Thursday, May 31, 2007

CAP Ground Callsigns

Found a little pdf file online at the CAP website called CAP Speak dated March 2007. They had not only a list of terms, but some of their callsigns as well. Unfortunately, it wasn't completely current so I have added corrections in bold.

Abenaki - New Hampshire Wing Tactical Call Sign
Aspen Gold - Rocky Mountain Region Tactical Call Sign
Avenging Spirit - National Headquarters Special Use Tactical Call Sign
Beaver Fox - Oregon Wing Tactical Call Sign
Black Granite - Montana Wing Tactical Call Sign
**Blue Lakes - Great Lakes Region Tactical Call Sign [CAP Great Lakes]
Blue Mesa - Colorado Wing Tactical Call Sign
Blue Mound - Wisconsin Wing Tactical Call Sign
Cajun CAP - Louisiana Wing Tactical Call Sign
CAP Kitty Hawk - North Carolina Wing Radio Tactical Call Sign
CAP Stone - Northeast Region Tactical Call Sign
CAP West - Southwest Region Tactical Call Sign
Charter Oak - Connecticut Wing Tactical Call Sign
Diamond Flight - Delaware Wing Radio Tactical Call Sign
Down East - Maine Wing Tactical Call Sign
Firebrand - Hawaii Wing Tactical Call Sign
Florida CAP - Florida Wing Tactical Call Sign
Free State - Maryland Wing Radio Tactical Call Sign
Georgia CAP - Georgia Wing Tactical Call Sign
**Goldenrod - Alabama Wing Tactical Call Sign [Alabama CAP]
Grasslands - South Dakota Wing Tactical Call Sign
HeadCAP - National Headquarters Tactical Call Sign
High Plains - Wyoming Wing Tactical Call Sign
Hill CAP - West Virginia Wing Radio Tactical Call Sign
Hill Thunder - Congressional Squadron Tactical Call Sign
Iowa CAP - Iowa Wing Tactical Call Sign
Jefferson - Virginia Wing Radio Tactical Call Sign
Kentucky CAP - Kentucky Wing Tactical Call Sign
Middle East - Middle East Region Radio Tactical Call Sign
Missouri CAP - Missouri Wing Tactical Call Sign
**Mockingbird - Mississippi Wing Tactical Call Sign [Mississippi CAP]
Narragansett - Rhode Island Wing Tactical Call Sign
NatCap - National Capital Wing Radio Tactical Call Sign
North Central - North Central Region Tactical Call Sign
Oil Well - Oklahoma Wing Tactical Call Sign
Patriot - Massachusetts Wing Tactical Call Sign
Peace Garden - North Dakota Wing Tactical Call Sign
Penn CAP - Pennsylvania Wing Tactical Call Sign
Puerto Rico CAP - Puerto Rico Wing Tactical Call Sign
Red Cloud - Nebraska Wing Tactical Call Sign
Red Dragon - New Jersey Wing Tactical Call Sign
Red Fire - Indiana Wing Tactical Call Sign
Red Fox - Illinois Wing Tactical Call Sign
Red Robin - Michigan Wing Tactical Call Sign
Red Rock - Arizona Wing Tactical Call Sign
Red Thunder - Ohio Wing Tactical Call Sign
Sandlapper - South Carolina Wing Radio Tactical Call Sign
Ship Rock - New Mexico Wing Tactical Call Sign
Silver State - Nevada Wing Tactical Call Sign
Sourdough - Alaska Wing Tactical Call Sign
Southeast CAP - Southeast Region Tactical Call Sign
Star Garnet - Idaho Wing Tactical Call Sign
Starfish - Minnesota Wing Tactical Call Sign
Tennessee CAP - Tennessee Wing Tactical Call Sign
Texas CAP - Texas Wing Tactical Call Sign
Uncle Mike - Utah Wing Tactical Call Sign
Vermont CAP - Vermont Wing Tactical Call Sign
Washington CAP - Washington Wing Tactical Call Sign
Western - Pacific Region Tactical Call Sign
White Peak - New York Wing Tactical Call Sign
Wild Wood - Arkansas Wing Tactical Call Sign
Yellow Brick - Kansas Wing Tactical Call Sign
Yosemite - California Wing Tactical Call Sign

You can get this and a lot more on CAP Comms in the latest issue (June 2007) of Monitoring Times available on newsstands right now.

CAP ALE Address IDed

My old friend Jack Metcalfe has IDed one of the mystery CAP ALE addresses frequently seen on their HF nets.

"For several months AVS has been appearing on the CAP ALE net. Finally caught some activity this morning & the voice call is AVENGING SPIRIT. That's listed on several sites as a Special Use National Headquarters call sign."

And if you want to learn more about CAP comms be sure to check out our major coverage in the June 2007 issue of Monitoring Times magazine in my Milcom and MT Help Desk columns.

Navy Secretary Names New Combat Logistics Ship

Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter announced on May 29 his decision to name the Navy's newest underway replenishment vessel, USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6).

The name honors Amelia Mary Earhart for her courage, vision, and groundbreaking achievements, both in aviation and for women.

Amelia Earhart's name became a household word in 1932 when she became the first woman -- and second person --to fly solo across the Atlantic, on the fifth anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's feat, flying a Lockheed Vega from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to Londonderry, Ireland.

That year, she received the Distinguished Flying Cross from the Congress, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French government, and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society from President Herbert Hoover.

In January 1935 Earhart became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu to Oakland, Calif. Later that year she soloed from Los Angeles to Mexico City and back to Newark, N.J. In July 1936 she took delivery of a Lockheed 10E "Electra," financed by Purdue University, and started planning her round-the-world flight.

The primary goal of the T-AKE program is to provide effective fleet underway replenishment capability at the lowest life cycle cost.To meet that goal, the ship will be designed and constructed to commercial specifications and standards and certified/classed by the American Bureau of Shipping, U.S. Coast Guard, and other regulatory bodies. All of the new ships will be operated by the Military Sealift Command.They are being built in San Diego by General Dynamics NASSCO.

HF Milcom Frequencies - 5/31/2007

For all those doomsday radio hobbyist who say that HF utility listening is dead, I present our latest compiled list of HF Milcom frequencies monitored at the Btown Monitoring Post, sent to this reporter, or reported on the various radio newsgroups within the last few weeks. All frequencies below are in kilohertz (kHz).

Long live the HF utility radio spectrum.

