Rustic American Flag Gunny's Job Board

Category Archives: Inside the Navy

Give Something Away Day

July 15 “Give Something Away” Day is about everyone that
cares about anyone or anything to give away something.

It’s from the U.S. Navy core values to give back.

Below are just a few recent examples of how we’ve given back to this world.

Let’s also remember the hospital ships USNS Mercy’s and USNS Comfort’s 2020 COVID-19 deployment as they’ve supported the communities in need.

What are you doing to GIVE today?

NEX Customers Support Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (July 7, 2020)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) — Twice a year, NEX customers are given the opportunity to donate to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) by purchasing a $5 benefit ticket. The results of this year’s spring campaign showed NEX customers donated nearly $192,000 to support NMCRS. Read more on

NEX Bahrain presented a check to Naval Support Activity Bahrain’s Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, representing the money NEX customers donated during the NEX/Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society spring campaign. (U.S. Navy photo by NEXCOM Public Affairs/Released)

VAW-124 Aviators Teaming with U.S. Coast Guard to Safeguard Mariners (July 2, 2020)

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — Naval aviators assigned to Airborne Command & Control Squadron (VAW) 124 aboard Naval Station Norfolk assist the U.S. Coast Guard to respond to a potential mariner in distress in the waters off the Atlantic Ocean. Read more on

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Oct. 11, 2018) An E-2C Hawkeye waits on the Naval Air Station Jacksonville flight line Oct. 11, 2018, to possibly assist with coordinating relief efforts in the Florida Panhandle region in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. (U.S. Navy photo by Reggie Jarrett/ Released)

USS Kidd Renders Assistance at Sea (July 1, 2020)

EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) — The Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) assists a fishing vessel in distress while in the U.S. Fourth Fleet area of operations. Read more on

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 30, 2020) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) tows a distressed fishing vessel, after the vessel experienced engine problems leaving it unable to operate at sea. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/Released)

NMCB-5 Completes 100th U.S. Navy Seabee Project in Timor-Leste (June 26, 2020)

DILI, Timor-Leste (NNS) — U.S. Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5’s Detail Timor-Leste conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 100th Seabee project in Timor-Leste, a two-room education facility at the Ensino Basico Central Fatumeta Pre-Secondary School. Read more on

DILI, Timor-Leste (June 3, 2020) Utilitiesman Constructionman Mario Moreno (left) and Construction Electrician Constructionman Brandon Siciliano, with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5’s Detail Timor-Leste, ensure an electrical panel is level prior to securing it to the exterior wall at Fatumeta’s school. (U.S. Navy photo by Builder 3rd Class Sierra Hall/Released)

NAVFAC EXWC Becomes Navy’s Newest SMART Facility Offering Scholarships for Students (June 24, 2020)

PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) — Naval Facilities (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) is honored to become the newest science, mathematics and research for transformation (SMART) sponsored facility, offering scholarships to academics currently studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Read more on

Norfolk-Based Sailor Saves Lives during Evening Run (June 22, 2020)

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — An evening run turned into a lifesaving event June 9, thanks to Lt. John Miller, assigned to Navy Warfare Development Command, Naval Station Norfolk. Read more on

NORFOLK, Va. — Lt. John Miller is credited with saving two lives while on an evening run near his residence. He is assigned to Navy Warfare Development Command, Naval Station Norfolk. (U.S. Navy photos by Ian Delossantos, NWDC/Released)

Rota Rocks: Spreading Smiles throughout the Community (June 18, 2020)

NAVAL STATION ROTA, SPAIN (NNS) — Similar to people around the world, 2020 has been a challenging year for personnel stationed at Naval Station Rota. The community, both on-base and off-base, spent six-plus weeks inside their homes during Spain’s State of Alarm and the subsequent de-escalation has been a gradual return to the “new normal.” Read more on

Lindsey Smelser, the driving force behind Rota Rocks group, poses for a photo with her four children in base housing, June 2, 2020. Smelser created the group to bring smiles to participants and make the daily walks fun for children during Spain’s de-escalation.
Rocks lined up by Lindsey Smelser’s children who had painted them to hide as part of Rota Rocks project.

USS Halsey Assists Distressed Mariner (June 17, 2020)

EASTERN PACIFIC (NNS) — The Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) assisted a fishing vessel in distress while operating in the U.S. Fourth Fleet area of operations June 16. Read more on

Coronavirus Defense: Navy Develops 3D-Printed Tactical Masks for U.S. Forces Korea (June 17, 2020)

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) — The coronavirus pandemic has caused a global shortage of surgical face masks and other personal protective equipment, including for warfighters stationed at U.S. Forces Korea. Read more on

CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea — Soldiers assigned to 4-2 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry ROK/US Combined Division hold community-use masks created by their unit’s 3-D Printers on April 22. (U.S Army photo by KCpl. Hanmin Yun. 2ID/RUCD Public Affairs)

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 Rescues Hikers Near Pagat Caves (June 16, 2020)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (NNS) — The Guam-based “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 responded to a search and rescue (SAR) request from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam for three missing hikers, June 14. Read more on

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Veteran Employee Readiness Group Delivers U.S. Flag Collection Honoring Departed Veterans to Local Funeral Home (June 15, 2020)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) — A tradition four years in the making, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Veteran Employee Readiness Group once again answered the call honoring veterans of the community with a donation of 113 worn United States flags to Sturtevant Funeral Home Jun. 12. Read more on

Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Veteran Employee Readiness Group (VET-ERG) presented 113 U.S. Flags to Sturtevant Funeral Home June 12 in honor of Flag Day. The flags were donated from the workforce and from within the community to be part of Sturtevant’s Retire the Flag Program. From Left to Right: VET-ERG Member Ricky Burroughs, VET-ERG Founding Member Jonathan Echols, Sturtevant Funeral Home Representative Robie Gardner, Shipyard Commander Capt. Kai Torkelson, Command Master Chief Gene Garland, VET-ERG President Nicholas Boyle, and Retired/VET-ERG Founding Member Rick Nelson.

Key West SAR Team Performed Two Rescues, Assisting Three Civilians (June 15, 2020)

KEY WEST, Fla. (NNS) — Sailors assigned to Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West provided quick-action search and rescue (SAR) during two separate events on June 1. Read more on

Training Support Center Great Lakes Holds Unique Pizza Party (June 12, 2020)

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) — Staff at Training Support Center
(TSC) Great Lakes participated in a pizza party June 12. TSC Petty Officer
Association (POA), Chief Petty Officer Association (CPOA) along with TSC Great
Lakes’ Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions student organization
spent all morning lifting the morale of command students by delivering 300
pizzas to the barracks that they live.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (June 12, 2020) Training Support Center (TSC) Great Lakes staff members deliver pizzas to USS Franklin barracks June 12. Students in all TSC barracks were treated with the delivery of 300 pizzas thanks to the Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers association along with CSADD. (U.S. Navy photo by Brian Walsh/Released)

Eye on Innovation: NNSY Personnel Help Local Medical Facilities in Fight against COVID-19 (June 10, 2020)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and medical professionals work around the clock to care for those affected, there has been a need for equipment and a call-to-action for those willing to assist. Read more on

Code 2330 Nuclear Engineer David Shamblin used his personal 3-D printer to print personal protective equipment that was donated to Sentara Obici Hospital in Suffolk, Virginia.

