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Issue/Date 20121126

AMERICAN SUBMARINERS

U. S. SUBMARINE VETERANS BREMERTON BASE

P O. Box 465, Silverdale, WA 98383-0465

Updated:  Saturday, 08 December 2012 10:09

Gertrude Check: Before political correctness, a  universal navy term for requesting an underwater telephone check with another boat or skimmer

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U.S.-China joint exercise wraps up

Seabee commander fired; 25th CO sacked in 2012

New Era Of Sub Training Ahead With Opening Of Groton Facility

Navy fires grad school president and provost

Female military members sue to serve in combat

New calls for cuts: Careers, personnel

Defence Chief Liang Guanglie In Talks With U.S. Navy Boss

7th Fleet liberty rules tightened for sailors

New Russian Sub Successfully Fires First Cruise Missile

Navy to stop training military dolphins in San Diego

First jet lands on Chinese aircraft carrier

Petition asks Obama to OK hands in pockets

Drone Sub-Hunter to Patrol Seas

New Era Of Sub Training Ahead With Opening Of Groton Facility

USS Hawaii Returns to Pearl Harbor

See photos of events and sacrifices that paved the way for us to thrive

Two skippers fired for alleged misconduct

Obama sends Clinton to Mideast amid Gaza crisis

Submarine brings war to Canadian shores

CNO Greenert: 'We're Not Downsizing, We're Growing' - Especially In Pacific

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus Names the Next Virginia-Class Submarine USS Delaware with Dr. Jill Biden as the Sponsor

In Petraeus case, FBI detoured from usual path

Greeneville visits Singapore during Western Pacific Deployment

Above are quick links to stuff you may be interested in!

Latest on submarine, navy and other military news

U.S.-China joint exercise wraps up
By Christopher Bodeen - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Nov 30, 2012 7:05:59 EST

CHENGDU, China — The U.S. and Chinese militaries on Friday wrapped up a modest disaster-relief exercise hailed as a tentative trust-building step amid growing suspicions between the Asia-Pacific region’s largest armed forces.

While not a full-fledged operation, the two-day exercise at People’s Liberation Army barracks outside the city of Chengdu consisted of U.S. and Chinese officers sitting around a table facing a flat-panel video screen and discussing how they would respond to an earthquake in a fictional third country.

Though this was the eighth meeting to discuss disaster relief, it was the first time both sides discussed a joint response to a simulated disaster. The leading officers called that a step forward in building familiarity and trust.
Read All  (sound more like diversity training/GCed)   ^

 

Seabee commander fired; 25th CO sacked in 2012
By Sam Fellman - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Nov 29, 2012 21:03:47 EST


The Navy fired the commanding officer of a Jacksonville, Fla.-based Seabee reserve battalion due to “mismanagement and major program deficiencies,” Navy Expeditionary Combat Command said Wednesday.

Capt. Sean McDonell, commander of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14, was fired by Capt. Roger Motzko, commodore of the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment, because of “his loss of confidence in McDonell’s ability to command,” the NECC news release said.

The nature of the mismanagement was not immediately clear.

McDonell, a Marquette University alum, is a Seabee reservist who was first commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He joined the Reserve in 1996, according to his official bio. During his career, he has served in a variety of Seabee billets and earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, four Navy Achievement Medals and various campaign awards.

He deployed for nine months in 2007 to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, as the camp engineer. He later served as the operations officer for 3rd NCR while it readied for a 2010 deployment.

The next CO, Cmdr. Mark Williams, is slated to take charge next summer, according to the release. In the meantime, 3rd NCR operations officer Cmdr. Todd Smith, who has commanded a Seabee battalion, has been named commander.

“Smith is familiar with the operations of an NMCB, as well as the needs of the command its sailors,” NECC said. 
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New Era Of Sub Training Ahead With Opening Of Groton Facility
By Jennifer McDermott, The Day, Nov 29, 2012

Groton - From his post at the top of the submarine's sail, Lt. Andrew Pyle looked out Wednesday at the buoys that mark the entrance to New London Harbor. He saw New London Ledge Light to his right.


Sailboats darted in front of the submarine, and Pyle had to react. It began to snow, and the sea grew rougher.


But Pyle was not in a submarine returning to the Naval Submarine Base. He was in a building at the Naval Submarine School.


The school now has a full-size replica of a submarine bridge so officers can train to stand at the top of the sail and navigate during the transit in and out of ports.


The trainer can simulate U.S. ports and foreign ports where submarines are likely to stop during a deployment. If the submarine was supposed to be in the Gulf, Pyle would have seen traditional sailing vessels, or dhows.


A prototype is at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I. This is the first in the fleet; a ribbon-cutting will be held Friday.