18.100 Russian Navy Russian High Command Naval Radio RDL-Moscow Headquarters (many remote sites) 36/50 Bd encrypted traffic T-600
82.800 UK RAF MKL-Northwood/Crimond (Xmitter) AMCC Secure broadcast - NATO-75
2072.1 German Coast Guard Cuxhaven SITOR-A
2105.5 Russian Military 230/81 81-81
2216.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
2232.0 NATO Naval discrete USB
2502.5 Russian Military 220/81 81-81
2597.5 Polish Military ALE/USB
2632.2 Unknown military 300L STANAG 4285
2730.0 Russian Military CW
2749.0 Canadian Coast Guard weather broadcast USB
2813.9 UK Royal Navy MTI-Plymouth 150/75 CARB RTTY
3143.0 German Air Force DHN91-Munster USB
3226.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
3364.0 Russian Military CW
3461.0 Russian Military MS-5
3829.5 German Coast Guard Cuxhaven SITOR-A
4081.5 US Navy HF-CWC coordination net (USB)
4152.5 German Navy DHJ59-Wilhelmshaven GER Ship to Shore STANAG 4285/USB
4153.5 German Navy DHJ58-Glucksburg/Flensburg Ship to Shore STANAG 4285/USB
4168.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
4239.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
4391.0 Russian Air Defense PVO Net ID=9 CW
4411.0 French Army FAV22-Mont-Valerien CW
4446.5 US Army 2-3 AVN ALE/USB
4449.0 US Navy USS Kearsarge ESG Air Defense Network "HW" USB
4506.0 US Air Force Civil Air Patrol USB
4516.3 US Navy/Marine Corps MARS PACTOR
4520.0 Israeli Navy 4XZ-Haifa ISR-Hybrid modem
4562.0 National Guard Virginia ALE/USB
4635.0 Russian Navy P-MX Beacon Kaliningrad CW
4724.0 HF-GCS Primary USB
4742.0 UK RAF MKL-Northwood/Crimond (Xmitter) AMCC Secure broadcast - NATO-75
4780.0 National Guard (IN) Joint State Net on the last Wednesday of month LSB
4828.0 Russian Navy P-MX Beacon Kaliningrad CW
4856.0 French Army FAV22-Mont-Valerien CW
5051.3 Chinese Military L9CC CW
5064.5 German Air Force EADS-MAHRS/USB
5094.0 Algerian Military ALE/USB
5101.0 US Army Iraq Aviation Net ALE/USB
5104.5 German Air Force EADS-MAHRS/USB
5120.0 Algerian Military ALE/USB
5125.0 National Guard Virginia ALE/USB
5254.0 Irish Navy Codan 75 [tentative]
5266.0 Algerian Military ALE/USB
5268.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
5270.0 German Air Force EADS-MAHRS/USB
5295.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
5310.0 US Army South Flight Following Facility Soto Cano AB, Honduras ALE/USB
5337.0 US Army Aviation ALE/USB
5355.5 German Air Force EADS-MAHRS/USB
5374.5 Algerian Military ALE/USB
5389.0 Cuban Military USB
US Marine Corps 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit - Djibouti ALE/USB
5399.0 US Navy USS Enterprise CSG Air Defense Voice Coordination Net "EW" USB
5416.5 German Air Force EADS-MAHRS/USB
5435.5 Austria Military ALE/USB
5436.0 UK RAF TASCOMM Boulmer USB
5443.0 Algerian Military ALE/USB
5471.5 NATO/DoD Link 11 data transmission
5698.0 Spanish Air Force USB
USAF Search and Rescue Aircraft Air-to-Air/HF Guard
5712.5 NATO Military USB
5714.0 NATO Military USB
5735.0 Ukrainian Military (Iraq) ALE/USB
5750.0 US Army 1-227 AVN ALE/USB
5751.0 Russian Navy RIT-Northern HQ Fleet Severomorsk CW
5753.0 Russian Navy RIT-Northern HQ Fleet Severomorsk CW
5772.0 Russian PVO/Air Defense CW
5777.0 Unknown Military ALE/USB Link Protected into MIL-STD 188-110B
5800.0 Polish Military ALE/USB
5838.5 Austria Military ALE/USB
5862.0 Russian Navy P-MX Beacon Kaliningrad CW
5881.5 US Army 5-159 AVN Company B ALE/USB
6208.0 NATO/DoD Link 11 data transmission
6251.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
6416.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
6618.0 Israel Navy Serial Tone Hybrid Modem/USB
6697.0 UK RAF TASCOMM MKL-RAFCrimond/Northwood (Scotland)
6722.0 Unknown Military ALE/USB Link Protection into 300L MIL-STD 144-110B
6730.0 German Navy DHJ59-Wilhelmshaven GER Ship to Shore USB/RTTY
6742.0 Israeli Air Force ALE/USB
6746.4 US Navy SPAWAR SIDL [tentative] USB/ANDVT
6759.0 UK RAF MKL-Northwood/Inskip (Xmitter) AMCC Secure broadcast - NATO-75
6789.0 Venezuela Army USB
6830.0 German Army FEC-A
6838.0 Algerian Military ALE/USB
6873.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
6881.0 Russian Army USB
6944.0 Netherlands Military ALE/USB
6963.0 Venezuela River Naval Forces ALE/LSB
7059.0 Chinese Military L9CC CW
7435.0 Polish Military ALE/USB
7535.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
7540.0 US Air Force MARS MFSK16
7545.0 Georgia Military 8GS Net ALE/USB
7726.0 Chile Navy ALE/USB
7730.0 Brazilian Army ALE/USB
7737.0 Brazilian Military ALE/USB
7740.0 Brazilian Military ALE/USB
7850.0 Brazil Army ALE/USB
7872.0 Polish Military Iraq Net ALE/USB
7895.6 French Forces Reunion ARQ-E3
7943.0 Brazilian Army ALE/USB
7980.0 Russian Military CW
7986.5 US Marine Corps 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit - Persian Gulf ALE/USB
8005.0 UK RAF VOLMET Swanwick Military // 5450.0 kHz USB
8023.0 National Public Health Radio Network ALE/USB
8037.0 National Guard Virginia ALE/USB
8107.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
8117.5 Austria Military MIL-STD-188-110A ALE/USB
8124.5 Macedonian Army ALE/USB
8125.0 UK Navy GXQ-Forest Moor USB
8182.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
8280.0 Venezuelan Navy/Riverine Forces Static Tactical ALE Addresses ALE/LSB
8297.0 Venezuelan Navy/Riverine Forces Static Tactical ALE Addresses ALE/LSB
8414.5 Marine DSC Distress and Safety SITOR-B
8453.0 French Navy FUO-Toulon 300L 5N1 Stanag 4285
8536.0 Russian Navy RIW-Moscow Russian Naval Headquarters and RMP-Kaliningrad Baltic Fleet Naval Headquarters CW
8590.0 Indian Navy VTK-Tuticorin V marker CW
8701.5 Russian Military MS-5
8780.0 Israeli Navy 4XZ-Haifa ISR-Hybrid modem
8975.3 Macedonian Army ALE/USB
9019.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
9062.0 Brazilian Army ALE/USB
9069.0 Polish Military ALE/USB
9120.0 Brazilian Army ALE/USB
9143.5 National Guard Virginia ALE/USB
9151.0 Spanish Military KG-84 encrypted traffic MIL-STD 188-110A serial tone/ALE
9187.0 Switzerland Military encrypted traffic/ALE with linking protection MIL-STD 188-110A serial tone/ALE
9595.0 Russian Navy tactical network CW
10182.0 Polish Military ALE/USB
10344.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
10535.0 Russian Navy Russian High Command Naval Radio RDL-Moscow Headquarters (many remote sites) 36/50 Bd encrypted traffic T-600
10575.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
10650.0 Venezuelan Navy/Riverine Forces Static Tactical ALE Addresses ALE/LSB
10683.0 Russian Navy tactical network CW
10705.2 Ukrainian Military 1000/96 CIS-14
10893.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
11000.0 Russian Navy RIW-Naval HQ Moscow (transmits through many remote sites) CW
11213.0 UK RAF MKL-Northwood/Unknown (Xmitter) AMCC Secure broadcast - NATO-75
11244.0 STRATCOM EAM Restoral frequency USB
11518.0 French Army USB
11530.0 Brazilian Military ALE/USB
12090.0 US DoD SCR Net ALE/USB
12158.0 Turkish Navy e-mail tests using STANAG 5066 and HMTP protocols MIL-STD-188-110A
12160.0 Israel Navy Serial Tone Hybrid Modem/USB
12162.0 Russian Navy tactical network CW
12191.0 Venezuela Army 5th Infantry Division ALE/USB
12230.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
12592.5 US Coast Guard NMN-CAMSLANT Chesapeake VA SITOR-B/CW
12930.7 Spanish Navy EBA/RETJ-Madrid 600L 8N1 KG-84 STANAG 4285
13155.0 USSTRATCOM EAM Restoral frequency USB
13479.5 French Army USB
13966.0 Israel Navy Serial Tone Hybrid Modem/USB
14550.0 US DoD SCR Net ALE/USB
14401.5 Austria Military ALE/USB
14411.0 Russian Navy Russian High Command Naval Radio RDL-Moscow Headquarters (many remote sites) 36/50 Bd encrypted traffic T-600
14485.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
14508.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
14556.0 Russian Navy RIW-Naval HQ Moscow (transmits through many remote sites) CW
14606.1 US Air Force MARS HF Phone Patch Net USB
14664.0 Russian Navy RDL-Smolensk (Russian High Command Naval Radio-Moscow Headquarters) BEE 50/170
14670.5 French Army USB
14841.5 French Army USB
15034.0 CanForce MACS VOLMET Trenton USB
15082.0 US Civilian Contractor Rockwell SCOPE Command Facility Dallas, TX ALE/USB
15920.0 CanForce CFH-Halifax 850/75 RTTY
16133.0 Swiss Military Suva, Serbia MIL-STD-1880110A/ALE
16402.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
16605.0 UK RAF Cyprus 195.3 MFSK
16606.0 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
16716.0 Venezuelan Navy/Riverine Forces Static Tactical ALE Addresses ALE/LSB
16812.5 US Coast Guard NRV-COMSTA Apra Harbor SITOR-B/CW
19785.9 UK RAF Cyprus 195.3 MFSK
20168.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB
20318.5 Austria Military ALE/USB
20328.5 UK DHFCS ALE Network ALE/USB

Monitoring Times magazine subscribers can get my latest complete list of HF military frequencies on the MT readers only website.

Pentagon Test Planned for June 2

Courtesy of Alan Henney and the SCAN-L newsgroup:

Arlington County and the Pentagon will conduct an emergency response test for a simulated biological attack. This will include a number of Arlington emergency vehicles and public safety personnel and will help us to respond better in an actual emergency. These efforts are part of our ongoing partnership with the Pentagon to improve safety, security and emergency management.

The only road closure will be eastbound South Gate Road from Orme Street to Columbia Pike; eastbound traffic will be diverted onto Orme Street from 6am to noon. All other roads will remain open. Curiosity about the test may cause some traffic congestion in the immediate area.

The test is completely safe for participants and bystanders. In the event of unfavorable weather conditions, alternate test dates are June 3, 16, and 17.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

HT-28 'Hellions' Take Off at Whiting

Training Air Wing (TRAWING) 5 established a third advanced helicopter training command, Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 28 "Hellions" in a ceremony May 25, at Naval Air Station Whiting Field.

The establishment of HT-28 will help to meet the growing demand for United States Navy and Marine Corps helicopter pilots while also training Coast Guard and international navy pilots.

Rear Adm. Gary R. Jones, Commander Naval Education and Training Command, was the keynote speaker for the event.

“The Navy and and Marine Corps are undergoing a significant transformation in readiness postures, deployment strategies, and manpower initiatives,” Jones said.

