News to use
Blue Star Museum program underway through Labor Day
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America, offering free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve. The 2023 Blue Star Museums program begins on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 2023 and ends on Labor Day, Monday, September 4, 2023. More details at https://www.arts.gov/initiatives/blue-star-museums.
Participating San Diego County Museums Include:
Bonita Museum and Cultural Center
Coronado Historical Association
Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
JA Cooley Museum
Japanese Friendship Garden
Mingei International Museum
Museum Of Contemporary Art San Diego
Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum
Museum of Making Music
Museum of Photographic Arts
Pacific Southwest Railway Museum
The New Children’s Museum
San Diego Archaeological Center
San Diego Automotive Museum
San Diego Museum of Art
Timken Museum of Art
Visions Museum of Textile Art
Balboa Park museums offer free days for San Diego residents
Balboa Park has Residents Free Days. Park museums offer free general admission on a rotating basis throughout each month to residents of the City and County of San Diego, and to active military personnel and their dependents. Find the details at here.
Please be prepared to present a photographic ID with your address.
Fleet Science Center
San Diego Natural History Museum (Not valid for films)
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
San Diego Air & Space Museum (Not valid for special exhibitions)
The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park
San Diego Museum of Art (Not valid for special exhibitions)
Japanese Friendship Garden
Mingei International Museum
San Diego Automotive Museum
The Comic-Con Museum (Not valid for “Beyond Amazing: Spider-Man – The Exhibition.” This special exhibit is an extra charge)
Regular admission prices are in effect
LOS ANGELES (May 29, 2023) The Long Beach Mounted Police parade the colors during the Memorial Day ceremony at Green Hills Memorial Park during Los Angeles Fleet Week (LAFW), May 29, 2023. LAFW is an opportunity for the American public to meet their Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard teams and experience America’s sea services. During fleet week, service members participate in various community service events, showcase capabilities and equipment to the community, and enjoy the hospitality of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Benjamin A. Lewis
Sailors render honors to the #USSArizonaMemorial as amphibious transport dock #USSAnchorage (LPD 23) departs Hawaii, May 28, 2023. Navy ships passing through the USS Arizona Memorial man the rails to honor the service members lost during the Pearl Harbor attack. @USNavy @PacificHistoricParks U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Tom Tonthat via Facebook.
NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND, Calif. (May 24, 2023) Players from the San Diego Wave Fútbol Club (FC) pose with Sailors assigned to the "Sunhawks" of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 50 at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., May 24. VRM-50’s mission is to provide highly trained pilots and aircrew to deliver persistent air logistics for sustained carrier strike group operations anywhere in the world. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Class Keenan Daniels
SAN DIEGO (May 24, 2023) – Sailors and midshipmen pose for a photo on the flight deck aboard amphibious assault carrier USS Tripoli (LHA 7) May 24. Tripoli is an America-class amphibious assault carrier homeported in San Diego. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Christopher Sypert
SAN DIEGO (May 25, 2023) Capt. Pete Riebe, commanding officer of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), speaks to Sailors at an all-hands call on the flight deck. Abraham Lincoln is currently moored pierside at Naval Air Station North Island. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Michael J Cintron
Nation marks 50th Anniversary of end of Vietnam War in D.C.
by David Vergun, DOD News
The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration hosted “Welcome Home! A Nation Honors our Vietnam Veterans and their Families,” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., May 11. The first of a three-day event on the Mall marks the 50th anniversary of when the last combat troops left South Vietnam in 1973. Read more...
Future San Diego ship USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee commissioned
The second Navy ship to bear the name Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee was commissioned Saturday, May 13,, at the Port of Key West, Fla.
Guided-missile destroyer USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123) is the Navy’s 36th Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, capable of conducting a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis response to sea control and power projection.
Built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee was launched Jan. 27, 2020, and delivered to the Navy Nov. 30, 2022. After commissioning, the ship will transit to her homeport at Naval Base San Diego.
She is named for Chief Nurse Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (1874–1941), a pioneering Navy nurse who served as Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps during World War I.
DDG 123 will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a combination of offensive and defensive weapon systems designed to support maritime warfare, including integrated air and missile defense and vertical launch capabilities. She is 509’ long, with a beam of 66’, and displaces 9,200 tons.
Powered by four gas turbines generating 100,000 shaft horsepower she has a top speed in excess of 30 knots. Her armaments include up to 96 missiles, a 5” long range gun, anti-surface and anti-aircraft systems, torpedoes and the Aegis combat system. She can embark two helos armed with missiles and torpedoes.
The ship’s commanding officer is Cmdr. Douglas Brayton and Command Master Chief is CMDCM Kristi Pashkevich
May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month
The observance of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is an occasion to remember the patriotism of AAPIs who have served, or are currently serving, in the Department of Defense (DOD), our nation and, specifically, here at the DoD Education Activity (DoDEA).
May was chosen as the observance month to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad completion on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks of that nation-unifying railway were Chinese immigrants.
In 1978, the AAPI recognition reached the legislative branch of the federal government and Public Law 95-419 was passed by the House and Senate, which designated the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter accepted this call to action and issued Presidential Proclamation 4650 in support of the AAPI week-long observance.
In the years that followed, U.S. Presidents annually issued proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week; however, in 1990 President George H.W. Bush extended the week-long acknowledgement to a month-long celebration, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. In 1992, President George W. Bush permanently designated the month of May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, via Public Law 102-450. In a 2009 presidential proclamation, President Barak Obama expanded the Asian/Pacific American commemoration to include Pacific Islanders and issued his proclamations in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Celebrated in May, each year, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes the challenges faced by Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians and their vital contributions to the American story.
