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September 16, 2014 / iDriveWarships

SURFPAC Pins New Chief Petty Officers

SURFPAC CPO pinning 2014

“This is the most significant transition that you will experience during your careers,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Kathryn Coleman to four chief selectees during a pinning ceremony today at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.

For the last 121 years, in the Navy and only the Navy, the rank of E-7 carries unique roles and responsibilities unlike other branches of service where it’s simply an advancement in pay grade.

Rich in traditions and rituals, which guide much of Navy life, the chief petty officer pinning ceremony is preserved to make sure Sailors stay consistent with the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment.

Guest speaker, Force Master Chief Brannon Knox, told the new chiefs’ families that their Sailor would never be the same, and that from now on, more will be expected of them.

“This rank carries with it a unique responsibility and privilege,” said Knox. “Tomorrow the real work of being a chief begins.”

Following six weeks of intensive CPO 365 Phase II training, the new chiefs carried out the time-honored tradition of singing “Anchors Aweigh” before donning their anchors and combination covers.

“It’s amazing how these anchors make you stand taller,” said Knox. “Wear them with pride.”

Today, thousands of Sailors across the fleet have a new first name—“Chief!” Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) congratulates all of the Navy’s new chief petty officers.

Bravo Zulu to SURFPAC’s and supporting commands’ newest chiefs:

GSMC Jeremiah Barboza
GSEC Alexander Peralta
PSC Brian Stackpole
YNC Katherine Voyce

September 15, 2014 / iDriveWarships

USS America Makes Homeport Arrival in San Diego

USS America (LHA 6) arrives in new homeport of San Diego

The Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, the future USS America (LHA 6), arrived in her new homeport of San Diego today to make preparations for its commissioning ceremony on Oct. 11.

While on her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas,” the ship circumnavigated South America testing the ship’s capabilities and strengthening relations with partner nation navies. The ship completed port visits in Callao, Peru; Cartagena, Colombia; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Valparaiso, Chile; and transited the Strait of Magellan at the southernmost point of continental South America. During the transit, America also conducted bilateral engagements with other valued partners in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility such as Uruguay and Trinidad and Tobago.

America was delivered to the Navy on April 10, after completing construction in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship is 844 feet in length and has a displacement of approximately 45,000 tons. America’s crew consists of 1,100 Sailors and can embark more than 1,500 Marines.

America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa-class of amphibious assault ships. As the next generation “big-deck” amphibious ship, America is optimized for aviation, capable of supporting current and future aircraft such as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.

Following commissioning in San Francisco, America will conduct operations and training within the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of responsibility.

September 10, 2014 / iDriveWarships

Somerset CO Reflects on Ship Named in Honor of 9/11

Post by Capt. Thomas Dearborn, Commanding Officer of USS Somerset (LPD 25)

The newest amphibious transport dock in the fleet, USS Somerset (LPD 25) is the last of the three ships named in honor of the victims and first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the final resting place of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Penn. On March 1, Somerset joined her sister ships, USS New York (LPD 21) and USS Arlington (LPD 24), in active naval service.

Named after Somerset County, Penn., USS Somerset represents the heroic actions of the 40 crew members and passengers of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93. Had it not been for their brave actions, the terrorists would have reached their intended target and countless more lives would have been lost.

In Somerset’s bow is 22 tons of steel from the towering crane’s dragline bucket used during recovery operations that proudly displayed the American flag near the crash site of United Flight 93. Somerset is and always will be a direct representation of the heroic actions on September 11, 2001 by the crew members and passengers of Flight 93. This reminder of the collective sacrifice and tremendous courage displayed in the face of overwhelming adversity will be a mobile memorial leading Somerset through oceans throughout the world.

To achieve our core responsibility as a Navy, we must build and sustain a ready fighting force. Somerset does this by training and equipping our Sailors with what they need to fight and win today. Like all Navy ships, Somerset’s crew trains like it fights—meaning we develop in our crew a thorough understanding of their equipment, supreme confidence in how it works, and an ability to operate it in any environment. The most technologically advanced equipment means nothing if—when the time comes—our Sailors are unable to operate them. Onboard Somerset, being ready means dedicating the time and resources to train—realistic training that tests our Sailors and builds our crew’s proficiency and confidence. It’s through this training and preparedness that we build that bond of trust, so when the time comes to act, we know when one says “let’s roll,” the rest will follow.

