Monday, August 31, 2009

Elmendorf Airmen support Army's Operation Arctic Response

by Airman 1st Class Christopher Gross, 3rd Wing Public Affairs

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AFNS) -- Active and Air National Guard Airmen provided assistance to Army Soldiers Aug. 24 and 26 during Operation Arctic Response here.

Members of the 517th Airlift Squadron from here and the Alaska Air National Guard's 249th Airlift Squadron supported the operation, which is an emergency deployment readiness exercise testing the capabilities of the military to rapidly respond to crisis situations within the state of Alaska.

The exercise lasted from Aug. 17 through 28 and consisted of various missions designed to challenge Soldiers; however, it wasn't until Aug. 24 and 26 that they needed airlift support.

As part of the exercise scenario, U.S. Army Alaska officials were alerted the morning of Aug. 24 of a person in the state intending to harm the local installations. The rapid reaction force from Fort Richardson, Alaska, quickly responded. They contacted Elmendorf AFB officials requesting air support for their troops and supplies to a location somewhere in Alaska. Airmen from the 517th AS and 249th AS deployed about 120 Soldiers along with five pallets, two Humvees, one trailer and one passenger carrier to a designated area in Alaska.

The 517th AS and the 249th AS aircrews each flew one of their C-17 Globemaster IIIs to the designated site. They performed a semiprepared runway operations landing and deployed the Soldiers and their supplies. The forward site was on a rough and rocky surface with the engines running ready to take off as soon as the aircraft were unloaded.

"We're basically one team, one fight regardless of what uniform you're wearing or what patch you have on your shoulder," said Lt. Col. Patrick Weeks, the 517th AS director of operations.

With no forklifts to unload the pallets, the crew performed a combat offload by lowering the ramp just above the ground and unlocking the pallets. Then they revved up the engines and released the brakes letting the pallets slide out the back, and prepared themselves to take off.

"The SPRO-ops is something they're executing in Afghanistan right now, on a frequent basis," Colonel Weeks said. "It's not asphalt and it's not concrete. It's dirt, rock and a pretty unique capability the C-17 has."

"Because it's different, there's a lot of training that we're going to get out of it," said Capt. Nate Drewry, the mission commander for the 517th AS and one of the pilots during the exercise. Captain Drewry put together the missions that were flown during the operation, and briefed and answered questions for those who participated.

"This is a pretty unique training opportunity for us," said Maj. Benjamin Nealy, a 249th AS pilot. "With this exercise, we can integrate the active-duty and the Guard forces to support the Army."

Colonel Weeks said this was a great opportunity to work joint operations and total force integration.

"We're not just up here doing things on our own, we have the Army here, and we have great resources to train with. We can also seamlessly train with the 249th Airlift Squadron in our own back yard," he added.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

In Tinker’s Tacamo community ‘The Shadows know’

Moving a Navy E-6 out of a VQ-4 maintenance hangar and onto the ramp is a careful process directed by Airman Daniel Flores. (Photo by Margo Wright)

Story by Howdy Stout - Staff Writer of the Tinker Take Off
Official newspaper of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center

“What is the Navy doing in a landlocked state? We get a lot of that,” says Lt. j.g Clint Turner, an airborne communications officer with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron FOUR and part of the unit’s public affairs office.

The answer is simple — deterrence.

The 500 Sailors of VQ-4 — the Shadows — and its sister squadron VQ-3, fly the Navy’s only heavy jets, the E-6B Mercury, a modified Boeing 707. Equipped with state-of-the-art communications equipment and lengthy antennas, the planes serve as the direct link from the president to the nation’s strategic forces.

“It’s a mission that has been around for decades,” Lieutenant Turner explains. “It started as a Cold War mission, but has evolved over the years.”

During the nuclear standoff of the Cold War, the United States used airborne communications platforms orbiting at random, undisclosed locations 24-hours-a-day in order to be assured the U.S. would be able to order its own forces to launch a counter strike should the need ever arise. This policy prevented nuclear war for the duration of the Cold War.

In the post-Cold War era, America began reorganizing her nuclear forces. In 1992, as part of U.S. Strategic Command, the Navy set sail for Oklahoma on the then-new E-6A.

“I was on the first E-6 to taxi on to the ramp here,” remembers Cmdr. David Meron, now the commanding officer — or “skipper” — of VQ-4. “They met us on the ramp wearing cowboy hats.”

It was a culture shock for Commander Meron, who was raised on an island off the Florida coast and was then based in Hawaii with VQ-4. But he and others quickly adjusted, with many current and former Sailors calling the state home.

“Everyone always wants to come back to Oklahoma,” says Commander Meron. “Most people that come here, they really enjoy it.”

Because of the specialized nature of the two squadrons, grouped under Strategic

Communications Wing ONE, assignment to the unit is often long-term. It doesn’t take long for the Sailors to sink roots in Oklahoma’s fertile soil.

“Here at TACAMO, it’s not uncommon to find one of our Sailors who have spent the bulk of their time in the Navy here, then retire and remain in Oklahoma City,” Lieutenant Turner says. “Because of that, we get a tremendous amount of support from our local community.”

But the job of TACAMO (Take Charge and Move Out) is exactly that — to fly at a moment’s notice. Although both squadrons are based here, the aircraft flown by the squadrons are deployed often, ready to dash at high speed and take up station at secure locations.

“When we deploy, we are at a constant state of readiness,” Lieutenant Turner says.

Those deployments, and standing alert in “The Hooch,” make assignment to TACAMO “sea duty,” even if they are ostensibly in Oklahoma.

“This is hard duty,” Commander Meron says. “You don’t have to be at sea for hard duty.” Because they must be constantly available, maintenance on the aircraft is continuous.

“We’re all-the-time busy,” says Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Dansby. “But I enjoy it.”

Although the squadron has its own maintenance crews, the flight crews are also trained to “fix what they fly,” Lieutenant Turner explains. “Billets within the Navy are such that we end up wearing many different hats, so to speak.”

The everyday operations of the aircraft is a juggling act where scheduling is tight and often changed to accommodate arriving or deploying aircraft and maintenance crew availability.

At the Maintenance Controller’s desk, Chief Petty Officer Phil Stevens talks with Chief Petty Officer James Collins. They rearrange the schedule to meet operational demands. “It’s all a learning experience for me,” says Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Ambol, a maintenance controller trainee and a chief petty officer select.

Petty Officer Ambol will spend at least three months behind the desk, learning the ropes of being a controller. “Then an oral board to see if he knows his stuff,” Chief Collins adds. “He’s already been out turning wrenches. Now we’re bringing him in here.”

In the Navy for 14 years, Petty Officer Ambol is anything but new to the Navy. But, as Lieutenant Turner points out, “The Navy is a 20 year training program for our career Sailors.” Even those marshalling the aircraft on the apron spend months in the classroom first.

“This is my first plane,” says Seaman James Morsberger. “I’m still very fresh. I’m glad to be out of the classroom.”

But he is still under the watchful eye of Petty Officer 3rd Class Clayton Murphy who shows him the finer points of keeping a heavy jet on the ramp as it refuels, swaps crews or replaces equipment.

Reliability is vital to the mission of VQ-4. Without the certainty that the U.S. could communicate with its strategic forces in a nuclear attack and order a counter strike, there is no nuclear deterrence.

Communications is achieved through a complete suite of communications equipment. What makes the aircraft special are the trailing antennas that have the capability of communicating very long distances with our nation’s nuclear forces.

Although their mission is deterrence, VQ-4 did play an active part in the skies over Iraq by using their radio equipment to provide communications for convoys and supporting forces. With a long loiter time, the crews often stayed on station for 12 hours or more monitoring friendly convoy movements and calling for help when those on the ground needed it.

“If they had an IED attack, we could provide radio support that they would never lose even in that attack,” Commander Meron said.

The aircraft flew more than 2,500 hours during its two-and-a-half-year deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“We were doing it for 12 hours at a time,” he said. “They loved us over there.”

But, says Commander Meron, the core function of TACAMO is deterrence. It is unlikely, he said, that the squadrons will be used in similar operations.

“That’s not a typical mission for us,” Commander Meron says. “We have to be good at our core job. And we’ll have that mission for the next 20-plus years. But,” he adds with a smile, “It was fun while it lasted.”

Saturday, August 29, 2009

USS Theodore Roosevelt Contract Awarded

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded a $2.4 billion contract on Aug. 26 to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding - Newport News for the Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

The Navy's Program Executive Office, Aircraft Carriers, heads the planning and execution of aircraft carrier RCOHs in collaboration with NAVSEA, the Fleet and the shipbuilder. NAVSEA is committed to fiscal responsibility and streamlining our maintenance and modernization processes to maintain current readiness at a lower cost.

"USS Theodore Roosevelt will benefit from the experience gained by the Navy and the shipyard from three previous RCOHs," said Capt. Frank Simei, program manager for In-Service Aircraft Carriers. "Refueling, repairing, and modernizing a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier gives the Navy a fully mission-ready aircraft carrier, ready for two and a half more decades of service on the front line."

During a RCOH, the ship is recapitalized for the second-half of its nominal 50-year service life. This includes refueling the reactors, repairing and upgrading ship infrastructure and systems, and modernizing the ship and its combat and communication systems. Theodore Roosevelt is the fourth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier to undergo an RCOH in Newport News, Va., the only shipyard capable of conducting a Nimitz-class RCOH.