USS Ashland completes forward-deployment in Japan, arrives in
San Diego homeport
by Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Spaziano
Amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) arrived in San Diego April 20, after almost a decade of forward-deployed service operating out of Japan.
As part of the U.S. 7th Fleet’s Forward-Deployed Naval Forces in Japan, Ashland improved interoperability with allies and partners in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
“I’m incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication displayed by the Ashland crew during our time in 7th Fleet,” said Cmdr. Dirk Sonnenberg, commanding officer of Ashland. “The work we did while forward-deployed is unmatched for an amphibious dock landing ship. We are excited to bring that passion to 3rd Fleet and Expeditionary Strike Group 3.”
Since 2013, Ashland has participated in numerous operations and exercises across the Indo-Pacific to include Iron Fist, Balikatan, Talisman Sabre, and Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) series events during 16 forward-deployed patrols. Additionally, the crew conducted humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations in Saipan and Tinian in 2015 and 2018.
ESG 3 comprises three amphibious squadrons, 15 amphibious warships, and eight naval support elements including approximately 18,000 active-duty and reserve Sailors and Marines. As the deputy commander for amphibious and littoral warfare, 3rd Fleet, the ESG 3 commander also oversees Mine Countermeasures Group 3 and the 14 littoral combat ships and two subordinate divisions under Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1. ESG 3 is postured as a globally responsive and scalable naval command element, capable of generating, deploying, and employing naval forces and formations for crisis and contingency response, forward presence, and major combat operations focusing on amphibious operations, humanitarian and disaster relief and support to defense civil authorities, and expeditionary logistics.
For more news from Expeditionary Strike Group 3, visit https://www.surfpac.navy.mil/esg3/.
Vinson strike group completes group sail in Hawaiian Islands operating area
PACIFIC OCEAN - In a show of lethal force, the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group completed Group Sail in the Hawaiian Islands operating area April 17, in preparation for an upcoming deployment. Group Sail is an integrated training exercise conducted between units assigned to Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1. The exercise reintegrated the strike group and provided an opportunity to enhance excellence and increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of Navy units operating in the 3rd Fleet area of operations.
3 Air Force bases selected to receive new fighter jets
Air Force bases in three states are slated to add advanced and upgraded fighter planes to their fleet, the service announced this week. Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans and Fresno Air National Guard Base in California were selected, according to an Air Force statement. The Massachusetts installation is due to receive the next F-35A Lightning II squadron, while the other two will replace their F-15C/D Eagles with F-15EX Strike Eagles.Environmental impact studies at each base are expected to be completed in the spring of 2024, and the findings will determine whether the service’s decisions are finalized.
Service members get extended parental leave
by David Vergun , DOD News
The Defense Department issued a new policy to provide 12 weeks of paid, non-chargeable parental leave to service members who have a child through birth, adoption or a long-term foster care placement of at least 24 months.
These 12 weeks of parental leave, which became effective Dec. 27, come in addition to authorized convalescent leave for service members who give birth. Read more....
Virginia N.G. installation redesignated Fort Barfoot
FORT BARFOOT, Va. - The Virginia National Guard’s Fort Pickett was officially redesignated Fort Barfoot in honor of Col. Van T. Barfoot, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient with extensive Virginia ties, during a March 24 ceremony at the Blackstone Army Airfield. “Our family is so proud of the man we called dad, granddad, and great-granddad for the love he shared, the example he set and his life of service to others,” said Margaret Nicholls, Barfoot’s daughter. “As always, he wouldn’t have felt deserving of this honor and humbly would have said God had a plan for him and he hoped he lived up to God’s plan.”
Carrier Theodore Roosevelt returns to San Diego following 18-month overhaul in Bremerton
SAN DIEGO - Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) arrived at Naval Air Station North Island March 23 after completing a 18-month docking planned incremental availability (DPIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) and shifting homeport from Bremerton, Wash., to here. Read more....
USS Ashland completes forward deployment to Sasebo
by Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Degarmo
SASEBO, Japan - Dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) departed Sasebo March 22 for its new homeport of San Diego.
This will be a permanent change of station for the crew and family members.
“I can’t thank the wonderful city of Sasebo enough for all their warm hospitality,” said Cmdr. Dirk Sonnenberg, the commanding officer of Ashland. “I’ve done multiple tours in Japan, but Sasebo will always be special to me as the warmest and most welcoming city to be hosted at. The experience will never be forgotten by the Sailors who served here. It has been an extreme privilege for Ashland to have served the U.S./Japan Alliance for nearly 10 years from Sasebo.”
Ashland’s homeport change complies with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which mandates that Navy ships forward deployed to Japan not exceed 10 years. The ship expects to arrive in San Diego in mid-Spring, following her Trans-Pacific voyage.
Navy, Coast Guard begin Oceania Maritime Security Initiative patrol
Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet
SAN DIEGO - The Navy and Coast Guard began their joint patrol in the Western Pacific under the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative, or OMSI, to reduce and eliminate illegal, unregulated, unreported fishing, combat transnational crimes, and enhance regional security, March 20.
Littoral combat ship USS Mobile, with an embarked Coast Guard law enforcement detachment from the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team, supports maritime law with partner nations by enforcing the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Convention agreement and by suppressing illicit activities.
“OMSI is imperative to ensure that the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Convention (WCPFC) agreement is upheld within the Indo-Pacific region,” said Cmdr. Richard Skinnell, USS Mobile’s commanding officer. “This initiative allows us the opportunity to work jointly with other branches of the military as well as our allies and partners.”