On Wednesday, students in the Submarine Officer Advanced Course practiced pulling into Groton.


The trainer is inside a dome where fans mimic the wind and 16 projectors produce a 360-degree image of the world's harbors and oceans. The students use binoculars to zoom in on the image.


The trainer doesn't move, but the rolling waves are so realistic that even experienced submariners sometimes feel a little queasy.


Pyle said he's not prone to seasickness, but he holds onto the railings even though he knows there's no need to. He's getting ready for his next assignment on the blue crew of the USS Wyoming. After more than two years at an assignment on shore in Naples, Italy, Pyle said he needed to hone his skills.


"Being able to do this over and over boosts my confidence about going back to sea and stepping into a position where I'll have more responsibility," he said.


In another room that was set up like the control room of a submarine, the rest of the students gathered data, looked at charts and performed the jobs that any piloting team would be doing in a control room when pulling into port.


Lt. Cmdr. Angel Rodriguez, the course director, said the instructors do try to surprise the students with unexpected problems to see how they react. There could be a man overboard or malfunctioning navigation equipment.


"It's not a gloom-and-doom scenario, but close to it," he said. "We want to build their confidence that they don't need computers. They can look at raw data to safely navigate the ship. We prove that by taking away a lot of their equipment."


Most of the time, submariners are submerged, so there aren't a lot of opportunities to handle the ship on the surface, Rodriguez said. And, he said, the "seas are getting more congested, so it's more incumbent on us to make sure we're proficient on the surface."


Students used to train by looking at the ocean through a headset. Now, they can manipulate the equipment and an entire team can work together on the bridge, Rodriguez said. When they graduate in March, these students will become navigators, weapons officers and engineers on submarines.


Lt. Will Villarreal, a student, said the training is the best he has ever had. He said "submarining is a perishable skill" and the school is where "the growing pains happen."
"It is stressful," Villarreal said. "But we learn how to function under that stress because, quite literally, we're going to be in the same boat as everyone we're supposed to be keeping safe."


The USS Hartford collided with a Navy amphibious ship in the Strait of Hormuz in 2009, and the Navy paid about $120 million to repair the Los Angeles-class submarine.
The Navy bought the equipment for the school's trainer while the state, through the unique partnership it has with the Navy to upgrade the base, paid for the addition to Nimitz Hall to house the trainer. The state legislature authorized $40 million in 2007 to strengthen the base's military value in order to guarantee its future.


Before the ribbon-cutting, there will be a brief ceremony to transfer money from the state to Groton and Ledyard. The towns will buy land around the base to prevent development from encroaching on base operations. 
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Navy fires grad school president and provost
By Sam Fellman - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 18:51:23 EST


The Navy fired the head of the Naval Postgraduate School and his deputy after a year-long investigation found financial mismanagement at the Monterey, Calif.-based graduate school.

Retired Vice Adm. Daniel Oliver, the first civilian president in the school’s 61 year history, was ejected along with provost Leonard Ferrari by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the Navy said in a statement Tuesday.

“Navy inspection and investigations into management practices at the prestigious school determined that the school’s leadership fostered an ‘atmosphere of defiance of statutory requirements and Department of the Navy rules and regulations,’” the statement said.

The Naval Inspector General found Oliver failed to follow standard hiring procedures and that both leaders had “inappropriately accepted gifts” from an independent private foundation, the statement said, noting that the school’s leadership consistently brushed aside expert advice, including from their attorneys. Read Al
l   ^

 

Female military members sue to serve in combat
B
y Paul Elias - The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 16:38:52 EST


SAN FRANCISCO — Four female service members filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the Pentagon's ban on women serving in combat, hoping the move will add pressure to drop the policy just as officials are gauging the effect that lifting the prohibition will have on morale.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, is the second one this year over the 1994 rule that bars women from being assigned to ground combat units, which are smaller and considered more dangerous since they are often in battle for longer periods.

The legal effort comes less than a year after the ban on gays serving openly was lifted and as officials are surveying Marines about whether women would be a distraction in ground combat units.

"I'm trying to get rid of the ban with a sharp poke," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hunt, who was among the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit and was injured in 2007 when her Humvee ran over an improvised explosive device in Iraq.

Hunt and the other three women said the policy unfairly blocks them from promotions and other advancements open to men in combat. Three of the women are in the reserves. A fourth, Marine Corp Lt. Colleen Farrell, leaves active duty this week.
Read All  ^

New calls for cuts: Careers, personnel
Reports recommend major force changes, combining training, closing health facilities

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Nov 28, 2012 9:12:52 EST


As the wagons circle the defense budget, it’s becoming clear that more than just pay and health care are at risk of being cut in the name of deficit reduction. Career-changing cuts in the active-duty force, scaled-back community and family . . .

