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September 4, 2015 / iDriveWarships

Lives depend on 1 Small ACT– Repetition key to showing every Sailor, every day that they matter.

150826-N-PL185-002


A similar article by Rear Admiral Ann Burkhardt, Director, 21st Century Sailor Office first appeared on Navy.mil.


American philosopher and psychologist, Dr. William James once said, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” That statement holds particular meaning when placed in the context of suicide prevention.

September is Suicide Prevention Month  for the Navy and is seen as an opportunity to re-energize efforts to engage Sailors to recognize and intervene early during signs of distress. As part of the Every Sailor, Every Day campaign, the Navy has introduced “1 Small ACT,” which encourages simple actions anyone can take to promote cohesion and inspire hope. It’s based on the Ask Care Treat (ACT) bystander intervention model.

The idea is that 1 Small ACT, like lending a hand to a shipmate on the job, offering positive feedback, or being there to listen and provide support- can help prevent suicide. Psychological health is a topic rarely discussed before the tragic loss of a shipmate or family member to suicide; however, breaking the silence and starting a conversation about stress and suicide can help prevent deaths because not all prevention happens during a crisis. Just that little bit of caring, shown through everyday kindness can help support every Sailor, every day and just might be the opening they need to get help.

Navy Suicide Prevention Branch has a myriad of resources to help jumpstart efforts to combat suicide as a community, command or individual. For example, you can personalize a “1 Small ACT” sign with your own simple commitment to support your shipmates and submit it for posting in the“1 Small ACT” photo gallery, contributing to a wall of hope and inspiration for the entire Navy community. Submission details are available on the Every Sailor, Every Day page There are also other resources, like the Suicide Prevention Month Toolkit, educational products and the “1 Small ACT a Day” calendar.

Suicide prevention is about taking care of people. That begins with us showing we care about one another and promoting a culture where all personnel feel supported, and view seeking help as a sign of strength. Together the Navy can fight suicide and become stronger; it’s as easy as consistently showing every Sailor, every day that they matter. Commit to 1 Small ACT.


150826-N-PL185-002 WASHINGTON (Aug. 26, 2015) Lt. David Dziengowski, left, Yeoman 1st Class Silvia Raya, and Lt. j.g. Victor Gutierrez, from the Chief of Naval Personnel office, show support for the 1 Small Act message as part of the Every Sailor, Every Day campaign during Suicide Prevention Month. The campaign is designed to encourage dialogue and provide early resources to prevent suicide. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lorenzo John Burleson/Released)

WASHINGTON (Aug. 26, 2015) Lt. David Dziengowski, left, Yeoman 1st Class Silvia Raya, and Lt. j.g. Victor Gutierrez, from the Chief of Naval Personnel office, show support for the 1 Small Act message as part of the Every Sailor, Every Day campaign during Suicide Prevention Month. The campaign is designed to encourage dialogue and provide early resources to prevent suicide. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lorenzo John Burleson/Released)

August 31, 2015 / iDriveWarships

SWO Tracking Made Easy

A few weeks ago you may have heard that the Navy announced several new career track options for Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) in an effort to retain only the most talented. In case you didn’t, here is an overview of the many new opportunities that will help SWOs continue their growth and development. These new options are meant to move SWOs away from a linear path to a more flexible, option-based plan that is values-driven and invests more in the SWOs themselves. The intent of the new career tracks is to raise the level of talent in the SWO community and develop future leaders who can think, lead, operate, and win in multiple future environments. Growing Warfare Tactics Instructors is also a priority.

Traditionally, SWOs follow what’s known as a command-at-sea career path. The new career tracks offer opportunities for the early development of skillsets and accruing experience at sea, underscored by opportunities emerging from Sailor 2025 initiatives and supporting the principle of Warfighting First.

The new tracks are:

  • Traditional
  • Accelerated Warfighter
  • Enhanced Readiness
  • Accelerated Skillset Development
  • Nuclear Power

Benefits of the new career tracks may also include opportunities to attend fully-funded graduate education at America’s elite institutions without fear of career progression disruption; to take up to three years away from the Navy in the Career Intermission Program; to spend time working at Fortune 500 companies contributing experience to the private sector and capturing key lessons that can be applied in the Navy under the new SECNAV Industry Tour Program (starting in 2016); a restructured bonus proposal that rewards performance; and pro-active outreach to retain the top 50%.