“Naval Education and Training, along with the Naval Aviation Enterprise are fully engaged in the war against radical extremists, a conflict that will require state-of-the-art training in support of American combat power for many years to come. The superb training that will be conducted within HT-28, as well as the outstanding training currently being conducted in the other squadrons here at Whiting Field, is one of the first steps in taking the fight to the enemy.”

Due to a constant increase in the required number of winged helicopter pilots to the fleet, TRAWING 5’s two advanced training squadrons have had to graduate more students, increasing instructor flight time and reducing student/instructor contact time. The addition of HT-28 will help return the squadrons to a smaller state which will foster more familiarization between instructor pilots and students, enabling instructors to better personalize each sortie to the needs of the student and deliver appropriate training.

The first class of student aviators will arrive in June. As these officers progress through the training, new classes of students will continuously be assigned to the command every few weeks. The HT-28 mission and size will steadily increase over approximately six months until equal to that of the other helicopter training squadrons at Whiting.

The Hellions’ first commanding officer will be Cmdr. John McLain.

“The Navy chooses commanding officers very carefully,” said Jones. “Those we put in command are charged not only with the future of that command, but with the future of the Navy. The dedication to service and adherence to the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment that we demand of our Sailors, are reflections -- reflections of the warrior ethos embodied in the leaders we choose to command. We have such a leader in HT-28’s commanding officer, Cmdr. John ‘Gypsy’ McLain.”

McLain’s executive officer will be Marine Lt. Col. Clay Stackhouse. Command of the squadron will alternate between the Navy and Marine Corps, a structure which has already proven effective at HT-18.

About 50 “Plank Owner” instructor pilots were drawn from HT-8 and HT-18.

“The decision to stand up a third squadron is proof that helicopters and tilt-rotors are where the action is in naval aviation today,” said McLain during the welcome aboard briefing for the instructor pilots.

In 2006, the two existing advanced helicopter training squadrons at Whiting Field completed over 70,000 flight hours and winged more than 500 Navy, Marine, Coast Guard and allied helicopter and tilt-rotor pilots: more than 40 percent of all naval aviators produced last year. The mission is expected to increase over the next several years.

The squadron took its name “Hellions” from a World War II Marine Corps Fighter Squadron, VMF-218. The Hellions will operate out of South Whiting Field, in Milton, Fla., along with its sister squadrons, HT-8 “Eightballers” and HT-18 “Vigilant Eagles.”

NSA NOLA Ready to Fly the COOP this Hurricane Season

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Poe, Naval Support Activity New Orleans Public Affairs

NEW ORLEANS (NNS) -- New Orleans enters another hurricane season June 1, making it critical for Crescent City, New Orleans service members to know the evacuation and mustering procedures of their command.

Five Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans Sailors, better known as NSA’s Continuity of Operations (COOP) team, have an evacuation and mustering procedure unlike most of their fellow Sailors this year.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Neil Uemura, NSA’s emergency management officer (EMO), if a storm places the Gulf Coast region in its sights, NSA’s COOP team will travel to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) Fort Worth, Texas. From there, they’ll serve as their base’s eyes and ears to the rest of the world if NSA’s conventional communication means become unpredictable as it did during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“Our communication opportunities were sparse and it was quite distracting (during Katrina) when we’d get 20 calls a day from different military entities asking us essentially the same questions and looking for the same information,” said Uemura. “We’ll just be trying to survive down here and get the base back up and running. It’s going to be easier to have people somewhere else handling the information-type responsibilities that our parent commands and others are looking for.”

On arrival in Fort Worth, the group will settle into their Emergency Operation Center (EOC) and wait for the worst.

“Well send them to Texas 48-72 hours before a potential storm hits,” said Uemura. “We’re sending them early so they can be settled in and ready to assist if a prospective storm makes landfall.”

If New Orleans “goes dark,” in terms of conventional communication contact, NSA’s COOP team will be connected with their base via technologies like text messaging and satellite phone uplinks. Uemura said the COOP team’s main communication mission will be verifying evacuated personnel’s safe muster with Commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE), NSA’s parent command, and other military entities.

Though NSA service members and tenant-command troops at NSA have primary mustering procedures, the COOP team will also be manning a Fort Worth-based phone number, which will serve as a last resort for all evacuated NSA service members and DoD civilians, regardless of command, to report in once they get to a safe location. They’ll also be monitoring an e-mail address for the same purpose.

As a mother of a 15-month-old child, Yeoman 2nd Class Tamara Higgins, a COOP team member, said her heart and thoughts will be with her own family in case of an emergency. As a Sailor, she said if she has to play a role in NSA’s hurricane recovery operations, she’s ready to be an asset with the COOP team.

“I know taking care of musters in an emergency situation will do a lot for manpower issues, but my main motivation is to help ease the uncertainties and stresses that a hurricane can cause for individuals,” said Higgins. “I’m ready to do my part for the Navy as a whole, and for the people who make it work everyday.”

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Let's Celebrate Our One Year Anniversary

It does not seem like it, but today is the 1st anniversary of the MT Milcom and the Btown Monitoring Post Blogs. Tomorrow is the 1st anniversary of Gayle's MT Shortwave Central Blog.

So on this Memorial Day weekend Gayle and I would like to thank all who have contributed to the effort to make these blogs the best in the world of radio. No one else even gets close in reader traffic or news content.

We would also like to take a second to honor all those who have served or are currently serving in the US military, those who have goven the ultimate price for this country, and all their families. These are the folks who are always in our thoughts and prayers.

So on this fantastic weekend, the start of summer, let's celebrate our 1st anniversary of the MT Radio Blogs - Milcom, Btown Monitoring Post, and the MT Shortwave Central. And again thanks to all who have made it possible and laissez les bons temps rouler.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Enterprise Returns to Sea

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) (Big E), got underway May 22 following about one week in its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk.

During their in port period, Big E hosted a change of command ceremony for Commander, Fleet Forces Command, and held its own change of command ceremony for its new Commanding Officer, Capt. Ron Horton. For the next few weeks, Enterprise, along with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 will be conducting carrier qualifications, maintaining combat readiness for its upcoming surge deployment.

The Navy’s Fleet Response Plan depends on its ships’ ability to deploy at any given moment to anywhere in the world. According to Horton, the Enterprise and its air wing is determined and dedicated to supporting combat operations and winning the global war on terrorism.

“With the Fleet Response Plan, we will get to the fight faster, keep operational readiness high and rapidly respond to every call,” Horton said. “We will increase the operational availability of our forces through the continued commitment and resourcefulness of our highly capable Sailors and Marines.”

The Big E is the centerpiece of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, which also includes the guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), and USS James E. Williams (DDG 95); the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64), the fast-attack submarine USS
Philadelphia (SSN 690) and the fast-combat supply ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6).

In addition to being the flagship of the strike group, Enterprise is also the home to CVW-1. The air wing is comprised of the “Checkmates” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211 flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet; the “Knighthawks” of VFA 136; the “Sidewinders” of VFA-86; the “Thunderbolts” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 all flying the F/A-18 Hornet. Also joining CVW-1 are the “Dragonslayers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11 flying the SH-60 Seahawk; the “Rooks” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137 flying the EA-6B Prowler; the “Maulers” of Sea Control Squadron (VS) 32 flying the S-3B Viking; the “Screwtops of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 flying the E-2C Hawkeye; and the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 flying the C-2A Greyhound.

Stennis, Nimitz, Bonhomme Richard Enters the Persian Gulf

The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Groups and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Expeditionary Strike Group entered the Persian Gulf May 23.

While operating in the Persian Gulf, the carriers and amphibious strike groups and their associated forces will conduct missions in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and will also perform Expeditionary Strike Force (ESF) training.

This marks the first time the Stennis (JCS), Nimitz (NIM) and Bonhomme Richard (BHR) strike groups have operated together in combined training while deployed to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. In March, Stennis and the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group conducted a dual-carrier exercise in the Persian Gulf.

The ESF training demonstrates the importance of the strike groups’ ability to plan and conduct multi-task force operations as part of the U.S.’s long-standing commitment to maintaining maritime security and stability in the region.

“We are conducting this training in order to gain valuable experience across a wide spectrum of naval disciplines. This training demonstrates our commitment to security and stability in the Gulf area, and our commitment to regional partners,” said Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet.

The timing of this exercise is determined by the availability of forces, and is not connected to events in the region. The exercise is not directed against any nation.

The air wings from the aircraft carriers and BHR will conduct air training while the surface components will conduct training in three general disciplines: anti-submarine, anti-surface and mine warfare.

JCS is the flagship for this training. JCS left its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., on Jan. 16 for a regularly scheduled deployment and began operating in the region Feb. 19.

The Nimitz Strike Group left its homeport of San Diego on April 2 and entered the region May 8.

The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHR ESG) left its homeport of San Diego on April 10 and entered the 5th Fleet area of operations May 19.

Along with JCS, other ships in its strike group which made the transit include the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and the guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane (DDG 77).

Stennis’ Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 squadrons include the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146, “Argonauts” of VFA-147, “Death Rattlers” of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 323, “Yellowjackets” of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 138, “Golden Hawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112, “Topcats” of Sea Control Squadron 31, “Eightballers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 8, and “Providers” of Logistics Support Squadron 30.

Accompanying NIM is guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76).