Want to read more?  Pay  
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Defence Chief Liang Guanglie In Talks With U.S. Navy Boss
South China Morning Post, Nov. 28

Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie said yesterday that China's military build-up poses no threat to the world and called for closer military co-operation with Washington as he had talks with U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.


The talks, in which both sides discussed maritime security and Washington's move to bolster its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, came on the heels of Beijing's leadership change and successful landing tests on the country's first aircraft carrier.


The sensitive timing of the talks indicated that both militaries wanted to cement bilateral ties, which have been strained by Washington's involvement in territorial disputes between the mainland and its neighbours.


Some in the region have expressed concern about Beijing's double-digit increases in defence spending. "The Chinese military must develop, but there's no 'worry' or 'fear' as the outside world says," Liang said on the sidelines of the meeting.


Beijing has expressed frustrations over Washington's "pivot" to Asia, saying the strategy would create a disturbance in the region.


Beijing has also told Washington not to get involved in territorial disputes between China and its neighbours. However, Liang told Mabus that a "new type of military ties between two big nations" should be established, according to a report by Xinhua.


"The two militaries should seek co-operation in areas that [they] have common interest, but contain areas that have disputes and conflicts," he said.


For his part, Mabus said the U.S. Navy would continue to co-operate with China in areas such as anti-piracy patrols. He said the U.S. is committed to developing a partnership with China.


During his four-day stay, Mabus will travel to Ningbo, Zhejiang province, to visit a new frigate and a conventionally powered submarine.


Military analysts said the visit by Mabus indicated that neither side wanted territorial disputes and the desire to achieve a dominant position in the region would hamper ties between the two countries.


"It shows that the two militaries can still engage themselves in talks," said Antony Wong Dong, president of the Macau-based International Military Association.


"Beijing apparently believes that improving military ties with the U.S. is a tactic to prevent Washington from meddling too much into Asia," he said.


Ni Lexiong, director of a defence policy research institute at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said Beijing believes Washington "has not gone too far" in backing Japan, even though it has said that disputed East China Sea islands were covered by its security treaty with Tokyo.


"Both countries want to keep the territorial disputes in the region from escalating," he said.   ^
 

7th Fleet liberty rules tightened for sailors
By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer, Navy Times
Posted : Monday Nov 26, 2012 14:32:50 EST

SAN DIEGO — Top Navy commanders ordered all personnel to remain in their bases and government quarters at night in Japan — where an 11 p.m. curfew is in place — and barred them from consuming alcohol after 10 p.m. following another spate of embarrassing incidents, mostly involving drunken service members.

Vice Adm. Scott Swift, the 7th Fleet commander, and Rear Adm. Dan Cloyd, who commands Naval Forces Japan, both based in Yokosuka, imposed the restrictions over the weekend in an all-hands message that said commanders will be held accountable if the misbehavior continues.

Under the rules, sailors on leave or traveling “must be in a hotel that is pre-approved by their chain of command,” they wrote.

The rules are even stricter for any sailor with a liberty infraction in the past year: Those sailors now have no liberty at all and will be restricted to their ship or base when they aren’t working.

“Every liberty incident since the curfew went into effect has involved misuse of alcohol and most have included sailors with a past pattern of known alcohol misuse — treated or not,” Swift and Cloyd wrote in the message, the second such joint message on liberty restrictions in a month.

The liberty restrictions they ordered apply to any personnel stationed, deployed or traveling through Japan with units and commanders under 7th Fleet or Naval Forces Japan. That includes transiting ships, submarines and squadrons. It’s unclear whether other services have imposed similar rules, although earlier restrictions ordered by U.S. Forces Japan officials in Tokyo apply to all service members in the country.

The message orders every unit commander to scrub the liberty given to their “at-risk” sailors and review the liberty status of the rest of their personnel, adjusting those “as needed” by today. These issues likely will be addressed during a “personal behavior summit” scheduled for Saturday, according to the message.  Read All  
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New Russian Sub Successfully Fires First Cruise Missile
Defenseworld.net, Nov. 26

Russia's latest submarine, the Project 855 Severodvinsk, has successfully fired its first cruise missile at a land target during sea trials, according to local media reports.


"The multi-role nuclear-powered submarine Severodvinsk fired a supersonic cruise missile at a land target for the first time during sea trials in the White Sea. The target was successfully destroyed," a shipyard official was quoted as saying.


"This is of course a big achievement for the shipyard and United Shipbuilding as a whole. Manufacturers' trials are drawing to a close and the boat will soon start state acceptance trials," he said.


The Severodvinsk can carry a crew of 90 including 32 officers and has a submerged displacement of 13,800 tons, length of 119 meters, speed of 31 knots, and can dive to 600 meters.