Health Workers in Uniform: Lessons Learned

By Cmdr. Michael Kaplan, MD
Director of Medical Services

Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida

While USS Kidd (DDG 100) was deployed to the U.S. Fourth Fleet Area of Responsibility, a Sailor began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms April 20, a month after the ship’s last port call.

SOUTH CHINA SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Milham/Released)

In the weeks preceding this first positive case onboard, the crew of USS Kidd was already applying the Navy’s COVID-19 lessons learned. In early April, Sailors began to make and wear cloth face masks. They conducted a quarantine and isolation drill to determine how to segregate sick and healthy crew members on a ship with limited space.

In addition, the surface Navy and operational commanders sent COVID-19 mitigation guidance to the fleet and built contingencies in the event another deployed ship experienced an outbreak.

PACIFIC OCEAN (April 6, 2020) Gunner’s Mate Seaman Recruit Beverly Jordan, from Los Angeles, and Ship’s Serviceman 2nd Class Naomi Dunkley, from Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica, cut paracord to create straps for cloth masks aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandie Nuzzi/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (March 25, 2020) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Rhiley Bauer, from Ketchikan, Alaska examines Logistic Specialist 2nd Class Didier Dorsainville, from Orange, N.J., during a medical training drill aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100), March 25, 2020. Kidd is conducting routine operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandie Nuzzi/Released)

This is the story of the seven-member medical team from Naval Hospital Jacksonville who jumped into action to provide medical care to the crew of USS Kidd.

Be Prepared to Respond Quickly to a Possible Outbreak

On the morning of April 23, my boss, Capt. Matthew Case, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Jacksonville, came over to my office. He asked if we could send a team to a ship in distress, to do testing, isolating, and quarantining of Sailors who may be sick with COVID-19, as well as provide medical support until they can get back to a safe place.

I said, “Sure, when would they need to go?”

He said three hours.

We balanced who would be most qualified and available on such short notice without leaving the hospital in a bad place, since every department had been stretched because of COVID-19.
We built a team of seven medical providers: Along with me, an allergy/immunology and internal medicine physician by trade, were Lt. Cmdr. Clifton Wilcox, MD, a preventative medicine physician; the lab technician, Hospitalman Joseph Kim; two preventative medicine technicians, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Derrick Hudson and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jason Turgeon; and finally, the two hospital corpsmen, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Brian Krawsczyn and Hospitalman Jason Moyer.
Within hours of the call, we were packed up with all the equipment and tests. We didn’t have much time to think about what we were getting into, which is probably a good thing. Not too many people would want to run into a burning building. When we left we knew very little about how many Sailors were currently sick. 
We took a P-8 Poseidon from Jacksonville, a couple of miles down the street from our hospital. It flew us to El Salvador, and from there we took an SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter offshore.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 11, 2019) Lt. j.g. Alex Orlando, from Gainesville, Fla., a pilot assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 30, prepares to board a P8-A Poseidon aircraft at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Levingston Lewis/Released)

Test Everyone, Even if They Don’t Show Symptoms

SAN DIEGO (May 29, 2020) A Sailor assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) has his temperature checked as he returns to the ship as part of the Navy’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 outbreak. In order to be cleared to return to the ship, Sailors must have received two separate negative test results. Kidd arrived in San Diego April 28 to receive medical care for its Sailors and clean and disinfect the ship following a COVID-19 outbreak while underway. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Millar/Released)

That evening, we began testing the crew. Within 24 hours of arriving, we already had 25 percent of Kidd Sailors tested. Once we identified someone who was positive yet asymptomatic, we took the initiative to isolate them, so they couldn’t spread the infection. Our goal was to reduce further spread among potentially vulnerable Sailors who were not already infected.

Of all the Sailors who tested positive while still onboard, about 50 percent were asymptomatic.

Testing everyone took a lot time. One challenge was that our COVID-19 testing machine could only run one sample at a time. We could average about four to five tests per hour at best. Before the ship arrived in San Diego, we tested 100 percent of the crew, but this required that we run the tests 24 hours a day.

We still had days until we would arrive in San Diego and disembark the crew. Until then, we wanted to do everything we could to minimize the spread on the ship, to ensure Sailors could remain healthy and do their job.

I have to give kudos to Kidd’s independent duty corpsman, Chief Hospital Corpsman Clinton Barton, and his medical department. They did a great job identifying which Sailors were likely infected. Barton took it upon himself to isolate those not feeling well before we even got there.

Despite the limited space on a cramped destroyer, he did the right thing: isolating people he had concerns about. That allowed us to rapidly test those people first, make sure our equipment was working properly and try to mitigate the spread. As we continued to test other Sailors who did not have symptoms, we just increased the isolation ward he had created.

SAN DIEGO (May 11, 2020) Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 1st Class Jonathan Young, assigned to the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), left, and Navy Career Counselor 1st Class Daryl Bragg, assigned to the future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121), deliver food and drinks to Sailors assigned the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100). Kidd arrived in San Diego April 28 as part of the Navy’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the ship at sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona/Released)

Minimize Exposure to Avoid Being Infected

We implemented a number of steps to try to mitigate the spread, such as administering N-95 masks to the entire crew, increasing the cleaning frequency for common areas and making sure Sailors wash their hands or use sanitizer before going into common areas such as the galley.

SAN DIEGO (April 28, 2020) Chief Hospital Corpsman Michael Wade, assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Medical Readiness Division, organizes medical supplies while preparing for Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) as part of the Navy’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 outbreak on board the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona/ Released)

The location of the ship from where we started was outside the typical range of a helicopter. USS Makin Island (LHD 8) provided an additional resource, should we run into trouble and need to move Sailors off USS Kidd. Makin Island is capable of taking on types of aircraft that Kidd can’t, allowing for longer medevacs.

PACIFIC OCEAN (April 20, 2020) The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) conducts routine operations in the eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob D. Bergh/Released)

With an embarked fleet surgical team, Makin Island can also provide Role 2 level of care. Role 2 care includes basic resuscitation and stabilization and may include surgical capability, basic laboratory, limited x-ray, pharmacy, and temporary holding facilities.

While underway, 15 Sailors from Kidd were transported to Makin Island, where they received radiographic imaging and laboratory diagnostic services, as well as general medical services.

Test Everyone Again

Although we’d tested 100 percent of the crew already, we retested everyone in San Diego on arrival. Knowing who is positive is imperative, and the only way to know is through testing.