Additionally, Theodore Roosevelt will be the first aircraft carrier to not include a follow-on Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) maintenance period. The work typically conducted in the SRA will be incorporated into the RCOH.

Theodore Roosevelt's RCOH is scheduled to be completed in February 2013.

Aircraft carriers enable the Navy to execute all six core capabilities of the maritime strategy - forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

Joint STARS Eyed As Budget Victim

Aviation Week in a story on their online copyrighted aerospace daily and defense report, indicates that the USAF JStars program may be on the budget chopping block.

From the story written by David A. Fulghum and Amy Butler,

"The return of the U.S. Congress next month will reignite smoldering defense budget battles, and one new target of the budgeter’s ax could be upgrade packages for the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS).

"The ground surveillance aircraft is slated to start flying out of Afghanistan next summer in response to an urgent need request for a dynamically-tasked, real-time airborne surveillance system that can track people in rough terrain.

"Despite the advantages of the improvement package, as the Air Force continues reconsidering its strategy for collecting ground surveillance, the fate of JSTARS has become uncertain, according to industry and government sources. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has not hesitated to cancel or shelve problematic programs or question others on their purported benefits in light of strict budget conditions and changing military needs.

"The JSTARS fleet was based on preowned 707 aircraft, some of which had bad corrosion problems. As a result, Air Force officials are weighing the value of extending the life of JSTARS against the cost of introducing a new platform. A decision on which model aircraft — likely a Boeing 767 or Airbus A330 — to purchase for a future USAF refueling tanker could provide an alternative vehicle for a next-generation GMTI collector, as well as signals and communications intelligence collection."

The complete story can be found at click here

OC-ALC to refurbish Navy E-6 aircraft

by Howdy Stout, 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) -- Workers from the 566th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here will begin work next month on the first of the Navy's E-6B Mercury aircraft scheduled for a service life extension program refit.

The refit will involve inspecting and replacing up to 15,000 fasteners on the aircraft's wings. Fastener holes will also be widened and strengthened, extending the lifespan of the aircraft for another 20 years.

"That's the extent of the program, but it's very labor intensive," said Bill Cain, the deputy director of the 566th AMXS. "It will require an incredible amount of hand work to replace virtually all the wing skin fasteners."

The E-6B aircraft is operated by Strategic Communications Wing One at Tinker AFB and used for strategic communications with the nation's nuclear assets. The aircraft are based on the Boeing 707 airframe that also serves as the basis for the KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 Sentry, an airborne warning and control system aircraft. The 566th AMXS performs enhanced phase maintenance on the E-6 in addition to its main duties in refurbishing the E-3. The unit is highly experienced in maintaining the 707-type airframe.

"They're taking advantage of that vast 707 experience we have from the E-3," said Bill Baumann, the squadron director of the 566th AMXS.

The work will be similar to work done on Air Force aircraft, although the Navy prefers a cold-working process to strengthen the fastening holes. The process is effective, but time consuming as it involves the physical removal and inspection of each fastener as well as rework of the holes. Work on the first E-6 will begin near the end of September with the 16th and final aircraft rolling out of the hangar in the spring of 2013. The first aircraft to undergo the SLEP refit will also have the wing terminal pins replaced. The first aircraft will be finished by February.

Once the wing pin work is completed, crews will simply carry on with the SLEP-specific work, Mr. Baumann said.

Mr. Cain said an estimated 28,000 man hours of work will be required for each aircraft, which is slightly less than the 35,000 hours required to refurbish an E-3 during depot maintenance. The SLEP is estimated to cost just more than $3 million per aircraft. But, he added, the cost and amount of work may change once the first aircraft is completed and they have a better idea of the actual amount of work involved.

The additional workload, however, will require the hiring of additional workers, Mr. Baumann said. Approximately 70 workers will be assigned to the E-6 work; roughly half of those will come from additional hiring. The workers assigned to the SLEP project will also undergo considerable additional training in the cold-working process.

"There will be a combination of classroom training and a significant amount of on-the-job training," Mr. Baumann said.

Although the Navy and the ALC already have a close-working relationship, sharing parts and expertise as necessary, Mr. Cain hopes the SLEP contract will prompt the Navy to award the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center additional work.

"Over the last several years we've been doing work for the Navy," Mr. Cain said. "There could be additional Navy work in the future based on the success of this effort."

OLF site review delayed

Story by Sue Book, Newberry Sun Journal Staff

The Navy is delaying release of its draft environmental impact statement on locating an F/A-18 Super Hornet Outlying Landing Field in North Carolina or Virginia to coincide with a similar study for the Navy Joint Strike Fighter.

In a statement released Friday, the Navy confirmed rumors that have been circulating for about two weeks that there would be a change in course in the controversial and nearly decade-long process of finding a place for night practice for the noisy aircraft.

A northeastern Craven County site was among those considered and rejected in the first round of consideration by the Navy. The possibility of a different Craven County site recently resurfaced in comments by Sen. Kay Hagan on the U.S. Senate floor. The present EIS examines two North Carolina sites in Gates and Camden counties which have been rejected by state law unless there is economic gain for the region and acceptance by their residents.

Two Super Hornet squadrons are scheduled to be located at MCAS Cherry Point beginning in 2013, a date that has been moved forward on several occasions, and a $14 million contract was recently awarded for hanger renovation at Cherry Point. The locations for support training now in review are for aircraft at Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Station Norfolk.

Read the rest of the story at click here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

USS Carr Intercepts More Than One Ton of Cocaine

ABOARD USS CARR, At Sea (NNS) -- Units assigned to U.S. 4th Fleet and the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a high-speed "go-fast" vessel carrying more than one ton of cocaine Aug. 18.

The combined team of USS Carr (FFG 52), with embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 42 Det 8, was patrolling the Caribbean Sea when they intercepted a vessel in the middle of the night, capturing three suspected narcotics smugglers and the large cargo of cocaine with an estimated inport value of $22 million.

A search of the vessel revealed more than 45 bales of cocaine, which was seized by U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 409 as evidence in preparation for criminal prosecution.

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.

Carr, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is currently deployed in the Caribbean under the operation control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) and U.S. 4th Fleet, conducting counter illicit trafficking operations in support of JIATF-S, U.S. Law Enforcement, and the U.S. and participating nations' drug control policy.

Carr is also supporting the U.S. Maritime Strategy by conducting Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) events, such as Community Relation (COMREL) projects, throughout Latin America.

Milcom 380-390 MHz Freq Change Update

Mike M in Casper has checked in to confirm one of the 380-400 MHz ATC migrations that I reported on this blog: Denver Center 385.6 Casper/Sundance/Lusk WY
was shut down and they started transmitting on 363.025 MHz this past Monday.

Thanks Mike for checking in and passing along that report.

Milcom Blog Logs - August 22-27 2009 - Mid Atlantic

Ron, a member of the MMP team, passed along the following Milcom and Government logs monitored on August 21 from the Mid Atlantic area. Thanks Ron.

((Times UTC, Freqs KHzl))

22 Aug

07348.0 FC4FEM (Communications Manager, FEMA Region 4, Thomasville GA): 1614 USB/ALE sounding. Also noted on 13446.0 USB.

23 Aug

03341.0 FC8FEM001 (Communications Manager, FEMA Region 8, Denver CO): 0900 USB/ALE sounding.

03341.0 FR4FEM001 (FEMA Region 4, Thomasville GA): 1030 USB/ALE sounding. Also on 09462.0 USB

07348.0 FC6FEM (Communications Manager, FEMA Region 6, Denton TX): 1400 USB/ALE sounding.

09462.0 FC8FEM (Communications Manager, FEMA Region 8, Denver CO): 1445 USB/ALE sounding. Also sounding on 03341.0 & 05402.0 USB.

14776.0 FC8FEM010 (FEMA Region 8, Denver CO): 1800 USB/ALE sounding.

24 Aug

6809.0 FC6FEM (Communications Manager, FEMA Region 6, Denton TX): 0315 USB/ALE sounding.

06809.0 FC4FEM (Communications Manager, FEMA Region4, Thomasville GA): 0325 USB/ALE sounding.

26 Aug

07697.1 CHLTNC116 (NS/EP station Charlotte, NC): 1700 USB/ALE calling MDTNNJ188 (NS/EP station, New Jersey).

05696.0 Camslant Chesapeake: 2301 USB w/CG 2006 (HC-130J CGAS Elizabeth City NC) requesting flt ops and position and that CG 2006 contact USCG Block Island (WPB 1344, Atlantic Beach, NC) with their ETA.

08992.0 2325 USB w/EAM (TVIKER).