Its main armament consists of 3M55 Oniks (SS-N-26) and 3M54 (SS-N-27) Kalibr cruise missiles and conventional torpedos, rocket-torpedos and mines. 
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Navy to stop training military dolphins in San Diego
Utsandiego.com, Nov. 24

The Navy plans to shut down a program it has long run at Point Loma to train dolphins to detect underwater mines and keep enemy swimmers away from warships, mainly because the mammals are no longer needed.


The effort to identify such threats is "moving forward on newer, high-tech anti-mine capabilities," said Lt. Commander Chris Servello, a spokesman for the Navy.
The program will be closed within the next five years, but the Navy will continue to care for the roughly 24 bottlenose dolphins that are part of the Navy Marine Mammal Program.


The Navy's decision was first reported Nov. 19 on NavyTimes.com, and was confirmed Saturday by Servello.


The Navy formally began using dolphins in 1960, studying the animal's sonar and deep-diving physiology. Researchers believed that such studies could lead to improvements in the design of torpedoes and other underwater weapons. The Navy also saw the potential of using dolphins to detect and mark mines and watch for human swimmers who might try to attack warships. The program was initially centered at Point Mugu, but was moved to Point Loma in 1967.


An official Navy history of the program says, "Dolphins are used for these tasks because their extraordinary natural biological sonar capabilities enable them to find objects in waters where hardware sonars do not work well due to poor acoustic environmental conditions. The swimmer defense system was deployed to Vietnam in 1970-71 and to the Persian Gulf in 1987-88."


Military dolphins also were used during the Iraq war in 2003. The Humane Society of the United States said at the time that it opposed the use of marine mammals by the military but that it would not second guess the Navy during a period of conflict.


Mine-detection equipment and systems have become steadily better in recent years. As Defense News pointed out recently, some U.S. ships, including mine-sweepers from San Diego, are replacing older detection equipment with the more sophisticated SeaFox mine neutralization system. The Navy also is increasing its use of the Mark 18 Mod 2 Kingfish, an unmanned underwater vehicle that's currently being operated in the Persian Gulf.   
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First jet lands on Chinese aircraft carrier
The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Nov 25, 2012 12:11:23 EST

BEIJING — China has successfully landed a fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, which entered service two months ago, the country’s official news agency confirmed Sunday.

The Liaoning aircraft carrier underscores China’s ambitions to be a leading Asian naval power, but it is not expected to carry a full complement of planes or be ready for combat for some time.

Xinhua News Agency said the landing exercise marked the debut of the J-15 fighter jet, a carrier-based fighter-bomber developed by China from Russia’s Sukhoi Su-33.


Read All
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Petition asks Obama to OK hands in pockets 
Posted : Sunday Nov 25, 2012 10:23:06 EST


Troops are petitioning the White House to lift the services’ bans on hands in pockets — and if enough people sign it, your commander in chief could respond. The matter isn’t just about comfort, but also safety, the petition states. . . .  (wtf/GCed)  
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Want to read more?
  Pay & Read

 

Drone Sub-Hunter to Patrol Seas
Even without a captain at the helm, the Pentagon hopes this drone will chase down enemy subs.
By Eric Niiler, news.discovery.com, Nov 20, 2012

Anti-submarine warfare has long been accomplished by steely-eyed captains who search the oceans before dropping countermeasures like depth charges or shipboard torpedoes to knock out enemy subs. The job requires skill and experience, plus the latest in sonar and radar technology.


But now the Pentagon wants to build a drone sub-hunter that can chase enemy craft for up to two months at a time without any human operator at the helm.
Instead of being launched at sea, as smaller ocean-going drones are at present, the "Continuous Trail Autonomous Vessel" will leave its berth, patrol along the U.S. coastline and then chase enemy subs until they leave. The only time a human will be involved is navigating the robot ship in and out of crowded harbors.


The drone will not be armed, nor will it hide from its opponent.


"The challenge is to create a planning system that is able to track the submarines and at the same time to avoid surface traffic in a way that confirms to the rules of the road," said John Dolan, principal systems scientist at the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University, which is working with the Virginia-based contractor SAIC on the $58 million, three-year contract.


Dolan said CMU roboticists will be trying to build something new, a vessel that "doesn't give up" no matter what kind of weather conditions it faces at sea or how its prey is behaving.


"This thing has to be out on its own for a long period of time without human intervention," Dolan said. "Even if the unforeseen happens."


The exact specifications of the DARPA project are not known, such as length or power supply. CMU scientists are working on the autonomy and control systems, while SAIC is building the platform. The vessel has to be able to navigate the ocean while pursuing a submarine, and sending back updates to naval commanders back home or nearby.


The reasoning behind building such a ship is simple, according to one naval expert: money.