Nimitz's CVW-11 squadrons include VFA-14 “Tophatters,” VFA-41 “Black Aces,” VFA-81 “Sunliners,” Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 “Wallbangers,” VMFA-232 “Red Devils,” Electronic Warfare Squadron 135 “Black Ravens,” Logistics Support Squadron 30 “Providers,” and HS-6 “Indians.”

Accompanying BHR is the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9), amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LPD 47) and fast-attack submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756).

Embarked aboard BHR is Amphibious Squadron 7. Also embarked aboard BHR, Denver and Rushmore are units from Beach Master Unit 1, Assault Craft Units 1 and 5, Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Naval Beach Group 1, and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23. The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) makes up the Marine force embarked with the ESG. Units of the 13th MEU include Combat Logistics Battalion 13; Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 - Reinforced.

NOAA NHOP 2007 Now Available

Those of you interested in monitoring hurricane comms during the upcoming season will find the new NOAA National Hurricane Operations Plan a useful tool. You can download your pdf copy at

Attack controllers call in air strikes at Kansas range

Frequencies at end of article

SMOKY HILL AIR NATIONAL GUARD RANGE, Kan. (AFPN) -- As F-16 Fighting Falcons circle overhead, joint terminal attack controllers from the 1st Air Support Operations Squadron keep an eye on a nearby village. Only this village isn't in Iraq or Afghanistan. It's Kansas and the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range.

The joint terminal attack controllers, called JTACs, are training in the Smoky Hill ANG Range training for future deployments in support of operations Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom.

JTACs work alongside Soldiers and Marines providing air power to troops on the ground. The Airmen are stationed in Germany and traveled to Kansas for training on the range, which has the urban environment needed for realistic training and can call in air strikes on a target-rich environment..

"This is one of the few ranges in the states that is not pilot-centric. It's JTAC-centric," Master Sgt. Scott Loescher said. "So we're able to get some really good training. The guys really learn a lot while they're out here."

"Downrange this is what we're going to run into," said Tech. Sgt. John Strawn. "You're going to be in an urban environment. You're going to be working with several different agencies. You're going to have lots of things going on around you (like improvised explosive device) strikes and troops in contact."

The experience levels vary for the five JTACs at the Smoky Hill Range for training. Some are in upgrade training, while others are battle-tested veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But all of them use this training to perfect the things that can mean life or death downrange.

"Time to have the bad day is out here," Sergeant Strawn said. "You never want to have the bad day downrange. If you make the mistakes, you want to make them here."

That's why training at the Smoky Hill Range can be chaotic at times.

There are "things going on from the rear, from the front and sides," Sergeant Strawn said. "You have things going on all around you. You may have other teams out there. You may have friendly positions out there. And they have to identify all these things and keep track of everything going on around them."

Those are the challenges these JTACs face on the plains of Kansas, and the same challenges they'll face when it comes time to deploy to fight the war on terrorism.

304.900 MOA Tactical Channel Wizard Control (ECM)
308.500 MOA Tactical Channel
309.900 MOA Tactical Channel Secondary
316.900 MOA Tactical Channel Primary

Any additional frequencies used in this MOA would be appreciated.

Ramstein Airmen test new communications systems

by Tech. Sgt. Denise Johnson
Combined Endeavor 2007 Public Affairs

Twenty-eight Airmen and civilians from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, tested new communications systems at the U.S. European Command-sponsored exercise, Combined Endeavor, held April 27 through May 10.

The 1st Combat Communications Squadron's team from the 86th Airlift Wing is at the Lager Aulenbach testing site to participate in the world's largest communications-interoperability exercise.

The exercise includes nearly 1,500 people from 42 countries spanning four continents and two international organizations. Representatives from U.S., NATO, Partnership for Peace (PfP) and other nations plan and execute interoperability testing of command, control, communications and computer systems from participant nations in preparation for future combined humanitarian, peacekeeping and disaster relief operations.

"We've been participants at CE for five years, this year is different, though," said Capt. Trey Felton, plans and readiness flight commander, 86th AW. "We have something new on our agenda."

For CE 07, the squadron rolled out a suite of theater deployable communications equipment. The unit is also providing the satellite communications, or SATCOM, connectivity to the forward operating site in Yerevan, Armenia.

During the two-plus weeks of testing, these Airmen have participated in more than 100 voice and data tests that will be documented by the Joint Interoperability and Testing Center. The JITC is contracted to collect the test data and compile it into the Combined Endeavor Interoperability Guide. The guide is provided to participant nations as a reference for the interoperability of communications information systems. The database currently lists more than 13,000 test results that provide crucial information used in coalition operations.

Of the 100-plus tests scheduled, many included testing a new telephone-switching unit, the high-density exchange switch. "I'm extremely excited about using the HDX. Its physical make-up and design allows us to do more with less. It provides more capability, while at the same time diminishes bulk," said Senior Airman Jason Sampeer, integrated communications access package technician, 1st CBCS.

The HDX is designed to do the work of one large voice module and two basic access modules. The LVM is used as a telecommunications hub while the BAMs are used to branch off the LVM on a larger scale according to the number of users. For example, an LVM could be used at an established forward operating site to provide telephone-switching capabilities. The BAMs would then be used to branch off the LVM like spokes on a wheel. One LVM weighs 185 pounds and each BAM weighs 195 pounds.

An HDX weighs 125 pounds and can do the work of five BAMs or 2.5 LVMs, according to Sampeer.

"The HDX reduces 75 percent of bulk," Airman Sampeer said. Reducing the bulk leads to more effective logistics and less cost.

The test results will aid in determining whether the HDX is a feasible addition to the Air Force inventory where telephone-switching modules are concerned.

"We will use the results we garner here to create a talking paper on the HDX. That paper will, in turn, be presented to the Air Force as support to adapt this new system into our communications inventory," Captain Felton said.

The team is also testing and training on a new quad-band dual-hub satellite terminal. The hub is capable of servicing 12 end users.

"This equipment has only been in our unit's inventory for a year and has only been deployed twice before," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Evans, 1st CBCS NCO in charge of satellite wideband communications systems.

"This satellite dish is powerful. The dual hub enhances our reach-back capability which allows redundant paths for voice and data," Captain Felton said. He said his team is taking full advantage of the time here in Lager Aulenbach. "CE gives us the opportunity to work out some minor issues and to gain invaluable training time on the new hub."

While testing and training on two relatively new sets of communication equipment, the airmen are getting an education in cultural interoperability as well.

"This has been such a rewarding event for us in terms of learning more about our own equipment and how it works with that of other nations'," Sergeant Evans said. "Learning how to work with members of other countries has provided me with a foundation of interoperability I will use now and long into the future."

Members of the 1st CBCS are tasked for mobility operations on a regular basis. For example, squadron members deployed to six locations in five countries over a six-week period. The tests results learned here can be applied in those real-world contingencies they are asked to support.

"As the United States Air Force in Europe's premier deployable communications unit, we're proud to work side by side with our partner nations to ensure we can communicate effectively and that we are prepared to handle any contingency operation that may arise in the European, Central and African Command Area of Operations," said Lt. Col. Joe Sublousky, 1st CBCS commander.

Kearsarge ESG Begins COMPTUEX

Ahead up for East Coast Monitors:

The Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) began their Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) May 14.

COMPTUEX is a pre-deployment certification that prepares an ESG for overseas deployment. The exercise consists of multiple scenarios conducted during a three-week time period.

“COMPTUEX is a stressful simulated combat environment that will pace the entire strike group across an entire spectrum of operations,” said Commodore Robert Bougher, Kearsarge Strike Group commander. “It allows the strike group to develop pre-planned responses, a way of thinking about combat operations, and build the synergy required for victory in a combat environment.”

Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked aboard Kearsarge are working side-by-side with Sailors to form unit cohesiveness and forge the bond between a “blue and green” team.

“We brought 900 Marines, the entire MEU consists of around 2,100 Marines on three ships: Kearsarge, USS Ponce (LPD 15) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44),” said Bougher.

Sailors and Marines aboard Kearsarge are preparing for the drills and exercises of COMPTUEX designed to push the crew through the challenges of actual combat.

“The exercise is built up, initially, of individual exercises. It is then broken down by individual ships, warfare commanders such as air defense, anti-submarine and surface warfare, and that builds the operation tempo up to a combat problem,” said Bougher.

The crew itself will also have to adapt to new circumstances with the added pressure of COMPTUEX and the arrival of the 22nd MEU.

“I think the biggest part as far as the crew is concerned has been the large influx of people,” said Kearsarge Command Master Chief (SW) Kenneth Delaruelle. “We have more than doubled the size of our crew which poses some challenges, such as the chow lines, training the Marines on when, where and how to wear the proper protective gear, and getting used to cleaning the ship at specific times of the day. The integration has been very positive to date, and I expect that to continue as we build our blue-green team.”

Each of the departments aboard Kearsarge has been preparing for COMPTUEX and feels they are ready to undergo the test.

“AIMD (Air Intermediate Maintenance Department) is fully prepared to get through the evaluations and have a successful deployment,” said Chief Aviations Electronics Technician Michael Oxendine. “We have many good Sailors and augmented Marines and we stand by to make this a successful COMPTUEX.”