27 Aug

07527.0 LNT (CamsLant Chesapeake): 1149 USB/ALE calling N01 (USCG HC-144A #2301 ATC Mobile AL)

07527.0 F41 (USCG HU-25 #2141 CGAS Corpus Christi TX): 1200 USB/ALE sounding.

07527.0 D14 (US Customs P-3A “Slick” #N18314/BuNo 150314, Corpus Christi AMB, TX): 1230 USB/ALE sounding.

08912.0 T16 (US Customs PIPER PA-42-720R #N9116Q, Jacksonville, FL): 1535 USB/ALE sounding.

08912.0 719 (USCG HC-130H #1719, CGAS Clearwater FL): 1600 USB/ALE calling TSC (Customs National Law Enforcement Communications Center -- Technical Service Center and COTHEN Remote Transmitter, Orlando, FL ). Also on 15867.0 USB

08912.0 D05 (US Customs BOMBARDIER Q400 #N805MR): 1610 USB/ALE sounding.

08912.0 502 (USCG HC-130H #1502, CGAS Clearwater FL): 1615 USB/ALE sounding. Also on 15867.0 USB

08912.0 F29 (USCG HU-25 #2129 CGAS Cape Cod MA): 1620 USB/ALE sounding.

08912.0 J15 (USCG MH-60J #6015 CGAS Elizabeth City NC): 1630 USB/ALE calling J28 USCG MH-60T #6028 CGAS Elizabeth City NC).

08912.0 Z29 (USCG Sector San Diego CA): 1753 USB/ALE calling J16 (USCG MH-60J #6016 CGAS San Diego CA)

15867.0 D47 (US Customs P-3 AEW&C #N147CS/BuNo 152722, Jacksonville AMB, FL): 1850 USB/ALE sounding.

15867.0 N01 (USCG HC-144A #2301 ATC Mobile AL): 1853 USB/ALE sounding.

15867.0 N05 (USCG HC-144A #2305 ATC Mobile AL): 1900 USB/ALE sounding.

15867.0 T9A (US Customs PIPER PA-42-720R #N9279A, Jacksonville, FL): 1910 USB/ALE sounding.

20890.0 I37 (US Customs CESSNA 550 #N6637G, San Diego AMB, CA): 1942 USB/ALE sounding.

11232.0 Halifax Military: 2004 USB w/Canforce 86 who requests any traffic from Trenton Wing Ops. Halifax advises there is no traffic from Wing Ops at this time--Canforce 86 requests current wx at Trenton & Ottawa. Canforce then in pp w/Trenton Wing Ops w/inbound msg w/17 pax.

11253.0 RAF (West Drayton): 2307 USB w/volmet.

08344.0 RLD69 (Russian Navy): 2340 CW.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

T-45 Pilots Make First Carrier Landings on Truman

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman David Finley, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) recently got underway conducting training carrier qualifications for 40 student pilots, who are making their first landings on an aircraft carrier.

Operating out of Jacksonville, Fla., pilots participated in the evolution in groups of four planes at a time, as they look to complete this phase of training.

According to Cmdr. Bob Cady, Truman's air boss, the qualification requires that the pilots successfully complete 10 arrested landings and four touch-and-go's.

"The first landing wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be," said Marine 1st Lt. Seth Schurtz from the "Eagles" of Training Squadron 7. "The ship looked really small, but it was running so well that you guys made it easy on me."

"This is one of the last things that they do before they are winged," said Cady. "After they get their wings, they will be ready to go out into the fleet."

When a pilot gets winged, they are designated naval aviators and will no longer be considered students.
This training is the culmination of two years of intense training at flight school said Cady.

"This is a very hard job," said Schurtz. "There is a lot of hard work and studying in becoming a pilot, so I take a lot of pride in this."

The pilots were not the only ones who worked hard to conduct these qualifications. Truman's crew on the flight deck had to put in the hours as well.

"What is important here is that these guys complete their qualifications," said Cady. "Our ability to do this safely and efficiently is a direct reflection on the crew and our training on board Truman."

"The Truman crew was very professional," said Schurtz. "I have no complaints with the crew on the ship."

Because these pilots are landing on a carrier for the first time, the pace of recoveries was slowed somewhat.

"We do everything at about 75 percent of the speed that would be expected with fleet pilots," said Cady. "The slower pace allows for the trainees to get a feel for landing on an aircraft carrier."

Big swells as a result of Hurricane Bill have impacted the evolution.

"The first day was a real challenge with the sea state from Hurricane Bill," said Cady. "We did not get as much as we wanted to get done, because the [flight deck] was moving up and down."

Landing on an aircraft carrier provides the students with a firsthand experience of what they have been training to do.

"It was definitely more challenging than something back home, because the winds were different and obviously the ship is moving," said Schurtz.

This qualification provides the pilots with an experience they can take with them for the rest of their Navy career.

"It is a pretty awesome experience," said Cady. "Every naval aviator that flies off a carrier has to go through this process. Guys like the XO [Executive Officer], CO [Commanding Officer] and me, did this 20 years ago. We remember exactly what it is like being in these guys' shoes and landing on an aircraft carrier for the very first time."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CTF 151 Flagship Marks Deployment Milestone

Guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68) conducts normal underway operations as part of Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Carrier Strike Group. Anzio is on a scheduled deployment in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO).

By Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker, Combined Task Force 151 Public Affairs

USS ANZIO, At Sea (NNS) -- The crew aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68) took a break in its busy schedule at sea to mark the middle of the ship's deployment in support of counterpiracy operations off the coast of Somalia Aug. 24.

Anzio left its homeport of Norfolk, Va., in May and became the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 June 28. CTF 151 is a multinational coalition established by the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in Bahrain to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy activity in the Horn of Africa region.

"Today was an excellent opportunity for the crew to relax and spend the day together with embarked staff and units and just to have some good old fashioned flight deck fun," said Anzio's Executive Officer, Cmdr. Bill Ketcham. "They have been working around the clock for several months now and they deserve this."

The crew enjoyed a holiday routine that included events throughout the day such as a tug-of-war contest, bean-bag toss, pie in the face MWR fundraiser, steel beach picnic, talent show, ice cream social and movies on the flight deck after dark.

"I really enjoyed the tug-of-war contest because it leveled the playing field showing that we are all one team which is a reflection of our daily interaction on watch with each other," said Storekeeper 1st Class Keith Gilbert.

After several months of conducting counterpiracy operations, the crew enjoyed the break.

"It was very nice to relax," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Justin Morgan. "We work long days, so it is great to get a break from the routine and re-charge our batteries. It was a lot of fun."

Other units embarked aboard Anzio including the Helicopter Squadron Light 48, Det. 7, joint the U.S./UK CTF 151 staff, U.S. Coast Guard legal detachment (LEDET) and the emergency resuscitation surgical team also took time to relax.

Anzio is commanded by Capt. Frank Olmo from Harrington Park, N.J. Olmo assumed command of the Aegis cruiser March 19.

USS Chafee Returns Home to Pearl Harbor

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico, Commander, Navy Region Hawai’i Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) Sailors reunited with families and friends at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Aug. 24, after a Western Pacific deployment.

More than 300 officers and enlisted personnel aboard Chafee played a key role in supporting U.S. maritime strategy, which calls for credible combat power to be continuously postured to protect America's vital interests.

"As a surface ship, with a crew of more than 300 and state of the art technology, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is the Cadillac of the fleet," said Cmdr. Heedong Choi, commanding officer of Chafee. "We're an integral part of the maritime strategy, providing theater security cooperation along with maritime security operations. We're keeping the ocean safe so that commerce continues to flow."

Chafee deployed Feb. 24 with embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light (HSL) 37, Detachment 1 from Marine Corps Base Kaneohe.

During the deployment, Chafee traveled more than 30,000 nautical miles, performed 46 evolutions of boat operations and 110 sorties of flight operations.

"The Navy is about ships, and it's about the Sailors, and I try to focus on what my crew did," said Choi.

Chafee participated in exercises: Foal Eagle 2009, Malabar 2009 and Cooperation and Readiness Afloat Training (CARAT) 2009.

Chafee operated with the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and the Royal Thai Navy's aircraft carrier, HTMS Chakri Narubet, as well as numerous Yokosuka- and Pearl Harbor-based ships.

After completing Foal Eagle, Chafee headed for Sasebo, Japan to participate in Malabar 2009, a multilateral exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and the Indian navy. The exercise is designed to increase the interoperability between Indian, Japanese, and U.S. forces and strengthen stability in the Pacific region.

For the last half of the deployment, Chafee conducted bilateral operations in support of CARAT 2009, a series of bilateral exercises. CARAT provided an excellent opportunity to train with Southeast Asian navies including the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei.

In addition to operational missions and training, Chafee crew members volunteered for community relations projects. Their efforts improved conditions at three schools, repaired a walking path to a monastery and helped with a housing development project during port calls to South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Republic of Philippines.

Choi said that Chafee paid 14 port call visits in 10 countries in the Western Pacific.

"I am proud of my husband," said a Chafee family member waiting at the pier, "but more than that, I am happy to see him return after a long deployment."

Guided missile destroyers operate in support of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious groups and replenishment groups and are multimission, anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare surface combatants.

Keel Laid for Future USNS Washington Chambers

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The keel for the future USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) was laid during a ceremony at the General Dynamics-NASSCO shipyard in San Diego Aug. 25.

Barbara Whaley, a production group manager with the Naval Sea Systems Command's Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, confirmed the keel was laid "straight and true."

As a combat logistics force ship operated by the Military Sealift Command, the future USNS Washington Chambers will help the Navy maintain a forward presence worldwide by delivering ammunition, food, fuel and other dry cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea. The ship is designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea and can carry and support two helicopters. USNS Washington Chambers is the 11th ship of the Lewis and Clark-class.

Continuing the tradition of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers, the Navy's newest underway replenishment ship recognizes Capt. Washington Irving Chambers, a pioneer in naval aviation history. Among his many accomplishments, Chambers arranged for the world's first take-off and landing of an airplane on a warship –confirming the potential of carrier-based naval aviation operations. T-AKE 11 will be the first Navy ship to honor Chambers.