"For any nation, building a warship is among the most expensive capital things you can do," said Cmdr. Bill Sommer, program officer for undersea warfare at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.


Sommer said the size of the naval fleet is shrinking over time, while each ship has to do more at at sea.


"That's why we need autonomy," Sommer said. "We've got to have more ears and cover the ground reliably."


For engineers building drones, whether on land, in the air or at sea, one of the biggest problems to overcome is the so-called "sense-and-avoid" issue, or building a system that can detect other vessels or airplanes and move away.


Right now, for example, federal aviation authorities won't let drone aircraft fly over U.S. airspace, with a few exceptions.


International maritime laws say that each ship, whether it's supertanker, fishing boat or pleasure craft, must be able to "maintain an adequate watch," according to Sommer, and be able to avoid a collision. How that watch will be maintained with a robot ship is yet to be determined.


Once it is up and running, the robot ship will be able to sail for up to 80 days and travel 6,200 kilometers (3,852 miles) without refueling, according to DARPA documents.
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Crew Split, Assumption of Command Mark Pennsylvania's Return to Bangor
By Lt. Ed Early, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs, Nov 19, 2012

BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) celebrated the latest milestone in its return to service with a crew split and assumption of command ceremony Nov. 17 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor's Delta Pier.


Cmdr. Gustavo Gutierrez, who served as commanding officer of Pennsylvania's combined "Green Crew" throughout the majority of its engineered refueling overhaul (ERO), assumed command of the boat's Blue Crew, while Cmdr. Tiger Pittman took over as commanding officer of the Gold Crew.


During the brief ceremony, Pennsylvania also shifted its reporting command from Submarine Squadron 19, commanded by Capt. Jerry Logan, to Submarine Squadron 17, commanded by Capt. John Tolliver.


"These months were full of challenges and obstacles, but they also saw a great deal of dedicated work by the crew," said Gutierrez, who assumed command of Pennsylvania in September 2010. "My intent today is to recognize those who made it happen."


In August, Pennsylvania completed its 32-month ERO at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. The overhaul, which began in December 2009 and included upgrades to numerous systems, is expected to extend Pennsylvania's service life for another 20 years.


After successfully completing sea trials, Pennsylvania returned to Bangor Sept. 19, marking the submarine's first appearance in its homeport in nearly three years.
"You're ready to go, your ship's ready to go," said Rear Adm. Bob Hennegan, commander of Submarine Group 9, to Pennsylvania's newly split Blue and Gold crews. "And I want you to know that we're all tremendously proud of you."


Gutierrez credited his combined crew for their efforts in getting Pennsylvania underway once again.
"It is through their efforts and the support of their families that we made it through the ERO and have had the most successful post-ERO return to operations to date," he said.


In addition, Pennsylvania's Sailors remained motivated while in the shipyard, capturing the Fiscal Year 2010 Afloat Safety Award and receiving back-to-back U.S. Pacific Fleet Retention Excellence Awards for 2010 and 2011. Pennsylvania reenlisted 77 Sailors during its ERO, totaling more than 400 years and $3 million in bonuses; in one day, the boat reenlisted 18 Sailors for a total of $880,000 in bonuses.


Pittman joins Pennsylvania from the staff of Navy Recruiting Command in Millington, Tenn., where he was Director of Nuclear and Submarine Programs. His previous assignments include a tour as executive officer of the fast-attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758).


Gutierrez reminded both crews of the tasks still awaiting Pennsylvania as it prepares to return to strategic service - including a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) required to certify the weapons system and commence strategic missions.


"We can't rest on our laurels, as the work is not done," he said. "The road ahead remains extremely challenging. We must continue to focus on what has made us successful as we look to the future."  
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USS Hawaii Returns to Pearl Harbor
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor, COMSUBPAC Public Affairs

(PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii) - Friends and families of the crew from the USS Hawaii (SSN 776) gathered at the submarine piers to welcome back the Virginia-class submarine as she returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific region, Nov. 20.


"It was an honor and privilege to sail with these warriors, ambassadors and Sailors, taking the war canoe on her second Western Pacific deployment, "said Cmdr. Stephan G. Mack, USS Hawaii commanding officer. "We are very proud of them for their accomplishments."


During the deployment, Hawaii accomplished tasking in support of theatre and national interests and participated in two combined anti-submarine warfare exercises.
Hawaii also conducted several port visits that strengthened relationships with key regional allies, including Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines throughout her six months away from Pearl Harbor. While in the foreign ports, the crew experienced different cultures and participated in social events with their host ships.


Mack said the crew of 137 performed flawlessly in all respects in the six month deployment. They were also highly successful in the area of professional development with 24 Sailors having earned their submarine qualification or "Dolphins" and many returning to homeport advanced to the next higher pay grade.