OMSI, a Secretary of Defense program, improves maritime security and domain awareness by enabling Coast Guard law enforcement personnel to conduct maritime law enforcement operations from Navy ships. These joint and combined operations ensure the U.S. military honors its security commitments to allies, partners, and friends.
“Collaborating with our partners throughout Oceania is essential in ensuring a free and open Blue Pacific,” said Cmdr. Jeff Bryant, chief of enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard District Fourteen. It is a privilege and we are proud to support the Federated States of Micronesia through dedicated partnership in the effort to maintain maritime governance and preserve maritime sovereignty.”
Vietnam War 50th
Commemoration observed through
Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2025
Vietnam Veterans Day: March 29th
The Vietnam War 50th Commemoration celebration is March 29, and is the nation’s opportunity to celebrate the veterans’ and families’ service and sacrifice.
We honor all who served on active duty and their families at any time between Nov. 1, 1955 - May 15, 1975, regardless of duty location.
Vietnam veterans represented nearly 10 percent of their generation. They fought under challenging conditions, and when their service ended, were not always welcomed when they returned home.
President Obama highlighted that one of our country’s most painful times was Vietnam and how we treated our service members who served there.
“You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor,” he said. “You came home and sometimes were denigrated when you should have been celebrated.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 6 million U.S. Vietnam veterans live in America and abroad today, along with 9 million family members of those who served during this timeframe.
The U.S. Vietnam War Commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense and launched by President Obama in 2012.
By Presidential proclamation, the Vietnam War Commemoration will continue through Veterans Day, November 11, 2025.
In 2012, then-President Obama signed a presidential proclamation, designating March 29 as the annual observance of Vietnam War Veterans Day. The signing of the proclamation marked the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last American troops from Vietnam - March 29, 1973.
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 was signed into law by President Trump, designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
You’re invited to you to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. Since its inception, the Commemoration publicly thanked more than 3 million Vietnam Veterans at over 21,000 ceremonies.The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration continues through Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2025.
Lapel pins will bepresented to Vietnam Veterans at many locations across America.
Living U.S. Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, are eligible to receive a lapel pin. Vietnam Veterans who cannot attend an event can receive a lapel pin by providing us a current mailing address.
Celebrating Women's History Month
DoD story here...
WOMEN WORKFORCE TRAIL BLAZERS IN SAN DIEGO: During World War II many women worked at Consolidated Aircraft producing the PBY Catalina and the B-24 Liberator. When the final touches were made and an airplane neared completion, the feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, dedication and esprit de corps were exhilarating! Read more about it...
Deputy allegedly attempts breech at main gate at NASNI, prompts shooting
CORONADO - According to news sources, a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy suspected of being under the influence was arrested after allegedly trying to drive through the main gate of NAS North Island March 17, prompting base guards to shoot at his vehicle, said Navy officials. Sgt. Michael Cruz was off duty and didn’t have the proper clearance when he tried to get through the gate. According to a news report by The San Diego Union Tribune, a Navy spokesperson said Cruz was being aggressive and wasn’t following the instructions of the gate guards. When Cruz attempted to drive into base, several guards opened fire. “He was being aggressive,” said Kevin Dixon, NB Coronado spokesperson. “The (military) security guards felt threatened by his actions.” The after-action report included the main gate being closed, and an advisory to drivers to stay away from the main gate while security conducts its investigation.
CAMP PENDLETON, CA, UNITED STATES -- March 3, 2023 U.S. Marine Corps athletes with the Wounded Warrior Regiment, and international athletes pose for a photo for the 2023 Marine Corps Trials, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. The annual event offers the wounded, ill or injured Marines, sailors and veterans an opportunity to further the rehabilitation of their mind, body and spirit through competition and camaraderie. See story below. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Nello Miele
13th Annual Marine Corps Trials conclude at Camp Pendleton
The 13th annual Marine Corps Trials, hosted by the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment, wrapped up aboard Camp Pendleton, CA, March 12, 2023.
The Marine Corps Trials provide an opportunity for all wounded, ill, or injured Marines, Sailors, and veterans to further the rehabilitation of their mind, body, and spirit through competition and camaraderie. For some, the Trials are a milestone in their personal athletic goals. For others, it is an opportunity to experience new activities and connect with their fellow wounded warriors. For all of the participants, the Trials are a chance to come together and focus on their abilities and build camaraderie.
For more information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment and its battalions go to: https://www.woundedwarrior.marines.mil/ or visit us at http://Facebook.com/wwr.usmc
Naval Sea operations keep troops ready for action
Ships and aircraft assigned to the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted combined expeditionary strike force operations in the South China Sea.
The groups trained together to advance interoperability while simultaneously demonstrating U.S. commitment to allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
The operations demonstrated unique high-end war fighting capability, maritime superiority, power projection and readiness.
DoD provides warning to services regarding poppy seed
consumption, military drug testing
The Department of Defense recently issued a memorandum warning regarding poppy seed consumption and military drug testing.
Recent data suggest that certain poppy seed varieties may have higher codeine contamination that previously reported. The memorandum warns service members that the consumption of poppy seed products could result in a codeine positive urinalysis result.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Department is encouraging all service members to avoid the consumption of poppy seeds in all forms to include food products and baked goods. As more information becomes available, the Department will revise the policy accordingly.
The Warning Regarding Poppy Seed Consumption and Military Drug Testing memorandum can be found at https://media.defense.gov/2023/Feb/21/2003164614/-1/-1/1/POPPY-SEEDS-WARNING-MEMO-SIGNED-CONTACT-REDACTED.PDF.
Navy, California move forward on EV pilot programs
by Brian O’Rourke,
Navy Region Southwest
SAN DIEGO - The California Energy Commission recently approved nearly $2 million for electrification programs at Navy and Marine Corps installations in California.
