceptance trials this summer, the Navy and the Lockheed Martin team have been working to prepare the ship for delivery, sail away and commissioning. With acceptance by the Navy, the LCS crew will move aboard and prepare the ship to depart Marinette Marine for Milwaukee, the location of the ship's commissioning. Upon commissioning, the ship will sail out of the Great Lakes and down the East Coast for Norfolk, Va., making a number of port calls along the way.

Prior to delivery, the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) conducted acceptance trials aboard LCS 1 Aug. 17-21. INSURV found the ship to be "capable, well-built and inspection-ready" and recommended that the Chief of Naval Operations authorize delivery of the ship. Because the trials were conducted in Lake Michigan, some ship systems, including aviation and combat systems, could not be demonstrated. Systems not demonstrated during recent trials will be presented to INSURV in early 2009 trials in Norfolk and in the open ocean.

The second ship of this class, Independence (LCS 2), is currently being built by General Dynamics in the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. Independence is scheduled to be christened next month in Mobile.

Freedom class ships will help the U.S. Navy defeat growing littoral, or close-to-shore, threats including mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare. Littoral combat ships are fast, easy to maneuver and are equipped with interchangeable mission modules that allow commanders to meet changing warfare needs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Coast Guard Drug Bust

A Miami based Coast Guard crew captured a vessel hauling seven tons of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Guard Unit Prepares for Predator Training Operations

By Air Force Capt. Al Bosco
Special to American Forces Press Service

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE - Having successfully surpassed two years of combat operations flying the MQ-1 Predator, the nation's first Air National Guard Predator unit is poised to spread its history-making wings again. With only minor details remaining, the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing is ready to begin training the Air Force's next generation of unmanned aerial system warriors.

Beginning in early January, the unit expects to fly its first "live" training sortie at home from the former George Air Force Base, now known as Southern California Logistics Airport, about 40 miles from March.

"We are really excited about taking this critical next step in our employment of the Predator," said Air Force Col. Randall Ball, 163rd Operations Group commander. "We've been working toward this since getting the Predator mission in 2006, and it has taken a total team effort to go from concept to reality as quickly as we have."

Since transitioning from its support mission flying the KC-135 Stratotanker to conducting active combat flying the Predator, the wing has proven it has the mettle to meet any challenge head-on. In fact, shortly after beginning Predator flight operations, the wing was charged to provide three continuous combat air patrols over Southwest Asia.

As a result of the "surge," the wing has amassed more than 21,000 flying hours supporting combat operations overseas by providing combatant commanders with 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week aerial surveillance and precision strike capability.

"This has truly been an historic event for us," Air Force Col. Al Aimar, 163rd RW commander, said. "It's been quite an exciting time, and we're eager to begin the next chapter in this remarkable mission."

Once the facilities and infrastructure needed to support the flying program at SCLA are in place, the wing will begin flying the Predator locally in preparation for its first class of Predator aviators, scheduled to begin in April.

"We need to make sure we take a steady approach to starting the flight training program here so we can ensure we are training the best Predator pilots possible, able to step out of the classroom and into the combat theater providing the kind of support commanders need and have come to expect," Air Force Lt. Col. Kirby Colas, 196th Reconnaissance Squadron commander, said.

Initially, the wing will begin training Air National Guard personnel as Predator aircrews, but the program is expected to expand to include training active-duty aviators as well relieving some of the load for Creech Air Force Base, Nev., currently the only base training Predator aircrews.

Since the wing already has extensive experience with the platform, providing the training to both Guard and active-duty aircrews is expected to be a smooth process. In fact, several of the unit's current senior-level pilots and sensor operators already have gained valuable experience in the academic environment, having served as instructor pilots and sensor operators at Creech.

"Our wing is really a unique organization," Aimar said. "We've gone through a tremendous amount of change over the past couple years, but the amazing thing is nobody complains. Every time a new mission or task has come up, everyone across the wing was quick to jump in to figure out how we could get it done. As a commander, it makes me proud to see that kind of dedication, not only to our nation, but to the warfighters on the ground, who rely on our support to accomplish their missions."

Currently, the wing conducts Predator maintenance training in its recently established state-of-the-art field training detachment operating under Creech's Detachment 13 as part of Air Education and Training Command. The fully accredited maintenance training facility trains active-duty and Guard Predator maintenance personnel.

(Air Force Capt. Al Bosco serves with the California National Guard.)

USS Boone Rescues Migrants at Sea

USS Boone (FFG 28) rescued 50 migrants while investigating a suspicious vessel Sept. 3.