The T-AKE program has contract options for up to 14 ships and 12 ships are currently fully under contract. To date, seven ships of the Lewis and Clark class have been delivered. The shipbuilder is delivering ships approximately one to two months early, with future ships delivering even earlier as the program compresses the overall build cycle.

Navy Accepts Delivery of Future USS Dewey

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy officially accepted delivery of the future USS Dewey (DDG 105) Aug. 17 from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB) during a ceremony in Pascagoula, Miss.

In June, the guided-missile destroyer completed a combined builder's and acceptance trial, also called "super trials," after spending three days in the Gulf of Mexico.

"This is the second DDG we've delivered this summer," said Capt. Pete Lyle, DDG 51 class program manager in the Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships (PEO Ships). "That's really a testament to the benefits of serial production."

The future USS Dewey is the 57th destroyer in the Arleigh Burke class and is scheduled to be commissioned in December. Designated DDG 105, the new destroyer honors Adm. George Dewey who is best known for his valor during the U.S. victory in the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

DDG 51 class destroyers are the most advanced, state-of-the-art warships built in the world. These destroyers are equipped with the Navy's Aegis Combat System, the world's foremost integrated naval weapon system. The ship is able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management, to sea control and power projection. USS Dewey is capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and possesses multiple offensive and defensive weapons systems designed to support maritime warfare.

PEO Ships is responsible for the development and acquisition of U.S. Navy surface ships and is currently managing the design and construction of a wide range of ship classes and small boats and craft. These platforms range from major warships, such as front line surface combatants and amphibious assault ships to air-cushioned landing craft, oceanographic research ships and special warfare craft. PEO Ships has delivered 33 major warships and hundreds of small boats and craft from more than 30 shipyards and boat builders across the United States.

USS Thach Helps Protect Iraqi Infrastructure in North Arabian Gulf

An SH-60B Sea Hawk assigned to the Scorpions of Light Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HSL) 49 lifts off from the frigate USS Thach (FFG 43). Thach is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Joseph M. Buliavac, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet

USS THACH, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) is providing a vital security presence in the North Arabian Gulf, helping to protect Iraq's critical infrastructure since arriving on station mid-July.

Thach is assigned to Commander, Task Group Iraqi Maritime (CTG-IM) as a picket ship to provide security for the Al Basrah Oil Terminal (ABOT).

"Some of the unique capabilities that Thach provides is a flight deck and two helicopters, which we can use for logistics, surveillance and for response to contingencies," said Capt. Pete Driscoll, commander of CTG-IM.

ABOT is an Iraqi oil platform that accounts for a significant percentage of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

"We're providing security here to help make sure that oil is able to flow freely from the platform to help Iraq's economy to continue to improve and flourish," said Thach's commanding officer, Cmdr. David Haas. "If that stops, up to eighty percent of their GDP could go away, and we can not allow that to happen."

Task Group Iraqi Maritime operates in the Northern Arabian Gulf and is primarily responsible for defending critical Iraqi infrastructure located in the area, as well as protecting the sovereignty of Iraqi waters.

"We have sufficient capabilities out here to do the mission, but the Thach certainly enhances what we can do in several areas," said Driscoll. "It provides us with flexibility, and it provides us a visible deterrent as well."

Thach and the task group are also training Iraqi forces in the area on maritime security operations.

"The big mission here is to defend and deter against attack but also to transition control of the defense of ABOT back to Iraqi control," said Haas. "We do that by training their navy and marine corps on point defense and picket defense."

Thach's inherent visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) capabilities are key to the ship's ability to support the task force and help defend ABOT.

"We conduct security sweeps of vessels going into ABOT," said Lt.j.g. Julio Alarcon, a member of Thach's VBSS teams. "We check for any contraband, weapons and explosives that might be on board."

Thach's presence and the increased maritime security it provides, helps increase knowledge of the pattern of life and the maritime picture in the Northern Arabian Gulf.

"Our VBSS teams will do interaction patrols with local fishermen, developing good will and rapport with the locals," said Haas. "We ask them about conditions at sea for them and their difficulties, any criminal activity, piracy or any other nations that are harassing them."

Thach is part of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, which is on a routine deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. Operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States' commitment to regional security, which promotes global economic stability and local prosperity.

NORAD Flight Exercise Planned For Washington, D.C.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical
component, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region, will conduct training flight
exercises on Thursday, Aug. 27 in the National Capital Region (NCR), Washington,
D.C. Exercise Falcon Virgo 09-11will occur between midnight and 2 a.m. EDT.

The exercise comprises of a series of training flights held in
coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region
Command Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, the Continental U.S.
NORAD Region (CONR), Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR's Eastern
Air Defense Sector.

Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD's intercept and
identification operations, as well as procedural tests of the NCR Visual Warning
System. The exercise includes two Civil Air Patrol Cessna aircraft and one
Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

Residents may see these aircraft approaching and flying in the vicinity of
the Washington, D.C., area as part of this exercise during the late night
and early morning hours and continuing through the scheduled exercise

In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will push to the next day.

USS Missouri is almost complete

The new high-tech submarine USS Missouri SSN-780 is almost complete.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New! MTXtra - All Languages All The Time

FREE to MTXPRESS Subscribers - Complete Shortwave Broadcast Schedules

Starting with the September issue of MTXpress, your full-color, faster-than-print electronic edition of Monitoring Times magazine will contain, in addition to its comprehensive listings of English language broadcasts, an expanded 24 hour listing of foreign and English language broadcasts in one convenient electronic file.

This exclusive MTXtra Shortwave Broadcast Guide is available only to MTXpress subscribers - it’s not in the print edition. The new grid is a fully searchable, Adobe Acrobat portable document file (pdf), allowing instant access to shortwave stations’ times, languages, frequencies and target areas!

Broken down by hour then station and frequency, this is the only listing of shortwave radio stations in this format available anywhere. Foreign language students and teachers, expatriates, and radio hobbyist outside of the United States and Canada will especially appreciate our new expanded foreign language format.

Do you want to get a complete list of Armed Forces Network broadcast stations, frequencies and schedules, or broadcast info on the Israeli defense force broadcasts? MTXtra is the publication you need. If you are interested in shortwave programming, then our exclusive MTXtra Shortwave Broadcast Guide is your ticket to the world of shortwave broadcast listening.

Our downloadable, printable, and searchable pdf is FREE each month with your paid subscription to MTXpress. The September edition of the MTXtra Shortwave Broadcast Guide has 114 pages of 24-hour listings for hundreds of broadcasters in all languages.

And what will you get with an electronic subscription to MTXpress? You get more with our digital magazine than is possible with print. The entire magazine is full color. All of the web links are clickable, so if you see a link to a website that you want to visit, just click on it! Want to email an author? Just click on their email address at the top of their column, and MTXpress opens your email program, drops in their address, and is ready for your input! Print out any pages you need for handy access. MTXpress is the perfect delivery and cost effective magazine format for subscribers outside the United States.

All of this, and it’s even CHEAPER than the regular print version! Plus, you’ll get it faster than you would your print copy, no matter where you are in the world. Now is the time to make the switch to digital. Sure, it’s saving a tree and saving some gas, but it’s also getting you what you need, when you want it.

So if you want the latest shortwave schedule information updated monthly, and a great radio hobby magazine delivered to you at light speed, click here to subscribe to MTXpress and get the new MTXtra Shortwave Broadcast Guide for free. Make that switch today to the world's finest radio hobby magazine in a electronic format - MTXpress. Use offer code "BLOG" when you order your subscription to MTXpress/MTXtra. This offer begins with September 2009 issue of MTExpress.

Sample page of the new MTXtra Shortwave Broadcast Guide.

Milcom Intel Report - 1FW Langley ORE

For readers in the mid-Atlantic, starting this week through Monday, August 31, 2009, the 1FW out of Langley will be conducting an Operational Readiness Exercise (ORE).

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- The 1st Fighter Wing will participate in a Phase 1 Operational Readiness Exercise Aug. 26 and 27, designed to establish Langley's expeditionary readiness and efficiency in deploying Airmen.

More than 2,500 Airmen will be involved in the exercise, which will measure the 1 FW's capabilities on graded, step-by-step guidelines which involve preparing aircraft, cargo and Airmen to deploy seamlessly within an established period of time.

"The operational readiness exercise in August is essential to ensure we are primed and prepared for deployment operations," said Col. Matt Molloy, 1 FW Commander. "During this exercise, we will provide our Airmen with opportunities to apply their training, develop new skills and execute the Air Force's mission to fly, fight and win."

The exercise begins with maintainers preparing planes for action by determining capacity, organizing what cargo goes where and readying the aircraft to take Airmen and supplies to an area of responsibility. While maintenance crews work to ensure aircraft readiness, loadmasters plan what cargo goes on a plane and how it is organized.

The planes are then inspected in accordance with exercise standards to ensure they are properly prepared for deployment.

Airmen begin processing through a deployment line which culminates in them boarding the prepared aircraft.

"Medical records, luggage and certifications are all checked in line," said Neale Cummings, 1 FW Exercise Program Manager. "Everything needs to be in order for the process to go smoothly."