At their business meeting Jan. 25, the CEC approved funding for the Navy Electric Vehicle Pilot Program ($414,000) and the Electrification Blueprint Studies ($1,500,000) for three Navy and three Marine Corps installations. This is the first execution of projects that the Navy began working on with the CEC following a Memorandum of Understanding signing in December 2021.
“We’re excited to be moving forward with these critical energy projects at Navy bases throughout the Southwest,” said Rear Adm. Brad Rosen, commander of Navy Region Southwest. “Our partnership with the California Energy Commission is unique to the Navy, and this forward momentum can only increase the chances of similar partnerships becoming available in the future.”
The Navy programs receiving this critical funding are:
• Defense Innovation Unit Electric Vehicle Pilot: The CEC funds will be used to procure and install 10 Level 2 and four Level 3 chargers at Naval Base San Diego for charging personal and government vehicles. The Navy will measure uptime, usage, duty cycle, vehicle types, ratio of government to personal vehicles, and max charging power
• Electrification Blueprints: Electrification Blueprints will be created for three installations chosen by Navy Region Southwest and three installations chosen by Marine Corps Installations West: NB San Diego, Naval Base Ventura County, Naval Air Station Lemoore, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Marine Corp Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms.
This project will develop specific transportation electrification blueprints for each selected base, to support the transportation electrification requirements of their civilian and military workforce.
The blueprint will provide quantitative analysis cost benefit analysis of leveraging innovative technologies in the electrification of transportation infrastructure, particularly those related to vehicle-to-grid integration (VGI) and EVSE to grid.
‘MilTax’ available for 2023 tax filing and support for military community
The Defense Department offers free expert support and e-filing for the 2023 tax season for the military community.
A DOD benefit offered through Military OneSource, MilTax includes tax preparation and e-filing software developed specifically for the military community, as well as personalized virtual support.
MilTax consultants are specially trained to help service members and their immediate families understand complex tax situations, such as tax forgiveness and refunds for surviving family members, extensions and deadlines, and much more. This full suite of tax services addresses scenarios that civilians rarely encounter, such as deployments, combat, training pay, housing and multistate filing.
The MilTax tax preparation and e-filing software is available now through April 18, with extensions through Oct. 17, 2023. Service members and their immediate families can find more information and get started at www.militaryonesource.mil/miltax.
MilTax consultants are available year-round to answer questions. Service members, spouses and survivors can also meet with Military OneSource financial counselors for free help managing their refunds and becoming more financially secure in the future.
Show of power in South China Sea
SOUTH CHINA SEA - Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (MKI ARG) with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are conducting integrated expeditionary strike force operations in the South China Sea Feb. 11. The mobility and sustainability provided by amphibious platforms gives the Navy and Marine Corps team an asymmetric advantage in a maritime environment. The Nimitz’s ability to operate seamlessly and simultaneously on the sea, ashore, and in the air, represents the unique value of amphibious capability provided by the Makin Island ARG and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Pendleton partnership has battery disposal down pat
Environmental protection specialists from the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services office at Camp Pendleton set out across the hilly, Oceanside Marine Corps installation recently in search of used batteries. The customer visits lasted four days as the disposal team reached 31 locations and netted four truckloads of lead acid batteries weighing a total of 65,000 pounds. A DLA contract sale of that hazardous material later returned $10,000 to DOD coffers. Lead acid battery removal helped the Marine Corps avoid an estimated $117,000 in disposal costs on the removal of 324,980 pounds of batteries during fiscal 2022, said Bryan Osborn, a DLA customer and official with the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Environmental Security Department.
Navy collecting Chinese surveillance balloon debris
by David Vergun,
The U.S. military began collecting the remnants of a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon shot down by an Air Force fighter over the weekend.
Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, said the recovery effort began about 10 a.m. Monday. Rough seas thwarted safe, comprehensive debris collection yesterday, he said.
On Saturday, an F-22 Raptor fighter from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va., fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon, which had floated southeastward across the United States.
It fell about six miles off the coast of South Carolina into about 50 feet of water. No one was hurt.
Precautions are being taken during the salvage operation in case explosives or toxic substances are present, VanHerck said.
Due to changing ocean currents, it’s possible that some debris could escape notice and wash ashore. VanHerck said members of the public can assist by informing local law enforcement personnel if they spot remnants of the balloon; they should not collect it themselves.
Amphibious landing ship Carter Hall is collecting debris in the vicinity of the splashdown, he said. USNS Pathfinder, a survey ship, is mapping the ocean floor using sonar for the debris search, VanHerck said.
Explosive ordnance members and at least one unmanned underwater vehicle are also participating, he said.
In addition, VanHerck said the Coast Guard cutters Venturous, Richard Snyder and Nathan B. Bruckenthal, along with Coast Guard aviation support, are keeping the area safe for military personnel and the general public.
The FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents are embedded with salvage operations personnel to assist in counterintelligence work, he added.
VanHerck mentioned that the Federal Aviation Administration was helpful in closing air space when the balloon was being shot down.
2023 Department of Defense Black History Month Observance
The Department recognizes February 1, 2023 to February 28, 2023, as Black History Month. This year’s theme, “Inspiring Change,” celebrates the contributions of African Americans to overcoming racial inequities and promoting opportunities for equal advancement within the Black community.
World-renowned African American author Dr. Maya Angelou stated, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” During Black History Month, we remember the Department’s painful history of segregation and we celebrate those who worked to overcome such obstacles and advance change. Their courage to stand up or sit down, when necessary, and to come together against racial injustices changed this Department and our nation. Cognizant ofthis past, we recommit to providing an environment where people with different backgrounds and experiences are united by a common mission, an inclusive culture, and equal opportunities to succeed.