SAN DIEGO (May 18, 2020) Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Marisol Swenney, assigned to the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), center, and Senior Chief Fire Controlman Michael Miller of the future USS Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), confirm muster sheets during crew swap, the next phase of recovery for the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100). The Navy re-tested the crew for COVID-19 and transferred nearly 90 confirmed healthy Sailors from quarantine to the ship to replace the caretaker crew that went aboard after the ship arrived in San Diego April 28. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona/Released)

Learn From the Experiences of Others

We took advantage of some of the lessons from the outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). I think the combination of hard work, some good planningeven though we had extraordinarily little timeand just making sure we did everything we possibly could allowed it to work out.

NAVAL BASE GUAM (June 3, 2020) The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) flies a replica of Capt. Oliver Hazard Perry’s “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag as it arrives at Apra Harbor, June 3, 2020. Following an extended visit to Guam in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Theodore Roosevelt completed carrier qualifications June 2 and is in Guam for resupply during a deployment to the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi/Released)

Having multiple courses of action is always a good idea, because you never know if something is not going to work the way you expect. Fortunately, we had enough redundancy built into the system.

Also, bring the right equipment, and think outside the box. Then you just put it together.

Clearly, this mission demonstrates having a robust and well-rounded medical force ready is integral to ensuring our Navy is capable of meeting whatever challenges arise.

SAN DIEGO (April 28, 2020) The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) arrives in San Diego April 28 as part of the Navy’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 outbreak on board the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Millar/ Released)

NOTE: On returning to Jacksonville, Kaplan and his team retested negative, were quarantined for 14 days, and retested negative a third time before returning to work.

Marking the 109th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Excellence

By Rear Adm. John Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

U.S. Naval Aviation marks its early beginnings on May 8, 1911, with a purchase request made by Capt. Washington Irving Chambers for the Navy’s first aircraft. In the years leading up to World War I, pioneer aviators pushed the development of hydroaeroplanes and flying boats, turning them into effective tools for warfare and working to integrate Naval Aviation into the Navy’s mission to protect and control the seas.

The colorful history of Naval Aviation is filled with hundreds of unlikely milestones, linked through the years by imagination, innovation, and good fortune—all building on the hard-fought lessons and determination of daring pioneers.

Catapult launch of a C-2 flying boat from the USS North Carolina in Pensacola Bay. Courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command.

These lessons have
sharpened for me in the last week amid a whirlwind of change, as I find myself stepping
into the shoes of leaders who many of us have studied and tried to emulate
through the years.

Just one week ago
today, I assumed command of AIRLANT, when I relieved Rear Adm. Roy “Trigger”
Kelley as Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic in a small, but memorable ceremony
at AIRLANT headquarters on May 1. Talk about big shoes to fill: Trigger
superbly commanded AIRLANT for more than two years and is retiring after 36
years of Naval service.

So today, it’s most
fitting to step back and to commemorate a truly great day in our Naval Aviation
history: Our 109th birthday!

For starters, everyone
who knows Naval Aviation knows of the courage and exploits of Eugene Burton Ely,
who performed the first aircraft takeoff from the cruiser USS Birmingham anchored in the Chesapeake Bay
on November 14, 1910. The story goes he flew about three miles in less than
five minutes and set his plane down on a nearby beach. That pivotal takeoff
would lead to accomplishing the first carrier arrested landing on the cruiser
USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4) in San Francisco Bay just two months later on January 18, 1911.

But few may know the name of the officer who proved to be the driving force in formally establishing Naval Aviation: Capt. Washington Irving Chambers—the first to have oversight of the Navy’s Aviation program. In fact, it was Chambers who arranged for that first takeoff and arrested landing by aviation pioneer Ely! Talk about aviation innovation at its best!

At the time, Secretary of the Navy George von Lengerke Meyer selected Chambers to determine the feasibility of Naval Aviation for military uses by the U.S. Navy bestowed upon him the responsibility for developing aviation in the Bureau of Navigation. Chambers prepared and submitted the first requisition for a Triad A-1 aircraft, and that airplane was purchased on May 8, 1911, thus officially marking the birth of Naval Aviation.

A hand-picked group of
aviators assisted Chambers in creating this defining program and came to be known
as the Navy’s first designated aviators, a cadre from which all Naval aviators
have followed in their stead.

Some of these follow-on pioneers included the likes of Cmdr. Theodore Ellyson, who was the first of these Navy-designated aviators. Initially serving as a submariner, Ellyson was ordered to North Island, Calif., for instruction in aviation under Glenn Curtiss, the founder of the U.S. aircraft industry. While stationed in North Island, Ellyson earned his wings and served as an experimental test pilot for the budding Naval Aviation program.

Lieutenants T. Ellyson (left) and J.H. Towers (right) in the A-2, Navy Triad. Photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command.

Other pioneers who paved the way included Adm. John Towers, who fostered many organizational elements of Naval Aviation. Tower trained under the tutelage of Curtiss and Ellyson, and ultimately became the first aviator to reach the rank of admiral. During his distinguished career, Towers created the first official Naval Air Station and flying aviation unit at Greenbury Point, Maryland.

Still others, such as Lt.
Cmdr. Henry Mustin, distinguished themselves as pioneers. Mustin completed the
first catapult launch from the stern of the armored cruiser USS North Carolina (ACR-12) off the
coast of Pensacola, Florida. He was an outspoken proponent on the potential of
Naval Aviation and assisted in the design of seaplanes with his fellow naval
aviator, Kenneth Whiting. Every aviator who launches from a carrier today
follows in their hallowed footsteps and all of us recognize these pioneers
through the Air Stations that bear their names.

These aviators are just a handful of many who would define a century of innovation and triumph. The U.S. Navy has led a wild ride through the years, transitioning from sea planes launched from the back of warships to Super Hornets, propelled by twin turbofan engines, and finally to the cutting-edge stealth technology of our F-35. From the successes of our early aviators, we have defined an organization of Naval Aviation that has evolved as the Navy has matured in its mission of forward power projection.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 10, 2017) An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the “Rough Raiders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 approaches the flight deck for landing during flight operations aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Juan Cubano)

As Naval Aviation expanded, so did the role of the squadron. That expansion paved the way for squadron designations that identify the functions of aviation within the fleet. On July 17, 1920, the Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels prescribed a standard nomenclature for the types and classes of naval vessels and aircraft. It is from this that the letter “V” was first used to designate heavier-than-air aircraft. It is a designation still used in assigning carrier hull numbers.

On July 1, 1938, the term Air Group became official with the creation of Air Group Commander billets. Numerical designations of these Air Groups followed in 1942, with the first being Carrier Air Group Nine (CVG-9). These Carrier Air Groups became Carrier Air Wings in 1963. The unique culture of Naval Aviation has also matured alongside technology and organization. Our aviators continue to ride on that cutting edge of innovation and our nation continues to depend upon and to benefit from that evolution. 