Joint Interagency Task Force South directed Boone to deploy its rigid-hull inflatable boat to search a suspicious vessel. Boone's boarding team pulled alongside and was granted permission to board the vessel. When the team investigated, they discovered 50 migrants crowded together aboard the vessel.

Boone's boarding team interviewed the migrants and decided to transport them to the ship for their health and safety. Once aboard Boone, the crew provided the migrants with a medical examination, food, clothing and shower facilities.

Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Michael Roggio, one of Boone's search and rescue swimmers, appreciated the opportunity to help the migrants.

"It was a special experience for me to get to do something humanitarian," said Roggio.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF) Vincent De La Ossa administered medical exams to all of the migrants.

"I am very lucky to help those less fortunate than me," said Ossa.

Boone is deployed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean conducting counter-illicit trafficking operations under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet, and tactical control of Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S).

Typically, this involves the detection and interdiction of narcotics smugglers; however, the prevention of human trafficking is also a goal for Sailors deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of focus.

Boone, homeported in Mayport, Fla., is deployed with embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42 and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 406.

USS Nassau Responding to Hurricane Ike at 'Best Speed'

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Elizabeth Merriam, USS Nassau Public Affairs
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Toni Killian guides an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter to land on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Nassau (LHA 4). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda Clayton/Released)

Amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) has been directed to take station off Galveston Island to provide maritime emergency response assistance to citizens affected by Hurricane Ike made landfall Sept. 13 and to assist responders supporting local citizens.

Nassau was already at sea conducting routine operations when Hurricane Ike struck the Texas coast. Nassau was first directed south to operate off the Florida coast and then received orders to move into the Gulf of Mexico.

Nassau traveled more than 1,500 nautical miles in three days, stopping only to bring members of Amphibious Squadron 6 and Tactical Air Control Squadron 21 on board with the help of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28.

"Like most Navy ships, the crew of the Nassau is constantly training for various missions, and doing disaster relief is something we think about a lot and plays on the various skills of an amphibious warfare ship," said Nassau Commanding Officer Capt. James R. Boorujy.

"We do a lot of flight operations, we do a lot of boat operations, and those are the kinds of things that we need to do to assist our fellow countrymen with disaster relief."

Because of the extensive and continuous training the Nassau crew has received, the ship quickly and efficiently integrated new support elements while in transit and completed the trip at best speed to the Gulf Coast. The Nassau maintained readiness at sea in order to quickly respond if called upon by civil authorities.

"We work great with the amphibious squadron and embarked detachments. That's a core capability of amphibious ships, we do that all the time. We have a boat detachment, landing craft, helicopter detachment, and we frequently have them aboard," Boorujy said.

"We work very closely with the commodore. We have several meetings a day with him. He is in frequent communication with Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet; they know exactly what we're ready to do. We're ready for this mission, and if we're needed we're ready to go in as soon as possible."

Nassau brings with it diverse assets and capabilities, including two MH-60S Nighthawk search and rescue helicopters, four landing craft utility, a beachmaster unit, a disaster relief team, a fleet surgical team, and a significant amount of water, food and other emergency relief supplies. The ship is also equipped with a 300-bed hospital, four medical operating rooms and three dental operating rooms.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Troops Return

National Guard (MA) troops from the 1st Battalion 181st Infantry Regiment were honored September 14.

Air Force, Air National Guard partner for new mission

The Air Force and Air National Guard officials have agreed to establish a temporary mission qualification training detachment for the RC-12 aircraft at Key Field in Meridian, Miss. This mission, conducted by the Mississippi Air National Guard, will help bolster the Department of Defense's intelligence gathering capability in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

The RC-12 aircraft is the Air Force's newest manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform (ISR), providing near-real-time ISR. Nearly $100 million has been obligated to bring up to seven RC-12 aircraft to the base beginning in January 2009.

This mission, designated Project Liberty, will train approximately 1,000 students during the next two years at the 186th Air Refueling Wing, located at Key Field. The 186th ARW will conduct total force mission qualification training for this program, providing the manpower and facilities for the training unit. The 186th ARW will continue performing its current air refueling mission through 2011, operating the KC-135R Stratotanker while conducting Project Liberty training.

"The Air National Guard is excited to be a part of this important mission and to play a critical role in providing this needed capability to today's fight," said Lt. Gen. Craig R. McKinley, director of the Air National Guard.

"The Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. William L. Freeman Jr., and I are very proud that the 186th Refueling Wing was chosen for this very important mission," said Governor Haley Barbour. "This wing has shown success time after time because of the dedication and professionalism of its officers and Airmen."

The Air Force, National Guard Bureau and Mississippi Air National Guard officials are working closely to ensure a smooth and effective transition.