Diverse and inclusive workplaces improve our ability to attract, recruit, and retain the best qualified DoD workforce. The Department has made some progress with increasing African American military and civilian leaders at the senior ranks and initiatives are underway to address the gaps. The Department remains committed to strategically broadening and diversifying our talent pipelines through outreach and leveraging other talent management programs and policies to advance opportunities for all. In order to sustain and advance our capabilities, DoD must attract and retain diverse talent by incorporating equity and inclusion into daily operations.
As leaders in the Department, we must remain vigilant and courageous in our actions to remove all racial and cultural barriers, wherever they reside, and cultivate environments that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all DoD personnel.
Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness of the United States
New waterfront ship repair facility
SAN DIEGO - Austal USA hosted an event in February to kickoff the opening of new San Diego waterfront ship repair facility here.
The shipbuilding giant finalized a deal late last year to establish a repair facility in the Port of San Diego. The deal includes a long-term lease of a waterfront site in National City adjacent to Naval Base San Diego. Austal USA’s 15-acre site will focus on ship repair for Navy, Military Sealift Command, and Coast Guard ships. The site will be centered on a newly-built dry dock designed to efficiently dock small surface combatants and similar sized ships.
“The agreement marks a major milestone in the continued growth of Austal USA’s services business,” said Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh. “When the dry dock is delivered we’ll be able to provide the Navy a highly capable full-service repair facility located in the homeport of San Diego.
Austal USA will establish a full service ship repair capability providing maintenance and modernization for small surface combatants, unmanned and autonomous vessels, and other ships. The site will include a dry dock optimized to execute availabilities on littoral combat ships and other small surface combatants. Services will include technical and material support, topside work, and drydocking availabilities. The new facility will enable more availabilities to be completed in their home port of San Diego reducing the strain on the fleet and Sailors.
Women making history: Navy aircraft fly over Super Bowl LVII
by Ensign Bryan Blair
Commander, Naval Air Forces
SAN DIEGO – Three Navy tactical aircraft squadrons conducted an integrated flyover at the conclusion of the National Anthem during Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 12.
The flyover formation includde two F/A-18F Super Hornets from the “Flying Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122, an F-35C Lightning II from the “Argonauts” of VFA-147, and an EA-18G Growler from the “Vikings” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129. These aircraft represent the strike and electronic attack capability of the “Carrier Air Wing of the Future,” providing advanced technology and enhanced flexibility to our military combatant commanders. VFA-122 and VFA-147 are based at Naval Air Station Lemoore; VAQ-129 is based at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. The squadrons will stage and depart from nearby Luke Air Force Base.
The flyover also commemorates 50 years of women flying in the Navy. In 1973 the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola, Fla., and one year later six of those eight women, titled “The First Six,” earned their Wings of Gold. Since then, women have served, operated and led at every level of Naval Aviation.
Lt. Katie Martinez, a Naval Flight Officer assigned to VFA-122, looks forward to representing Naval Aviation at one of the world’s most-watched events.
WWII vets lay wreaths for commemoration of the Battle of the Bulge
On Jan. 25, 2023, two World War II Army veterans returned to Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign on the western front. Darryl Bush and John Landry witnessed a wreath-laying at the Battle of the Bulge Memorial before laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Both veterans recalled fighting the cold as well as the Germans. “It was 30 below on the day that I was shot,” said Bush, a rifleman with the 75th Infantry Division, who caught a bullet in his right thigh.
USS Nimitz Superhornet launch
Sailors monitor the launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
‘Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act’ signed into law
Military spouses who hold professional licenses will find a smoother transition when transferring their professional licenses during moves across state lines under a newly enacted federal law.
The new law requires states to recognize service members and spouses’ valid professional licenses from other states for any job if they moved because of military orders. This law DOES NOT include law licenses.
Representative Mike Garcia spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in late December in support of his bill, the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act. This bill was included in H.R. 7939 (Veterans Auto and Education Improvement Act of 2022), which passed the U.S. House and Senate, and was signed into law by President Biden January, 5, 2023.
During his speech, Congressman Garcia made the following statement:
“In the midst of one of the most challenging times for our military in terms of recruitment and retention, what this bill does is allow military spouses to cross-deck their professional licenses -- if they’re a realtor, a nurse, a teacher, a beautician, a cosmetologist, whatever their profession is – across state lines,” said Garcia. “This bipartisan bill above all things would ease the burden for our military families. This is a win for our military families, for our national security, for our local communities who are in desperate need of these professionals, and even for our government who now enjoys the tax revenue from these dual-income families. And hopefully this translates into better recruitment and retention for our military.”
Currently, 34 percent of military spouses require a professional license for their line of employment. While military spouse unemployment hovers over 20% (over five times above the national average), this legislation is critical to assisting our military families and spouses who make countless sacrifices to support their servicemember family members.
Tricare fee increases for 2023 revealed
Some military families will see a rise in their health care costs this month, even as they’re stretching their dollars to cover higher prices for food, fuel and other necessities. Generally, if you’ve been paying out-of-pocket for Tricare in 2022, you’ll pay extra in 2023. According to a report in Military Times, active duty families in Tricare Select don’t pay annual enrollment fees, but they will see small co-payment increases, generally by a few dollars, for most services starting Jan. 1. Some will also see increases in their annual deductible, meaning they will have to spend more out of pocket before Tricare starts to pay. There are also planned increases in co-payments and annual enrollment fees for retirees, their families and others, according to fee schedules just released by the Defense Health Agency. Active duty service members and their families in Tricare Prime (including U.S. Family Health Plan) don’t pay annual enrollment fees, annual deductibles or out-of-pocket costs for covered services. See your primary provider for more details.