In preparation for COMPTUEX, Kearsarge took on more than 220 pallets of military equipment, supplies and food. Sailors worked long hours to ensure the ship was “ready for sea” and able to sustain life and mission readiness over the duration of the exercise.

“The onload is very teamwork intensive,” said Lt. Ignacio Valadez, Kearsarge’s safety officer. “Everyone has a part in the evolution from Supply Department to AIMD for the fork truck maintenance, to Weapons Department and Supply Department for driving the fork lifts and providing ramp guards for safety.”

Capt. James Gregorski, USS Kearsarge commanding officer, told the crew that the best can get better and welcomed the challenge.

Kearsarge ESG consists of the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge, elements of the 22nd MEU, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., the amphibious transport dock Gunston Hall, the dock landing ship Ponce, the guided missile frigate USS Carr (FFG 52), the guided missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), the guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69), and the nuclear fast-attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755).

Bonhomme Richard ESG Arrives in 5th Fleet

The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHRESG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) May 19.

The San Diego-based ship's arrival demonstrates the United States’ steadfast resolve to enhance security and support long-term stability in the region.

BHRESG is comprised of USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)(BHR) and its embarked staff, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 7, and 2,200 combat-ready Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., USS Denver (LPD 9), USS Rushmore (LSD 47), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93)and USS Chosin (CG 65).

Commander, BHRESG/PHIBRON 7, Capt. Bradley D. Martin, said the strike group brings a flexible and easily-deployed amphibious force that will further complement coalition forces currently operating in the region.

“We bring with us an inherently adaptable force that is capable of delivering elements of the 13th MEU ground and air forces anywhere their services are required,” said Martin. “We are well prepared to take up our duties and support the efforts of the combatant commander whether it be at sea, in the air or on land.”

According to 13th MEU’s commanding officer, Col. Carl E. Mundy III, his Marines and Sailors have used their time aboard BHRESG’s transit to raise their already high level of operational readiness.

“While there is never any doubt to a Marine's level of readiness, 13th MEU Marines and Sailors are taking advantage of their time aboard Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group by conducting constant training evolutions while underway,” said Mundy. “This includes live-fire ranges, equipment maintenance and classes on tactics, law of armed conflict, and Arabic culture and language.”

Mundy said the 13th MEU is capable of conducting a wide variety of missions, including combat operations ashore, humanitarian assistance, and noncombatant evacuations.

“Broadly speaking, the 13th MEU provides the theater combatant commander with a highly trained, versatile landing force and will respond to missions and taskings that span a wide range of possibilities,” said Mundy.

BHRESG will be conducting Maritime Security Operations while in 5th Fleet. U.S. and coalition forces conduct Maritime Security Operations to help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other materials.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Two Standard HF Milcom References Posted

I have posted the latest edition's of Mark Cleary's USCG Asset Guide and Counter-Drug/Law Enforcement/Homeland Security HF ALE Guide on my Personal Website, The Btown Monitoring Post at The later guide contains ALE address and frequency information for the COTHEN Net, TISCOM Net, FBI ALE Net, US Army/DEA PANTHER Net, and US Army South Flight Following Service (SKYWATCH) Net. If you are into HF listening to the US Coast Guard and Counter-Narco Nets, these guides are must haves in your files.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Kitty Hawk, Air Wing Prepare to Take Flight Again

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph A. Vernola, USS Kitty Hawk Public Affairs

USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) departed Yokosuka, Japan, on May 15, to begin carrier qualifications after a four-month maintenance period and recent sea trials.

The ship’s Air Department will work with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 pilots and air crews to earn the certifications necessary to conduct flight operations during the upcoming summer deployment, said Cmdr. Mike Horsefield, Air Department head.

Carrier qualifications will also allow the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115 "Liberty Bells" an opportunity to test new equipment on their E-2C Hawkeye aircraft.

“We have new propellers on the planes and we are going to see how the planes react to taking off from the carrier,” said Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Ricardo Sawh, a VAW-115 troubleshooter and final checker. “The planes make a lot less noise and vibrations now, so the plane flies a lot smoother.”

The squadron plans to thoroughly test the new propellers during 30 scheduled flights, said Sawh.

Carrier qualifications also allow air wing personnel to become familiar with ship operations, according to Lt. James Lomax, Strike Fighter Squadron 102 air-to-ground weapons training officer.

“Carrier qualifications really help in getting our pilots back up to speed after not being on the ship for a while,” said Lomax.

Carrier qualifications are the last step Kitty Hawk must complete before starting its summer deployment.

Destroyer Squadron 22 Completes Neptune Warrior

Photo: Guided missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) pulls up alongside USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) during maneuvering exercises in the Atlantic. Laboon and Bainbridge are both in transit to participate in the Neptune Warrior training course, which will test the interoperability of NATO coalition forces. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Coleman Thompson.

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael Starkey, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

USS BAINBRIDGE, At Sea (NNS) -- Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 in company with Norfolk-based USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Normandy (CG 60) and Mayport-based USS Simpson (FFG 56) completed the Neptune Warrior course in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Scotland on May 3.

Neptune Warrior is a course designed to increase the interoperability between coalition and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies while conducting maritime operations. The course takes units from the participating nations and divides them into different groups to simulate contact between air, surface and sub-surface threats. Participants included France, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“This has been a great opportunity for all of our forces to integrate and practice tactics, techniques and procedures,” said Master Chief Operational Specialist (SW) Steven Hasselberger, DESRON 22 command master chief. “Our exercises are a ramp up for readiness during real-world evolutions, and we’ve done a lot of sharing of ideas, sharing of information and it’s been a very successful tactical event.”

The complexity of operating with many different ships from various countries is the primary lesson learned from the Neptune Warrior course.

“With the future of naval operations being us working with allied nations, where we actually have allied ships deploying with our carrier strike groups through operations, the likelihood of working with allied ships is becoming more and more frequent,” said Lt. Kenneth Myrick, DESRON 22 intelligence officer.

DESRON 22 was embarked aboard Bainbridge, which served as a flagship for the task force. Bainbridge, Laboon and Simpson will return to their respective homeports while Normandy will continue on to its regularly scheduled deployment supporting the global war on terrorism.

Navy Names New Destroyers

Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter has announced the names for the U.S. Navy’s two newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers (DDG) to honor two American heroes famous for their naval service.

DDG 110 will be named the USS William P. Lawrence to honor Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence, who served nearly six years as a prisoner of war (POW) in North Vietnam and later as superintendent of the Naval Academy.

Lawrence was born January 13, 1930, in Nashville, Tenn. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951. At the Naval Academy, he played three varsity sports and was president and brigade commander, in which capacity he helped establish the Brigade Honor concept. He graduated from the Naval Air Test Center as an honor graduate and in 1958 was the first naval aviator to fly twice the speed of sound.

During the Vietnam War, as commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143, Lawrence earned the Silver Star for a strike against a heavily defended target in North Vietnam. He completed his mission, but was captured after his aircraft went down and he remained a POW until March 1973. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership to fellow POWs. Along with fellow prisoner and naval aviator, Vice Adm. James Stockdale, Lawrence became noted for resistance to his captors.

“[Lawrence] repeatedly paid the price for being perceived by the enemy as a source of their troubles through his high crime of leadership. He could not be intimidated and never gave up the ship," said Stockdale.

Following promotion to rear admiral in 1974, he served as commander, Light Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet; director Aviation Programs Division on the staff of the chief of Naval Operations; assistant deputy chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare). In August 1978, he became superintendent of the Naval Academy and subsequently served as commander 3rd Fleet and chief of naval personnel, retiring in 1986.

DDG 111 will be named the USS Spruance to honor Adm. Raymond A. Spruance, whose calm and decisive leadership in command of Task Force 16 at the Battle of Midway contributed to the pivotal American victory.

Spruance was born in Baltimore, on July 3, 1886. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1906. His career was extensive, including command of five destroyers and the Battleship Mississippi.

In the first months of World War II in the Pacific, Spruance commanded a cruiser division. He led Task Force 16, with two aircraft carriers, during the Battle of Midway. Spruance’s disposition of forces and management of available aircraft proved to be brilliant. His decisions during that action were important to its outcome, which changed the course of the war with Japan.

After the Battle of Midway, he became chief of staff to the commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean areas and later was deputy commander in chief. In mid-1943, he was given command of the Central Pacific Force, which became the 5th Fleet in April 1944. While holding that command in 1943-45, with the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) as his usual flagship, Spruance directed the campaigns that captured the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and defeated the Japanese fleet in the June 1944 Battle of Philippine Sea.

Spruance held command of the Pacific Fleet in late 1945 and early 1946. He then served as president of the Naval War College until retiring from the Navy in July 1948. In 1952-55, he was ambassador to the Philippines. Spruance died in Pebble Beach, Calif., on Dec. 13, 1969.

William P. Lawrence and Spruance will provide dynamic multimission platforms to lead the Navy into the future. Using a gas turbine propulsion system the ship can operate independently or as part of carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups.

Combat systems center around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-lD, multifunction phased array radar. The combination of Aegis, the Vertical Launching System, an advanced anti-submarine warfare system, advanced anti-aircraft missiles and Tomahawk, the Arleigh Burke-class continues the revolution at sea.