"Deployment exposed all Hawaii Sailors to the dynamic operational environment of the Western Pacific, enabling all hands to achieve more senior qualification and gain valuable at sea experience," said Mack. "The experience we gained operating Hawaii for six months forward-deployed, away from shore-based support, demonstrates our capability for extended operations, our commitment to distant friends, and the flexibility, endurance, and mobility of these mighty warships."


For 57 of the 137 Sailors on board, this was their first deployment experience according to Mack. Sonar Technician Submarines Seaman Craig Parazak describes the deployment as eye opening and something that he has a new found respect for.


"It was the hardest work that I have ever had to do, but very rewarding," said Parazak.


Mack said the submarine's return home from deployment back to family and friends was made even better by their return to the beautiful island of Hawaii.
"There is nothing better than being on the Hawaii in Hawaii," said Mack.


Hawaii is the first commissioned vessel of its name. The submarine was named to recognize the tremendous support the Navy has enjoyed from the people and state of Hawaii, and in honor of the rich heritage of submarines in the Pacific. 
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See photos of events and sacrifices that paved the way for us to thrive.  Here ^

 

Two skippers fired for alleged misconduct
By Joshua Stewart - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Nov 19, 2012 15:52:05 EST

Two commanding officers have been fired for misconduct in unrelated incidents, the Navy announced Monday.

Capt. Ted Williams, CO of the amphibious command ship Mount Whitney, and Cmdr. Ray Hartman, CO of the amphibious dock-landing ship Fort McHenry, were both fired by 6th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Frank Pandolfe.

Williams was temporarily reassigned to 6th Fleet staff and Capt. Craig Clapperton took command of the Gaeta, Italy-based ship.

Hartman was sent to Destroyer Squadron 60 staff and Cmdr. Eric Kellum assumed command of the Little Creek, Va.-based LSD. Read all, downsizing from the top down 
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Obama sends Clinton to Mideast amid Gaza crisis
By Julie Pace - The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Nov 20, 2012 7:58:07 EST


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — President Obama dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Middle East on Tuesday as the U.S. urgently seeks to contain the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Clinton hastily departed for the region from Cambodia, where she had joined Obama for summit meetings with Asian leaders. The White House said she would make three stops, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Palestinian officials in Ramallah, in the West Bank, and Egyptian leaders in Cairo. Clinton was expected to arrive in Israel on Tuesday night and return to Washington late Wednesday or early Thursday after making all three stops.

Clinton’s trip marks the Obama administration’s most forceful engagement in the weeklong conflict that has killed more than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis, with hundreds more wounded. While the U.S. has backed Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket fire from Gaza, the Obama administration has warned its ally against pursuing a ground assault that would further escalate the violence and could dramatically increase casualties on both sides.  Read it all  
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Submarine brings war to Canadian shores
Cape Breton Post, Nov. 19

The German submarine that sank the Newfoundland ferry S.S. Caribou, on a dark October night back in 1942, was actually the first of a new class of U-boat that was designed to operate off the east coast of the United States and Canada. With its extended range of more than 8,000 miles, it could bring the European war to the shores of the New World, and it did.


Topics : Royal Navy , Cape Breton Post , Cape Breton , Kiel , Germany


U-69 was built in the city of Kiel, located at the northern tip of Germany on the Baltic Sea. Launched in October of 1940, she underwent extensive training exercises in the Baltic, before slipping into the Atlantic ocean in February of 1941. On her first patrol she sank three ships, and over the next two years would go on to sink 13 more, for a grand total of more than 70,000 tons of Allied shipping.


U-69, like the rest of her new class, was about 220 feet long and only 20 feet wide. She could travel at a speed of about 18 mph while on the surface, but was only capable of about seven or eight mph when submerged. She could safely dive to a depth of more than 700 feet, which would come in very handy when trying to evade depth charges. However, if for some reason she went below 800 feet, then the pressure of the water would crush her hull like an eggshell. She usually went to sea with a crew of 46 officers and men.


Although U-69 was a new class of submarine, designed to travel farther and stay at sea longer than the older subs, the comfort of the crew was not a top priority in the German submarine service. (The same was true in the Allied submarine forces.)


There were no showers or bathtubs, and only two tiny toilets, one of which often could not be used, as it became a storage space for extra food when leaving on a long patrol. During these patrols, which would often last three or four months, the crew could not wash, shave, or even change their clothes. (The men were, however, allowed one change of underwear and one change of socks.)


At the start of each patrol fresh food and vegetables were stuffed (literally) into every nook and cranny of the submarine. After little more than a week, however, what fresh food was left over would usually start to go bad. Then it was basically tinned rations for the rest of the trip. The crew also had to contend with the constant presence of noxious fumes from the diesel engines, or from the huge batteries which were used when travelling underwater.