EOD Jumpers Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 12 jump from an MH-60S Nighthawk helicopter during operations in the Adriatic Sea, Dec. 13, 2022. Part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, the sailors are experts in countering explosive hazards in all environments by being able to locate, identify, render safe, recover, conduct field evaluation and dispose of all explosive ordnance. Photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Samuel Wagner
DoD 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing rates
Basic Allowance for Housing rates increased an average of 12.1 percent when the new rates took effect on January 1, 2023. An estimated $26.8 billion will be paid to approximately one million Service members. The significant increase in average BAH rates is reflective of the unique market conditions experienced across many locations nationwide over the past year. While average BAH rates increased substantially, different rental markets experience different market trends, and the 2023 BAH rates reflect those geographic market condition differences.
The Department collects rental housing cost data annually for approximately 300 military housing areas in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The Basic Allowance for Housing rate-setting process relies on a wide variety of data sources (e.g., U.S. Census Bureau survey data, Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, commercial subscription rental cost databases, industry-leading online rental listing websites, and input from the Services and local military installation housing offices, among other sources) to obtain high-quality, accurate, current-year housing cost data.
Median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) comprise the total housing cost for each military housing area and are included in the Basic Allowance for Housing computation. Total housing costs are determined for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area. Basic Allowance for Housing rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents, based on the housing choices of civilians with comparable incomes to each Service member pay grade grouping.
The 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing rates, as part of a robust military compensation package, continue the member cost-sharing element at five percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade. These amounts vary by grade and dependency status and range from $82 to $184 monthly for the 2023 rates. Even with this cost-sharing element, the overall military pay and benefits package remains competitive and healthy.
An integral part of the Basic Allowance for Housing program is the provision of individual rate protection to all members. No matter what happens to measured housing costs – including the out-of-pocket expense adjustment – an individual member who maintains uninterrupted Basic Allowance for Housing eligibility in a given location will not see his/her Basic Allowance for Housing rate decrease. This ensures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area's housing costs decrease.
The Department is committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefit structure that provides members with an adequate standard of living to sustain a trained, experienced, and ready force now and in the future.
For more information on the Basic Allowance for Housing, including the 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing rates and 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing rate component breakdown, visit https://www.travel.dod.mil/Allowances/Basic-Allowance-for-Housing/. Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the Basic Allowance for Housing calculator at: https://www.travel.dod.mil/Allowances/Basic-Allowance-for-Housing/BAH-Rate-Lookup/
Defense department increases child care fees to maintain quality child care for military families
The Defense Department implemented annual changes to the Child Development Program Fee Policy and restructured total family income categories which determine child care fees. The policy change includes fee increases necessary to ensure the department’s ability to find and keep skilled child care staff and to continue providing quality care for military children.
The DOD recognizes that in order to find and retain skilled staff and continue providing quality child care for military families, changes to the policy that guide child care fees are necessary to enhance recruitment and retention efforts. Read more...
Pay raise, security programs highlight defense budget
by Jim Garamone, DOD News
President Joe Biden has signed the Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act into law allotting $816.7 billion to the Defense Department.
The act means a 4.6 percent pay raise for military and civilian members of the department, and includes $45 billion more than originally requested to counter the effects of inflation and to accelerate implementation of the National Defense Strategy. Read more...
Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme receives patent for ‘smart’ fiberoptic system
Teri Carnicelli, NSWC, Port Hueneme Division
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) patented the process of applying a “smart” fiberoptic system between a metal surface and its protective coating in order to detect the beginnings of corrosion at the microscopic level, opening the door for wider applications through a licensing agreement with a commercial company. Read more....
Marine killed in Iraq in non-combat incident
A Marine died in Iraq Dec. 19 as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the Defense Department announced. Staff Sgt. Samuel D. Lecce was supporting the operation when he died from a non-combat related incident, defense officials said. Lecce, 32, was from eastern Tennessee, near Knoxville, the department said. He was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., as part of the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion of the Marine Forces Special Operations Command.Operation Inherent Resolve was established in 2014 to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Navy Cross awarded to Korean War veteran
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro awarded the Navy Cross to Capt. E. Royce Williams (Navy-Ret.) for his actions on November 18, 1952. This is an upgrade of the Silver Star Medal previously awarded to then-Lt. Williams on May 7, 1953, for his actions during the Korean War where he led a division of three fighter planes against seven enemy MiG-15s. “Having reviewed the findings of now numerous investigations related to the case of Capt. Royce Williams, I have determined this case to be special and extraordinary,” said Del Toro
Marine Air Control Group 38 refines warfighting capabilities
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR - Marines and Sailors with Marine Air Control Group (MACG) 38 refined tactics for future maritime conflicts in the Indo-Pacific region during Exercise Steel Knight 2023. With units positioned across California and Arizona, MACG-38 tested components of Aviation Command and Control (AC2) in conjunction with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s (MAW) “Hub, Spoke and Node” model in preparation for the next fight. Read more....
Marine Corps-Navy team TEAM join up for Exercise Steel Knight ‘23
Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force, to include 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing will train alongside Sailors with Expeditionary Strike Group 3 in exercise Steel Knight 2023 throughout southern California, through Dec. 16.
Historically led by 1st MARDIV, Steel Knight is designed to refine naval integration in the areas of expeditionary operations, fire support planning and targeting, command and control, and logistics support to geographically dispersed forces.
This year’s iteration will certify 1st Marine Regiment as the command element and Combat Logistics Battalion 1 as the logistics combat element for the upcoming annual rotation of Marines and Sailors deploying to Australia as part of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2023.
