Category: Community

Happy 126th Birthday Chiefs – Chief On!

By Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith

In the beginning there was no birthday, no Mess, no initiation process. There were only Sailors, salty with experience and a deep conviction to bridge the gap between the vision their officers had and the Sailors who executed the mission. Recognizing a seam, Chief Petty Officers were created to provide the kind of pragmatic leadership and guidance that enlisted Sailors could understand and relate to, enabling our Navy to move forward as the operating environment began to evolve beyond the simple age of sail and traditional Sailor skills.

ROTA, Spain (March 11, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith speaks to Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas/Released)
ROTA, Spain (March 11, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith speaks to Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas/Released)

Over the years our Mess has grown and adapted to both the operating environment of our vessels and the Sailors who choose our way of life. Over successive generations, our Sailors have become smarter, more fit and a better demographic representation of the Nation we serve. We began as the sole purveyors of experience, the ones you needed to hear from before tackling any complex deckplate evolution — the lessons of sweat and blood were “our” currency, our relevance, and we taught many a junior Sailor and many a junior Officer how to avoid the worst mistakes and safely navigate to mission success.

In turn, Chief Petty Officers have found greater opportunity, and a corresponding desire by the Navy to fold Chief Petty Officers into more complex roles of leadership and management. In 1958, the pay grades of E8 and E9 were created to specifically retain the talent and expertise that was deemed crucial to the future success of our Navy; less than a decade later, Master Chief Gunner’s Mate Del Black would become the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, signaling a level of leadership and Navy-wide involvement that just 30 years before could not possibly have been conceived of. Chief Petty Officers raised the bar, elevated the game and catapulted our Navy towards new and greater success.

Shortly before the USS Cole was attacked, she got underway for deployment with an entirely enlisted Bridge Watch Team — proving that crew’s mettle and ultimately enabling those who survived the initial attack to save their ship and their shipmates. We have enlisted performing in a myriad of ways that those “old salts” sitting around and sharing information in those famous photos from the late 1800s could never have imagined. And yet, as a Mess, our mission remains the same — bound genetically to our core responsibility within the Navy to primarily represent the equity of experience. Technical experts, knowledgeable and learned in the nuances of our trade, operators who guide both the young Sailors we are charged with preparing for combat, as well as those young Officers whose lead we will follow in combat.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 21, 2019) Senior Chief Damage Controlman Jeff Tobey, from Kittering, Maine, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), instructs Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Clayton Saving, from Carthage, Missouri, in the hangar bay during a main space fire drill. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Keypher Strombeck/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 21, 2019) Senior Chief Damage Controlman Jeff Tobey, from Kittering, Maine, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), instructs Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Clayton Saving, from Carthage, Missouri, in the hangar bay during a main space fire drill. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Keypher Strombeck/Released)

A special faith and trust has been reposed in us as we occupy this unique and unparalleled strata of leadership — other services and other nations have senior enlisted leaders, but the United States Navy Chief Petty Officers are cut from a different cloth, raised to perform in collegial fashion to stitch the disparate parts of our Navy together, to leverage the power of our Mess to make the Navy greater than the sum of our parts.

We should take the opportunity to reflect on where this latest year of growth and development has taken us, and as a Mess decide how to best calibrate and align ourselves to the true north of our forebearers — making those who sailed before us proud of the legacy of selfless, uncelebrating service they entrusted to us. Every day we walk aboard our ship, squadron, station or unit we should feel an unabated sense of urgency to prove our value and serve our Sailors, to realize our strengths, and then humbly yet confidently wield that influence and knowledge to prepare our Sailors for combat — and lead them to victory once it begins.

At the end of today, and at the end of every day, I would ask each of you — as I ask of myself — to spend a few moments in quiet contemplation on those expectations levied upon us. To ask, as in that penultimate moment of “Saving Private Ryan” — did I “earn this?”

Happy 126th Birthday Chiefs – Chief On!

The Naval Careers of America’s Six Sailor Presidents

From Naval History and Heritage Command

From 1961 to 1993, the Navy could boast veterans in the nation’s highest office, with the exception of Army veteran Ronald Reagan’s eight-year term of 1981 to 1989. John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, James E. “Jimmy” Carter and George H.W. Bush all served their nation wearing Navy blue.

Interestingly of the presidents who served between 1961 and 1993, only Reagan held office for two full terms:

  • Ford, Carter and Bush were single-term presidents
  • Kennedy was assassinated after 1,000 days in office
  • Johnson was elected once and chose not to seek a second term after finishing Kennedy’s term for a total of five years, two months, and
  • While Nixon was elected twice, he served less than 18 months into his second term before resigning to avoid almost certain impeachment over his role in the Watergate scandal.

Of the six presidents with sea service, five have had ships named after them: Kennedy (aircraft carrier CVA-67 as well as CVN-79, Johnson (Zumwalt-class destroyer PCU DDG-1002), Ford (CVN 78), Carter (SSN 23), and Bush (CVN-77).

Nixon joins the remaining 20 presidents who have not had ships named after them. Our nation’s first president, for whom President’s Day was originally named, has a record-holding eight ships named Washington, with four between 1775 to 1776, one each in 1798 and 1814, followed by the ballistic nuclear submarine (SSBN 598), decommissioned in 1985, and aircraft carrier CVN-73 commissioned in 1992.

Abraham Lincoln pales in comparison with just three ships: a former German steamer turned transport ship (President Lincoln 1917 to 1918); one submarine (SSBN 602), decommissioned in 1981; and Nimitz-class supercarrier (CVN 72), commissioned in 1989.

The following are brief synopsis of each president’s naval career.

John F. KennedyJohn F. Kennedy (1961-1963) was appointed an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve in October 1941. Initially, he was assigned to the staff of the Office of Naval Intelligence before attending the Naval Reserve Officers Training School from July 27-Sept. 27, 1942. He then entered the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center in Rhode Island. Upon his graduation Dec. 2, Lt. j.g. Kennedy was assigned to the Motor Torpedo Squadron 4 as the commanding officer of PT-101. A month later, PT-101 and four other boats were ordered to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 14 based at Panama.

Seeking combat duty, Kennedy transferred Feb. 23 as a replacement officer to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 2, which was based at Tulagi Island in the Solomons. He took command of PT-109 April 23, 1943.

It was the night of Aug. 1, 1943, when PT-109, with Kennedy at the helm, was run over by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri, cutting the torpedo boat in two. At the impact, Kennedy was thrown into the cockpit where he landed on his back, injured prior to him joining the service.

As some of the survivors clung to pieces of the ship, Kennedy swam to the remaining crew members to bring them back to the floating remnant of PT-109. Two had died during the collision. Kennedy towed one injured crew members as he and the other survivors swam five hours to cover the distance of three miles to an island.

After swimming to Nauru Island, Kennedy and his executive officer found natives. Kennedy wrote a message on a coconut: “11 alive native knows posit & reef Nauru Island Kennedy.” The survivors were rescued by PT-157 on Aug. 8. In September, Kennedy went to Tulagi where he became the skipper of PT-59. In October 1943, Kennedy was promoted to lieutenant and the squadron moved to Vella Lavella.

Due to continued problems with his back, a doctor ordered Kennedy to leave PT-59 November 18, and he returned to the United States in early January 1944. Kennedy would spend much of the rest of his Navy career getting treatment for his back injury. He was released from all active duty and retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve on physical disability in March 1945.

Lyndon B. JohnsonLyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969) had already earned his bachelor’s degree, worked as a school teacher and elected twice to Congress before being appointed as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve June 21, 1940, at age 32.

He reported for active duty Dec. 9, 1941, and was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C. After training, he proceeded to Headquarters, Twelfth Naval District, San Francisco, California, for inspection duty in the Pacific.

While stationed in New Zealand and Australia, he worked as an observer of bomber missions in the South Pacific, for which he was later awarded the Army Silver Star Medal.

After President Roosevelt ordered all members of Congress in the Armed Forces to return to their legislative duties, Johnson was released from active duty under honorable conditions June 16, 1942.

In 1949 he was promoted to commander in the Naval Reserves.

Richard M. NixonRichard M. Nixon (1969-1974) joined the Navy at the age of 29 as a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Naval Reserve June 15, 1942. A lawyer, he had been working as an attorney for the Office of Emergency Management in Washington, D.C.

Following his appointment, Nixon began aviation indoctrination training at the Naval Training School, Naval Air Station in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. After completing the course in October 1942, he went to the Naval Reserve Aviation Base in Ottumwa, Iowa, where he served as aide to the executive officer until May 1943.

Looking for more excitement, Nixon volunteered for sea duty and reported to Commander, Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet where he was assigned as officer in charge of the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command at Guadalcanal in the Solomons and later at Green Island. His unit prepared manifests and flight plans for C-47 operations and supervised the loading and unloading of the cargo aircraft.

For this service, he received a Letter of Commendation from the Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force for “meritorious and efficient performance of duty as Officer in Charge of the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command…” Nixon was promoted to lieutenant Oct. 1, 1943.