Another benefit is a reinforced and expanded commitment to military spouse co-locations, with spouse co-location being the standard and doing everything possible to co-locate dual military couples of any rank and service.

As part of a cultural shift from retaining the most available officers to retaining the most talented, the Navy is working to replace traditional career advancement zones with weighted milestone achievements to ensure the best officers are promoted regardless of zone placement and prior selection board decisions. This would allow those who are not ready for promotion to continue to serve in same paygrade longer, or for those ready, to advance through the system faster. In addition, selectivity for first look selection to serve as department heads is being lowered to 50-60% by next year. This will ensure future department heads, commanding officers and major commanders will be the best possible.

For more information on the new careers paths check out this handy Surface Warfare Career Chart powerpoint.

For more SWO related news check out the Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific FleetNaval Surface Forces, or Surface Warfare Magazine websites.

August 21, 2015 / iDriveWarships

Bragging Rights on the Line at SLW 2015

SLW

The 34th annual Surface Line Week (SLW), sponsored by the staff of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, is coming to a close today after starting Aug. 14. SLW is a week-long competition that features a series of activities dedicated to friendly competition in a variety of professional and athletic events. It’s been a San Diego tradition for more than 30 years.

This year’s SLW consists of 17 athletic and 15 professional events culminating in an awards ceremony on Aug. 21, with recognition of the overall winner also announced at the Surface Warrior Ball tomorrow night.

The competition, open to participants from active duty, the Navy Reserve, or other military personnel and government civilians command kicked-off with a golf tournament at Admiral Baker Golf Course.

Other scheduled SLW athletic events include a 5K run, basketball, billiards, bowling, dodge ball, flag football, golf, tennis, volleyball, soccer, racquetball, swimming, push-up and pull-up endurance, and CrossFit. There was also a chili and salsa cook-off.

SLW professional events include photography, cake decorating, a damage control marathon, lathe work, marksmanship, medical diagnosis and stretcher bearer race, rescue swimming, a Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) race, sailing, ship handling, valve packing, visual communications, and welding and cutting.

Thirty-two commands participating have Sailors or civilians participating in the events, which have been chosen to promote camaraderie, team building, and boost morale, while still offering friendly competition along the water front for shore based commands and ships.

The defending champions are USS Boxer (LHD 4) for the overall large command category, USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) for medium command, and Beach Master Unit (BMU) 1 for small command.

For more information on Surface Line Week check out the website or like the Facebook page.


SLW Graphic created by Nick Groesch.

August 18, 2015 / iDriveWarships

Raiders Makin History

1424204703706Seventy-three years ago during World War II, a tiny coral atoll in the Pacific’s Gilbert Island chain became the site of American troops’ first amphibious attack made from submarines. The raid on Makin Island began August 17, 1942 when 222 Marines from two companies of the 2nd Raider Battalion launched from submarines USS Argonaut (APS 1) and USS Nautilus (SS 168).

Their mission was to destroy the Japanese installations, gain intelligence on the area, take prisoners, and divert Japanese attention and reinforcements from Guadalcanal and Tulagi, where American Marines had landed earlier in the month.

Marine Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson led the men ashore under the cover of night. Notable amongst his troops was his executive officer, Maj. James Roosevelt, the son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. However, things didn’t exactly go as planned.

Once topside the men, known as “Carlson’s Raiders,” were met with gale force winds and rough seas. While making their way to the beach many of their small boat engines were drowned out by the bad weather, and the men had to paddle them to shore. As the Raiders arrived, they spotted a small boat and a large transport ship in the waters nearby. Using only radios to relay communications and compass readings from Carlson, Nautilus fired her 6-inch guns into the night and was able to sink both vessels.