This year 3rd MAW is increasing its participation by providing a full complement of aviation support to ground-based units participating in the exercise. This will include a forward-deployed MAW headquarters for aviation units to rehearse concepts and tactics that enable expeditionary advanced base operations in a contested environment.
Training events include division-level command and control procedures, establishing and sustaining expeditionary advanced bases, combined arms operations, amphibious operations, mechanized attacks, and a regimental-sized maritime air assault against a simulated opposing force.
Space Force presents Forces to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii -- The U.S. Space Force officially activated and assigned U.S. Space Forces, Indo-Pacific to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in a ceremony Nov. 22 at Camp H.M. Smith under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir.
USSPACEFOR-INDOPAC is the service’s second component to present forces to a combatant command and the first to stand up at an overseas combatant command. The component is directly subordinate to the Chief of Space Operations for the execution of responsibilities under Title 10 for service-specific administration and support functions.
“This is truly an historic moment for the Space Force,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman. “This is an important step as we normalize Space into the joint force. Given today’s multi-domain character of war, Space must be deeply integrated with the joint team.”
Having field components dedicated to Space removes layers of bureaucracy and aligns with how other services provide forces to the commander. Additionally, activating the USSF component to INDOPACOM provides clarity to command relationships, roles and responsibilities.
“Our approach requires the joint force to think, act, and operate differently by synchronizing our operations, re-aligning our posture, and advancing our warfighting capabilities,” said Adm. John Aquilino, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. “Today’s ceremony represents a tangible progression in accomplishing our mission of deterrence, while simultaneously increasing our ability to defend the homeland, protect the joint force, operate in contested space, and provide all-domain battlespace awareness.”
USSPACEFOR-INDOPAC will be headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam in Hawaii to maximize synergy with USINDOPACOM headquarters and the existing Air Operations Center with U.S. Pacific Air Forces.
Marine Corps updates approved female hair styles
Training and Education Command announced updates to approved female hair styles via Marine Administrative Message 615/22. These changes were initially proposed in Uniform Board 220 and authorized for wear today. The Uniform Board is comprised of diverse Marines of various ranks and specialties to provide comprehensive feedback and fleet perspective.
These changes include: twists for short hair, increase in maximum length for medium hair, half-ponytails or up to two half-braids for medium hair, and overall increase in styled length for long hair.
Consistent with current MCO 1020.34H, long hair must be secured up (defined as no portion of the hair should be left to fall naturally / unsecured or with exposed ends), except when authorized during non-combat physical training. Medium and long length hair may be worn in an unsecured full ponytail or unsecured braid during non-combat physical training only.
Inconspicuous hairpins and bobby pins are authorized. Barrettes, combs, etc. are authorized, if consistent with the hair color and concealed by the hair. Ponytail holders will be consistent with the hair color and need not be concealed, but should be inconspicuous. Conspicuous hair securing devices (e.g., headbands, scrunchies, alligator clips, bows) are not authorized.
The updates to the regulation also clarify tightly pulled or slicked back hair is not a requirement, and Marines are encouraged to avoid potentially damaging or harmful products.
“These changes are indicative of our disciplined approach to uniformity without sacrificing the health and safety of our female Marines,” said Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesperson. “We are grateful for the continued feedback from our Marines in addressing uniform updates and modifications. It’s because of conversations like those that our leadership can make positive change.”
The updated Marine Corps Uniform Order is pending publication, but these changes are effective immediately.
For more information about the Marine Corps Uniform Order please visit www.hqmc.marines.mil/Agencies/Marine-Corps-Uniform-Board.
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing activates new air defense unit
by 2nd Lt. Andrew Baez, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
CAMP PENDLETON - The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing activated a new air defense battery on November 18, 2022, as part of its ongoing efforts to modernize its existing ground-based air defense capabilities to continue responsibly modernizing the force.
Charlie Battery, which belongs to 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Air Control Group 38, increases 3rd MAW’s ground-based air defense weapon systems and capabilities. The activation demonstrates the Marine Corps’ investment in growing the ground-based air defense community.
The unit’s activation sets the foundation for the arrival of Marine Air Defense Integrated System Increment 1 to the battalion. This system modernizes the existing ground-based air defense capabilities by mounting a mix of legacy and emerging technologies and capabilities onto the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The new capabilities will help the unit mitigate the threat from unmanned aerial systems, fixed, and rotary-wing aircraft.
Once fully equipped, the new unit will have the MADIS, FIM-92 Stinger missiles, and a kinetic remote weapon system designed to counter adversary unmanned aerial systems. The remote weapon system, an organic RPS-62 RADAR, provides additional capabilities, including multi-function electronic warfare and significant command and control improvements.
Secret donor gives $100,000 in gifts to Toys for Tots drive
For 12 years, a mystery man has spread joy to needy families throughout the region by making sure kids aren’t forgotten during the holidays. This marks the fifth year the mystery benefactor has purchased thousands of dollars of toys from a local Geppetto’s for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program based at Camp Pendleton.Now there’s a new high. On Nov. 10, also the birthday of the U.S. Marines, the gift giver spent $100,700. The anonymous donor’s generosity adds up to more than $340,000 in electric trains, bikes, Lego sets, dolls and plush toys over the past five years alone.The receipt for $100,700 of toys is stretched out by those at Geppetto’s in Carlsbad who loaded the Toys for Tots trucks.
Makin Island Amphibious Readiness Group deploys Nov. 8-9
Amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8), the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, departed Naval Base San Diego on Wednesday, Nov 9, for a deployment to the Indo-Pacific region.