From August through December 1944, Nixon was assigned to Fleet Air Wing 8 at Naval Air Station Alameda, California. Then he was transferred to the Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, D.C, through March 1945. His next assignment as a newly-promoted lieutenant commander was as the Bureau of Aeronautics Contracting Officer for Terminations in the Office of the Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative, Eastern District, headquartered in New York City. Nixon was released from active duty on March 10, 1946. He was promoted to commander in the Naval Reserve on June 1, 1953.

Gerald R. Ford

Gerald R. Ford (1974-1976) was preparing to open his law practice at Grand Rapids with a fellow Yale Law School classmate, but the attack on Pearl Harbor changed his plans. Rather than waiting to be drafted, Ford sought to join the Navy.

At age 29 with a law degree, Ford was commissioned as an ensign April 13, 1942. His first duty-station was to attend V-5 instructor school training at Annapolis. His background as a coach and trainer made him a good candidate for instructor in the Navy’s V-5 (aviation cadet) program.

After a month of training, Ford was assigned to the Navy Preflight School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he taught elementary seamanship, ordnance, gunnery, first aid and military drill. He also coached all nine sports that were offered, but mostly in swimming, boxing and football.

By the time he was assigned to USS Monterey (CVL 26) he had been promoted to lieutenant. While onboard, Ford served as the assistant navigator, athletic officer and anti-aircraft battery officer. The carrier helped secure Makin Island in the Gilberts and participated in carrier strikes against Kavieng, New Ireland in 1943. During the spring of 1944, Monterey supported landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok and participated in carrier strikes in the Marianas, Western Carolines and North New Guiena, as well as the Battle of Philippine Sea. Aircraft from Monterey launched strikes against Wake Island, participated in strikes in the Philippines and Ryukus and supported the landings at Leyte and Mindoro.

Monterey escaped damage by the Japanese, but Mother Nature nearly took out both the ship and future president when Adm. William “Bull” Halsey’s Task Force 38 sailed straight into Typhoon Cobra on Dec. 17-18, 1944. Three destroyers were lost along with 790 men, with another nine warships damaged and 100 planes lost either overboard or by explosion. Monterey was damaged by a fire that started when several of the ship’s aircraft tore loose from their cables and collided during the storm.

After Ford headed for his battle station on the bridge of the ship in the early morning of Dec. 18, the ship rolled 25 degrees, which caused Ford to lose his footing and slide toward the edge of the deck. The two-inch steel ridge around the edge of the carrier slowed him down enough so he could roll and twist into the catwalk below the deck. As he later stated: “I was lucky; I could have easily gone overboard.”

While Monterey underwent repairs at Bremerton, Washington, Ford was detached from the ship and sent to the Athletic Department of the Navy Pre-Flight School, St. Mary’s College, Calif., where he was assigned to the Athletic Department until April 1945. He was then assigned to the staff of the Naval Reserve Training Command, Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois, as the physical and military training officer, during which time he was promoted to lieutenant commander. He was released from active duty Feb. 23, 1946.

James Earle Carter

James Earle Carter (1976-1981) was the fifth consecutive president who had served in the Navy. He is the only president thus far to have graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. After completing the accelerated wartime program, he graduated June 5, 1946 with distinction and obtained his commission as ensign.

For his first duty station, Carter was stationed at Norfolk as radar and CIC officer on USS Wyoming (E-AG 17), an older battleship that had been converted into a floating laboratory for testing new electronics and gunnery equipment. After Wyoming was decommissioned, Carter became training and education officer on USS Mississippi (E-AG 128). After completing two years of surface ship duty, Carter chose to apply for submarine duty. Accepted, he began the six-month course at the U.S. Navy Submarine School, Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, from June 14 to Dec. 17, 1948.

Upon completion of the course, Carter reported Dec. 29 to USS Pomfret (SS 391) based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During a simulated war patrol, Carter served as communications officer, sonar officer, electronics officer, gunnery officer and supply officer. On March 9, he served as the approach officer for a simulated torpedo firing at target ships and scored a “hit.” Soon after Carter’s promotion to lieutenant junior grade on June 5, 1949, Pomfret was sent in July to San Diego where the submarine operated along the California coast.

Carter’s next assignment was as engineering officer for the precommissioning detail for USS K-1 (SSK 1), the first postwar submarine built. After K-1’s commissioning on Nov. 10, 1951, Carter served as executive officer, engineering officer, and electronics repair officer. During this tour he also qualified for command of a submarine.

When Adm. Hyman G. Rickover (then a captain) started his program to create nuclear powered submarines, Carter was interviewed and selected for the program by Rickover. Promoted to lieutenant, Carter was sent to the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Division of Reactor Development in Schenectady, New York. He served a four-month TDY with the Naval Reactors Branch, U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Washington, D.C., to assist “in the design and development of nuclear propulsion plants for naval vessels.”

As Carter was preparing to become the engineering officer for the nuclear power plant to be placed in USS Seawolf (SSN 575), one of the first submarines to operate on atomic power, his father died in July 1953. Carter resigned from the Navy to return to Georgia to manage the family interests. Carter was honorably discharged on Oct. 9, 1953, at Headquarters, Third Naval District in New York City.

George H.W. BushGeorge H.W. Bush (1989-1991) wanted to join the Navy right after Pearl Harbor, but he had to wait six months to graduate high school, enlisting on his 18th birthday June 12, 1942. Ten months later, having graduated pre-flight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bush was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve a few days shy of his 19th birthday, making him the youngest naval aviator at the time.

After more flight training, Bush was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as photographic officer in September 1943. As part of Air Group 51, his squadron was based on USS San Jacinto (CVL 30) in the spring of 1944. San Jacinto was part of Task Force 58 that participated in operations against Marcus and Wake Islands in May, and then in the Marianas during June.

On June 19, the task force triumphed in one of the largest air battles of the war. During the return of his aircraft from the mission, Ens. Bush’s aircraft made a forced water landing. The crew was rescued, but the plane was lost in the explosion. On July 25, Ens. Bush and another pilot received credit for sinking a small cargo ship.

After Bush was promoted to lieutenant junior grade on Aug. 1, San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. On Sept. 2, 1944, Bush piloted one of four aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chichi Jima. Encountering intense antiaircraft fire, Bush’s aircraft was hit and his engine caught on fire. He completed his mission and released the bombs over his target scoring several damaging hits.

With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft. However, the other man’s chute did not open and he fell to his death. While Bush anxiously waited four hours in his inflated raft, several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by submarine USS Finback (SS 230). During the month he remained on Finback, Bush participated in the rescue of other pilots. Bush returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines.

When San Jacinto returned to Guam, the squadron, which had suffered 50 percent casualties of its pilots, was replaced and sent to the United States. Throughout 1944, Bush had flown 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded San Jacinto.

Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. Later, he was assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153. With the surrender of Japan, he was honorably discharged in September 1945 and then entered Yale University.

Editor’s note: This blog was originally published Feb. 16, 2015, on Naval History and Heritage Command’s The Sextant.

Five Things to Know: Shared Pacific Umbilical of USS Missouri and USS Michael Monsoor

By Dave Werner
U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

On Saturday, Jan. 26, the Navy will commission its newest Zumwalt-class destroyer, USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), at 1 p.m. (EST) / 10 a.m. (PST) at Naval Air Station North Island. A little further west in the Pacific, organizers are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the January 1944 launch of USS Missouri (BB 63) in the waters of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Although separated by 75 years, there is little distance between what the two ships and their crews represent to a free and open Indo-Pacific today. Here are five reasons why it matters:

BATH, Maine (Feb. 1, 2018) The Navy's next generation destroyer, the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), successfully completed acceptance. The U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey reviewed the ship and its crew during a series of demonstrations both pier side and underway, evaluating the ship's construction and compliance with Navy specifications. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Bath Iron Works/Released)
BATH, Maine (Feb. 1, 2018) The Navy’s next generation destroyer, the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), successfully completes acceptance. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Bath Iron Works/Released)

 

1. America is a maritime nation, committed to generating and sustaining combat-ready naval forces.

It’s no secret that the Navy has turned its focus again to restoring readiness, increasing lethality and building capacity. Before WWII, planning for the Iowa-class battleships, including USS Missouri, began as early as 1938 and the ships were ordered a year or two later. As Germany and Japan became increasingly belligerent, American leaders recognized that its Navy and nation needed faster ships with greater armament to keep pace with competitors.

USS Missouri, the last battleship commissioned, joined the Pacific Fleet in 1944, where it screened U.S. aircraft carriers and conducted shore bombardment. Most famously, it became the symbol of the Allies’ victory as host to the signing of Japan’s unconditional surrender in September 1945. Missouri went on to serve off Korea before being decommissioned in 1956. Reactivated in 1984, it supported Operation Earnest Will in 1988, and then Operation Desert Storm by firing 28 Tomahawk missiles and hundreds of its feared 16-inch shells to soften Iraqi defenses. Missouri was decommissioned for good in 1992. Ultimately, it was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association in Pearl Harbor in 1999, where it serves proudly today.

Even following the dawn of the aircraft carrier in WWII, the forethought and investment placed in the later battleships allowed for their reincarnations with advancing weaponry to kinetically and psychologically influence global affairs some 50 years later.