When the Caribou was sunk by U-69, which was travelling on the surface, the naval escort HMCS Grandmere dropped three sets of depth charges over the spot where the submarine was last seen submerging in the darkness. However, under the command of Captain Ulrich Graf, the sub was successful in evading the underwater explosions, and later escaped into the open ocean. Three weeks later U-69 returned to its base at St. Nazaire in occupied France.


In early January, 1943, U-69 left for a combined patrol (wolf pack) in the middle of the North Atlantic. This time, however, her luck ran out, and she was depth charged off the east coast of Newfoundland by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Fame. Damaged and forced to the surface, the submarine that sank the Caribou was rammed by the escort vessel, and sank into the depths with the loss of all 46 officers and crew. 
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CNO Greenert: 'We're Not Downsizing, We're Growing' - Especially In Pacific
AOL Defense, Nov. 16


WASHINGTON -- Full speed ahead and damn the drawdown -- that's the confident note that the Navy's top admiral struck today.


"We're not downsizing, we're growing," declared Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations, at the National Press Club. "The ship count is going up and the number of people is going up."


Adding up new ships commissioned minus old ones retired, "we started the year at 285 ships and we've grown to 287 ships," Greenert said, and "we will grow the navy from roughly 287 today to 295 ships by 2020."


Caveat emptor, however: Those figures still fall well short of the 313 "battle force" ships the Navy has long said were necessary. (Adding to the ambiguity, what counts as a "battle force" ship has changed over the years). They also count on current budget plans coming to fruition -- including, for ships to be bought after 2017, the Navy's notoriously optimistic 30-year construction plan -- despite the political near-certainty that defense budgets will be cut further, either under sequestration, to which the Navy is especially vulnerable, or as part of a deal to avert it.


So while the CNO talked up long-term growth, he also admitted the Navy's near-term strains. "Optempo [operational tempo] has been a little higher than I expected at this time a year ago," he said. "We need to reconcile how we're going to continue to support that."


In particular, the Navy is assessing whether it needs to keep two aircraft carriers and their support ships in the Persian Gulf at all times -- an increasingly difficult task now that the 50-year-old USS Enterprise is about to retire while her replacement, the unfortunately named Gerald Ford, will not be commissioned until 2015.


"We need 11 carriers to do the job [worldwide]; we have ten carriers today," said Greenert. That mismatch requires longer deployments at sea -- at least seven months instead of the traditional six for the foreseeable future -- and a comprehensive reexamination of how the Navy can man, maintain, and station its warships most efficiently.
No wonder, then, that the CNO emphasized not just fleet size but a global reshuffling to meet the new Pacific-focused strategy: "It's not just the number of ships, it's the number of ships forward and what type."


Except for its aging Perry-class frigates, the last of which was commissioned in 1989, the post-Cold War Navy has invested heavily in small numbers of high-cost, high-performance, "multi-mission" ships, from carriers to Arleigh Burke destroyers, Virginia attack submarines, and various amphibious warfare ships to deploy Marines. In recent years, however, the Navy has begun building less expensive, more specialized ships again.


Most controversial is the LCS, the Littoral Combat Ship, which critics charge is too fragile for major wars and too short-ranged for trans-oceanic missions. But Greenert emphasized the LCS "will deploy and operate forward, and we'll rotate the crews" from bases in the United States while the ships themselves remain in friendly ports overseas, close to their intended areas of operation; the first experiment with this concept will come next year with LCS-1 Freedom in Singapore. "That'll free up some of our larger surface combats -- our destroyers -- to operate elsewhere."


Likewise, the LCS's smaller cousin, the Joint High-Speed Vessel (JHSV) has a helicopter pad and troop accommodations to take on missions in Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere for which the larger amphibious warfare ships are over-qualified, Greenert continued. Also taking on less-demanding missions will be the Afloat Forward Staging Base, converted from an obsolete amphib, and the Mobile Landing


Finally, the Navy is exploring new approaches to mine warfare in the Middle East, where anxieties run high that the Iranians will try to mine the Strait of Hormuz. (That China also has about 100,000 mines tends to get overlooked). While Greenert declined to predict what Iran would do, he reiterated he is "confident" the Navy can reopen the Strait as needed.


"We have made some great strides in countermine warfare over the last year," said the CNO, citing new investments in that traditionally neglected speciality, from remote-controlled mine-hunting "neutralizers" to a massive multi-national exercise in and around the Gulf. One thing the fleet's learned from these wargames is that "you don't need a mine countermeasures ship and a large helicopter drawing a sled to clear these things out," Greenert said. "Smaller ships [from foreign navies] can become very effective."
So where do all the big ships "freed up" by these expedients go? The Pacific.


