Category Archives: Navy

2.0

Posted by lex, on January 11th, 2012

Two carriers for CENTCOM:

The U.S. military said on Wednesday that a new aircraft carrier strike group had arrived in the Arabian Sea and that another was on its way to the region, but denied any link to recent tensions with Iran and portrayed the movements as routine.

The shift in the powerful U.S. naval assets comes at a moment of heightened tensions with Iran, which has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz – the world’s most important oil shipping lane – if U.S. and EU sanctions over its nuclear program cut off its oil exports.

The U.S. military has said it will halt any blockade of the strategic strait and the top U.S. naval officer acknowledged on Tuesday that preparing for a potential conflict there was something that “keeps me awake at night.”

Still, the Pentagon denied any direct link between recent tensions and the movement of aircraft carriers.

Vinson replaces Stennis, and Lincoln – another PACFLEET carrier – is on its way west through the Indian Ocean. Vinson deployed in November of last year, and Lincoln – which deployed for a round-the-world cruise in December of 2011 in order to make a scheduled overhaul in Newport News, VA this August. A peacetime, rotational presence, no doubt. Fortunate happenstance. Luck o’ the draw.

Still, that’s an awful lot of firepower.

And Stennis isn’t home yet.

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Totality of Service

Posted By lex, on January 9th, 2012

And an honorable discharge:

Capt. Holly Graf, relieved as commanding officer of the cruiser Cowpens in January 2010 for cruelty, will retire with an honorable characterization of her service this year, overturning the recommendation of her board of inquiry, the Navy said in a statement released late on Friday.

The determination was made by Juan Garcia, assistant Navy secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, after he took into account her 26 years of service.

“Ultimately, Capt. Graf’s conduct fell short of that expected of our commanding officers,” Garcia said in the statement. “As a result, her non-judicial punishment, early transfer from command and early retirement are warranted. However, I have also determined that her conduct did not rise to a level sufficient to warrant the characterization of her service as less than honorable, especially when weighed against the totality of her service to the Navy.”

The three-member board of inquiry recommended in December 2010 that Graf retire with general conduct, the category below honorable.

Well, it isn’t like she killed anybody. That we know of.

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Sang Froid

Posted by lex, on January 5th, 2012

How did Stennis Strike Group respond to the saber rattling of the Iranian general staff?

They didn’t:

If Iran’s warning on Tuesday to this American aircraft carrier was intended to disrupt the ship’s routine or provoke a high-seas reaction, nothing of the sort was evident on Wednesday.

Steaming in international waters over the horizon from the Iranian fleet, the John C. Stennis spent the day and the early hours of the night launching and recovering aircraft for its latest mission — supporting ground troops in Afghanistan. All visible indications were that the carrier’s crew was keeping to its scheduled work, regardless of any political or diplomatic fallout from Iran’s warnings.

“It is business as usual here,” said Rear Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of the carrier strike group, as he watched a large-screen radar image showing the nearby sea and sky cluttered with commercial traffic.

The screen also showed Navy jets flying back and forth in a narrow air corridor to Afghanistan, known as “the boulevard.”

The day’s sorties, not the words of Iran, commanded attention here throughout the afternoon and evening. Returning pilots discussed low-elevation passes to suppress Taliban fighters near an Italian patrol in Farah Province and to help British troops under fire in Helmand Province. The subject of Iran barely came up in the briefings and meetings…

As they planned the next day’s missions even as the last aircraft returned to the ship, Admiral Faller and his officers and crew had no comment about the general’s threat.

They referred to what had been said already in Washington: that United States ships sailed lawfully in international waters, and that they would not tolerate any effort by Iran or any other nation to close the Strait of Hormuz.

As for that, they said, everything was normal in the strait that day. “We get all the news,” Admiral Faller said. “We get CNN. We get Fox. We have access to the Internet, and we are voracious consumers of information. We saw those statements. But we also watch the sea.”

All of it.

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 2nd Class Ashawn Robertson walks catapult four checking for any foreign object damage prior to flight operations.

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Unsung Heroes

Posted by lex, on January 5th, 2012

Admiration and respect are often given to the dog soldiers and grunt Marines, whose lives in combat theaters are often characterized by hours of boredom marked with moments of terror. We hold our special forces operators in a kind of awe, for the training they undergo even before they are inserted into hostile situations where speed and stealth – two often contradictory attributes – ensure their lethality and survival.

The folks I think deserve more recognition and honor than they often receive however, are the Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians. When they get the call, they go in almost certain that every ounce of their personal courage will be required to perform a task that requires utmost precision in accordance with their rigorous training.

And even then, things can go wrong:

When Navy bomb disposal technician Chad Regelin was named 2011 USO sailor of the year, he couldn’t make it to the October gala in Washington, D.C.

He was in Afghanistan, standing in for a wounded bomb technician.

That job took his life Monday. Regelin, a 24-year-old sailor assigned to a San Diego unit, was killed during combat operations with a Marine Corps special operations company in Helmand province, Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced.