USS Michael Monsoor, too, has a weapons suite and configuration that hasn’t been fully tapped. Outfitted with a 21st century electrical plant, it can operate all of its systems and still produce enough electricity to power a small town. Its design provides extra capacity to accommodate future computing demands, weapons systems, radars and sensors. In its case, such inevitable installations should be without extensive redesign or impeding performance.

Not unlike USS Missouri, USS Michael Monsoor is a flagship for adaptive force packages – a combination of amphibious ships, littoral combat ships and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers used to promote sea control and project power ashore that extend maritime security across a range of threat environments. It can accommodate future operations with planning space and communications equipment, which allows for mission tailoring and targeting across and broad array of tasks from special operations to humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, the Zumwalt-class destroyer is capable of performing the critical maritime missions of deterrence and power projection and creating battlespace complexity for adversaries with its abilities to operate both near to shore and in the open sea.

The time-tested advantage of such investments ensures the nation is ready should it be challenged – but sustaining such forces has an even greater benefit for nations beyond the U.S.

2. A stable, prosperous Pacific favors peace without war.

As the bloody war in the Pacific wound down quickly in 1945, the question before the U.S. Navy was what ship would host the signing of unconditional surrender. USS South Dakota (BB 57), as Adm. Nimitz’ flagship, was considered deserving given its length and success of service in the Pacific. USS West Virginia (BB 48) would have been the romantic favorite. It was sunk in Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, but was repaired and returned to service, and was present in Tokyo Harbor Sept. 2, 1945. President Truman ultimately made the selection, USS Missouri.

Surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives)
Surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives)

 

USS Missouri was the flagship for Adm. Halsey and his Third Fleet, who served Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Southwest Pacific Area. There was also the practical consideration that its deck provided the greatest square-footage available to accommodate the witnesses of the signature. It didn’t hurt it was the namesake ship of “Show Me” state, from which President Truman hailed. In fact, his daughter was the ship’s sponsor. There was a more compelling consideration that’s often lost in the debate.

Missouri was about the next fight. It bristled with power and capabilities, and embodied American innovation and determination. The course was set for what would become known as the American Century, and it was its ship-of-state.

The nation – and the world – had learned the price of a hot war. Led by the United States, most countries wanted a return to normalcy. A Soviet superpower, however, was rising to coerce and threaten free-minded nations, and a Cold War was underway. Peace-through-strength became foundational thinking for decades. The American investment in its military was not insignificant, but it was cheap compared to the price paid in WWII.

USS Michael Monsoor typifies the naval investment the nation needs, and employs the same proven calculus. Zumwalt-class destroyers are among the most lethal and sophisticated destroyers ever built. They provide deterrence and forward presence by bridging today’s innovation with future technology. They maximize stealth, size, power and computing capacity – providing an array of weapons systems and cutting-edge technologies to fight forces in the air, on and under the sea, and on land.

Fielding credible, ready and present capability discourages competitor nations from miscalculating.

Maintaining peace benefits prosperity and stability, and is far superior to the alternative. But…

3. If called upon, the U.S. Navy will fight and win.

If peace were to fail, at 610 feet long and 80.7 feet wide, USS Michael Monsoor provides space to execute a wider array of surface, submarine and aviation missions and integrate emerging technologies. A core crew of 148 officers and enlisted personnel, the nearly 16,000-ton ship is powered by two Rolls-Royce main turbine generators capable of speeds exceeding 30 knots.

The Zumwalt-class destroyer is capable of performing a range of deterrence, power projection, sea control, and command and control missions while allowing the Navy to evolve with new systems and missions. It does all of this while maintaining its stealth – making this visually imposing ship difficult to find whether close to the shore or far out to sea. These warships possess stealth, size, power, survivability systems and computing capacity that provide the Navy with the ability to meet maritime missions at sea now, as well as incorporate new technologies to meet emerging security environments.

That can also improve lethality through increased range, deception, systems integration and data analysis from the various platforms, and unmanned aerial, surface and subsurface systems. The blending of such capabilities – offensive and defensive, and multi-domain – will provide the Navy with the sea power to fight decisively.

SAN DIEGO (Dec. 7, 2018) The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) transits San Diego Bay. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasen Moreno-Garcia/Released
SAN DIEGO (Dec. 7, 2018) The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) transits San Diego Bay. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasen Moreno-Garcia/Released

 

The ship is able to operate in shallow, coastal waters, providing land-attack support to ground forces. Ability to seamlessly exchange data with other fleet assets, computing capability, customizable mission sets and rapid integration of maturing technologies, provides the force with a strategic advantage. It has ability to dominate at sea and ashore, now and – importantly – in the future.

In war, the WWII Pacific Fleet is legendary. Small units like USS Johnston (DD 557) and USS Wahoo (SS 238) punched well above their weight. Capital ships with names like Enterprise (CV 6), Hornet (CV 8) and Lexington (CV 2) demonstrated the might, creativity and commitment of a determined nation. And USS Missouri was among them.

The world’s largest fleet command encompassed 100 million square miles, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean. The U.S. Pacific Fleet consists of approximately 200 ships/submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft and more than 130,000 Sailors and civilians. USS Michael Monsoor is the latest in a long line of warships, and will join today’s aircraft carriers, surface combatants and attack submarines in San Diego.

The industrial base and whole-of-government effort that produced these marvels is an advantage that enemies correctly feared before attacking the United States in WWII. There is another uniquely American advantage that revealed itself in WWII, born from a national consciousness that, in its core, fosters free thinking and self-determination.

4. Toughness: Then and now.

After nearly 75 years of relative peace and prosperity in the Pacific, toughness and battle-mindedness are re-emerging. Visitors are reminded why that matters gazing at the Ford Island waterfront in Pearl Harbor. There, the USS Missouri stands watch over the USS Arizona Memorial. The memorial serves as the eternal tomb for 1,177 Sailors who lost their lives in the opening salvo of the nation’s WWII experience.

The two ships serve as the American bookends of WWII. The attack on Dec. 7 was a demoralizing gut-punch for the Pacific Fleet, and it serves as perpetual reminder of the commitment required. Sailors then proved they could take a hit, and tap all sources of strength and resilience to fight and win – even when things looked darkest. It required an innate courage.

The namesake crew of America’s newest ship embodies a more contemporary example. The ship is named for Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (SEAL) Petty Officer Michael Monsoor who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006. He was positioned on a rooftop with his automatic heavy machine gun in the direction of the enemy’s most likely avenue of approach. Monsoor was located closest to the egress route out of the sniper hide-sight watching for enemy activity through a tactical periscope over the parapet wall.

While vigilantly watching for enemy activity, an enemy fighter hurled a hand grenade onto the roof from an unseen location. The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced onto the deck. Monsoor immediately leapt to his feet and yelled “grenade” to alert his teammates of impending danger, but they could not evacuate the sniper hide-sight in time to escape harm. Without hesitation, and showing no regard for his own life, he threw himself onto the grenade, smothering it to protect his teammates who were lying in close proximity. The grenade detonated as he came down on top of it, mortally wounding him.

The highly professional men and women serving aboard USS Michael Monsoor are typical of the Sailors on duty around the world today. The U.S. Navy is the world’s premier naval force in no small part because of the American Sailor.

5. For 75 years, America has demonstrated a credible and enduring commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

As a Pacific nation, America’s Navy has sailed and remains committed to sail wherever international law allows to preserve longstanding ideals of fairness and stability. Once the fiercest of enemies, together the U.S. Navy and Japan have been and remain the strongest of allies, and work closely today.

EAST CHINA SEA (Jan. 12, 2019) The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), left, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force amphibious transport dock ship JS Kunisaki (LST 4003), and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), right, transit in formation during a cooperative deployment. Wasp, flagship of Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, is operating in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)
EAST CHINA SEA (Jan. 12, 2019) The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), left, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force amphibious transport dock ship JS Kunisaki (LST 4003), and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), right, transit in formation during a cooperative deployment. Wasp, flagship of Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, is operating in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)

As discussed in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, and reinforced in the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority 2.0, China and Russia are deploying all elements of their national power to achieve their global ambitions. There are competing visions for the future of the Pacific, and naval leadership is working to mitigate the risks of miscalculations.

Since the end of WWII, nations have benefited by the open and free approach that allows each to thrive. The proverbial rising tide of prosperity necessitates safeguarding and sustaining the approach. The Pacific Fleet is determined to ensure it – peacefully or otherwise.

Editor’s notes: The commissioning ceremony can be watched on the Navy Live blog. The Jan. 26 ceremony is scheduled to begin 1 p.m. (EST) / 10 a.m. (PST).

This blog was originally published Jan. 23 on the Naval History and Heritage Command’s The Sextant.