Despite all this, the men were able to remain undetected until landing on the beach. Shortly after landing, an accidental burst of gunfire from one of the men’s rifles announced their arrival. Within 20 minutes the fighting began. As the mission unfolded, the men faced-off against everything from heavy sniper fire, tanks, and machine guns, to flamethrowers and aerial bombing from at least 12 aircraft. But they were able to evade the threat and eliminate the enemy.

After several attempts the men were able to pass the breakers August 18 and make their way aboard the submarines, which immediately steamed to Pearl Harbor. An accurate account of the men couldn’t be made until they reached Hawaii. There it was revealed 30 of Carlson’s Raider’s hadn’t returned.

It was eventually determined that seven drowned, 14 were killed by Japanese forces, and nine were unaccounted for. It was later discovered those nine were somehow marooned on the island. With help from sympathetic locals they evaded Japanese forces for some time but were eventually caught and taken to Kwajalein where they were beheaded.

While there has been some debate about the success of the mission objectives, it was at the time considered both a success and a morale raiser for the troops, as well as a sign to the world that the U.S. was gaining control of the war.

The will and determination of Carlson’s Raiders left a lasting impression and less than two years later the Casablanca-class escort carrier USS Makin Island (CVE 93) was commissioned. Although the original Makin Island was decommissioned in 1946, the gritty, fighting spirit of her namesake Raiders is carried on in the present USS Makin Island (LHD 8), an amphibious assault ship.

USS Makin Island is currently undergoing a scheduled phased maintenance availability in preparation for its next deployment. For more information check out USS Makin Island.

August 12, 2015 / iDriveWarships

What Does an LCS Do?

141125-N-DC018-053 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 25, 2014) The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) provides a sea-going platform for a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter from U.S. Army 25th Combat Aviation Brigade to conduct deck landing qualifications off the coast of Hawaii. Fort Worth departed its homeport of San Diego Nov. 17 for a 16-month rotational deployment to Southeast Asia in support of the Navy’s strategic rebalance to the Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Antonio P. Turretto Ramos/Released)

Littoral Combat Ship Primer, Part 2

Last week we covered some basic facts about the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) platform and after finding out what littoral means you may have found yourself wondering, “But what does an LCS really do?”

It would seem that the shortest, possibly the best direct answer is, a lot. With that said, let’s look more closely what LCSs do and the mission packages that give them such versatility.

Both LCS variants can operate in a wide-range of environments- from open oceans to coastal waters- because they have a unique open-architecture design. Their seaframes can be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission modules. Those modules include mission systems and support equipment that can be changed out quickly. Combine these modules with a crew detachment and the platforms’ ability to support aviation assets and they become complete mission packages. They’re then able to conduct freedom of navigation operations, theater security cooperation operations, maritime law enforcement operations, maritime counter-piracy operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, search and rescue operations, maritime domain awareness patrols, and maritime security operations. And that’s all in addition to their primary Mine Counter Measures (MCM), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Surface Warfare (SUW) missions.

With the SUW Mission Package (SUW MP) an LCS can provide the capability to detect, classify, track, and engage multiple groups of small boats, and it can be configured with the Maritime Security Module for Maritime Interdiction Operations, as well as Visit, Board, Search and Seizure for drug and counter piracy operations. The LCSs speed, SUW MP capabilities, and manned and unmanned aviation assets, work together to extend the ship’s surveillance and attack potential.

LCS MCM MP

LCS MCM MP

The LCSs MCM MP provides mine detection, neutralization, and mine sweeping by utilizing both manned and unmanned vehicles, and can support joint operations conducted ahead of, or concurrent with, power projection forces.

Lastly the LCSs ASW MP is designed to provide ASW capabilities while operating in either deep or shallow littoral water environments. Operating in conjunction with other fleet assets makes it a force multiplier that specializes in providing first response littoral ASW capabilities. That includes ASW prosecution in shallow waters, barrier operations/sustainment of secure maneuver area, direct support to a carrier strike group, an expeditionary strike group, an amphibious ready group, a surface action group, or maritime prepositioning forces in a littoral environment. As well as the ability to act as a high value unit escort, and offer operational deception. With the versatility to carry out so many different missions, the ship of the future is here!