His brother Ryan said the sailor was on foot patrol when an explosion occurred. Regelin went to check it out and a second bomb, detonated via a wire, went off…

Regelin was nominated for the USO award — which goes to a junior enlisted person for a specific act of bravery in the prior calendar year — for an earlier Afghanistan tour, from August 2010 to March 2011.

During that deployment, Regelin personally found and destroyed 24 roadside explosives, trained 13 people in bomb detection and took part in 20 firefights.

During a two-day stretch of intense fighting, the sailor stayed calm as the enemy attacked while he was in the process of disarming a 60-pound bomb. His cool head helped save the 10-person unit that he was leading.

The Navy nominated Regelin, a petty officer 1st class stationed at San Diego Naval Base, for the Bronze Star with V for the incident. The sailor’s commander called Regelin a star.

Ave atque vale, frater.

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LCS to Changi?

By lex, on November 21st, 2011

Yawn:

If China is unhappy with the Obama administration’s decision to send a handful of Marines to northern Australia, wait until the U.S. Navy starts basing warships in Singapore, on the edge of the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

The United States and Singapore are in the final negotiating stages of an agreement to base some of the U.S. Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ships at the Changi Naval Base. Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced in June that a deal was near to deploy the ships to Singapore, and a Pentagon spokesman said this week that officials “remain excited about this opportunity.”

The initial announcement barely caused a ripple compared with the stir caused by President Obama’s declaration Wednesday that he would permanently station a small number of Marines in Australia.

The former involves 250 to 2,500 Marines deployed roughly 2,500 miles from China. The latter is significantly closer — and is sure to be viewed as more threatening by Beijing.

Littoral Combat Ships are among the most modern in the Navy’s fleet and can be outfitted for a variety of missions, from anti-piracy to submarine tracking and special operations. They’re designed to operate in shallow coastal waters and travel at a top speed of more than 40 knots.

Well. If China gets its back up about Littoral Combat Ships based at Changi, they’re only looking for a reason to be provoked. They’re “modern” if by modern you mean “new”, but in terms of capability, meh. More in the nature of a European-style corvette than a proper warship, and I’m pretty sure that we’re passed the days of “gunboat diplomacy”, especially with regards to the PRC. Still, you’ve got to base them somewhere I suppose, and having an LCS fleet in the home waters does seem rather continental navy, doesn’t it?

No threat to the PRC at all, really. Might be useful for anti-piracy ops if the Straits of Malacca go pear-shaped, but apart from that not so much. Racing around within the politically sensitive Spratlys or Paracels at 40 knots? For ten minutes, maybe. Then it’s back to the barn, and no real harm done.

But Boat Quay is a great place for liberty visits.

So there’s that.

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Arma Virumque Cano

Posted By lex, on August 14th, 2011

Sometimes we ask ourselves, “Where do we get such men?”

Here. We get them here.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Navy, Neptunus Lex, SEALs

Star Chamber

Posted By lex, on August 10th, 2011

Navy Captain Owen P. Honors fought for his country. Now he’s fighting for his career:

At issue is whether Honors should be administratively discharged from the Navy. He was fired as commanding officer of the Norfolk-based carrier Enterprise in January, after videos he made during his tenure as executive officer became public.

Honors has argued that the videos, which he broadcast for the ship’s crew, helped to boost morale. Among other things, they contained anti-gay jokes, shots of a subordinate dressed in drag, and scenes of sailors pretending to shower together, masturbate and perform rectal exams on each other.

The panel of admirals is tasked with determining whether Honors engaged in misconduct or substandard performance. It will make a recommendation as to whether Honors should stay in the Navy. If the panel recommends discharge, its members will also issue an opinion on whether Honors’ retirement pay grade should be reduced.

Final decisions will be made by the secretary of the Navy.

Captain Holly Graf, relieved from command of USS Cowpens for abusive behavior but permitted to retire in grade with a general discharge, could not be reached for comment.

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Foul Deck

By lex, on April 15th, 2011

Some pretty solid work here by the Crash and Smash/V-1 crew aboard CARL VINSON.

Accompanying the Navy-released video:

An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 experienced an engine fire following a touch-and-go landing aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) April 11. The pilot was able to execute a single-engine approach and land on board. Upon landing, the aircraft fuselage became engulfed in flames. Carl Vinson’s Crash and Salvage team, assigned to Air Department’s V-1 Division, responded immediately with the P-25 mobile fire fighting vehicle along with the flight deck emergency hose team. The aircraft fire was extinguished using aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), and the pilot exited the plane uninjured. No flight deck personnel were injured in the mishap.

An awful lot of training goes into developing this kind of teamwork. All of it time wasted until the moment that it isn’t.

You’ll note that the first responders used high pressure water to beat the flames back away from the cockpit and fuel tanks, while the hose runners used AFFF to suffocate the fuel-fed fire.

“Relieve the nozzle man!”

Good times.

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French Liberty

By lex, on April 15th, 2011

Not all that, aboard the FN Charles de Gaulle *:

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Sign of the Times

Posted By lex, on March 9th, 2011

The Naval Academy is changing its core curriculum to include two courses on cyber security. These are the first major changes to the curriculum in ten years:

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