Five Things to Know: Shared Pacific Umbilical of USS Missouri and USS Michael Monsoor

By Dave Werner
U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

On Saturday, Jan. 26, the Navy will commission its newest Zumwalt-class destroyer, USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), at 1 p.m. (EST) / 10 a.m. (PST) at Naval Air Station North Island. A little further west in the Pacific, organizers are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the January 1944 launch of USS Missouri (BB 63) in the waters of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Although separated by 75 years, there is little distance between what the two ships and their crews represent to a free and open Indo-Pacific today. Here are five reasons why it matters:

BATH, Maine (Feb. 1, 2018) The Navy's next generation destroyer, the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), successfully completed acceptance. The U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey reviewed the ship and its crew during a series of demonstrations both pier side and underway, evaluating the ship's construction and compliance with Navy specifications. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Bath Iron Works/Released)
BATH, Maine (Feb. 1, 2018) The Navy’s next generation destroyer, the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), successfully completes acceptance. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Bath Iron Works/Released)

 

1. America is a maritime nation, committed to generating and sustaining combat-ready naval forces.

It’s no secret that the Navy has turned its focus again to restoring readiness, increasing lethality and building capacity. Before WWII, planning for the Iowa-class battleships, including USS Missouri, began as early as 1938 and the ships were ordered a year or two later. As Germany and Japan became increasingly belligerent, American leaders recognized that its Navy and nation needed faster ships with greater armament to keep pace with competitors.

USS Missouri, the last battleship commissioned, joined the Pacific Fleet in 1944, where it screened U.S. aircraft carriers and conducted shore bombardment. Most famously, it became the symbol of the Allies’ victory as host to the signing of Japan’s unconditional surrender in September 1945. Missouri went on to serve off Korea before being decommissioned in 1956. Reactivated in 1984, it supported Operation Earnest Will in 1988, and then Operation Desert Storm by firing 28 Tomahawk missiles and hundreds of its feared 16-inch shells to soften Iraqi defenses. Missouri was decommissioned for good in 1992. Ultimately, it was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association in Pearl Harbor in 1999, where it serves proudly today.

Even following the dawn of the aircraft carrier in WWII, the forethought and investment placed in the later battleships allowed for their reincarnations with advancing weaponry to kinetically and psychologically influence global affairs some 50 years later.

USS Michael Monsoor, too, has a weapons suite and configuration that hasn’t been fully tapped. Outfitted with a 21st century electrical plant, it can operate all of its systems and still produce enough electricity to power a small town. Its design provides extra capacity to accommodate future computing demands, weapons systems, radars and sensors. In its case, such inevitable installations should be without extensive redesign or impeding performance.

Not unlike USS Missouri, USS Michael Monsoor is a flagship for adaptive force packages – a combination of amphibious ships, littoral combat ships and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers used to promote sea control and project power ashore that extend maritime security across a range of threat environments. It can accommodate future operations with planning space and communications equipment, which allows for mission tailoring and targeting across and broad array of tasks from special operations to humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, the Zumwalt-class destroyer is capable of performing the critical maritime missions of deterrence and power projection and creating battlespace complexity for adversaries with its abilities to operate both near to shore and in the open sea.

The time-tested advantage of such investments ensures the nation is ready should it be challenged – but sustaining such forces has an even greater benefit for nations beyond the U.S.

2. A stable, prosperous Pacific favors peace without war.

As the bloody war in the Pacific wound down quickly in 1945, the question before the U.S. Navy was what ship would host the signing of unconditional surrender. USS South Dakota (BB 57), as Adm. Nimitz’ flagship, was considered deserving given its length and success of service in the Pacific. USS West Virginia (BB 48) would have been the romantic favorite. It was sunk in Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, but was repaired and returned to service, and was present in Tokyo Harbor Sept. 2, 1945. President Truman ultimately made the selection, USS Missouri.

Surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives)
Surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives)

 

USS Missouri was the flagship for Adm. Halsey and his Third Fleet, who served Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Southwest Pacific Area. There was also the practical consideration that its deck provided the greatest square-footage available to accommodate the witnesses of the signature. It didn’t hurt it was the namesake ship of “Show Me” state, from which President Truman hailed. In fact, his daughter was the ship’s sponsor. There was a more compelling consideration that’s often lost in the debate.

Missouri was about the next fight. It bristled with power and capabilities, and embodied American innovation and determination. The course was set for what would become known as the American Century, and it was its ship-of-state.

The nation – and the world – had learned the price of a hot war. Led by the United States, most countries wanted a return to normalcy. A Soviet superpower, however, was rising to coerce and threaten free-minded nations, and a Cold War was underway. Peace-through-strength became foundational thinking for decades. The American investment in its military was not insignificant, but it was cheap compared to the price paid in WWII.

USS Michael Monsoor typifies the naval investment the nation needs, and employs the same proven calculus. Zumwalt-class destroyers are among the most lethal and sophisticated destroyers ever built. They provide deterrence and forward presence by bridging today’s innovation with future technology. They maximize stealth, size, power and computing capacity – providing an array of weapons systems and cutting-edge technologies to fight forces in the air, on and under the sea, and on land.

Fielding credible, ready and present capability discourages competitor nations from miscalculating.

Maintaining peace benefits prosperity and stability, and is far superior to the alternative. But…

3. If called upon, the U.S. Navy will fight and win.

If peace were to fail, at 610 feet long and 80.7 feet wide, USS Michael Monsoor provides space to execute a wider array of surface, submarine and aviation missions and integrate emerging technologies. A core crew of 148 officers and enlisted personnel, the nearly 16,000-ton ship is powered by two Rolls-Royce main turbine generators capable of speeds exceeding 30 knots.

The Zumwalt-class destroyer is capable of performing a range of deterrence, power projection, sea control, and command and control missions while allowing the Navy to evolve with new systems and missions. It does all of this while maintaining its stealth – making this visually imposing ship difficult to find whether close to the shore or far out to sea. These warships possess stealth, size, power, survivability systems and computing capacity that provide the Navy with the ability to meet maritime missions at sea now, as well as incorporate new technologies to meet emerging security environments.

That can also improve lethality through increased range, deception, systems integration and data analysis from the various platforms, and unmanned aerial, surface and subsurface systems. The blending of such capabilities – offensive and defensive, and multi-domain – will provide the Navy with the sea power to fight decisively.

SAN DIEGO (Dec. 7, 2018) The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) transits San Diego Bay. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasen Moreno-Garcia/Released
SAN DIEGO (Dec. 7, 2018) The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) transits San Diego Bay. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasen Moreno-Garcia/Released

 

The ship is able to operate in shallow, coastal waters, providing land-attack support to ground forces. Ability to seamlessly exchange data with other fleet assets, computing capability, customizable mission sets and rapid integration of maturing technologies, provides the force with a strategic advantage. It has ability to dominate at sea and ashore, now and – importantly – in the future.

In war, the WWII Pacific Fleet is legendary. Small units like USS Johnston (DD 557) and USS Wahoo (SS 238) punched well above their weight. Capital ships with names like Enterprise (CV 6), Hornet (CV 8) and Lexington (CV 2) demonstrated the might, creativity and commitment of a determined nation. And USS Missouri was among them.

The world’s largest fleet command encompassed 100 million square miles, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean. The U.S. Pacific Fleet consists of approximately 200 ships/submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft and more than 130,000 Sailors and civilians. USS Michael Monsoor is the latest in a long line of warships, and will join today’s aircraft carriers, surface combatants and attack submarines in San Diego.

The industrial base and whole-of-government effort that produced these marvels is an advantage that enemies correctly feared before attacking the United States in WWII. There is another uniquely American advantage that revealed itself in WWII, born from a national consciousness that, in its core, fosters free thinking and self-determination.

4. Toughness: Then and now.

After nearly 75 years of relative peace and prosperity in the Pacific, toughness and battle-mindedness are re-emerging. Visitors are reminded why that matters gazing at the Ford Island waterfront in Pearl Harbor. There, the USS Missouri stands watch over the USS Arizona Memorial. The memorial serves as the eternal tomb for 1,177 Sailors who lost their lives in the opening salvo of the nation’s WWII experience.

The two ships serve as the American bookends of WWII. The attack on Dec. 7 was a demoralizing gut-punch for the Pacific Fleet, and it serves as perpetual reminder of the commitment required. Sailors then proved they could take a hit, and tap all sources of strength and resilience to fight and win – even when things looked darkest. It required an innate courage.

The namesake crew of America’s newest ship embodies a more contemporary example. The ship is named for Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (SEAL) Petty Officer Michael Monsoor who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006. He was positioned on a rooftop with his automatic heavy machine gun in the direction of the enemy’s most likely avenue of approach. Monsoor was located closest to the egress route out of the sniper hide-sight watching for enemy activity through a tactical periscope over the parapet wall.

While vigilantly watching for enemy activity, an enemy fighter hurled a hand grenade onto the roof from an unseen location. The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced onto the deck. Monsoor immediately leapt to his feet and yelled “grenade” to alert his teammates of impending danger, but they could not evacuate the sniper hide-sight in time to escape harm. Without hesitation, and showing no regard for his own life, he threw himself onto the grenade, smothering it to protect his teammates who were lying in close proximity. The grenade detonated as he came down on top of it, mortally wounding him.

The highly professional men and women serving aboard USS Michael Monsoor are typical of the Sailors on duty around the world today. The U.S. Navy is the world’s premier naval force in no small part because of the American Sailor.

5. For 75 years, America has demonstrated a credible and enduring commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

As a Pacific nation, America’s Navy has sailed and remains committed to sail wherever international law allows to preserve longstanding ideals of fairness and stability. Once the fiercest of enemies, together the U.S. Navy and Japan have been and remain the strongest of allies, and work closely today.