Of the Airmen participating, approximately 800 are on "deployable status," which indicates that they will be deploying in the exercise. The remaining personnel will support and facilitate the flow of the operation.

"Everyone needs to put forth maximum effort, including non-deployable Airmen," said Mr. Cummings. "Those who aren't leaving on the plane make as much of an impact as those who are."

This ORE is a Phase One exercise, which tests the preparedness in ramping up and deploying, said Mr. Cummings.

During the exercise, drivers should expect changes in the flow of traffic around base. Security is heightened with increases in force protection condition levels, and some buildings will require increased protection. Part of increased security includes widened building perimeters, which may displace some parking spots. (For instance, in FPCON level Bravo, vehicles need to be at least 82 feet away from essential buildings.)

"Security forces will be out working at gates and on roads, so we anticipate the effects on drivers to be held to a minimum," said Mr. Cummings.

Mr. Cummings said Airmen can prepare for the exercise by getting their affairs are in order, which will expedite the process for everyone. Airmen are encouraged to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date, all paperwork is completed and bags are packed correctly with all essential items included, such as uniforms and toiletries.

"The more prepared Airmen are before they get in the line, the better we will perform in the exercise," said Mr. Cummings. "The whole point of the inspection is to ensure we're ready to go at a moment's notice, whenever we're needed."

Mr. Cummings added that with diligence and preparation, the graded inspection in February 2010 will be a complete success.

"If Airmen treat this like a real deployment, we will have no problem scoring high marks," he said.

For those of you who are within LOS range, here is the info I had on their TRS that I observed during our last trip to the area.

Systems: APCO P25 9600 baud system
Motorola System ID: 691c
Base Frequency: 406.000 MHz, Spacing: 12.5-kHz, Offset: 380
Frequencies: 406.5500/415.5500 406.7500/415.7500 407.1500/416.1500 407.3625/416.3625c 407.9500/416.9500 408.1625/417.1625c 408.5500/417.5500 408.7500/417.7500c 408.9500/417.9500 409.1500/418.1500 409.3500/418.3500c 409.9500/418.9500

I would also encourage monitors in the area to check out the 380-390 MHz range for a new TRS in the new DoD LMR subband. All reports on the system above and any new systems are most welcomed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Milcom Blog Logs - August 21 2009 - Mid Atlantic

Ron, a member of the MMP team, has passed along his Milcom blog log freqs monitored on August 21 from his his Mid Atlantic area. Thanks Ron.

ACY-Atlantic City NJ
ADW- Andrews AFB MD
BW- Bay Watch-NAS PAX Area Advisory Control
DAA- Davison AAF, Ft Belvoir VA
DCA- Reagan National Airport/CGAS Washington, Wash DC
GK- Giantkiller (FACSFAC, Virginia Capes)
LFI- Langley AFB VA
MTN-Martin State Airport, Baltimore
NGTF-Northrop-Grumman Test Facility, Baltimore
NXX- Willow Grove JRB PA
PAX-NAS Patuxent River MD
PTC- Potomac Area TRACON
ZDC- Washington ARTCC

1. VHF/UHF: ((Times are EDT))

0724- Navy 7A326 (UC-12, Base Flt PAX)-check in w/ZDC Calvert (133.9)

0750- Marine 987 (UC-35, MAW-4 ADW)-depart ADW (118.95)

0753- Tbolt 11 flt (F-22s, 149th FS VA ANG LFI)-check into W386 (238.1) then ACM training on W386 discretes (262.025; 312.3 & 373.1)--another sortie into W386 in the early 1000 hour.

0822- Score 21 (unid, VX-20 PAX)-check w/ZDC Snow Hill (236.925) at FL180 cleared to FL210. Check into W386 (249.8) requesting that GK get clearance from ZNY so they can transit W386 and work near the OKONU intersection at FL240 for 3 hours.

0827- JOSA 928 (C-21A #84-0129, 457th AS ADW)-depart ADW (118.95)-also w/Griffin CP (141.55)

0833- Carmen 3 (C-130H #84-0208, 142nd AS DE-ANG WILMINGTON DE)-w/Griffin CP (378.1)-land at ADW (128.35 & 118.4)

0846- Army 1863 (C-37 # 02-1863, OSACOM ADW)-check in w/ZDC Calvert (133.9)

0848- Tester 13 & 14 (T-38Cs # 15-8201 & 67-4983, NTPS PAX)-check in w/BW (256.5). Tester 13 then realizes they have open door on acft and splits off from formation to RTB PAX.

0849- Reach 7044 (C-5B #87-0044,60 AMW, Travis AFB)-w/McGuire Metro (239.8) w/request for 1300Z wx at KNKT (MCAS Cherry Point NC).

0908- Convoy 3020 (C-130T #164995, VR-53, ADW)-depart ADW (125.65)

0917- PAT 167-w/Griffin CP (141.55) w/inbound msg.

0925- DeeCee 52 (KC-135R #57-1487, 756th ARS ADW)-depart ADW (125.65)--checks into W107 (255.0)

0937- Bully flt (3 X F-16s, 121st FS DC ANG ADW)-depart ADW (348.725 & 317.425)-also on sqdn freq (143.6) w/ops checks. Then w/ZDC Swann (360.7) & ZDC Coyle (254.3)

0946- Hawk 11 (F-15, 104th FW MA ANG Barnes ANGB MA)-check in w/ZDC Sea Isle (281.45)

0947- DeeCee 21 (KC-135R, 756th ARS ADW)-depart ADW (125.65)--also w/Liberator CP (351.2) w/departure msg.

0948- Yankee 63 (C-21A, 118th FS/103rd FW CT ANG, Bradley ANGB CT)-w/DOV approach (132.425)

0949- Capitol 91 (2 X F-16, 121st FS DC ANG ADW)-depart ADW (257.2)--checks in w/ZDC Montebello (284.7) requesting FL430 direct to Ft Smith AR. Also on sqdn freq (143.15) then w/ZDC Shenandoah (270.35) & ZDC Gordonsville (351.9)

0950- Raven 1 flt (3 X A-10Cs, 104th FS MD ANG MTN)-check in w/ZDC Kenton (354.15)--also w/Raven Ops (347.2) w/departure msg. Also w/ZDC Brooke (327.0)

2. HF: ((Times UTC, Freqs KHz))

09025.0 OFF (Offutt AFB NE): 1257 USB/ALE calling 190024 (C-5M,#69-0024, 436th AMW DOV)--currently at Lockheed in Marietta GA undergoing C-5M conversion.

Army Announces Force Structure Actions

The Department of the Army announced today a series of planned unit activations, inactivations, relocations and conversions at four installations. These force structure actions will result in an increase of 2,440 soldiers at Fort Riley, Kan., an increase of 418 soldiers at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., a decrease of 295 soldiers at Fort Irwin, Calif.; and a decrease of 376 soldiers at Fort Carson, Colo. Implementation of these changes is expected to be completed in September 2011.

For unit relocations; the 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Brigade will move from Fort Carson to Fort Riley and the 70th Engineer Battalion will move from Fort Riley to White Sands Missile Range and be re-designated as the 2nd Engineer Battalion.

At Fort Riley, the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (1/1 ID), will convert to a modular, Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) formation. The 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, Delta Troop, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 5th Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, and 101st Combat Support Battalion will convert to modular force structure design to support 1/1 ID HBCT.

At Fort Irwin, the 79th Ordnance Company will activate, the 557th Maintenance Company will inactivate, and the 669th Maintenance Company will convert to a modular design.

These force structure actions are a part of the integrated force structure changes that support Army transformation. These actions are not expected to change Army civilian authorizations at each installation.

Ships, Planes Deliver Stryker Brigade to Afghanistan

By Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service

Military transportation experts used ships and planes to deploy an Army combat unit that arrived in Afghanistan last month, marking a notable milestone for U.S. Transportation Command.

The 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Fort Lewis, Wash., began departing from nearby Tacoma by ship in early May; the unit's equipment arrived in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province July 25, about five days earlier than requested by U.S. Central Command, Army Lt. Col. John Kaylor, a transportation expert assigned to Transcom's headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., said yesterday.

More than 3,800 troops and 900 pieces of the unit's equipment, including more than 300 Stryker armored combat vehicles, were deployed to Afghanistan during the movement, Kaylor said. This latest large-scale movement, he added, avoided millions of dollars in costs and improved Transcom's Joint Task Force Port Opening operations.

The movement to Afghanistan was the Stryker brigade's first combat deployment.

"It worked out great," Kaylor said of the unit's successful, nearly 7,000-mile deployment.

The deployment is part of U.S. plans to bulk up forces in Afghanistan to confront resurgent Taliban activity in the south of the country. The 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team officially took up its duties in southern Afghanistan on Aug. 9.

Most of the brigade's troops traveled to Afghanistan via commercial air carrier. The Strykers and other equipment, Kaylor said, were shipped from Tacoma to Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean. The two ships left Tacoma in early May and arrived at Diego Garcia in early June. The Strykers and other military equipment then were airlifted from Diego Garcia to Afghanistan.

The deployment used a combination of ships and planes, Kaylor said, because it was more cost-efficient and the timeframe allowed for it. In addition, the first operational deployment of Joint Task Force Port Opening airmen and soldiers expedited the move of the brigade's Strykers and cargo into Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country without a seaport, Kaylor explained. Though this precluded the exclusive use of ships to deliver the military equipment, he said, exclusive use of aircraft to move the unit would have incurred "massive costs."