Navy's Newest Replenishment Ship Launched in San Diego

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman José R. Rolón, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy’s newest underway replenishment vessel, USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE-4), was christened and launched from the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego on May 15.

“This ship is a great acquisition for United States and a great advancement for the Navy,” said Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter. “A great ship like this will provide the support for all the activities overseas for the next 40 or more years.”

USNS Byrd is the fourth ship in the Navy's new 11-ship T-AKE class and will deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to the Navy's carrier and expeditionary strike groups and other naval forces underway. T-AKEs have the largest cargo-carrying capacity and the largest flight deck of any combat logistics force ship.

“The T-AKE ship we will launch today is not just 250,000 tons of steel. It is 250,000 tons of quality, technology and support to the naval forces,” said Rear Adm. Charles H. Goddard, program executive officer, ships. “God bless the crew of USNS Richard E. Byrd and America.”

The 689-foot ship can deliver 10,000 tons of food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to combat ships.

Richard E. Byrd’s civil service master Capt. Robert Jaeger is excited to see his ship in the water and one step closer to carrying out its role in the fleet.

“She will increase the supporting capabilities,” said Jaeger. “Prior to the launching of the ship, it was just a constructed piece of metal, the moment it touched the water for the first time she became a ship -- and that is a wonderful feeling for me.”

USNS Byrd is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy's Military Sealift Command in November of this year and will be crewed by 124 civil service mariners and 11 military personnel.

“This is all possible because of the really good team work between the Navy and the shipyard,” said Frederick J. Harris, president of NASSCO. “Without that teamwork we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this successfully.”

Shreveport Making Final Cruise After 37 Years Of Service

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Seth Clarke, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USS SHREVEPORT, At Sea (NNS) -- When USS Shreveport (LPD 12) homeports in early July, it will be for the last time. A 37-year-old amphibious docking ship, Shreveport is completing one last deployment prior to a scheduled Sept. 28 decommissioning.

The current and final commanding officer of the Shreveport, Capt. Paul Monger, said he understands why the Navy is retiring a ship that is still operationally effective.

“We had some Kenyan generals out here that said, ‘Why would you decommission a ship like this? It looks great. If this is one of those platforms that you’re getting rid of because its not as capable as you need it to be, the new ones must really, really be good,’” Monger recalled. “And the answer is, they are.”

The beginning of the end comes in July when the “Super Gator” returns to Norfolk. The first step is a munitions off-load. Then, those Sailors who have transfer orders will leave for their new bases and ships around the fleet. The crew members remaining will ready the ship for the decommissioning.

Shreveport will be stripped bare of all items that can still be used. The crew will recover everything useful from bow to stern, from computers and cabinets to wrenches and valves. Documents will be shipped to new commands. The crew will move to a barge moored next to the ship for the duration of their stay.

Until then, the roughly 400 Sailors and 400 Marines on board will continue to pursue their mission.

Shreveport is in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation as a theater reserve, a force that stays ready to go anywhere if called. Maintaining proficiency through ongoing training becomes the focus of troops tasked with remaining in a ready position.

“It keeps our guys up to speed,” Monger said. “What we’re tasked to do is bring Marines over into theater and to be ready to put them wherever they need to go.”

Often, he said, ships in the Persian Gulf will drop Marines off in Kuwait and pick them up later, however, depending on how long they will stay, the Marines may catch a different ride home. Shreveport's Marines, elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, have been on board the entire deployment, with the exception of a few brief exercises.

Shreveport's mission also supports maritime security operations (MSO) through the use of three visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) teams.

“They’ll do anything from going and talking to a local fisherman in his fishing boat to boarding a vessel that looks suspicious to verify that it’s in fact not somebody that’s smuggling goods or people,” Monger said.

The next ship that deploys in her place may be more sleek, efficient and modern, but only time will tell if the "Super Gator’s" successor will serve for as long and well as Shreveport has.

Ensign Peter J. Downes, Shreveport’s administrative officer, said he’s constantly reminded of the long history of the ship.

“Every time I walk around the ship, since everything’s so old, I always wonder what it was like for some other ensign in the ‘70s or ‘80s," he said. “It’s interesting to have that kind of history. She’s still going strong for her age.”

Monger agreed.

“The ship has had a long, good life,” he said. “It has been very successful. I hate to see it go.”

Shreveport is currently on a regularly scheduled deployment to support MSO in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as part of the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group. Coalition forces conduct MSO under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

C-5 Equals Max Capacity

The nose is lifted and the ramp is lowered May 12 on a C-5 Galaxy from Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, at Hulman Field in Terre Haute, Ind. The C-5 is here in support of Exercise Ardent Sentry. Ardent Sentry is designed to hone coordination between the Department of Defense as well as federal, state, local and private agencies in a series of challenging scenarios ranging from natural disasters to terrorist incidents. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. John S. Chapman)

1 dead in Canadian Snowbirds jet crash

The Canadian Forces Snowbird flight demonstration team lost a pilot during a show rehearsal at Malmstrom Air Force Base yesterday afternoon(5/19/2007).

The Canadian military identified the pilot as Capt. Shawn McCaughey, 31, of Candiac, Quebec. He is the sixth Snowbirds pilot killed in a crash since 1972.

Maj. Robert Mitchell, the Snowbirds' commanding officer, said McCaughey was flying upside down about 300 feet off the ground in a "routine maneuver" when the jet went down. The team had been in the air for about 45 minutes when the crash occurred, said Mitchell, who was flying lead plane. McCaughey made no radio contact and didn't indicate he was having trouble, he said. McCaughey, the only person in the single-engine jet, did not eject. He had been with the Snowbirds for two years.

The team had been scheduled to perform Saturday and Sunday at an open house and sport event at Malmstrom. An event organizer said the open house would continue, but the Snowbirds would not perform. "The team will take an operational pause to remember Shawn McCaughey like we need to, and then we will go back and do the rest of the show season," said Col. Richard Foster, commander of 15 Wing Moose Jaw.

The Snowbirds have been compared to the Navy's Blue Angels. They fly their planes almost daily, year-round - logging 3,700 hours annually.

A Blue Angels pilot died in a crash last month in Beaufort, S.C.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Helicopter squadron provides support, security from air

by Airman 1st Class Wesley Wright
5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The rotor blades begin to turn and the aircraft starts to vibrate as the UH-1N Huey helicopter prepares for takeoff. The pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer run their checklists, while two security forces members sit in the back of the helicopter ready for anything. Two Pratt and Whitney turboshaft engines lift the UH-1N off the ground as the mission gets underway.

"Tower, this is Blade two-four. We're taking off west, departing your air space to the south east," the pilot radios to the air traffic controllers.

The aircrew takes off to provide a security deterrent in the missile fields found throughout the region.

The mission of the 54th Helicopter Squadron here is to ensure the integrity of the 91st Space Wing's nuclear deterrents by providing immediate, flexible and effective combat helicopter support anywhere, anytime and on time. Due to the size of the area the 91st SW missile complex covers, air travel is the only practical way of reaching remote sites quickly.

"Since 9/11, security has dominated our vision and transformed our mission," said Maj. David Smith, the 54th HS commander. "We have worked very hard to integrate with the 91st Security Forces Group, particularly the tactical response force, to exploit the synergy created by integrating helos and TRF."

The squadron can transport security forces, guard missile convoys and transport equipment anywhere throughout the missile fields, ready to respond to any security situation.

Additionally, Airmen of the 54th HS can support medical evacuations and rescue searches.

During joint task forces Katrina and Rita, 54th HS Airmen deployed two helicopters and three crews to aid in hurricane disaster relief. Their contingent, along with three others that made up the 620th Air Expeditionary Squadron, delivered more than 52,000 tons of lifesaving supplies to devastated hurricane victims.

"Thankfully, we really don't do a whole lot of rescue searches here," said 1st Lt. Zach Pellonari, a 54th HS pilot. "However, we are rigorously trained for all aspects of search and rescue."

The SAR training pilots undergo is in addition to many other training requirements. Helicopter pilot training alone is 18 months long. Additionally, all aircrew members are trained in water and arctic survival and attend prisoner-of-war training.

Lieutenant Pellonari's duties are widened even further by his duties as aircraft commander.

"The senior pilot on a mission is the aircraft commander," he said. "Taking care of forms, making sure everyone's current, etc., are additional duties."

The flight engineers as well have numerous training requirements and are responsible for many of a Huey's functions.

"Most of the stuff I do is pre-flight," said Senior Airman Neal Hardin, a 54th HS flight engineer. "I'm a systems expert for all the systems on the aircraft. I make sure parts and forms are current. I also make sure the weight and balance are correct."

One of the things Airman Hardin gets to use is the Forward Looking Infrared System, a high-tech camera with night vision and thermal heat-seeking capabilities. Airman Hardin uses the FLIR system to scan surrounding areas during missions. The FLIR system has advanced magnifying and recording capabilities.

Additionally, a flight engineer is a spotter for the aircraft, guiding the pilots during hovering, landing and cargo pickup.

"The equipment and opportunities that working with helos provide is great," he said. "I like just being here to do things for other people."