PHILIPPINE SEA (May 4, 2020) Sailors brace, as an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Wolf Pack of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75 lands on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59). Russell is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Lynch)

Also, this month – on May 24 – the aviation industry will mark Aviation Maintenance Day. In the U.S. Navy, there is a long and proud history between aircraft air crew and ground crew. For instance, on Nov. 16, 1923, the Bureau of Aeronautics directed that all planes attached to vessels of the fleet were to be overhauled once every six months. The long linage of air crew and their ground crew were forever linked.

Navy Seaman Wolfgang Calero, left, and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Amber Ballantine perform maintenance on the wing of an EA-18G Growler in the hangar bay on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Pacific Ocean, July 11, 2016. Calero, an airman, and Ballantine, an aviation structural mechanic, are assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 136. Navy photo by Seaman Daniel P. Jackson Norgart

As the first CO of the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), I am watching with great pride the tremendous progress the ship has made in the last several months. She’s now more than six months into her 18-month Post Delivery Test and Trials (PDT&T) phase of operations, and the ship has attained flight deck certification and conducted more than 2,300 catapult launches and arrested landings using state-of-the-art flight deck technology.

NORFOLK (Feb. 3, 2020) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Alexis Lanier, from Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina, assigned to the air department aboard the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), folds the American flag as the ship gets underway. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zack Guth/Released)

Beyond earth’s orbit,
one of the aviators who embraced innovation and powered aviation to new heights
in the 1960s was Neil Armstrong. Before he walked on the moon as an astronaut,
Armstrong was a Naval Aviator. He is only one of more than a hundred Naval
aviators who have become astronauts—one in a line of great pilots, who continue
to proudly represent the nation as a U.S. Naval aviator.

As our U.S. Navy propelled further, we saw other pioneers advance in Naval Aviation, such as Naval Reservist Lt. Cmdr. Kathryn P. Hire, who was selected for assignment to Patrol Squadron (VP) 62 on May 6, 1983 and became the Navy’s first woman to be eligible to compete for assignments in aircraft engaged in combat missions. Seven years later, on July 12, 1990, Cmdr. Rosemary B. Mariner relieved Cmdr. Charles H. Smith as commanding officer of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ-34), becoming the first woman to command an operational aviation squadron.

Such are the individual triumphs and collective successes that have defined Naval Aviation through the years. These are triumphs we celebrate not only on May 8th, but every day of the year.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 22, 2020) An EA-18G Growler assigned to the Rooks of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137, left, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Fighting Checkmates of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211 launch from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in the Atlantic Ocean, April 22, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samuel Gruss/Released)

Finally, on this very day we mark the anniversary of Naval Aviation, is understanding the vital importance of our aircraft carriers. Our CVNs represent the most survivable air bases in the world. I expect that we work every opportunity to demonstrate the readiness, the lethality and the primary point that maneuver warfare is inherently naval. I believe that we are close to a point where CVNs will not be able to respond to our nation’s crises if force structure is further reduced or if we cannot increase the operational availability of these national assets. Operating these national assets are our people. For the people who have paved the way of Naval Aviation for the past 109 years, to those who stand the watch today, our people are in fact our greatest resource.  Our collective actions and deeds should reinforce that sentiment each and every day. 

Watch the video above to see how an F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 launches from the flight deck of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during flight operations March 24, 2020. (U.S. Navy video by Chief Mass Communication Specialist RJ Stratchko)

Answering the Call: Stateside Deployments of U.S. Navy Hospital Ships

By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, BUMED

On March 18, President Trump announced Navy
hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and Comfort (T-AH-20) were to be activated
and deployed stateside to serve as referral centers for non-COVID-19 patients. The
longest-serving hospital ships in continuous operation in our history, Mercy
and Comfort have long captured the public’s imagination due to their vast medical
capabilities as floating hospitals. But in the storied history of our hospital
ships, stateside deployments during global pandemics remain unchartered waters.

Hospital ships have played pivotal roles in naval
operations since the early days of our Republic. During the Barbary
, Commodore Edward Preble ordered that USS
Intrepid be used as a hospital ship. The reconfiguration of this former bomb-ketch
in 1803 marks the standard for almost all hospital ships used thereafter. To
date, only USS Relief (AH-1) was built from the keel up to serve as a hospital
ship. All other ships—including USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort—were converted from
other uses whether as super tankers, troop transports or passenger liners.

Hospital ward aboard USS Relief (AH-1) in the 1920s. (BUMED Archives, 09-5066-183)

Floating Ambulance

Whether it is the USS Red Rover transporting patients
up the Mississippi to Mound Island in the Civil War or USS Solace (AH-5) taking
wounded Marines from Iwo Jima to Guam hospital, ships have long served in the
capacity of ambulance ships.

During the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918,
Comfort (AH-3) and Mercy (AH-4) were each briefly stationed in New York where
they took care of overflow patients from the Third Naval District before
returning to the fleet and sailing across the Atlantic. Along with USS Solace
(AH-2), these ships ferried thousands of wounded and sick (including virulent
cases of the flu) back to stateside facilities.

USS Comfort (AH-3) serving as ambulance ship, ca. 1918 (BUMED Archives, 14-0058-003)

Station Hospitals

Throughout 19th and early 20th centuries, a
host of Navy ships was sent around the country to serve as “station hospitals”
for burgeoning naval bases.

From the 1850s until the early 1860s, supply
ships USS Warren and later USS Independence operated in this capacity at Mare
Island, California, until shore facilities were constructed. Decades later, the
Navy employed the former gunboat USS Nipsic at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, where
it served as a predecessor to Naval Hospital Bremerton (Puget Sound). And from
1953 until 1957, the hospital ship USS Haven (AH-12) served as a station
hospital at Long Beach, California, supporting medical activities in the
Eleventh Naval District.

USS Nipsic at the Puget Sound Naval Station, Bremerton, Washington, while serving as a station hospital. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph, NH 44601)

Humanitarian Measures

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations have long been the clarion call for hospital ships. In March 1933, following the devastating earthquake that hit Long Beach, USS Relief (AH-1) sent teams of physicians and Hospital Corpsmen ashore to assist in treatment of casualties. Some 66 years later, following the Loma Prieta Earthquake of October 1989, USNS Mercy—then moored in Oakland—provided food and shelter for hundreds of victims of the disaster.

Since 2001, USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy have
taken part in some 19 HADR missions, from Continuing Promise to Unified
Assistance, and treated over 550,000 patients. But of these missions, only two
were stateside deployments.

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Comfort deployed
to the Gulf Coast where she treated 1,258 patients at Pascagoula, Mississippi,
and New Orleans. Years earlier, she was sent to New York City following the attacks
on Sept. 11.