EAST CHINA SEA (Jan. 12, 2019) The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), left, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force amphibious transport dock ship JS Kunisaki (LST 4003), and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), right, transit in formation during a cooperative deployment. Wasp, flagship of Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, is operating in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)
EAST CHINA SEA (Jan. 12, 2019) The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), left, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force amphibious transport dock ship JS Kunisaki (LST 4003), and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), right, transit in formation during a cooperative deployment. Wasp, flagship of Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, is operating in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)

As discussed in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, and reinforced in the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority 2.0, China and Russia are deploying all elements of their national power to achieve their global ambitions. There are competing visions for the future of the Pacific, and naval leadership is working to mitigate the risks of miscalculations.

Since the end of WWII, nations have benefited by the open and free approach that allows each to thrive. The proverbial rising tide of prosperity necessitates safeguarding and sustaining the approach. The Pacific Fleet is determined to ensure it – peacefully or otherwise.

Editor’s notes: The commissioning ceremony can be watched on the Navy Live blog. The Jan. 26 ceremony is scheduled to begin 1 p.m. (EST) / 10 a.m. (PST).

This blog was originally published Jan. 23 on the Naval History and Heritage Command’s The Sextant.

USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) Commissioning

Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of the Jan. 26 commissioning of the Navy’s newest destroyer, USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001).

Live video from Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California, where the ship will be homeported is scheduled to begin 1 p.m. (EST) / 10 a.m. (PST).

The second ship in the Zumwalt-class of destroyers, DDG-1001 is named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006.

Read more about Monsoor’s action on All Hands Magazine.

“USS Michael Monsoor is one of the most capable warfighting assets our nation has to offer. This ship will provide independent forward presence and deterrence for decades to come and I am confident the crew will operate this vessel with the level of expertise, courage and strength needed to overcome any challenge.”
– Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer

Scott Peters, U.S. representative from California’s 52nd District, will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Sally Monsoor, Petty Officer Monsoor’s mother, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when she will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

SAN DIEGO (Dec. 7, 2018) The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) transits San Diego Bay. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasen Moreno-Garcia/Released
SAN DIEGO (Dec. 7, 2018) The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) transits San Diego Bay. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasen Moreno-Garcia/Released

 

The future USS Michael Monsoor includes new technologies and will serve as a multi-mission platform capable of operating as an integral part of naval, joint or combined maritime forces.

The Zumwalt-class fields a considerably larger flight deck and has capacity for two MH-60R and three VTUAVs to execute a wider array of surface, aviation, and undersea missions that deliver more manpower, firepower, and computing power to the fight. The future USS Michael Monsoor’s Vertical Launch System (VLS) features cells physically larger than similar cells on today’s ships, allowing this class to fire larger and more advanced land and anti-ship missiles in the future.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #USSMichaelMonsoor.

USS McCampbell Welcomes 2019

EAST CHINA SEA (Dec. 31, 2018) Ens. Lauren Larar of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) writes the New Year’s deck log entry underway. McCampbell is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Harris/Released)

At the time this blog is posted, most people in the United States are busy readying themselves for a well-deserved evening of revelry ringing in the New Year.

They are free to do so, in large part, because of our Sailors who protecting the homeland and preserving America’s strategic influence around the world.

Ens. Lauren Larar is one of them.

She’s serving aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85), which has already crossed into 2019 in the East China Sea. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer McCampbell is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region:

Steaming alone over waters no trouble,
McCAMPBELL is ready to fight on the double.
With lights burning brightly above on the mast,
All engines standard, 16 knots going fast.
We cut through the waters below deep and blue,
Our course is 200, degrees true.
Our position is in the sea to the east.
Our stomachs are full from the grand midrats feast.
1 alpha, 2 bravo are turning each shaft,
Alpha power units move rudders back aft.
Numbers . . .  and . . .  are the paralleled GTGs
Material Condition is Modified Z.
Computer assisted manual is the steering mode,
So we can maneuver per Rules of the Road.
CO’s in her chair, she’s up on the Bridge,
We’re still left of track, we’ll come right just a smidge.
TAO down in Combat, monitoring aircraft and chats,
And EOOW in Central, stay vigilant Hellcats!
The year that’s behind us was challenging, yes, indeed,
But Ready 85 will always succeed.
We’re mighty, we’re strong, we cannot be rattled
In the year that’s to come we’ll stay RELENTLESS IN BATTLE!

Editor’s note: Learn about the Navy’s tradition of the New Year’s Day Deck Log on Naval History and Heritage Command’s blog.

2018: A year of increased U.S. Navy lethality and capacity, strengthened alliances and partnerships, reforms

By Jason Kelly
Digital Media Engagement Manager, U.S. Navy Office of Information

As 2019 gets underway, we’re looking back at 2018 across our fleet with our year in pictures — snapshots of our U.S. Navy Sailors protecting the homeland and preserving America’s strategic influence around the world.

We couldn’t highlight everything that happened in 2018, but as you’ll see below, the year was filled with building a more lethal force, strengthening our alliances and attracting new partners, and reforming for greater performance and affordability to remain the most effective global maneuver force in the world.

In January, naval leaders, government officials and members of private industry gathered for the 30th Annual Surface Navy Association (SNA) National Symposium in Crystal City, Virginia, to discuss innovative solutions for current and future surface warfare challenges.

Also looking toward the future, USS Anchorage (LPD 23) completed in January one of several test recovery operations of NASA’s Orion test article in 2018. The underway recovery tests are part of a U.S. government interagency effort to safely retrieve the Orion crew module, which is capable of carrying humans into deep space. With their main role of conducting amphibious operations, San Antonio-class ships — like USS Anchorage — have unique capabilities that make them an ideal partner to support NASA’s mission.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 21, 2018) Navy divers from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3 attach an inflatable ring to NASA’s Orion test vehicle to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Natalie M. Byers/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 21, 2018) Navy divers from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3 attach an inflatable ring to NASA’s Orion test vehicle to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Natalie M. Byers/Released)

 

Later in the month, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran visited the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) to get a firsthand look at surface warfare training. SWOS readies sea-bound warriors to serve on surface combatants as officers, enlisted engineers and enlisted navigation professionals to fulfill our mission to maintain global maritime superiority.

In February, the Department of the Navy submitted our long-range ship acquisition plan to Congress. The 30-Year Ship Acquisition Plan focused on meeting our baseline acquisition requirements needed to build the Navy the Nation needs and sustaining the domestic industrial base to meet that aim.

On Feb. 21, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) welcomed Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United States Pham Quang Vinh, Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy. During his first embark on an aircraft carrier, Vinh expressed his gratitude and appreciation for CVN-77’s crew and explained the importance and value of the two nations’ increasing cooperation and advancement of security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

NORFOLK (Feb. 21, 2018) Executive officer Capt. Chris Hill, left, shows Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United States Pham Quang Vinh a model of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hank Gettys/Released)
NORFOLK (Feb. 21, 2018) Executive officer Capt. Chris Hill, left, shows Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United States Pham Quang Vinh a model of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hank Gettys/Released)

 

Two days later, we joined allied and partner militaries for the 13th Pacific Partnership mission. The annual maritime operation helps improve disaster response preparedness, resiliency and capacity while enhancing partnerships with participating nations and civilian humanitarian organizations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

In March, the arrival of a detachment of F-35B Lightning II’s with Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1) marked increased Navy-Marine Corps sea-based capabilities in the Indo-Pacific. It was the first time the aircraft had deployed aboard a U.S. Navy ship and with a Marine expeditionary unit in the Indo-Pacific.

EAST CHINA SEA (March 5, 2018) An F-35B Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 touches down on the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Molina/Released)
EAST CHINA SEA (March 5, 2018) An F-35B Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 touches down on the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Molina/Released)

 

LHD-1 wasn’t the only ship to mark a first in March. USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) arrived in Da Nang, Vietnam, and became the first U.S. aircraft carrier to visit the country in more than 40 years. U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink described the visit as “an enormously significant milestone in our bilateral relations [with Vietnam]” that demonstrated “U.S. support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam.”

Also in March, Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018 began with the construction of temporary Ice Camp Skate and the arrival of two U.S. Navy fast-attack submarines and one U.K. Royal Navy submarine. The five-week biennial exercise allowed us to assess our operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic environment and continue to develop relationships with other services, allies and partner organizations.

BEAUFORT SEA (March 9, 2018) The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) surfaces in the Beaufort Sea during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Micheal H. Lee/Released)
BEAUFORT SEA (March 9, 2018) The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) surfaces in the Beaufort Sea during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Micheal H. Lee/Released)

 

On March 16, Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly released a memorandum that announced a significant restructuring of how the Secretary of the Navy staff is organized in order to accelerate the pace of change and improve enterprise alignment in the business operations of the department. “A more agile, accountable, and lethal force must be matched by business operations that reflect the same qualities,” said Modly. “We must build a business operations culture that employs faster access to accurate information, reduces overhead and bureaucracy, and streamlines process that impeded rapid decision making. This culture must demonstrate the relentless pursuit of operational improvements in order to stay ahead of our adversaries and make the best use of the resources we are provided by the American people.”