If you’d like to learn more about what the fleet’s LCSs are up to check out the the USS Freedom (LCS 1)USS Fort Worth (LCS 3)PCU Milwaukee (LCS 5)USS Independence (LCS 2)USS Coronado (LCS 4),  or PCU Jackson (LCS 6).


Army 25th Combat Aviation Brigade earns deck landing qualifications abaord Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS-3)PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 25, 2014) The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) provides a sea-going platform for a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter from U.S. Army 25th Combat Aviation Brigade to conduct deck landing qualifications off the coast of Hawaii. Fort Worth departed its homeport of San Diego Nov. 17 for a 16-month rotational deployment to Southeast Asia in support of the Navy’s strategic rebalance to the Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Antonio P. Turretto Ramos/Released)

August 7, 2015 / iDriveWarships

What Does Littoral Even Mean?

LCS Freedom (LCS 1)

LCS Freedom (LCS 1)

Littoral Combat Ship Primer, Part 1

It seems everyone is interested in the U.S. Navy’s new warship platform, Littoral Combat Ships, or LCS, but how much do you really know about them aside from how sleek and futuristic they look? You may wonder, “What is littoral?” Well, littoral is a coastal region or shore and today we’ll look at how the LCS is versatile enough to be as well suited for those areas as it is for open-ocean operations.

Creation of the LCS platform was spurred after the end of the Cold War, Operation DESERT STORM, fleet experiments, analytic studies and war games made it clear that the Navy needed a new class of small, fast, agile, shallow-draft ships designed to operate in congested near-shore regions. The Navy announced it would meet that need by building a new generation of ships and thus, the LCS class was born.

USS Independence (LCS 2)

USS Independence (LCS 2)

The LCS type consists of two variants; the Freedom variant is a steel semi-planing monohull ship that is designated with odd-numbered hulls and the Independence variant is an aluminum stabilized slender trimaran ship that is designated with even-numbered hulls. [See graphic].

These small, fast, reconfigurable, and agile ships are designed as focused-mission, modular platforms able to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft, like small boats, found in littoral areas.

While LCSs are smaller than frigates, they’re larger and more potential capabilities than Coastal Patrol Ships or Mine Countermeasure Ships. In fact, the Freedom variant is just 387.6 feet long with a draft of 14.graphic picture of the rescue scene1 feet and are capable of speeds of over 40 knots, while the Independent variant is just as fast at 418.6 feet long with a 14.4 foot draft. Their shallow draft means they can access more ports and waters than any other combatant, and their speed makes them capable of quick positioning in any theater. They’re perfect for building and strengthening maritime partnerships by training and operating with smaller, regional navies, as well as entering previously inaccessible, shallow-water foreign ports. That also means operational commanders will have an ideal asset available for Theater Security Cooperation tasking, freeing up large surface combatants to carry out other missions.

Since LCSs are meant to project a forward presence, half of the LCS fleet will be deployed at all times. This is possible through the 3:2:1 concept: there are 3 rotating crews, 2 rotating ships, and 1 ship deployed at all times. The 3:2:1 concept provides twice the forward presence over other surface combatants. LCSs also have the ability to deploy independently as theater-based ships, capable of changing primary missions through modular mission packages.

Currently, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) is on a 16-month deployment and has already seen three crew rotations.

Join us again next week as we look at the various mission packages the LCS can support and find out more about its missions.


130222-N-DR144-174 PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 22, 2013) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is underway conducting sea trials off the coast of Southern California. Freedom, the lead ship of the Freedom variant of LCS, is expected to deploy to Southeast Asia this spring. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Evans/Released)

130718-N-NI474-063PACIFIC OCEAN (July 18, 2013) The littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) demonstrates its maneuvering capabilities in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel M. Young/Released)

August 4, 2015 / iDriveWarships

Share Responsibility, Share Peace

060618-N-7597G-031 PACIFIC OCEAN, (June 18, 2006) – USS Cowpens (CG 63) (foreground) is followed by USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) and USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) during a photo exercise to kick off Exercise Valiant Shield 2006.The Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is currently participating in Valiant Shield 2006, the largest joint exercise in recent exercise Valiant Shield.  Held in the Guam operating area June 19-23, the exercise involves 28 Naval vessels including three carrier strike groups.  Nearly 300 aircraft and approximately 22,000 service members from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are also participating in the exercise.