Originally envisioned as a floating trauma
hospital for the victims of the Twin Towers’ collapse, the ship’s mission
changed when it became clear there were not the large numbers of injured
expected. Vice Adm. Michael Cowan, Navy surgeon general in 2001, recalled that
New York’s Emergency Management Office stated the city was being overwhelmed
with the requirements of humanity. “The island didn’t have facilities to support the firemen and
rescuers and police digging
through the rubble and
sleeping on the hood of their engines,” Cowan said. “They were becoming dirty, going without water as they worked in
harsh environments. NYC requested the Comfort to provide humanitarian services; as the
‘Comfort Inn,’ which could be docked close to the site.”

From Sept. 14
to Oct. 1, Comfort provided hot meals, showers, a berth, a change of clean
clothes to about a 1,000 relief workers a day from its temporary home at Pier
92 in Manhattan.


When commissioned on Dec. 28, 1920, Relief (AH-1)
could boast the same amenities as the most modern hospitals at the time—large
corridors and elevators for transporting patients, and fully equipped surgical
operating rooms, wards, galleys, pantries, wash rooms, laboratories,
dispensaries, as well as a sterilizing/disinfecting room—all with “sanitary”
tiled flooring.

USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are no different
in this regard and are comparable to some of the largest trauma hospitals in
the United States. Each ship contains 12 fully equipped operating rooms, a bed
capacity of 1,000 and can boast of digital radiological services, medical
laboratories, full-serve pharmacies, blood banks, medical equipment repair
shops, prosthetics and physical therapy.

Emblazoned with nine red crosses and
stretching 894 feet in length (the size of three football fields) Mercy and
Comfort remain powerful symbols of medical care and hope during the
darkest times.  


Reports of the Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy for the Fiscal Year 1919. Washington,
DC: Government Printing Office, 1919.

Michael, Oral History conducted with (Session conducted by A.B. Sobocinski and
D.V. Ginn on September 12, 2013). BUMED Oral History Archives.

Ships Fact File. U.S. Navy. Retrieved from:

Lucius. “The Story of Our Hospital Ships.” The Red Cross Courier. July 1937.

Emory A. Hospital Ships of World War II. An Illustrated Reference. Jefferson,
NC: McFarland & CO., Inc, Publishers, 1999.

CNO’s Message to the Fleet on Coronavirus

By Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday

Shipmates, it’s the 19th of March, 2020. A lot has changed in the past week, and the impacts of the coronavirus are changing daily life for all of us.

Our focus right now is threefold: We must protect our people, and we must maintain mission readiness. And finally, we have to support the whole-of-government effort.

That is why we’ve enacted additional policies designed to combat the spread of coronavirus.  

We’ve done a number of things, including moving to shift work, reducing our manning, and increasing our telework. We have closed DoD schools and many MWR facilities, as well as curtailed some child and youth programs. We have postponed our E-4 advancement exam, we’ve suspended the spring physical readiness test, and we’ve postponed drill weekends for reserves until May 11. We’ve also suspended recruit graduation ceremonies until further notice. Additionally, we will pause administrative and statutory promotion boards for the time being.

But many things remain open too, including our commissaries, our exchanges, our military treatment facilities, as well as our Military Health System Nurse Advice Line and our My Navy Career Center—all available 24/7 to answer your questions. 

We are also preparing our two 1,000-bed hospital ships, the Mercy and Comfort, to get underway to relieve pressure on civilian health providers, who are focused on treating folks with the coronavirus.

Operationally, to keep our ships, our aircraft and our submarines ready, commanders are empowered to take the necessary precautions, so they can effectively carry out their missions and meet the critical needs of our Sailors.

While 30 percent of our fleet is underway today—including four carrier strike groups and four amphibious ready groups—we must, to the greatest extent possible, practice social distancing, as well as good hygiene and cleanliness aboard our ships, in our offices, and in our homes.

America continues to depend on us to provide security and stability to this nation, and we will do just that.

Expect additional guidance over the days and weeks ahead as this situation continues to change. To stay up-to-date on these changes, check out our coronavirus page on 

Finally, we must be mindful that while many of our shipmates are very adept at maintaining their support networks, for some, social distancing can lead to a loss of connectedness and feelings of isolation. You need to know that you’re not alone. 

If you or if one of your shipmates need help, reach out to the resources that we have available, whether it’s the Military Crisis Line, Military OneSource, our Navy chaplain care, or the Psychological Health Resource Center. We also have our Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center and our Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Above all, take care of yourselves, your families, and each other. Your safety remains our primary concern as we continue to carry out the Navy’s mission in defense of our nation.

CNO and MCPON Message to the Fleet on Coronavirus

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith

Shipmates, the spread of the coronavirus is something that we are taking very seriously.
While many of you may be anxious, worried, or wondering what happens next, leadership at every level is actively engaged on this issue.
Our No. 1 concern is the health and the safety of you, our Sailors – active and reserve, uniformed and civilian – as well as your families. We’re suspending official, personal, and PCS travel for the next 60 days both IN-CONUS and to designated locations OCONUS, as well as encouraging flexible work schedules and the use of telework – all designed to slow the virus’ spread.
For now, we must use an abundance of caution. Keep an eye on your Sailors and continue to follow the guidelines of health officials – which includes washing your hands more often, avoiding public gatherings, and staying away from others if you’re sick. Don’t be a hero.
Our understanding of the coronavirus is rapidly evolving, and we may have to implement further measures to combat the spread of this virus.
America depends upon us to help provide security and stability to this nation, and that’s exactly what we will continue to do.
Stay safe, Shipmates. Our nation depends on you.

Chaplain Corps Provides Irreplaceable Services

RADM Brent W. Scott Navy Chief of Chaplains

I recently read an opinion article that suggested it would
be reasonable to consider what amounts to reducing the religious liberty of
service members and their families. The author offered that diminishing the
Chaplain Corps would help the Navy meet its $40 billion requirement. The truth
is, however, that it would only provide less than one-half of one percent in
governmental saving and it would ultimately cost taxpayers more. Stated
differently, chaplains reduce the frequency and severity of a wide range of
costly destructive behaviors.

The Navy Chaplain Corps is an extremely efficient
organization. The Navy’s 840 chaplains care for more than 564,000 active
component service members in the Navy, the Coast Guard, and the Marine Corps.
On average, every chaplain cares for more than 670 service members, not
counting their family members and the civilians who are also authorized to use
their services. The idea that Professional Naval Chaplaincy is a fertile ground
for finding cost savings is completely spurious.

Some of the most valuable and far-reaching contributions of
the Chaplain Corps go largely unknown to the average citizen. Chaplains
contribute to the National Defense at the international level, the Service
level, and the personal level. The Navy Chaplain Corps, representing
fundamental national values, contributes directly to the National Defense and
America’s relationships with other countries. For instance, Navy chaplains
engage with foreign civil and religious leaders in partner nations to build friendship
and represent the power of free people through piety, devotion and practical
support without violence or prejudice.