In fact, using a combination of ships and planes resulted in a cost-avoidance to the U.S. government of $64 million, Kaylor said, noting that more cargo can be loaded aboard ships than planes.

U.S. C-17 Globemaster III transport jets and chartered Russian-made AN-124 cargo aircraft, Kaylor said, were employed during the equipment airlifts from Diego Garcia to Afghanistan.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Milcom Blog Logs - August 20, 2009 - Mid Atlantic

Ron, a member of the MMP team, has passed along his Milcom blog log freqs monitored on August 20 from his his Mid Atlantic area. Thanks Ron.

ACY-Atlantic City NJ
ADW- Andrews AFB MD
BW- Bay Watch-NAS PAX Area Advisory Control
DAA- Davison AAF, Ft Belvoir VA
DCA- Reagan National Airport/CGAS Washington, Wash DC
GK- Giantkiller (FACSFAC, Virginia Capes)
LFI- Langley AFB VA
MTN-Martin State Airport, Baltimore
NGTF-Northrop-Grumman Test Facility, Baltimore
NXX- Willow Grove JRB PA
PAX-NAS Patuxent River MD
PTC- Potomac Area TRACON
ZDC- Washington ARTCC

1. VHF/UHF: ((Times are EDT))

0717- Navy TP39 (C-12C # 82-3133 NTPS PAX)-w/ZDC Calvert (133.9)

0742- Pecos flt (F-22s, LFI)-ACM training on discrete (228.45).

0754- Reach 193-w/DOV approach (132.425)

0755- SAM5448 (99th AS ADW)-land at ADW (128.35 & 118.4)

0801- Navy 639 (id as operating for US Naval Academy)-patterns at PAX (120.05 & 135.025)

0820- Navy 501 (UC-12 7A1501, Base Flt PAX)-w/PAX approach (120.05)

0844- Sunny 464 (UC-12, MCAS Beaufort SC)-land at ADW (128.35 & 118.4). Depart ADW at 0915 then w/DOV approach (132.425). Return to ADW at 1035.

0846- Nighthawk 3 (CH-46, HMX-1 MCAF Quantico VA)-reporting airborne (273.95)

0847- Army 0301 (UC-35 # 01-1031, OSACOM ADW)-depart ADW (118.95)--returns to ADW at 1605.

0850- Wild flt (2 X F-16s, 121st FS DC ANG ADW)-check in w/ZDC Calvert (281.4)--also on sqdn freq (143.6). Check in w/BW (305.2) for use of R6609 for ACM training. Afternoon sortie of 4 Wilds out to W107.

0854- Tester 12 (T-38C # 15-8200, NTPS PAX)-w/BW (256.5)

0858- Navy JR093 (C-20G # 163093, VR-48 ADW-female pilot)-depart ADW (125.65)--tells PTC they will RTB ADW in about 15 mins after some work at FL150.

0901- Navy 982-w/BW (119.275)

0917- Flyer flt (4 X A-10s 103rd FS PA ANG NXX)-on sqdn freq (233.55)--then at Bollen Range (237.2). Also w/ZNY Lancaster (239.05) for routing to Warren Grove MOA.

0923- CG 6559 (HH-65C, CGAS Washington)-w/Wash helo (134.35)

0924- Reach 2108 (C-17 #02-1108, 62ndAW)-w/ZDC Cape Charles (132.55)

0927- DeeCee 41 (KC-135R #57-1487, 756th ARS ADW)-depart ADW (118.4 & 125.65). Then check in w/ZDC Calvert (133.9) at FL140. Returns to ADW for pattern work in the mid-1200 hour.

0935- Bully flt (F-16s, 121st FS DC ANG ADW)-depart ADW (348.725) then w/ZDC Swann (360.7) ; ZDC Coyle (254.3) & ZDC Sea Isle (281.45). Also on sqdn freq (139.15). Then
check into W107 (255.0)

0936- Royal 50 (C-17A #07-7176, 436th AMW DOV)-w/ZDC Cape Charles (132.55)

0937- Reach 213T (C-17A #07-7187)-depart ADW (125.65)

0944- Tester 17 (T-38C #70-1579, NTPS PAX)-w/BW (270.8) reporting test complete & RTB PAX.

1004- Tester 960, 961, & 962 (All T-6A Texan IIs, # 165960, 165961 & 165962, NTPS PAX)-w/BW (354.8)--also on test discrete (123.2)

1009- Unid acft (no call noted)-w/NXX Ops (306.8) requesting current wx at NXX.

1011- Colt flt (A-10Cs, 104th FS MD ANG MTN)-working on sqdn freq (139.0). Also w/DOV approach (257.875)

1014- Venus 41 (VC-37 #97-0401, 99th AS ADW)-patterns at ADW (119.3 & 118.4). Also w/Griffin CP (378.1)--departs ADW at 1030 and returns for local patterns in the mid-1200 hour.

1016- Venus 94 (VC-32 # 99-0004, 1st AS ADW)-depart ADW (118.4 & 125.65)

1026- JOSA 293-w/LFI CP (141.75) w/inbound msg for DV pickup.

1032- PAT 7104-depart ADW (125.65).

1033- Blackjack 2 (HH-65C, CGAS Washington)-w/Huntress (139.7) in radio checks.

1034- Nighthawk 11 (CH-47, HMX-1 MCAF Quantico VA)-w/ADW tower (118.4)

1044- Raven 1 flt (2 X A-10Cs, 104th FS MD ANG MTN)-w/w/ZDC Casino (285.4) requesting IFR clearance back to MTN. Also w/Raven Ops (347.2)

1046- Pacer 24 (C-21 #84-0075, 457th AS ADW)-patterns at ADW (119.3 & 118.4)

1047- JOSA 692 (C-21A #84-0100, 119thWing/ND-ANG)-land at ADW (119.3 & 118.4)
1122- Coder 51 (KC-135R #60-0358, 126th ARW, IL ANG Scott AFB IL)-depart ADW (118.95)

1127- Steel 11 flt (2 X KC-135Rs, 147th ARS, PA ANG Pittsburgh PA)-on AR 636 primary (238.9).

1131- Jena 033 (FBI, Manassas VA)-w/PTC (125.65) requesting permission to orbit in area of Manassas at FL45.

1235- Invader Jack 252 (LJ-35, Flight International)-wGK (118.125)

1248- Crab 53 (C-130J # 97-1353, 135th AS MD ANG MTN)-w/Crab Ops (384.1).

1249- ??? 51 (call missed)-w/ZNY Lancaster (323.3 & 270.3)

1304- Thunderbird 7 (F-16 USAFDT, Nellis AFB NV)-w/ZNY Phillipsburg (306.8) then w/ZOB Altoona (307.325).

1311- Navy 692 (C-20D # 163692, VR-1 ADW)-patterns at ADW (119.3 & 118.4)

1324- Scary flt (2 X F-16s, 121st FS DC ANG ADW)-on sqdn freq (143.6) w/ops checks. Then w/ZDC Coyle (254.3) & ZDC Sea Isle (281.45) w/request for entry into W107

1336- Bolar 70 (C-5, 436th AMW DOV)-patterns at DOV (132.425 & 126.35)

1352- JOSA 568-w/LFI SOF (383.2) trying to contact LFI Dispatch.

1404- N168W (T-39 Sabreliner, NGTF)-w/ZDC Cape Charles (132.55) working w/N162W (BAC-1-11NGTF) Also working w/Echo Control at PAX (292.65) against both land-based (Cedar Point and Point Lookout) and ship-based emitters. N162W reports that they did not acquire the AIS transmitter on the boat.

1409- Randy 04 (T-38, other trainers from Randolph AFB, TX)-calling Bridgeport CT Radio (255.4) requesting wx at Hanscom Field MA.

1411- Tiger 51 & 52 (East Coast A-10 Demo Team)-w/BW (305.2 & 256.5) for entry into restrictred areas. Working MARSA w/Colt 01. Tiger 51 advises BW after finished he wants to RTB to Lancaster Airport PA. Tiger 51 working w/Hard Rock (ground FAC) using airbursts, JDAMs & GBU-12s & 32s. A-10 Demo Team is sked to appear at Lancaster PA airshow this weekend.

1417- Smash 31 flt (2 X F-16s 119th FS, NJ ANG ACY)-w/BW (256.5) at FL18--220. Smash 31 advises they are datalinked w/Colt 01. Slams on sqdn freq (138.425).

1425- Dragnet (E-3B AWACS, Tinker AFB OK)-working w/Slam flt (F-22s, 149th FA VA ANG LFI) on discrete (262.025)

1512- Nighthawk 5 (unid, HMX-1 MCAF Quantico VA)-w/PTC (119.3).

1516- Bicep 11 flt (2 X F-16s, 119th FS NJ ANG ACY)-on sqdn freq (138.125) and w/Devil Ops (261.0)

1523- TP38 (C-12C # 82-3132, NTPS PAX)-w/PAX approach (120.05) for landing.