In April, Modly delivered the Navy League’s 2018 Sea-Air-Space Exposition keynote address in National Harbor, Maryland, where he spoke about the future of fleet design and the ways in which we’re working to achieve that architecture. During the expo, military and civilian leadership from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard exchanged ideas on subjects ranging from current and future worldwide operations to innovation in training, logistics, shipbuilding, and making the most of available technology.

On the same day as Modly’s remarks, the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group  (HST CSG) deployed from Naval Station Norfolk. For Truman, the deployment followed more than eight months of intense training and preparation that began when the ship completed its on-time periodic incremental availability in July 2017, and culminated in its Composite Training Unit Exercise in March, which certified the ship for deployment.

NORFOLK (April 11, 2018) The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) departs Naval Station Norfolk as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Danny Ray Nunez Jr./Released)
NORFOLK (April 11, 2018) The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) departs Naval Station Norfolk as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Danny Ray Nunez Jr./Released)

 

On April 14, U.S., French and British forces struck targets in Syria as punishment for Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people. The precision strikes against the chemical weapons capabilities were designed to stop Assad from using the banned weapons.

In May, the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group commenced air operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Operating from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1’s strike fighter squadrons conducted sorties over Syria, demonstrating the strike group’s ability to support two different geographic combatant commanders simultaneously.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (May 3, 2018) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Red Rippers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kaysee Lohmann/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (May 3, 2018) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Red Rippers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kaysee Lohmann/Released)

 

During a change of command ceremony in Norfolk on May 4, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson announced the establishment of U.S. 2nd Fleet. “We’re back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex,” said Richardson. “That’s why today, we’re standing up Second Fleet to address these changes, particularly in the North Atlantic.”

On May 7, the White House announced President Donald J. Trump would award the Medal of Honor to Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL), Retired, Britt Slabinski for his heroic actions in March 2002 during the Battle of Takur Ghar while serving in Afghanistan. At the time, Slabinski was only the 12th living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery displayed in Afghanistan. Slabinski received the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony May 24; he was inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes on the following day.

WASHINGTON (May 24, 2018) President Donald J. Trump presents the Medal of Honor to retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski during a ceremony at the White House. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Raymond D. Diaz III/Released)
WASHINGTON (May 24, 2018) President Donald J. Trump presents the Medal of Honor to retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski during a ceremony at the White House. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Raymond D. Diaz III/Released)

 

In the Atlantic Ocean, a historic first happened in naval aviation. Exercise Chesapeake 2018 was the first-ever training to fully integrate a French Navy air wing into a single, unified carrier air wing, Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8). Richardson joined his counterpart, Chief of Staff of the French Navy Adm. Christophe Prazuck, aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) May 14 to observe the high-end combined training, which was another demonstration of our implementation of the National Defense Strategy and its direction to strengthen alliances and deepen collaboration to become a more lethal force.

Increasing lethality was also on display as USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) conducted a live-fire missile exercise off the coast of Virginia, which marked the completion of the first phase of the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) Developmental Testing for the LCS Mission Modules program. It was the first integrated firing of the SSMM from an LCS. Additionally, this was the second at-sea launch of SSMM missiles from an LCS. SSMM leverages the U.S. Army’s Longbow Hellfire Missile in a vertical launch capability to counter small boat threats.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 11, 2018) The Freedom variant littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) fires an AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile during a live-fire missile exercise off the coast of Virginia. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 11, 2018) The Freedom variant littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) fires an AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile during a live-fire missile exercise off the coast of Virginia. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

 

In June, naval ships, aircraft and personnel from India, Japan and the United States participated in exercise Malabar off the coast of Guam; it was the first time the exercise had been conducted there, and was the latest in a continuing series of exercises that have grown in scope and complexity over the years to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security.

Meanwhile, Carrier Air Wing One (CVW) 1, embarked aboard CVN-75, completed its participation in the annual multinational exercise Baltic Operations. CVW-1 operations over the Baltic involved overflight of Europe from the Adriatic Sea and represented the first instance that U.S. carrier aircraft participated in the exercise. F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighter aircraft and E/A-18 Growler electronic attack aircraft joined aircraft from Poland, Spain and U.S. Air Forces Europe to demonstrate the ability to perform combined air operations while communicating and coordinating effectively.

Following its participation in BALTOPS, the HST Carrier Strike Group returned to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to resume flight operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, demonstrating the flexibility and capabilities of a carrier strike group.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jun 10, 2018) Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Jason Maginess inspects ordnance prior to launch of an F/A-18 Super Hornet aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rebekah A. Watkins/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jun 10, 2018) Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Jason Maginess inspects ordnance prior to launch of an F/A-18 Super Hornet aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rebekah A. Watkins/Released)

 

Also in June, the 13th annual Pacific Partnership mission concluded after completing mission stops in Japan and throughout South and Southeast Asia. The annual multilateral, multi-service mission featured partner nation counterparts working together in eight Indo-Pacific nations to improve disaster response preparedness and enhance relationships across the region.

Fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships continued in June with the start of the world’s largest international maritime exercise, the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. With the theme of “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” RIMPAC’s participating nations and forces exercised a wide range of capabilities and demonstrated the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities ranged from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program included gunnery, missile, anti-submarine, and air defense exercises, as well as amphibious, counter-piracy, mine clearance, explosive ordnance disposal, diving, and salvage operations.

Navy firsts continued with our first East Coast Amphibious Ready Group Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise, which was completed by USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). The SWATT, which was led by mentors and warfare tactics instructors from Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, provided at-sea mentoring to build more capable and tactically proficient surface forces.

Before the end of the month, USS Coronado (LCS 4) and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX-1) completed the first comprehensive Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) for the MQ-8C Fire Scout. The operations, an important milestone for the LCS and Fire Scout programs, demonstrated cohesion between the surface and aviation platforms. The results informed decision-makers on how best to integrate our newest unmanned helicopter with littoral combat ships and other platforms.

In July, aircraft from Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1), embarked aboard USS Harry S. Truman, conducted integrated flight operations with French naval aviation aircraft as part of French Air Defense week. The exercise increased readiness and demonstrated the ability to operate together by practicing air warfare and strike techniques, including dissimilar air combat training.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 3, 2018) A French Dassault Rafale M Fighter prepares to touch down on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gitte Schirrmacher/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 3, 2018) A French Dassault Rafale M Fighter prepares to touch down on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gitte Schirrmacher/Released)

 

On July 23, a revision to the requirements for qualification and designation as a surface warfare officer (SWO) was announced. Designators 116X and lateral transfers into the SWO community became the only designators eligible to pursue SWO qualification. This change aligned with new career path revisions, which focused on increased experience on ships, including increased bridge watchstanding opportunities for SWOs.

In August, the Navy and Coast Guard completed a trilateral exercise with Iraqi navy and Kuwaiti navy partners in the Northern Arabian Gulf. The exercise, which focused on improving collective proficiency in maritime security tactics between the three nations and ensuring the freedom of navigation throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, included live fire gunnery exercises, visit, board, search and seizure team training, maritime infrastructure protection drills, search-and-rescue training, and high-value unit protection operations.

The official crest for U.S. 2nd Fleet (C2F). (U.S. Navy graphic illustration/Released)
The official crest for U.S. 2nd Fleet (C2F). (U.S. Navy graphic illustration/Released)

Prior to its establishment ceremony on Aug. 24, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet revealed Aug. 22 its new crest and motto, which represents the fleet’s mission. The symbolism is rich and reflective of the purpose of C2F.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson presided over the establishment ceremony as Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis assumed command aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). U.S. 2nd Fleet exercises operational and administrative authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and the North Atlantic. Additionally, it plans and conducts maritime, joint and combined operations as well as trains and recommends certification of combat ready naval forces for maritime employment and operations around the globe. U.S. 2nd Fleet falls under operational control of U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

On Aug. 25, the Navy joined the nation in mourning the death of Senator and Navy veteran John S. McCain III who died on that day at age 81. Sen. McCain served as a naval aviator during the Vietnam War. As a prisoner of war, he endured more than five years of captivity, representing America honorably and selflessly. After retiring from the Navy, he continued national service in Congress, first as a representative and later as a senator from Arizona.

Two days later, the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group departed from Naval Station Norfolk, completing its working port visit. The strike group had deployed April 11 and returned to Norfolk July 21 for an extended port visit. During this working port visit, CVN-75 and strike group assets conducted routine maintenance on ships, aircraft and equipment; conducted advanced training; and maintained warfighting certifications.

On Aug. 29, Richardson selected Fleet Master Chief Russell Smith to be our 15th MCPON, following a comprehensive review of potential candidates. Smith was pinned to MCPON, Aug. 31, during USS Constitution’s underway; it marked the first time a MCPON was pinned aboard Constitution.

On the same day, USS Harry S. Truman and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) began dual-carrier sustainment and qualification operations in the western Atlantic Ocean, enhancing combat readiness and interoperability as well as demonstrating the inherent flexibility and scalability of carrier strike groups.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 30, 2018) Aircraft from the Freedom Fighters of Carrier Air Wing 7 fly in formation above the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) from Destroyer Squadron 2; the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) from Destroyer Squadron 28; and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Brooks/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 30, 2018) Aircraft from the Freedom Fighters of Carrier Air Wing 7 fly in formation above the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) from Destroyer Squadron 2; the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) from Destroyer Squadron 28; and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Brooks/Released)

 

Before the end of the month, the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Escort Flotilla 4 Battle Group participated in bilateral training in the South China Sea, furthering the interoperability we have been building for years with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

In September, we continued strengthening partnerships. Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, visited the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Navy, Vice-Admiral Ahmed Khaled in Alexandria, Egypt, Sept. 7-8.