U.S. Sailors salute a service member’s remains on the pier before bringing them aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) for a burial-at-sea Aug 10, 2019. The John C. Stennis is pierside in its new home port, Norfolk, after completing a seven-month deployment, and is preparing for refueling complex overhaul. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mitchell Banks)

Chaplains provide value and irreplaceable service to the
Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland
Security, supporting our most fundamental form of diversity within the Navy,
diversity of thought and perspective. Without Navy chaplains at home and abroad
to facilitate the free exercise of their religion, many devout citizens from
every faith would take their virtues, strengths, knowledge, and abilities to
other services or simply refrain from military service altogether.

Without the confidential communication that Navy chaplains
offer the people they serve, fewer service members in distress would seek and
receive the medical, social, or mental health assistance they need to stay fit
to fight. Multiple studies, like the 2013 study done by the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, show that chaplains are the most trusted helping
professionals for Navy personnel seeking assistance. Chaplains help Marines,
Sailors and the Coast Guard to stay ready, lethal, and fit to fight by ensuring
that everyone at home or at sea gets the care they need from the right
professional at the right time.


Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly issues
his weekly Vector message to the Department of the Navy workforce on Fridays.
Below is the text of each Vector, the most recent appearing first.

Revisit this NavyLive blog each week for the latest SECNAV Vector.

Vector 11 – Feb. 11, 2020: Information Management

Very shortly after I left the military and transitioned to the private sector, I learned one of my greatest lessons in business. I was working as the lead corporate development executive for an aviation service company and I traveled all over the country evaluating other companies as potential acquisition candidates for my firm. During this process, someone told me of a nearly foolproof indicator that I should always assess before making a determination as to whether the business I was visiting was healthy and a good candidate to be acquired: the quality of the employee bathroom.

I quickly learned that this advice was profound because the condition of that bathroom invariably told the story of what management thought about their employees – and what the employees thought about their management. A dirty, unkept employee bathroom indicated that neither felt positively about the other. It was a cultural sign that took precedence for me regardless of the many other factors I evaluated in the business itself.

As our entire economy has evolved over the last several decades into one that is highly dependent upon information, I believe a new standard has emerged alongside the “employee bathroom test” to help determine the health of an organization. That new standard is just as visibly measured as bathroom quality. The quality, or lack thereof, is the information technology that is provided for employees to do their jobs. Therefore, across the Department of the Navy (DON), we must recognize that advanced information management, digital modernization, and the technology tools that enable them, must be elevated as core strategic priorities. They will ultimately help define the long-term cultural health of our organization.

Cybersecurity, data strategy and analytics, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing have all combined to create massive opportunities and vulnerabilities across our entire enterprise. A critical element of mission readiness is our ability to access agile, reliable, and secure global communications and information, from the network enterprise to the tactical edge. We cannot lag behind our global competitors in providing the technology standards, networks, and tools for YOU to be able to perform your mission with greater speed, accuracy, visibility, and connectivity.

That is why we consolidated Department-wide information management strategy and functions into a restructured and empowered Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) led by Mr. Aaron Weis. Mr. Weis left a successful career as CIO in the private sector because he was drawn to our mission and he likes big challenges. He came to the right place! Under his leadership, the DON is executing a unified vision driving transformation and operational capability. If we are going to win tomorrow’s fights, we must ensure operationally relevant information is in the right hands, at the right time. We need all hands on deck to execute the following three lines of effort of our new Information Management Strategy:

Modernize – We will modernize the DON infrastructure from its current state of fragmented, non-performant, outdated, and indefensible architectures to a unified, logical modern infrastructure capable of delivering information advantage. We will design a performant, defendable cloud-enabled, network leveraging robust identity management.

Innovate – We will use technologies like 5th Generation wireless and Artificial Intelligence to maximum effectiveness, and field new operational capabilities. We will create Digital Innovation Centers to accelerate software development and leverage best practices in the private sector and industry to fuel our digital transformation.

Defend – We will employ continuous active monitoring across the enterprise to increase cyber situational awareness and institute a security culture where a personal commitment to cybersecurity is required to gain access to the network. We will transform the compliance centered culture to one where security is constant readiness. We will work with our defense industrial base partners to secure naval information regardless of where it resides.

These efforts will be led by the Office of the CIO, but their effective implementation depends upon each of us. Our command of the informational commons must be no less a priority than the lethality of our weapons. Without it, our naval force will be unable to deliver what the American taxpayers deserve – and those in uniform on our Navy and Marine Corps team rightfully demand.

You have my commitment that we will improve our technology and tools to a standard that is visibly recognizable, and comparable to what would be expected of any great organization operating in the Information Age. But I ask that you – every Sailor, Marine, and civilian – take seriously your own role as a guardian of the digital information you have, and will have at your fingertips. Everyone in the DON enterprise must become a Cyber Sentry. The more advanced we become as an Information-Based organization, the more our adversaries will seek to attack and exploit us in this domain. We will not be able to stop them unless everyone does their part to protect the advantages digital information provides, and limit the vulnerabilities it creates.

Go Navy, and as always, Beat Army!

Firsthand Effects of the Naval Sustainment System-Aviation

By Vice Adm. Dean Peters, commander, Naval Air Systems Command, and Bill Taylor, assistant deputy commandant for aviation, U.S. Marine Corps

During the past year, Naval Aviation made meaningful strides toward improving readiness and sustainability across our strike fighter communities. Since October, in partnership with leadership from across the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) including Navy Air Boss Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, Deputy Commandant for Aviation (DCA) Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder and other military and governmental partners, we have had the opportunity to visit Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs) and additional units at four locations vital to our Super Hornet platforms: Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point and Naval Air Stations (NASs) Jacksonville, Lemoore and North Island.

These events, known as Boots on the Ground (BoGs), are a common NAE activity. Two things set these visits apart: the close scheduling of the events—three visits were conducted in December—and the specific purpose of touching as many major FRCs as possible to understand if Naval Sustainment System-Aviation (NSS-A) reforms are sustainable. In addition to the Depot-level maintenance we observed at the FRCs, we visited several organizational-level (our basic level of maintenance, referred to as O-level) activities, including the Naval Aviation Maintenance Center of Excellence (NAMCE) at NAS Lemoore.

Across the board, we saw substantial improvements in workspace layouts, turnaround times for maintenance, backorders of high-priority requisitions that are missing from the supply shelf and planning for the future.

During these visits, we observed firsthand the effect the NSS has had on maintenance, production and supply. We spoke directly to members of these and other teams who work on our aircraft every day to hear what improved their operations and where we can provide assistance.

Across the board, we saw substantial improvements in workspace layouts, turnaround times for maintenance, backorders of high-priority requisitions missing from the supply shelf and planning for the future. Daily meetings in various Production Control Centers are identifying and elevating issues for resolution more quickly. Improved floor organization makes finding parts and pinpointing support required by the supply chain more efficient.