"The Asia-Pacific has been a long-time focus for the U.S. Navy," Greenert emphasized.


"About half of what we deploy annually is in the Asia-Pacific and about half of those are homeported there," primarily in Japan. The Navy is now adjusting its West Coast:East Coast ratio of ships from the current 55:45 to a planned 60:40, and that Pacific 60% will include the Navy's most advanced and powerful vessels.
But, Greenert went on, "there's much more to this rebalance than ships." At the Navy War College, Navy research programs, and other intellectual centers that shape the future fleet, he said, "the benchmark will be what is needed in the Western Pacific."


In the near term, the Navy is also working ever more closely with both traditional allies in the Pacific -- like Korea and Japan -- and new partners -- like Vietnam, which he hopes to visit next year. (When pressed, the CNO also reiterated his support for the politically doomed Law of the Sea Treaty as a basis for regional cooperation).
That engagement, Greenert said, also has to include China. "We need to continue the dialogue and build upon the dialogue that we have today," he said, noting that a longstanding series of talks between U.S. Navy captains (grade O-6 in the military ranking scheme) and their Chinese PLA Navy counterparts has recently expanded to include some lower-ranking admirals (grade O-7 and up). He even put in a good word for Chinese naval forces that are operating against pirates in the Gulf of Aden, albeit outside the international counter-piracy coalition to which the U.S. belongs.


So while many Navy-boosters beat the drum loudly on the potential Chinese threat, the Chief of Naval Operations is clearly hoping to avoid a new Cold War in the optimistically named Pacific Ocean. 
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Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus Names the Next Virginia-Class Submarine USS Delaware with Dr. Jill Biden as the Sponsor
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Nov. 19

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today that the next Virginia-class attack submarine will be named the USS Delaware. Dr. Jill Biden will sponsor the USS Delaware. A longtime Delaware educator and military mom, Dr. Biden started Joining Forces with First Lady Michelle Obama to encourage all Americans to recognize, honor and support military families.


Mabus named the future USS Delaware in honor of the first state in the Union. The name honors the great contributions and support Delaware has given the military through the years and pays homage to the state’s more than two centuries of naval heritage.

 
“I chose the name Delaware to honor the long-standing relationship between the Navy and our nation’s first state,” said Mabus. “It has been too long since there has been a USS Delaware in the fleet and this submarine will remind future deployed service members and state residents of their strong ties and many shared values for decades to come.”


“As a proud military mom, and a proud Delawarean, I am honored to sponsor the USS Delaware,” said Dr. Biden. “Our men and women in uniform and their families represent the very best of America, and wherever the Delaware goes, it will take with it the strength, resilience, and bravery of military families in Delaware and across the country.”


In 2011, Dr. Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama started Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative to encourage all Americans to recognize, honor and support military families.


The Virginia-class submarine will be the seventh ship of the U.S. Navy to be named the USS Delaware. Previously named ships include a frigate launched in 1776, a merchant ship guarding convoys during the Quasi-War with France, a ship-of-the-line decommissioned during the Civil War, a side-wheel steamer decommissioned at the Washington Navy Yard in 1865, a screw-steamer renamed Delaware in 1869, and a battleship that served during WWI and was decommissioned in 1923.


This next-generation attack submarine will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. It will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable it to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.


The USS Delaware will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine, anti-ship, and mine warfare.


The Virginia-class submarine is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time. The USS Delaware will be built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in partnership with the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics in Newport News, Va.


Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. For more news from Secretary of the Navy public affairs, visit http://www.navy.mil/SECNAV .   ^

 

In Petraeus case, FBI detoured from usual path
By Richard Lardner - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Nov 18, 2012 16:36:12 ES


WASHINGTON — The way the FBI responded to Jill Kelley’s complaint about receiving harassing emails, which ultimately unraveled or scarred the careers of ex-CIA Director David Petraeus and Marine Gen. John Allen, is the exception, not the rule.

The FBI commonly declines to pursue cyberstalking cases without compelling evidence of serious or imminent harm to an individual, victims of online harassment, advocacy groups and computer crime experts told The Associated Press.

But in the sensational episode that uncovered the spy chief’s adulterous affair, the FBI’s cyberdivision devoted months of tedious investigative work to uncover who had sent insulting and anonymous messages about Kelley, the Florida socialite who was friendly with Petraeus and Allen — and friends with a veteran FBI counterterrorism agent in Tampa.

The bureau probably would have ignored Kelley’s complaint had it not been for information in the emails that indicated the sender was aware of the travel schedules of Petraeus and Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Instead, the FBI considered this from the earliest stages to be an exceptional case, and one so sensitive that FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder were kept notified of its progress.  Read it all 
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