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Sept. 7, 2018) Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, right, commander of U.S. 6th Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, greets Adm. Ahmad Khaled, commander in chief of the Egyptian Navy, during a reception aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Sept. 7, 2018) Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, right, commander of U.S. 6th Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, greets Adm. Ahmad Khaled, commander in chief of the Egyptian Navy, during a reception aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

 

From Sept. 10-12, the HST Carrier Strike Group and the Royal Canadian Navy conducted bilateral operations in the North Atlantic.

Also, U.S. Navy and coalition assets led numerous exercises as part of the greater U.S. 5th Fleet Theater Counter Mine and Maritime Security Exercise.

USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group began operations in U.S. 6th Fleet, continuing to support NATO allies, European and African partner nations, coalition partners, and U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.

In Newport, Rhode Island, military leaders from more than 100 nations discussed cooperative strategies for enhancing global security, order and prosperity at the chief of naval operations’ 23rd International Seapower Symposium (ISS) held at U.S. Naval War College. ISS, the world’s premier naval gathering, brought together heads of services to bolster maritime security by discussing common challenges and shared opportunities.

In Millington, Tennessee, Navy Personnel Command opened our MyNavy Career Center contact center Sept. 24, delivering on a promise to provide Sailor-focused customer service and around-the-clock assistance.

Embarked aboard USS Essex (LHD 2), the Marine Corps F-35B conducted its first combat strike in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan, Sept. 27. During this mission, the F-35B conducted an air strike in support of ground clearance operations; the strike was deemed successful by the ground force commander.

In October, the Ready, Relevant, Learning Executive Steering Committee held its initial meeting. RRL is one of three pillars for Sailor 2025, which is the Navy’s program to more effectively recruit, develop, manage, reward and retain the forces of tomorrow. The initiative’s goal is to provide Sailors the right training at the right time and in the right way.

On Oct. 2, USS Ashland (LSD 48) became our first ship in the 7th Fleet to conduct amphibious operations with the newly established Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) troops and their equipment. The ARDB, formed on March 27, brings new capability to the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF) by combining ground forces, aviation support and logistical capabilities into a cohesive unit capable of operating from the sea and reacting to a variety of scenarios, including self-defense and humanitarian assistance-disaster relief.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 3, 2018) This drain strainer orifice system, a prototype, is a steam system component that permits drainage and removal of water from a steam line while in use. A version of this is approved as the first metal part created by additive manufacturing for shipboard installation. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Newport News Shipbuilding by Ricky Thompson/Released)
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 3, 2018) This drain strainer orifice system, a prototype, is a steam system component that permits drainage and removal of water from a steam line while in use. A version of this is approved as the first metal part created by additive manufacturing for shipboard installation. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Newport News Shipbuilding by Ricky Thompson/Released)

On Oct. 11, Naval Sea Systems Command announced the approval of the first metal part created by additive manufacturing for shipboard installation. A prototype drain strainer orifice (DSO) assembly was anticipated to be installed on USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in Fiscal Year 2019 for a one-year test and evaluation trial. The DSO assembly is a steam system component that permits drainage/removal of water from a steam line while in use.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, a U.S. aircraft carrier entered the Arctic Circle Oct. 19 to conduct operations in the Norwegian Sea. Accompanied by select ships from Carrier Strike Group Eight (CSG-8), USS Harry S. Truman traveled north to demonstrate the flexibility and toughness of U.S. naval forces through high-end warfare training with regional allies and partners. USS America (CV 66) was the last ship to operate in the area, participating in NATO exercise North Star in September 1991.

On Oct. 25, USS Harry S. Truman and select ships from Carrier Strike Group Eight (CSG-8) joined U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps service members for the largest NATO exercise since 2015 – Trident Juncture 2018. Along with fostering stronger bonds among allies and partners, Trident Juncture ensured NATO forces are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat to global security and prosperity.

Five days later, Richardson visited Indonesia, reaffirming our commitment to our strategic partnership with the country. He highlighted the importance of the U.S. and Indonesian relationship at @america, a U.S. Embassy cultural center that helps Indonesians learn more about the U.S. and share ideas about issues that affect both nations.

Also in October, the Department of the Navy released our business operations plan, establishing the framework for the department’s continuing business reform agenda. Through greater accountability, more agile processes and improved management of business operations, the plan will enable greater efficiencies that allow the department to reallocate resources from business operations to readiness and recapitalize our naval forces for the future.

In November, Richardson visited Canberra, Australia, Nov. 1, to reinforce our commitment to U.S.-Australia alliance and explore ways to expand security cooperation.

Then, from Nov. 2 to 3, Richardson visited New Zealand to meet with its naval leadership to discuss deepening the U.S.-New Zealand naval partnership and recognize New Zealand’s role as a leader in regional security.

On Nov. 8, the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group finished exercise Keen Sword 2019 with units from the U.S. Air Force, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. During the exercise, the strike group conducted several events over 13 days with the JMSDF, including logistics exchanges, replenishments-at-sea, senior leadership engagements, air-defense exercises, anti-submarine warfare exercises, and a three day war-at-sea exercise.

PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 8, 2018) The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, are underway in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 8, 2018) The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, are underway in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Released)

 

Also in November, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group conducted high-end dual carrier operations in the Philippine Sea, demonstrating our unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.

On Nov. 11, two of the world’s most technologically sophisticated warships, the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) and the British Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), conducted a photo exercise with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) and RFA Tidespring (A136), a Tide-class replenishment tanker of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). The rendezvous was a reminder of the long alliance between two maritime nations.

Ten days later, USS Ronald Reagan, USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Curtis D. Wilbur (DDG 54) anchored in Hong Kong Harbor. Rear Adm. Karl O. Thomas, commander, Carrier Strike Group 5, said “the abundant growth and prosperity that surrounds us in Hong Kong is what the United States Seventh Fleet seeks to preserve for all nations in this important region.”

The Navy’s Surface Fleet became more capable, ready and lethal in November as surface combatants from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group completed our first East Coast Carrier Strike Group Cruiser-Destroyer Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training exercise. Rear Adm. John F. G. Wade, commander of Carrier Strike Group 12, described it “as a milestone event not only for the Surface Fleet, but also for the Navy as a whole as we continue to focus on the development of tactical proficiency and lethality which is of strategic value and importance in this era of great power competition.”

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 9, 2018) Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Downing, right, an anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare tactics instructor, assigned to Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, mentors Lt. Cmdr. Kris Yost, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf’s (CG 55) chief engineer, during a fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft training event in the ship’s combat information center as part of a Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse Marquez Magallanes/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 9, 2018) Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Downing, right, an anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare tactics instructor, assigned to Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, mentors Lt. Cmdr. Kris Yost, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf’s (CG 55) chief engineer, during a fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft training event in the ship’s combat information center as part of a Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse Marquez Magallanes/Released)

 

On Nov. 27, we announced USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) achieved a major milestone as it launched from dry dock and moored pierside at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka. It was an important step in the ongoing effort to repair and restore one of our most capable platforms, reflecting nearly a year’s worth of wide-reaching and successful coordination across multiple organizations.

On Nov. 30, we joined the nation in mourning the loss of our shipmate and former President George H.W. Bush. Among America’s few seafaring presidents, he passed away at his Houston, Texas, home at the age of 94. Bush enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve June 13, 1942, on his 18th birthday after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He had preflight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and became one of the youngest naval aviators. He was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve June 9, 1943, days before his 19th birthday.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 2, 2018) Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) honor the ship's namesake, former President George H. W. Bush, by lighting Bush's initials and presidential number. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 2, 2018) Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) honor the ship’s namesake, former President George H. W. Bush, by lighting Bush’s initials and presidential number. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

 

In December, following six days of national mourning, Bush was laid to rest in College Station, Texas, alongside his wife of 72-years, former First Lady Barbara Bush and their late daughter, Robin.

On Dec. 11, the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group’s dynamic force employment drew to a close, departing European waters. The CSG’s deployment began in April and became highly unpredictable when the carrier and a few of its strike group ships remained in the Mediterranean Sea instead of transiting to the Middle East as expected, and then returned to its homeport in Norfolk in July after completing three months of combat operations, and cooperative exercises and engagements with NATO allies and partners in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic.

The next day, the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 completed their carrier qualifications aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), which was the final required component for Commander, Joint Strike Fighter Wing to issue the squadron its safe-for-flight operations certification. This marked a major milestone for the U.S. Navy toward declaring Initial Operating Capability in 2019. The safe-for-flight operations certification was the final step for VFA-147’s transition from the F/A-18E Super Hornet to the F-35C Lightning II. This process ensures a squadron is manned with qualified personnel to implement maintenance and safety programs in support of fleet operations. All transitioning squadrons are required to complete this certification prior to independently conducting flight operations.