More importantly, we witnessed an improved culture on those lines and in those shops where NSS reforms had been accomplished. An important part of this culture is the intent to treat artisans as surgeons, providing all the parts and tools they need for their jobs at the site rather than having them take time from fixing aircraft to search for supplies.

We found that the aircraft
production line at Fleet Readiness Center West (FRCW) at NAS Lemoore is
sustaining reforms; Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) at NAS North
Island is sustaining reforms in its component shops; and Fleet Readiness Center
East (FRCE) at MCAS Cherry Point has continued to sustain reforms for critical
component shops and expanded reforms to aircraft planned maintenance interval
(PMI) lines.

Here are a few examples of the many improvements we encountered:

  • The T-6 repair line at FRCSE has reduced cycle time from 187 days to approximately 100 days, on the way to a standard 77-day event.
  • The H-53 program at FRCE reduced cycle time by 10% on CH production and 30% on MH production.
  • The V-22 program at FRCSW has no outstanding supply issues—a goal for which every shop must strive.
  • The Super Hornet PMI line at FRCW consistently delivers aircraft in 60 days or less.

With the assistance of FRCW, reforms have been implemented at NAMCE, an activity not originally planned but subsequently prioritized by the Air Boss. NAMCE saw a 137% increase in productivity following NSS-A transformation. NAMCE was able to take on all long-term down aircraft for maintenance and allow the operational squadrons to manage and maintain their normal allowable number of aircraft.

We now must expand the improvements we’ve achieved to all shops, repair lines and squadrons across Naval Aviation.

This is phenomenal work, and it’s all contributing to the NAE’s sustainment of Mission Capable (MC) Super Hornet numbers above 325 (which historically hover around  250-260). In addition, Legacy Hornets are returning to service in days versus weeks after PMI and maintaining percentages in the high 70s for MC aircraft.

MC aircraft make up the critical baseline of our future readiness for the high-end fight. Without “up” aircraft, we cannot prepare to meet mission requirements; with them, we can build for whatever operations come our way. MC aircraft mitigate problems across the NAE, including projected pilot shortages. More MC aircraft mean more aircraft available for the training commands and Fleet Readiness Squadrons. They also mean more flying hours for our trained pilots, so they can hone their skills.

Together, we’re seeing remarkable
change, but we still have much work to do.

We now must expand the improvements we’ve achieved to all shops, repair lines and squadrons across Naval Aviation. In addition, we still have vital components that must be available in greater numbers and repaired in less time to increase lethality and survivability, per Air Boss and DCA priorities. 

We will continue to attack readiness
degraders through the Reliability Control Boards (RCBs), making better use of
data to refine our maintenance programs and supply forecasting. Across all
these efforts, we must integrate improved cost management.

It is powerful to see the close
alignment between the Navy and Marine Corps as we advance these priorities.
This is a true partnership—one team with one fight. And it is encouraging to
receive the positive feedback from our artisans, maintainers and production
support personnel who are super motivated to provide quality products, and who
are taking ownership of these reforms.   

As always, your NAE flag officers, general officers and senior executive service leaders are committed to providing the resources needed to accomplish our mission. Don’t hesitate to let us know what is needed. Fly, fight, lead and win!

The Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) is a cooperative partnership
of Naval Aviation stakeholders focused on sustaining required current readiness
and advancing future warfighting capabilities at best possible cost. It is
comprised of Sailors, Marines, civilians, and contractors from across service
branches and organizations, working together to identify and resolve readiness
barriers and warfighting degraders.

Acting SECNAV Speeches and Transcripts

The following are transcripts of interviews and prepared remarks from Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly. The most recent additions appear first.

All transcripts and recordings from commercial media sources are courtesy of the copyright holder.

Jan. 3, 2020: Interview on Hugh Hewitt radio program. Click here for the YouTube audio recording of the segment.

HH: Of course the huge news overnight: President Trump ordered the killing of Khasim Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard–probably the second most important person in the rogue regime that is Iran.

Joining me this morning to talk about that and of course our force structure overall, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly.

Secretary Modly, welcome. It’s great to have you back. It’s been nine months since we’ve talked. I’m glad to have you this morning.

TM: Good morning, Hugh. How are you?

HH: Great. First question has to come
about last night. Do we have the assets and the rules of engagement in place to
protect our citizens, our forces, our allies in the region that Iran could
threaten as retaliation?

TM: I certainly believe that that’s
true, Hugh. I think the President’s number one priority is to protect our
people overseas. And so any action that we take over there has that in mind
prior to any action being taken. And so we thought through those things pretty
seriously, and we feel like we have the forces in place to protect. But that
being said, the Iranians are a rogue regime, and they’ve got all kinds of
nefarious ways of going about things. So we just have to be very, very vigilant
and make sure that we’re taking care of our people. 

HH: Secretary Modly, do we have carriers
in the region? Are we dispatching more naval strength to the region in
anticipation of potential retaliation?

TM: Yeah, well, Hugh, we do have a
carrier in the region. I’d prefer not to get into more detail about what other
forces may or may not be flowing into the area. But the Harry S. Truman is
there. It relieved the Lincoln that had been there for about ten months. So,
but other than that, I really, I can’t really go into much more detail.

HH: All right, but last question on
this. The rules of engagement do allow our troops, especially our ships, to
respond to any provocation?

TM: Yes, they do.

HH: Alright.

TM: They have the ability to protect
themselves and protect Americans, and so they, that’s pretty clear to all of
our commanders.

HH: Now originally, I scheduled this to
talk to you about force structure, so I want to go there.

TM: Sure.

HH: I first have to say, though, you’re
a fellow Buckeye and a fellow Browns fan. What do you think of Urban Meyer as
the head of the Browns?

TM: I’m tracking that very closely. It’s
been a very disappointing season for all of us. But I don’t know. I think that
he’s a pretty strong football mind, and I think he has been able to build
pretty good culture wherever he’s been, and I think that’s one of the things
that seems to be lacking there the team. So if that’s the direction they go, I
think there are a lot worse choices they could make.

HH: Now the reason I asked that is he
builds things, he gets a plan, he sticks to it. The Browns have had eight
plans, ten plans over the last 20 years, and that’s why nothing ever works.
They don’t stick to a plan. The President has a plan for 355 ships in his Navy,
and for 12 carriers. We aren’t anywhere close to that. When we talked nine
months ago, we talked about this. Is there ever going to be a plan, Secretary

TM: Yes, and in fact, I’m actually here
today at the U.S. Naval Institute. I’ve gathered together a group of both folks
from inside the Navy, Department of the Navy, and the Marine Corps, and a bunch
of outside experts and academics, and folks who have looked at force structure
for years. And we’re going to sit down and talk this through, and we’re going
to come up with some recommendations for Secretary Esper, and for the,
ultimately for him to bring to the President to say look, this is the path that
we need to be on to get to the number that you want. And the number itself
can’t just be a random number. It has to be a number that works in terms of
when we look at various war gaming scenarios and how the national defense
strategy has changed, and what the threat scenarios are, and that’s what we’ve
been working on, actually, for the last several months internally, doing
something called the integrated naval force structure assessment, which is the
first time we’ve actually brought the Marine Corps and the Navy together to
look at this to determine what types of platforms and what that force mix
should look like.