If you have ever toured a U.S. Navy warship then you’ve been lucky enough to get an idea of the versatility, force and power these ships and their Sailors offer the country. They are a sovereign piece of America wherever they go and have the ability to be where it matters, when it matters. It has been said that with great power there must also come great responsibility. (This phrase will also sound familiar to you Spiderman fans out there).

The Navy undoubtedly has great power, but we – fortunately – are not alone in the great responsibility of keeping peace around the world. Through various exercises with countries around the world, our Navy works tirelessly with our allies to make our ties stronger and the world safer. Here are some of the major exercises that Surface Forces, Pacific Fleet ships participate in, along with an explanation of each exercise’s goal.

CARAT: Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) is an annual, nine-country bilateral naval exercise series between the U.S. Navy and Marines and militaries forces from Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Timor Leste. It’s designed to enhance maritime security skills and operational cohesiveness among participating forces. Vietnam participates in a CARAT-like exchange event called Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) Vietnam. . CARAT 2015 spans from Feb. 1 to Nov. 10.

Talisman Sabre: Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 is a biennial training activity aimed at improving and maintaining a high-level of Australian and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability. Talisman Sabre is a U.S. and Australian-led Combined Task Force operation preparing our militaries for crisis action planning and execution of contingency operations. This year’s exercise included participation by more than 33,000 U.S. and Australian personnel, along with 21 ships, three submarines, and more than 200 aircraft; other U.S. agencies that participated included the U.S. State Department, Justice Department, USDA, FBI, USAID and the American Red Cross. Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 lasted from July 4 until July 19.

Multi-Sail: Exercise Multi-Sail is an annual DESRON 15 led exercise that features U.S. assets and personnel, as well as ships and personnel from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. It’s designed to assess combat systems, improve teamwork and increase warfighting capabilities in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility, an area which encompasses more than 48 million square miles. Multi-Sail 2015 took place from March 22 to June 1.

Foal Eagle: Exercise Foal Eagle is a series of separate but inter-related joint and combined field training exercises conducted by Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea components spanning ground, air, naval, expeditionary, and special operations. The exercises includes both U.S. and Republic Of Korea forces. Exercise Foal Eagle 2015 began March 4 and lasted until March 15.

In addition to combat interoperability focused training, these exercises also often include events to practice interoperability and skills training in preparation for future humanitarian aid/disaster relief (HA-DR) responses in the region. Pacific Partnership is an annual, dedicated humanitarian and civic assistance mission designed to strengthen regional relationships and increase interoperability between the U.S., partner nations, and international humanitarian and relief organizations thus ensuring the international community is better prepared to work together as a coordinated HA-DR team. Pacific Partnership 2015 began in early June and will last about four months.

For more information check out this Surface Forces, Pacific Fleet training and initiatives page.


060618-N-7597G-031 PACIFIC OCEAN, (June 18, 2006) – USS Cowpens (CG 63) (foreground) is followed by USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) and USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) during a photo exercise to kick off Exercise Valiant Shield 2006.The Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is currently participating in Valiant Shield 2006, the largest joint exercise in recent exercise Valiant Shield.  Held in the Guam operating area June 19-23, the exercise involves 28 Naval vessels including three carrier strike groups.  Nearly 300 aircraft and approximately 22,000 service members from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are also participating in the exercise.PACIFIC OCEAN, (June 18, 2006) – USS Cowpens (CG 63) (foreground) is followed by USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) and USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) during a photo exercise to kick off Exercise Valiant Shield 2006. The Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is currently participating in Valiant Shield 2006, the largest joint exercise in recent exercise Valiant Shield. Held in the Guam operating area June 19-23, the exercise involves 28 Naval vessels including three carrier strike groups. Nearly 300 aircraft and approximately 22,000 service members from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are also participating in the exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Nicholas A. Galladora/Released)

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