"We have the privilege to work with the best aircrews, maintainers and most highly trained and motivated security-forces Airmen in 20th Air Force," he said. "Regardless of the obstacles we face day to day, simply being a part of this team is motivating."

Though the UH-1N has been around since 1970, the aircraft continues to be widely used. There are currently 62 operational UH-1Ns in the Air Force.

"Although the Huey is aging, it is still a capable aircraft," Major Smith said. "The Marine Corps is also using this aircraft in combat operations in Iraq today. With several minor modifications, this aircraft is capable of bridging the gap to the replacement aircraft. I have the utmost confidence in this aircraft and the people who maintain it."

As this mission nears its end, the sun begins to set and the Airmen aim their UH-1N back toward the base.

"That's bingo fuel, folks -- 600 pounds. We're heading home," the pilot said to the aircrew. Mission accomplished.

Air Intelligence Agency to become Air Force ISR Agency

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Air Force officials here announced May 14 a force structure change designating the Air Intelligence Agency at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, as the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency.

AIA reported to Air Combat Command, but the new agency will be aligned under the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (A2) as a field operating agency.

The change will become effective June 8.

"The realignment of the newly designated, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency under Air Force A2 will underscore the nature of ISR as an Air Force-wide enterprise," said Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for A2.

Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, said this realignment is a key element in transforming the approach the Air Force is taking to ISR organization.

"Because ISR capabilities are at the core of determining these desired (warfighting) effects, ISR has never been more important during our 60 years as an independent service. ISR has become the foundation of global vigilance, reach and power. The ISR transformation initiatives we are beginning will further enhance our ability to fly and fight as America's Air Force," General Moseley said.

General Deptula chartered three ISR transformation working groups to continue General Moseley's vision and focus in the areas of ISR capabilities, personnel and organization. After thoughtful dialogue and careful consideration of warfighter and intelligence community needs, the Air Force ISR Agency was born.

"The Air Force ISR Agency will now be responsible for broadening their scope beyond the signal intelligence arena to include all elements of ISR," General Deptula said. "The intent is to provide unmatched ISR capability to our nation's decision makers and combatant commanders."

"Last August General Deptula defined the vision of AF/A2 to transform Air Force intelligence into a preeminent intelligence organization; with the most respected intelligence personnel; and the most valued ISR capability," said Maj. Gen. John C. Koziol, the Air Force ISR Agency commander. "This realignment is the result of nine months of hard work by ISR professionals in the Air Force and civilian sector. Air Force ISR transformation will allow us to treat intelligence as an Air Force-wide enterprise, coordinate and integrate ISR capabilities, and present those capabilities to joint warfighters and national users."

The new agency force structure includes the 70th Intelligence Wing and the Air Force Cryptologic Office at Fort George G. Meade, Md.; the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; and the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick AFB, Fla.

The Air Force Information Operations Center at Lackland AFB was reassigned to 8th Air Force May 1 in a parallel transformation to emphasize cyberspace as an Air Force operating domain.

"The organizational realignments will enable the Air Force ISR Agency to transform our approach to ISR by managing systems, programs, and personnel through a capabilities-based construct, rather than focus on ownership or myriad unconnected budget lines," said Brig. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, the Air Force ISR Agency vice commander.

"My intention is to have this new agency become the focal point for Air Force ISR development and modernization," General Koziol said. "Our team must keep one thing in mind though; this is about delivering the best trained forces and most effective capabilities and how we can conduct integrated ISR operations, with precision at all levels, for air, space and cyberspace missions.

"It's also about organizing, training, equipping, presenting and integrating multi-intelligence all-source ISR capabilities for joint forces commanders through the coalition/joint force air component commander," he said. "I am also looking forward to developing even stronger relationships with the combat support agencies within the national intelligence community. These organizations continue to play a vital role across the entire warfighting spectrum."

"Air Force ISR is on the move," General Koziol said, "and this is an important step forward for world-wide ISR operations and how we forge the way to seamlessly integrate both tactical and national ISR operations."

Army aids in aerial evac during North Pole exercise

by Capt. James Bressendorff
Joint Task Force Alaska Public Affairs

5/14/2007 - NORTH POLE, Alaska (AFPN) -- Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crews teamed with Airmen and civilian emergency responders May 10 to evacuate simulated victims of a terrorist attack as part of Alaska Shield/ Northern Edge 2007.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation regiment's "Flying Dragons" based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, worked with Air National Guardsmen from Kulis Air National Guard Base, Alaska, and active duty Air Force aircrew from nearby Eielson Air Force Base as part of Alaska Shield/ Northern Edge 2007 -- an exercise designed to test the coordination of federal, state, local agencies during emergencies.

Airmen and Soldiers from Kulis ANG airlifted more than 40 patients following a simulated terrorist attack at the North Pole Refinery Complex. The capabilities of local responders were deliberately overwhelmed so military assets could be used in the rescue, which would be a requirement in a real-world situation.

"We have medical evacuation helicopters on standby 24-seven, 365 days a year," said Lt. Col. Ray Alford, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment commander. "We respond not only to military calls, but also to any civilian emergency medical service calls for assistance - any medevac calls."

At the heart of the 52nd Aviation Regiment's aerial evacuation mission is its flight medic, who can perform actions ranging from setting broken bones to defibrillation.

"I help crew the aircraft and I'm responsible for all the patient care in the aircraft and all the medical equipment," said Sgt. Anthony Marshall, flight medic. "Here in Alaska we cover anything from pregnancies to bear mauling, car accidents and vehicle rollovers.

Being the in-flight medic, however, is only a small portion of Sergeant Marshall's duties. During the rescue, he was also responsible for some elements of visual coordination, ensuring the helicopters didn't collide.

"While we were landing, there were four other aircraft flying overhead,"
said the flight medic. "When we're taking off, we have to look for other helicopters so we don't actually crash into each other and turn a training mission into a real mission," Sergeant Marshall said.

During the exercise, five helicopters were flying at any given time. By communicating with each other, ground technicians and hospital staff, they created a smooth, coordinated effort to evacuate the wounded "victims."

"I thought the coordination went very well." Colonel Alford said. "We had some prior planning to deconflict the other aircraft that would be in the airspace, but as far as the notification process and the EMS channels, we were able to receive the information we needed and launch in a timely manner. Once the exercise started, from our view point, it went very smoothly."

According to the battalion commander, the 52nd Aviation Regiment is an invaluable ally to the Alaskan community - providing fast, responsive support to civil authorities during an emergency.

"Overall, I think we have a good working relationship with both Fairbanks and North Pole and other communities throughout the local area here in Alaska," Colonel Alford said. "The training today also reinforces that relationship so they are more confident in our abilities, our response times, and they are aware of what we can do."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

USAF WC-130J Crews Hunt Atl Coast Hurricanes

I will be publishing Hurricane event related frequencies on the sister blog to this one, my Btown Monitoring Post at during the hurricane season which starts June 1. Be sure to check often.

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNEWS) -- Although the 2007 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season officially starts June 1, Keesler Air Force Base's Hurricane Hunters got off to an early start.

Flying a specially equipped WC-130 Hercules, Airmen from the Air Force Reserve Command's 403rd Wing tracked their first tropical disturbance May 9 off the coast of Georgia.

Timing of the mission was reminiscent of the early start of the 2005 record-breaking-hurricane season which stirred up May 20 with Tropical Storm Adrian.

The state-of-the-art WC-130J equipped with a Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer measures surface winds directly below the aircraft.

"The SFMR will be the biggest advance I can think of to improve hurricane intensity forecasts," said Max Mayfield, the former director of the National Hurricane Center.

Data collected by the Hurricane Hunters resulted in the National Hurricane Center naming the storm Subtropical Storm Andrea.

Andrea's minimum central pressure was at 29.62 inches, moving west at 3 mph with sustained winds at 45 mph extending outward up to 115 miles.

The radiometer can also determine rainfall rates within a storm system. This information in addition to wind speeds at flight level provides structural detail of the storm.

Information collected by the Hurricane Hunters increase the accuracy of the National Hurricane Center's forecasts by as much as 30 percent. This data enables the National Hurricane Center to predict more accurately the path of storms in order to save lives and narrow areas of evacuation, center forecasters said. They expect the accuracy of their forecasts to increase with the use of the SFMR.

Two Hurricane Hunter aircraft will be equipped with the radiometers by the end of June with one added each month until all of the 403rd Wing's 10 WC-130J aircraft are outfitted with the SFMR pod.

UNITAS 48-07 Finishes Atlantic Phase

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Alexia M. Riveracorrea, Destroyer Squadron 40 Public Affairs

PUERTO BELGRANO, Argentina (NNS) -- UNITAS Atlantic 48-07 brought together naval forces from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Spain and the United States in the South Atlantic for exercises at sea from May 4-11.

The multinational task group participated in training events such as flight operations, underway replenishments, and tactical response drills to improve interoperability between navies.

“UNITAS Atlantic was an outstanding opportunity to operate with ships from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Spain. Operating as a rather large task group, I was impressed with the planning, execution and professionalism of the other navies as we conducted numerous tactical exercises,” said Cmdr. Victor Cooper, USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) commanding officer.

“Our relationship building events while in port, significantly contributed to the fun experienced while conducting the at-sea events,” Cooper added.