HH: Now I am certainly not the person to
tell you what the force mix should look like, but I know what the number is,
because the President has said it repeatedly – 355 ships.

TM: Sure.

HH: What was that memo to OMB about? Because to a civilian, and that’s what I am, I’m just a civilian. It looked like near insubordination.

TM: Well, now I wouldn’t say that, Hugh.
I mean, we’re going through a budget process right now, and you know, that
budget process has puts and takes, as particularly as you get to the end game,
which is where we are now. We roll the budget out in February. And so we’re
looking at those various puts and takes, and trying to present some options to,
both to the Secretary of Defense and the President in terms of final decisions.
So I mean, I think the OMB memo was, you know, had some concerns about where
this might look. I think they overstated in that memo where that, where those
decisions would drive the end force number. I think we’re still, regardless,
we’re going to be over 300, or close to 300 at the end of this year. We started
out the administration at 275. But the path to 355 is a challenging path,
because you know, frankly, it’s a mathematical issue. I mean, if you’re going
to grow the force by 25-30%, and we started at 275, you need to have a top line
that matches that. And right now, we sort of have, we had a big bump in the
first year or two, but we’re sort of inflation-adjusted, sort of flat going
forward. And so that’s where the decisions base has to be brought and made
clear to the President and the Secretary of Defense about, hey look, if this is
the path we’re going on, we’re going to probably need to have more top line for
the Navy.

HH: So Secretary Modly, if you go to
this sit down this morning, and your first question is here is our budget, what
can we build with it, you’ll have a very different discussion than if your
first question is the President has said 355 and 12, how do we get there as
fast as possible, and then what will it cost. Which approach are you going to adopt?

TM: No, no, my approach is the latter, and I’ve made that very clear from my first day in the acting seat, is that I want a plan for 355 in 10 years. And so that is what, that is the mandate that I’ve given the Navy and the Marine Corps to look at, and that is the way we’re looking at it. It’s not completely resource unconstrained. I mean, we have to be realistic about things.

But you know, my perspective on this is very consistent with where I was two years ago when I was sworn in as the under [secretary of the Navy], which I think the number is going to be more than 355. And I’ve always called it 355 plus, because I think it’s going to be that number plus a variety of other platforms that we’re probably, that we hadn’t thought about before, and that includes unmanned vehicles, it includes a new type of, perhaps, smaller amphib-type ship that we hadn’t looked at before. So I think it, my perspective is the right mix for us is going to be 355 plus, and that could be anywhere from 400 to, you know, 420 platforms, some manned, some unmanned, you know, some under the traditional guise that we’ve been looking at before.

HH: I’m so glad to hear that, because
you’ll get a plan, then, if you demand it. My question is you don’t get what
you don’t ask for. You don’t get the money unless Congress knows you need it,
and you have to persuade. Are you prepared, and I know actings have some
limitations, but you don’t seem to care about that, and I’m glad to hear that.
Are you going to go up there and persuade the Hill that we need this money now
to get to what the President has said he wants?

TM: Certainly. I mean, that is, that has
been the challenge, because a 355 goal isn’t law, but it was put in law by the
authorizers, and not funded by the appropriators. So that is the big challenge,
and I’m glad you mentioned this point about me being acting. I mean, being
acting doesn’t mean you’re pretending. So you know, I’m in the seat, and I
believe that I am, have the responsibility and the authority to address these
challenges that the Navy has, because we don’t really know how long I’ll be in
the seat. And it’s a very critical time for our Navy, and I expect to take that
on full force.

HH: You’ve got a new CNO. Is he as
committed to 355 plus as you are?

TM: I, oh, he’s definitely, both he and
General Berger, the new commandant, have been very much involved in the process
of determining what this new force structure will look like, and has opened up
a lot of creative options. So yeah, he’s very committed to it.

HH: Does it involve new shipyards,
because that is one of the crucial bottlenecks. I’ve known about it for years
even as a civilian, and it seems to me we can’t get to 355 unless we open or
expand places like Philadelphia.

TM: I think it definitely, in the final analysis, if we are able to fund this and convince people that we need to fund this, it will create opportunities for other shipyards, not just Philadelphia, but probably some things in the Midwest that can produce smaller vessels that perhaps are unmanned and also built in other parts of the country. So I think it’ll definitely open up opportunities for our existing shipyards, but also for others as well.

And also, the other thing you need to think about is that the bigger the force is, the more maintenance you need. And that also opens up opportunities for expanding our maintenance bases, or our maintenance infrastructure across the country. And part of the problem we’ve had with this is that we haven’t been able to send a good, strong, consistent demand signal to those other shipyards, and so they’re just not interested in engaging with the Navy. And so we have to make sure that you know, this is a national imperative, and we’re driving towards a bigger Navy, and I think then, industry will follow.

HH: There is also the need for a 5th
generation fighter, or a declaration that we’re not going to have one. Have you
made that decision, yet, Secretary Modly?

TM: Well, we have the 5th generation
fighter in the F-35. We are looking at sort of the 6th generation fighter right
now, and that is currently under development. But no decision’s been made on
what direction we’re going to go with that.

HH: Excuse me, I misspoke. But do you,
are you committed to the 6th generation, because the F-35 doesn’t have the
range that a lot of the experts I read say you need.

TM: Oh, I think we should always, yeah,
I’m committed to always advancing our aviation capabilities, so you know, if
the next generations, you know, we’re on 5th now, then 6th generation is
clearly something we should be looking at and understanding what that’s going
to take to get there.

HH: Last question, are you going to put
back the submarine that was cut in the OMB and the other cuts in the OMB memo?
Are they going to be back on the board today at the end of the day?

TM: Well, all those things, all those
things are decisions that are going to be made in the coming, in the next
several weeks. Ultimately, it’s a decision for the Secretary of Defense. I
think, you know, we would love to have that submarine back in. And we’re going
to make the case for it, and we’ll see whether or not the top line follows.

HH: Secretary Modly, thank you. Come
back after you’ve had your sit down, and I’m glad you’re asking the first
question the way you are. Good luck in getting everyone on the same team, and
rowing in the same direction. I appreciate it. Finally, we might get a plan for
355, and it’ll be Tom Modly’s achievement. Thank you, Secretary.

TM: Thank you. Thanks, Hugh. Thanks for
having me on.

[End of interview.]