1544- Tiger 51 flt-w/ZNY Modena (335.6)

1545- Reach 203T-land at ADW (118.4)

1559- Raven 1 (A-10C, 104th FS MD ANG MTN)-land at MTN (297.2)

GW CSG Participates In Indonesian International Fleet Review

The guided missle cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63), the guided missle destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Mustin (DDG 89) are underway in formation behind the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) during the Indonesian International Fleet Review. The fleet review commemorates the 64th anniversary of Indonesian independence. George Washington is underway supporting security and stability in the western Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John M. Hageman/Released)

USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, at sea (NNS) -- The George Washington Carrier Strike Group participated in the Indonesia International Fleet Review (IFR), a parade of ships from 33 different countries taking place in Bitung and Manado in North Sulawesi, Indonesia Aug. 19.

The strike group flagship, USS George Washington (CVN 73), was joined by the guided-missile destroyers USS Mustin (DDG 89), USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 and the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63).

"We consider participation in this fleet review important to our relationship with Indonesia, and it is an enormous honor to be invited to be part of such a large international event," said Rear Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, commander, George Washington Carrier Strike Group. "These events offer us the opportunity to work closely with our Indonesian Navy counterparts and at the same time help us prepare for a wide range of operations including maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster response as the USS Abraham Lincoln did here following the tragic Indonesian tsunami in 2004."

The Indonesia IFR commemorates the 64th anniversary of the country's independence from the Netherlands. Kenefick said participating in this type of event helps strengthen relationships throughout the Pacific region.

"We do events like these to show our support for other seafaring nations and to honor their heritage," said Cmdr. Chris Kenefick, GW strike operations officer.
"It's a celebration of Indonesian naval history, and GW wants to be here to show our support."

Cmdr. Greg Maguire, GW's navigator, said U.S. 7th Fleet was invited to send ships in appreciation for all the U.S. Navy has done to help Indonesia in the past, including tsunami relief efforts in 2004.

"Indonesia asked us to send a large-deck ship, so 7th Fleet designed GW's deployment schedule to accommodate the request," said Maguire.

Important planning also took place in the ship's chartroom, where quartermasters pored over maps to ensure a safe transit for the ship through Manado Bay.

The exercise started for GW at daybreak and ended at late in the afternoon, but planning the event took months of preparation, said Senior Chief Quartermaster (SW/AW) Anthony Bastidas, Navigation department's leading chief petty officer.

"A lot goes into transiting a bay that people might not think about," Bastidas said. "GW is 1,092 feet long, which means we are deeper in the water than most vessels."

He said every detail of the ship's actions had to be planned and the proper charts ordered to plot a proper course.

GW served as the lead ship to vessels from around the world as they steamed in a straight-line formation through Manado Bay. After the ship's pass-in-review, embarked aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 provided a formation flyover for the president of Indonesia and other dignitaries.

"As the lead ship in the formation, all eyes were going to be on GW," said Bastidas. "But due to planning and preparation, GW performed flawlessly."

The strike group includes CVW-5, Destroyer Squadron 15 and the guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).

USS George Washington, commanded by Capt. David A. Lausman, is making its inaugural deployment from Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan in support of stability and security in the Western Pacific region. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier replaced USS Kitty Hawk last year as the Navy's forward-deployed carrier presence. The ship and crew departed Yokosuka June 10.

USS Scranton Returns From Deployment

By Kevin Copeland, Commander, Submarine Force Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756) returned home Aug. 20 after concluding a regularly scheduled six-month deployment as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group.

"Scranton's highly trained crew, in keeping with its unbroken tradition of uncommon professionalism, tenacity, and pride, met or exceeded every expectation in accomplishing all tasks assigned," said Cmdr. Wesley Guinn, commanding officer. "We travelled more than 30,000 miles in some of the most treacherous underwater environments, and because of the impressive skill and enthusiasm of her crew, the submarine was underway on time every time and never missed any mission obligations."

While living up to its motto, "On Time, On Track, On Target," Scranton conducted operations in support of national security interests and maritime security operations. In executing the maritime strategy, Scranton further demonstrated the submarine force's great capability in providing global presence.

Although the deployment was a great success, the crew is happy to be home and glad to reunite with their families.

"As stressful as the separation during deployment can be, it does teach us to never take our precious families for granted," said Guinn. "The crew is uniformly excited and anxious to spend some quality time rediscovering our families again. After all, a strong family relationship at home makes a better Sailor on the ship."

During the deployment Scranton conducted port visits in Souda Bay, Crete; Bahrain and Diego Garcia.

Fast-attack submarines like Scranton have multifaceted missions. They use their stealth, persistence, agility and firepower to deploy and support special force operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary's military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity and ensure undersea superiority.

Built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Scranton was commissioned Jan. 26, 1991. It is 360 feet long, displaces 6,900 tons of water and can travel in excess of 20 knots while submerged.

U.S. 5th Fleet Executes Maritime Strategy

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to the Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115, launches off of the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Amanda L. Ray/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- In the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility, more than 24,000 Sailors are operating on the ground and at sea and carrying out a full spectrum of missions that support the U.S. maritime strategy.

"A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower," is a unified maritime strategy among the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard that recognizes the economic links of the global system and how any disruption due to regional crises - manmade or natural - can adversely impact the U.S. economy and quality of life.

The strategy charts a course for the sea services to work collectively with each other and international partners to prevent crises from occurring and reacting quickly should one occur to enhance global security.

U.S. 5th Fleet is committed to executing all six core competencies of the maritime strategy which include power projection, forward presence, sea control, maritime security, deterrence and humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

"The maritime strategy raises the importance of working with international partners as the basis for global maritime security," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th
Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces.

"U.S. 5th Fleet conducts operations that are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States' commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity."

Approximately 10,000 Sailors are serving at sea aboard more than 30 U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and fleet auxiliary ships and conducting combat and maritime security operations to forward U.S. interests, deter and counter disruptive countries, defeat violent extremism and strengthen partner nations' maritime capabilities in order to promote a secure maritime environment.

U.S. 5th Fleet is supporting both Operations Enduring and Iraq Freedom and helping to provide an opportunity for the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan to establish secure foundations for democracy.

More than 5,300 Sailors are serving in Iraq and 3,100 Sailors in Afghanistan in riverine squadrons, explosive ordnance disposal platoons, Seabee naval construction forces, provincial reconstruction teams, Navy expeditionary logistics support groups and as individual augmentees.

Currently operating in the Gulf of Oman, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 are providing 30 percent of close air support for Coalition troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

"Ronald Reagan and its carrier air wing have the highest operational tempo in the Navy," said Gortney aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in
the Gulf of Oman. "You're setting the standard; you're the critical part of fighting and winning today's wars; you're saving American lives every day,
and that's the most important thing you can do."

In the North Arabian Gulf, Sailors are conducting operations as part of Commander Task Force Iraqi Maritime (CTF-IM) to provide maritime security,
infrastructure protection and training to the Iraqi Navy. U.S. forces operate jointly with Iraqi Navy sailors and marines, training them in point-defense force protection and visit, board, search and seizure

The U.S. Navy has maintained a presence in the North Arabian Gulf since 2003, assisting the Iraqi Navy by helping provide security to their oil platforms, which account for approximately 70 to 85 percent of Iraq's revenue.

The U.S. Navy also leads the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a coalition of 22 nations that conducts MSO throughout the region and are assigned to
CMF's three principle task forces - Combined Task Forces (CTF) 150, 151 and 52.

CMF is committed to defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal trafficking of people and drugs and promoting the maritime nvironment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business.

In response to the increase in piracy off the coast of Somalia, the U.S. Navy is leading a multinational effort to patrol the waters in the Gulf of
Aden and off Somalia's eastern coast.

Established in January 2009, the counterpiracy task force CTF 151 actively deters, disrupts and suppresses piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all
nations. It operates in the Gulf of Aden and the eastern coast of Somalia, covering an area of approximately 1.1 million square miles.

Piracy impacts less than one percent of shipping with more than 33,000 vessels transit the Gulf of Aden annually. In 2009, there have been 136 attempted attacks - of which, 28 were successful and 103 were unsuccessful.

CTF 151 and other cooperating naval forces have encountered more than 527 pirates; 282 were disarmed and released, 235 were turned over for prosecution.

"While the ultimate solution to the problem of piracy is ashore in Somalia, the Combined Maritime Forces made the decision to focus maritime efforts on
security and stability at sea in order to create a lawful maritime order and deter acts of piracy on the high seas while giving the international
community time to address the long-term solution of piracy," said Gortney.

As part of Joint Task Force Crisis Response (JTF-CR), the U.S. Navy is also trained and prepared to respond to any disaster or humanitarian contingency in the region.

In December 2008, Sailors participated in Exercise Internal Look 2009, a crisis response exercise that measured and enhanced the capabilities of U.S. forces to respond to a natural disaster in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

In December 2004, U.S. and coalition maritime forces were called on to support tsunami relief efforts both within the region and outside after a catastrophic tsunami struck parts of Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, India, Seychelles and Somalia Dec. 26, 2004. Coalition maritime assets were flexible enough to continue the maritime operation mission while simultaneously equipped to help deliver relief supplies, provide medical support and assist with clean-up efforts.

"U.S. Naval forces are ready and capable across the full range of maritime operations... right now and right here," said Gortney.

"But our perspective is for the long term. We have been here almost 60 years, and we will continue to work with regional nations to enhance cooperation, ensure maritime security and promote stability for years to come."