On the same day, the secretaries of the Navy, Army and Air Force announced a conference at the U.S. Naval Academy in April 2019 on the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault at America’s colleges and universities. The service secretaries will open the discussion to leaders and subject matter experts who are actively working to address this critical issue. Experts on the topic of sexual harassment and sexual assault from America’s leading institutions of higher learning and government officials will be invited.

Also on Dec. 12, Modly completed a three-day partnership-building visit to Norway, where he met with senior military and civilian officials to discuss security and stability issues and efforts along with touring some of the Norwegian assets and facilities.

Later in December, the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, the USS Essex Amphibious Ready Group, and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit completed integrated operations in the Arabian Sea. CVN-74 and LHD-2 supported Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, providing armed support to deny terror safe haven in Afghanistan and enable the Afghan Security Forces to set conditions for a political solution.

ARABIAN SEA (Dec. 14, 2018) An MV-22 Osprey, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 (Reinforced) from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), prepares to land on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor D. Loessin/Released)
ARABIAN SEA (Dec. 14, 2018) An MV-22 Osprey, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 (Reinforced) from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), prepares to land on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor D. Loessin/Released)

 

On Dec. 14, we held a ceremony at Naval Base Coronado to commemorate the establishment of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30, our first CMV-22B squadron. VRM-30 was established to begin our transition from the C-2A Greyhound, which has provided logistics support to aircraft carriers for four decades, to the CMV-22B, which has an increased operational range, greater cargo capacity, faster cargo loading/unloading, increased survivability and enhanced beyond-line-of-sight communications compared to the C-2A.

Two days later, nearly 6,500 Sailors from the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group returned to Naval Station Norfolk, completing an eight-month deployment. The strike group deployed April 11 as part of the ongoing rotation of forward deployed forces to support maritime security operations. Several strike group units returned to Norfolk in July 21 for a working port visit until Aug. 28 when they departed to continue their deployment. The strike group’s ships and aircraft conducted a variety of missions, including forward naval presence, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation. The strike group also participated in numerous bi-lateral and multi-lateral engagements, including Lightning Handshake 2018, Baltic Operations 2018 and Trident Juncture 2018; as well as operations alongside Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Egypt and Norway.

NORFOLK, Va. (Dec. 16, 2018) Family and friends wait on the pier for Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) to return to Naval Station Norfolk (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Flynn/Released)
NORFOLK, Va. (Dec. 16, 2018) Family and friends wait on the pier for Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) to return to Naval Station Norfolk (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Flynn/Released)

 

On Dec. 17, Richardson released A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority, Version 2.0, which “sets a framework by which the Navy will continue to prepare, fight, and win,” said Richardson.

On Dec. 18, USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) pulled into Naval Station Norfolk, completing its deployment to South and Central America in support of Enduring Promise. Comfort’s embarked medical team worked with health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, providing care both aboard the ship and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems caused partially by an increase in cross-border migrants. The deployment reflected the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity with the Americas.

On Dec. 25, the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. More than 4,500 Sailors and Marines are prepared to conduct a variety of missions, including maritime security operations, crisis response and theater security cooperation.

Finally, our look back at 2018 wouldn’t be complete without the ships that joined our fleet in 2018, both increasing our lethality and expanding our capacity for the Navy the Nation needs.

2018 Commissionings

As 2018 draws to a close, Naval History & Heritage Command looks back at this year's #USNavy commissionings as we continue to increase our lethality and expand our capacity, supporting the Navy the Nation needs.

Posted by U.S. Navy on Wednesday, December 26, 2018

 

As we did in 2018, we will continue in 2019 to build a more lethal force, strengthen our alliances and attract new partners, and reform for greater performance and affordability to remain the most effective global maneuver force in the world.

Be sure to stay up-to-date in 2019 by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, and here on the Navy Live blog as well as subscribing to Navy News Service updates.

USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) Commissioning Ceremony

Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of the December 1 commissioning of the Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Live video from Flynn Cruiseport in Boston is scheduled to begin 10 a.m. (EST).

Lt. j.g. Thomas Hudner is pictured wearing the Medal of Honor, Nov. 29, 1951. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
Lt. j.g. Thomas Hudner is pictured wearing the Medal of Honor, Nov. 29, 1951. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The future USS Thomas Hudner honors naval aviator and Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Thomas J. Hudner Jr. President Harry S. Truman awarded the Medal of Honor to Hudner April 13, 1951, who displayed “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” for attempting to save the life of his squadron mate, Ens. Jesse L. Brown, in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. Although Brown perished in the incident, Hudner survived the war and retired from the Navy after 26 years of service. He passed away Nov. 13, 2017, at the age of 93 and was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, April 4, 2018. This will be the first U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Thomas Hudner.

“The commissioning of USS Thomas Hudner continues a spirit of faithful service that Thomas Hudner embodied throughout his life, and his legacy will live on in those who serve aboard this ship.”
– Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. The ship’s sponsors are Georgea Hudner, widow of Capt. Thomas Hudner, and Barbara Miller, wife of retired Vice Adm. Michael Miller, former superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. In a time-honored Navy tradition, they will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

BATH, Maine (March 28, 2018) The future guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) commences builder's trials. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
BATH, Maine (March 28, 2018) The future guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG Theme Options116) commences builder’s trials. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

 

The future USS Thomas Hudner will be the 66th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The ship will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Thomas Hudner will be capable of engaging in air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare, including Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities.

USS Thomas Hudner will be homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #USSThomasHudner.

SECNAV Spencer’s 2018 Veterans Day Message

By Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer

One hundred years ago, the guns fell silent across Europe on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, of 1918. The armistice, which ended World War One, finally ended the most horrific warfare the world had ever seen and the world began its slow march to recovery that continues to this day.

We remember this war on November 11th and we remember the toll it took on nations across Europe and in every corner of the globe, but here in the United States we also use this day as an opportunity to remember those brave young Americans who left their homes and families to fight as the popular song went “Over There” they laid their lives on the line to people they’d never ever seen in far-off countries they’d never been and they made the critical difference, which helped bring the fighting to a close.

This was not the first time American troops had gone overseas to the aid of another nation nor would it be the last.

Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, it was American Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen who stepped forward to defend the freedom in World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other challenges around the globe. And so on November 11th, we honor them as well.

The 11th day of the 11th month marks not just the anniversary of one war where American troops made the difference, but a day to remember all of the generations of warriors that came before them and after we know this is Veterans Day.

And this Veterans Day, I hope you’ll join me in thanking someone who served whether mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, neighbor or friend, and also remember those who still keep the watch and stand guard for freedom on this very day. Take a moment not only to thank them, but ask them to share with you why they chose to defend global safety and security.

We owe them a debt that can never fully be repaid, but which always must be remembered.

SECNAV Spencer’s 243rd Marine Corps Birthday Message

By Richard V. Spencer
Secretary of the Navy

To our Marines, civilians, families, and friends:

For 243 years, United States Marines have set the standard for military excellence, ready to respond at any time, in any place, whenever there is a need.

One hundred years ago, the enemy called them the Devil Dogs for the way they turned the tide at Belleau Wood. Seventy-five years ago, the shores and jungles of Tarawa shook with the determined charge of United States Marines. And fifty years ago, Marines like Gunnery Sergeant John Canley imposed order on the chaotic urban battlefield of Hue.

WASHINGTON (Oct. 18, 2018) Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley, the 300th Marine Medal of Honor recipient, gives closing remarks at the Pentagon. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam, Canley, the company gunnery sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, took command of the company, led multiple attacks against enemy-fortified positions, rushed across fire-swept terrain despite his own wounds, and carried wounded Marines into Hue City, including his commanding officer, in order to relieve friendly forces who were surrounded. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daisha R. Johnson/Released)
WASHINGTON (Oct. 18, 2018) Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley, the 300th Marine Medal of Honor recipient, gives closing remarks at the Pentagon. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam, Canley, the company gunnery sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, took command of the company, led multiple attacks against enemy-fortified positions, rushed across fire-swept terrain despite his own wounds, and carried wounded Marines into Hue City, including his commanding officer, in order to relieve friendly forces who were surrounded. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daisha R. Johnson/Released)

It was my honor to meet now Sergeant Major Canley (retired) and to add his name to the Hall of Valor following his receipt of the Congressional Medal of Honor. It was a reminder of the service and sacrifice of the unbroken line of patriots, from its beginning in the earliest days of the revolution, through the Marines it was my honor to serve alongside, to the warriors who stand watch throughout the globe today.

Polly and I are forever grateful for all that you, your families, and your loved ones do for our nation. Because of your hard work and dedication, the foundation for restoring readiness and increasing lethality has been set. But as we enter our 244th year of service, we must now build on that foundation with a committed sense of urgency. We are accountable for how and where we invest our time and our resources, and we must understand the readiness and lethality we gain from those investments.

Solve the problems in front of you. Send solutions up the chain, and empower those you command to do the same. Ask yourselves and each other how can we accomplish our mission better, faster, and more efficiently. With your help, I have no doubt we will leverage every resource, leading practice, and efficiency we can find with the professionalism, integrity, and accountability the American people have come to expect from the Corps after 243 years of honor and valor.

Happy Birthday, Marines. God bless you, God bless the United States Marine Corps, and God bless the United States of America. Semper Fi.