September 4, 2014 / iDriveWarships

USS San Diego Wins Bulkeley Safety Award

USS San Diego receives 2013 VADM Bulkeley Award for safety

This week USS San Diego (LPD 22) was selected as the winner of the 2013 Vice Adm. Bulkeley award for promoting afloat safety culture. The Bulkeley award recognizes a command for outstanding contributions in safety awareness through lessons learned in the areas of reporting, safety media publications, hazards and near mishaps.

The award is named for WWII Medal of Honor recipient, Vice Adm. John Bulkeley. Bulkeley also served as the head of the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) from 1967 to 1988. INSURV is responsible for inspecting ships prior to their deployments to help prevent mishaps, and is known to be a rigorous and thorough inspection.

August 20, 2014 / iDriveWarships

USS Coronado Conducts Integration Exercise with Marines

USS Coronado conducts USMC integration exercise

Last week USS Coronado (LCS 4) demonstrated the ability to rapidly stage and deploy a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) ground unit. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons 469 and 303 conducted day and night deck-landing qualifications in preparation for an airborne raid of Marines from the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion onboard USS Coronado.

The ship’s inherent qualities, including speeds in excess of 40 knots, its large flight deck and reconfigurable mission bay, proved that littoral combat ships (LCS) can provide the Navy and USMC with significant operational flexibility anywhere in the world.

Independence-variant LCS’ offer a variety of air and small-boat employment and delivery options for USMC ground and air tactical units, and ample space to embark a small USMC ground unit—even with an embarked mission module. On this platform, UH-1Y and AH-1W helicopter operations are fully supportable.

August 13, 2014 / iDriveWarships

Surface Line Week 2014 Underway in San Diego

Surface Line Week 2014 bowling competition

The 33rd annual Surface Line Week (SLW) competition kicked off in San Diego this week, beginning with a sailing competition around the San Diego Bay.

Sponsored by the staff of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, SLW runs through Aug. 15, and includes a variety of professional and athletic competitions for Surface Sailors. The winning commands will be recognized during the Surface Warrior Ball, the culmination of SLW.

Last year, USS Essex (LHD 2) took first place in the overall large command category, USS Spruance (DDG 111) won among medium-sized commands, and Naval Base San Diego received the small command trophy.

Professional events included this year in SLW are cake decorating, a damage control marathon, lathe work, marksmanship, medical diagnosis/stretcher bearer race, moboards, photo competition, rescue swimming, a Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat race, sailing, seamanship, shiphandling, valve packing, visual communications, and welding and cutting.

SLW athletic competitions included a 5K run, basketball, billiards, bowling, CrossFit, dodgeball, flag football, golf, and push-up/pull-up endurance. There will also be a chili cook-off and a homemade salsa contest on the final day of competition.

August 7, 2014 / iDriveWarships

Rowden Takes Command of SURFOR

SURFOR change of command ceremony

While onboard USS Coronado (LCS 4) today, Vice Adm. Tom Copeman was relieved by Vice Adm. Tom Rowden as Commander Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) and Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, was the guest speaker during the ceremony that also served as Copeman’s retirement following a successful 32-year naval career.

Copeman’s leadership as SURFOR directly improved training and professional development for the Surface Force by implementing of the Basic Division Officers Course (BDOC). BDOC shifted the focus of training for new Surface Warfare Officers by applying knowledge gained from shipboard experience with classroom and applied instruction. During his tenure, he prepared USS Freedom (LCS 1) for the first deployment of a littoral combat ship to the Asia-Pacific region. He also promoted the use of energy-based weapons and computer-based training.

Rowden assumes command of SURFOR with extensive experience, including sea duty tours as commanding officer of USS Milius (DDG 69); reactor officer on USS George Washington (CVN 73); commander of Destroyer Squadron 60; commander of Carrier Strike Group Seven; and commander of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Strike Group. Most recently, he served as the Director of Surface Warfare Division (N96) on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff.

SURFOR is responsible for the readiness of cruisers, destroyers, frigates, amphibious assault ships, littoral combat ships, mine countermeasures ships, and logistics and fleet support ships.


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