The exchange of military personnel between sister ships also plays a large role in developing interoperability. Watching a partner navy conduct live-fire exercises and respond swiftly to simulated surface and air threats helps participants from each of the countries better understand another navy’s capability to respond to a variety of situations.

“I would like to learn more about their navies, both through language and system capabilities, because I think with such a knowledge base, we will become a stronger allied force,” said Operations Specialist (SW) 2nd Class Marcus Drayden, communication supervisor from USS Mitscher (DDG 57).

After several days to become familiar with each other, the ships then split into two opposing forces to conduct a two-day battle problem at sea as the capstone event in the exercise. Units were able to utilize all aspects of their air, surface and subsurface warfare training to conduct multinational naval task force operations in a multithreat environment.

“Final battle problems are always challenging, regardless of which side you are on,” observed Cmdr. John Wilshusen, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 chief staff officer. “They allow you to put the combined skills and experiences of your team against the skills and experiences of an equally talented and dedicated opponent, with no predetermined outcome."

"The Argentina Navy did a fantastic job this year in challenging both sides with problems that made us think tactically and improved our skills in the at-sea operating environment," Wilshusen added.

“It was a good experience to work with multinational navies,” said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Damario Norwood, bridge watch stander aboard Pearl Harbor. “We built good relationships between Sailors.”

United States participation in UNITAS 48-07 consisted of dock landing ship Pearl Harbor, guided-missile destroyer Mitscher, guided-missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) and Chilean frigate CS Latorre (FFG 14), under the tactical command of Capt. Randy Snyder, DESRON 40 commander.

The four ships also comprise Task Group 40.0, conducting Partnership of the Americas (POA) 2007, a U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command deployment focused on enhancing relationships with regional partner nations through a variety of exercises and events at sea and on shore throughout South America and the Caribbean.

Navy to Christen USNS Byrd Today

The Navy will christen the USNS Richard E. Byrd at 7:30 p.m. PDT on May 15.

The launching ceremony for the newest ship in the Lewis and Clark class of underway replenishment ships will be held at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego.

The ship honors Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd (1888-1957), an explorer famous for his Antarctic expeditions and for leading the first expedition to fly over the North Pole. Like the legendary explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, for whom the first ship of the class was named, Byrd bravely volunteered to explore one of the most remote and harshest places on earth.

Due to his unquenchable thirst for exploration, he provided substantial contributions to the world's understanding of the Antarctic.

Following his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1912, Byrd became a naval aviator and pioneered many techniques for navigating airplanes over the open ocean including drift indicators and bubble sextants. His expertise in this area resulted in his appointment to plan the flight path for the U.S. Navy's 1919 transatlantic crossing.

On May 9, 1926, Byrd and naval aviator Floyd Bennett attempted to fly over the North Pole. For this extraordinary heroic achievement, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by a special act of Congress.

Byrd departed the United States on Aug. 28, 1928, on his first Antarctic expedition. After World War II, he continued his exploration and led the largest Antarctic Expedition to date, Operation Highjump. This expedition involved 13 ships and 4,700 men who explored much of the little-known continent. In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Byrd as officer in charge of U.S. Antarctic programs to command Operation Deep Freeze.

Rear Adm. Robert D. Reilly Jr., commander of Military Sealift Command, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Bolling Byrd Clark will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her father. The launching ceremony will be highlighted in the time-honored Navy tradition when the sponsor breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship "Richard E. Byrd."

The USNS Richard E. Byrd is the fourth ship in the Navy's new 11-ship T-AKE 1 class. T-AKE is a combat logistics force vessel that will replace the current capability of the T-AE 26 Kilauea-class ammunition ships, T-AFS 1 Mars class and T-AFS 8 Sirius class combat stores ships, and when operating with T-AO 187 Henry J. Kaiser class oiler ships, the T-AKE will replace the AOE 1 Sacramento-class, fast-combat support ships. To conduct vertical replenishment, the ship can carry and support two helicopters.

Designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea while providing replenishment services to U.S., NATO and allied ships, the USNS Richard E. Byrd will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a worldwide forward presence. Ships such as the USNS Richard E. Byrd provide logistic lift from sources of supply either in port or at sea from specially equipped merchant ships. The ship will transfer cargo, such as ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts, ship store items, and expendable supplies and material, to ships and other naval warfare forces at sea.

The USNS Richard E. Byrd is 689 feet in length, has an overall beam of 106 feet, a navigational draft of 30 feet and displaces about 42,000 tons with a full load. Powered by a single-shaft diesel-electric propulsion system, the ship can reach a speed of 20 knots.

As part of the Military Sealift Command's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, the ship will be designated as a U.S. naval ship and will be crewed by 124 civil service mariners. The ship will also have a military detachment of 11 sailors to provide operational support and supply coordination, and when needed, the ship will carry a helicopter detachment of 39 military personnel.

Stennis CSG Reaches Halfway Point

By Lt. Nathan Christensen, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 reached the halfway point of their deployment May 10.

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) Feb. 19 to conduct maritime security operations (MSO) in regional waters, as well as to provide support for ground forces operating in Afghanistan working alongside coalition partners, including a French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and its strike group.

“Our primary task so far has been to support Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and coalition forces operating on the ground in Afghanistan,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, Commander Carrier Strike Group 3. “Reports from ground forces in combat say our aircraft are providing the support they need and are making a real difference in the fight against the Taliban. Not only are we helping our troops on the ground and saving lives, but we’re helping the Afghan people.”

Stennis Commanding Officer Bradley Johanson said the crew has met every operational commitment assigned and maintained a level of operational readiness second to none.

"The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is successful because of the devotion to service of every member of the multinational team. Our support to the troops on the ground has made a decisive difference in the region,” he said.

To date, CVW-9 has flown 5,671 sorties and has put in more than 14,800 flight hours. Since arriving in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO, CVW-9 has flown 6,939 hours and has dropped more than 56,000 pounds of ordnance in support of coalition forces operating on the ground in Afghanistan.

Along with supporting OEF and ISAF, another mission JCSSG ships are conducting in 5th Fleet is MSO. Operating as part of the JCSSG, USS O’Kane (DDG 77) and USS Preble (DDG 88) have been primarily conducting MSO in the Persian Gulf since arriving in the region.

Interaction patrols are one element of MSO which focus on putting a friendly face on the coalition’s mission in the region. These visits to local mariners help to deter illegal activities on the high seas, as well as reassure them that coalition forces are operating in the region to ensure the sea-lanes remain open and are safe to navigate.

“The purpose of these operations is to connect with local mariners through the exchange of information in order to develop relationships and help them understand we’re here to help ensure maritime security and stability in this region,” said Quinn.

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

A highlight of JCSSG operations thus far in 5th Fleet, was Stennis’ interaction with the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle (R 91).

Upon Charles de Gaulle’s arrival to the region March 16, the two ships provided support to the ISAF on the ground in Afghanistan, and conducted bilateral exercises at sea and personnel exchanges between the strike group ships.

“I was incredibly impressed by the professionalism, dedication and level of cooperation experienced during our interaction with the entire French Task Force,” said Johanson. “They are our teammates and we were honored to have served with them here in the North Arabian Sea.”

Since leaving its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., on Jan. 16, Stennis has spent 104 days underway conducting operations and exercises in both the 5th and 7th Fleet AOOs.

For ships to remain at sea for extended periods of time, logistical support is absolutely essential. Replenishments At Sea (RAS), commonly referred to as Underway Replenishment (UNREP), is the logistical bridge required for the aircraft carrier to stay on-station indefinitely, said Cmdr. Andy Mueck, Stennis’ supply officer.

“Logistics support is the key to any type of sustained operation,” said Mueck. “Without the reliable means to replenish bullets, food, fuel and general supplies, your efforts are destined to fail.”

In the past four months while at sea, ship’s personnel have consumed 18,962 gallons of milk, 434,760 eggs, 17,040 pounds of flour, 18,599 pounds of ground beef, 36,155 pounds of chicken and 159,960 cups of cereal.

So far, during Stennis’ deployment, the ship has completed 12 UNREPs, bringing on everything from food to repair parts and jet fuel. More than 8.6 million gallons of fuel have been received via UNREP, 7.5 million gallons of which have been issued to aircraft to conduct flight operations.

UNREPs are also a chance for large shipments of mail to be delivered to the ship which helps keep morale high. According to Chief Postal Clerk Orlando Hernandez, Stennis has processed in excess of 350,000 pounds of incoming and outgoing mail this deployment.

“Our largest shipment of mail to date was Feb. 24, just after arriving in the region,” said Hernandez. “We received 194 pallets of mail, weighing 48,000 pounds, and it took us six days to process to the crew.”

While UNREPs help keep ships supplied at sea, it’s the Sailors themselves who keep the ship running and ensure JCSSG successfully completes its assigned missions.

“I think we’re making a huge difference here, especially for the troops on the ground,” said Fire Controlman 1st Class Bret Levinton. “We're maintaining zero casualties in our communication and weapon systems; we’re launching planes every day; and our tactical operating system is always ready. We’re able to do this, all while interacting with the rest of our strike group ships and coalition navies. It's impressive to think of all of the teamwork that's involved in this, and how it goes off without a hitch every day.”