Force Protection Team Trains for Chemical Attack

By Army Sgt. Brad Staggs and Army Spc. David Bonnell

BUTLERVILLE, Ind - Ohio National Guard members spent a week (Aug 10-15) at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center here to test their ability to respond to a chemical attack.

Ohio's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package – one of more than a dozen such force packages around the country that the Guard calls "CERFPs" for short – comprises command and control, search and extraction, decontamination and medical teams staffed by members of Guard units.

During the exercise here, simulated victims of a chemical attack were "traumatized" as they were transported to one area. The soldiers and airmen who were helping them were dressed in yellow chemical protection suits and trying to calm the survivors.

"Muscatatuck is an absolutely perfect setting for what we do," said Army Lt. Col. Scott Smith, the Ohio CERFP commander. "Our men and women can pull a victim from the rubble and have to bring them straight to [decontamination] without having to pause to reset the exercise."

The CERFP is made up of chemical and engineering soldiers and Air Force medics pulled together from the Ohio Army and Air National Guard. In all, more than 600 personnel were brought to Muscatatuck to train.

The task for the CERFP was to set up a decontamination station in less than 90 minutes. Search and rescue teams could then bring victims to the decontamination station to save their lives. The team completed its task with 22 minutes to spare.

Army Capt. Marshall Jackson, Ohio state public affairs officer, said U.S. Army North validated the CERFP and was impressed with its performance. The soldiers and airmen who participated in the exercise were impressed as well.

"There is really realistic stuff here," Army Pvt. Michael Cooper said. "Especially on the rubble piles. I've never seen so many victims brought to us at one time. ... It's stuff you would see in real life."

Real people were placed inside vehicles and under piles of debris to create a realistic training situation for the soldiers and airmen unlike any they had experienced before.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Kristen Bandey said working in the training environment made the trip from Ohio worth the drive. "It's a lot of hard work, but in the end, it's really rewarding."

The Ohio CERFP will return to Muscatatuck in November, when Army North will conduct a homeland security exercise.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Antarctica Spring/Summer Ops Have Begun

Looks like the first flight of the spring/summer Antarctic season has taken off for Antarctica from Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier today. Gary in Rangiora reported that ICE 01 was heard on 9032.0 kHz USB. This flight carried mail, fresh fruit and vegtables to the wintering over party down on the ice.

Time to dial up 9032.0 kHz to keep and ear out for more flights as the season moves on.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Russian Ladoga 2009 Exercise

Following brief extract taken from a lengthy article on the Russian Ministry of Defence website. Translated and submitted for information and interest by Old Crow. Date of article 18 Aug 2009.


In accordance with the training schedule for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation within the Leningrad Military District, the Strategic-Operational Exercise "Ladoga-2009" is to take place under the direction of the Commander-in-Chief of Ground Forces, General of Army V A Boldyrev.

The Exercise will involve formations and units of the Leningrad Military District, units and sub-units of Airborne Forces, The Northern Fleet, Air Force formations, North Western Region Internal Security Forces, and regional border security directorate forces.

During the course of the Exercise, it is planned to carry out a number of tactical training events including live firings at brigade, regimental and batallion echelon level and also special-tactical training. A variety of combat and specialist equipment will be employed including tanks, armoured vehicles and artillery. Aircraft and Helicopters of strike units, frontal aviation, air-defence fighters, military transport aviation and ships of the Northern Fleet will all play a part in the execution of exercise related combat missions. It is planned to carry out an
airborne assault using Military Transport Aviation assets. There are to be live firings of tactical missile systems and also a seaborne amphibious assault landing.
"Ladoga-2009" is to take place over a large territorial area with a front of some 1500 Km to a depth of some 300 Km. (Exact area is not stated - so, somewhere in North West Russia). The Exercise is to be in three stages and will last until the end of September.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Soldiers Improve Conditions at Patrol Base

By Army Pfc. Bethany L. Little, Special to American Forces Press Service

PATROL BASE MAHAWIL, Iraq - Despite the threat of sandstorms and extreme heat Aug. 6, the Multinational Division South command sergeant major visited soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, to view the improved living conditions and morale at this patrol base.

"I came to see how conditions have improved since the last time I was here," said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Doug L. Julin. "I have to say I'm very impressed by the leadership and the spirit of the soldiers here."

Julin toured the company's aid station, headquarters building, dining facility, key leader engagement room and improved ranges.

"When the company first arrived, barely any of this was here," said Army 1st Sgt. Richard A. Mitchell, the company's first sergeant. "We've improved force protection, training and personal comfort levels."

The Multinational Division South force-protection team identified the need for the improvements two months ago after determining the patrol base was austere and offered undesirable living conditions. Company leadership looked at the team's suggestions and comments and began planning improvements.

Soldiers created supplemental movable fighting positions to improve force protection. Training facilities were another focus for the company, which included redesigned ranges and new urban-terrain training facilities.

"As an infantryman, one can never have enough training, so we created a training house that resembles many of the houses in Iraq," Mitchell said. "It has a right-hand-shooter room, a left-hand-shooter room and a long, narrow hallway that the soldiers must negotiate."

Personal comfort was another aspect the company looked to improve.

"There's a difference between taking care of soldiers and [having] pampered soldiers," Mitchell said. "My guys live in tents, and air conditioners can only do so much. We received tent foam kits from division and placed the foam on the majority of the tents, which keeps the temperature within the tents about 20 to 25 degrees cooler."

Renovated training facilities and updated bathrooms have improved conditions for the soldiers here, and Julin said that will help with mission accomplishment.

"When the soldiers are supported the way they are here, then they are more likely to do whatever their leadership asks of them," he said. "It is evident that the soldiers are happy, and they really want to be here."

U.S. 2nd Fleet Contributes to Global Operations

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tyler J. Wilson, U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The U.S. 2nd Fleet contributes to global operations and the maritime strategy with more than 90,000 Sailors and Marines operating, defending and training within U.S. 2nd Fleet's Area of Responsibility.

"Our people are doing a remarkable job in execution of the Maritime Strategy," said Vice Adm. Mel Williams Jr., commander of 2nd Fleet.

"That said, we must remain vigilant as we assess our performance, and we must be adaptive in our training, readiness and mission execution as conditions change across the range of military operations for maritime forces."

The maritime strategy is a mission statement which includes six core competencies: power projection, forward presence, sea control, maritime security, deterrence and humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

To execute the maritime strategy, 2nd Fleet maintains a commitment to three focus areas: maintaining safe and effective fleet operations to achieve mission success in the 2nd Fleet Area of Operations; providing ready maritime forces for global assignment; and teaming with allies and partners in execution of the maritime strategy.

Within the power projection and forward presence categories of the maritime strategy, 2nd Fleet works as a force provider, training and certifying carrier strike groups, amphibious ready groups and independent deployers for power projection and presence missions in Central, European, African and Southern Commands.

Additionally, 2nd Fleet leverages the benefits of Fleet Synthetic Training to maintain readiness while conserving energy.

Maritime forces receive training from 2nd Fleet on anti-submarine, surface and mine warfare.

Dedicated to executing sea control, improvements in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) knowledge, experience and proficiency have been instituted to include a semi-annual ASW exercise series and an ASW continuum, which transcends type commander and fleet commander boundaries.

In support of maritime security, 2nd Fleet continues to support NATO's transformation as director of the Combined Joint Operations From the Sea Centre of Excellence, a multi-national military body that provides a focus for 13 sponsoring nations and NATO to improve allied joint maritime operations. Thirty-five foreign nation officers work within the 2nd Fleet maritime headquarters.

The maritime operations center (MOC) at 2nd Fleet supports naval and joint operations and provides commanders with people and processes which are flexible, scalable and can be tailored to enhance global maritime capabilities.

The MOC significantly expands maritime domain awareness by globally networking with other services, coalitions and allies, federal, state, local agencies and non-government organizations. The MOC provides more efficient and effective command and control of forces, globally and regionally.

In addition to the MOC, 2nd Fleet's constituency includes four carrier strike groups, one carrier in maintenance, five amphibious ready groups and three marine expeditionary units.

Finally, 2nd Fleet executes the maritime strategy through realistic, repeatable and adaptive fleet training focused at the unit commander level. Second Fleet is working to enhance fleet irregular warfare training to better prepare forces to operate in irregular warfare environments.

Second Fleet continues to work with like-minded nations to deter, detect and deny terrorist activities and enhance maritime security.

To better execute maritime homeland defense responsibilities in support of U.S. Joint Forces Command and U.S. Northern Command, in December 2008, 2nd Fleet established flexible deterrent options aligned with U.S. Northern Command's Maritime Homeland Defense Maritime Activity Postures.

The Navy continues to work with partners to deter aggressors, protect the right to operate freely at sea and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief around the world.

As a forward presence in humanitarian assistance/disaster response efforts, in September 2008, 2nd Fleet supported efforts in Texas and Haiti. The amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) supported disaster response for local, state and federal authorities in Galveston, Texas, after the devastation left by Hurricane Ike. Additionally, the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) conducted humanitarian assistance and disaster response in Haiti following devastating hurricanes.

"As the mission continues to grow, 2nd Fleet continues to press forward in safe and effective fleet operations as they defend the homeland and prepare our people and forces for global assignment," said one member of the staff.

"Second Fleet will accomplish its mission with excellence as the standard, today and in the future, in the Atlantic and globally as directed, because our nation requires this from us as we continually improve all that we do."