The Amphibious Ready Group with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked includes Makin Island and amphibious transport docks USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) and USS Anchorage (LPD-23). Makin Island and John P. Murtha left San Diego on Wednesday, while Anchorage left on Tuesday.
According to usni.org, the ARG/MEU includes the aviation combat element with the “Flying Leathernecks” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 flying F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and the “Ugly Angels” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 362 (Reinforced) flying MV-22B Ospreys; the logistics combat element made up of Combat Logistics Battalion 13; and the ground combat element with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines
VA begins toxic exposure screening for enrolled veterans
Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and clinics across the country began offering enrolled veterans a new toxic exposure screening. These screenings are a key part of the PACT Act, a new law that empowers VA to deliver care and benefits to millions of toxic exposed Veterans and their survivors. The screening takes around five to 10 minutes and begins by asking veterans if they believe they experienced any toxic exposures while serving in the armed forces.
Veterans who answer “yes” will then be asked about specific exposures, including open burn pits/airborne hazards, Gulf War-related exposures, Agent Orange, radiation, Camp Lejeune contaminated water exposure and other exposures. Veterans enrolled in VA health care will be offered an initial toxic exposure screening then follow-up screenings at least once every five years.
After completion of the screening, VA will connect veterans who are concerned about toxic exposures to information about benefits, registry exams and clinical resources. Medical concerns will continue to be addressed through existing care teams or other facility resources as appropriate.
Veterans can ask about receiving the screening at their next VA primary care provider appointment. If veterans are not assigned to a primary care team or wish to be screened sooner than their next appointment, they are invited to contact their local facility and ask to be screened by the toxic exposure screening navigator.
VA encourages veterans not currently enrolled in VA health care to apply now. Learn more at https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction. Information: VA.gov/PACT. https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposure
Be the face of change during 2022 Combined Federal Campaign
The Combined Federal Campaign runs through January 14, 2023. The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all. CFC is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign.
Col. Nicole Mann first female Marine and Native American to lead NASA space flight
Marine Corps Col. Nicole Mann, on Oct. 5, became the first female Marine and Native American to lead a NASA space flight. Mann and SpaceX Crew-5 successfully launched into space from Kennedy Space Center, bound for the International Space Station with Mann serving as the mission commander. Semper Fi and Bravo Zulu, Colonel Mann. We wish her and the crew the best for successful mission.
Defense Commissary Agency to lower shopping prices even further
Service members and their families will soon see a 3-5 percent decrease in pricing on most grocery items in their commissaries as part of a Defense Department initiative to bolster the economic security and stability of the military community.
DOD’s “Taking Care of Service Members and Families” initiative lays out comprehensive actions to support military members struggling with the financial impacts of inflation, supply chain disruptions and the pandemic.
“The department’s added investment in our budget allows us to reduce commissary prices at the register about 3-5 percent on most items - particularly on food staples that struggling military families need most such as bread, eggs, milk and more,” Bill Moore, director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency, said. “With this boost we can achieve at least 25 percent in overall savings for eligible patrons who shop their commissaries.”
SECNAV reinforces DoD commitment to island nations
“The U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team takes its responsibility to build resilience against climate change seriously,” said Secretary of the navy Carlos Del Toro at the event. “The Department of Defense, and indeed the entire U.S. government, have made a commitment to island nations to combat climate change, and the Department of the Navy is already working with island nations on their climate defenses.”
Separately, as a part of President Biden’s first ever U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit last week, Del Toro participated in a reception with PIC leaders to discuss maritime issues affecting economic prosperity and regional resilience such as maritime domain awareness, maritime security, and law enforcement cooperation, including combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Sailor Ryan Sawyer Mays acquitted in charges of starting fire that destroyed USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)
On Friday, Sept. 30, a military judge acquitted a sailor of arson in a 2020 fire that destroyed the amphibious warship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6). a blow to the Navy as it faces allegations of improper training and maintenance of the $1.2 billion amphibious assault ship.
Seaman Recruit Ryan Sawyer Mays was a 19-year-old deck seaman when he was identified by a shipmate claiming he saw Mays near where the fire began in the ship's lower vehicle deck.
“I am so grateful that this is finally over. It’s been a long two years,” Mays said outside the court building, flanked by his wife, parents and defense team. “I’ve been waiting a long time.”
Navy, Port of San Diego sign agreement to generate millions for electrification projects
To further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality and public health on and around the San Diego Bay Working Waterfront, Navy Region Southwest and the Port of San Diego have formed a first-of-its-kind partnership that gives the Navy access to participate in California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) market.
The groundbreaking federal/state initiative will provide millions of dollars for further electrification efforts for both the naval base the port.
Recently, at Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan, Navy and port officials, joined by state and local partners, formalized the collaboration by signing an Intergovernmental Support Agreement and celebrated the partnership and its multiple environmental and public health benefits for local communities, the region, and the state.
The Navy’s participation in this program will be the first ever participation by the Department of Defense in this type of carbon reduction effort. The Navy will generate LCFS credits while ships are plugged into shore power, rather than generating power internally using traditional, carbon-intensive fuels, and limiting emissions of greenhouse gasses in the surrounding community. Connecting ships to shore power while in port directly aligns with two Presidential Executive Orders requiring all federal agencies to take steps to reduce carbon emissions and support clean energy activities.
As the local participant in the state’s LCFS program managed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Port will register, generate, and sell the credits from Navy shore power, and then utilize the proceeds from the sale to provide Naval Base San Diego with energy and utility improvement projects. In exchange, the Port will keep a specified portion of the Navy’s LCFS revenues.
The Port will pay from its share of the revenues for Port personnel who will manage project design and construction of Navy identified projects at NB San Diego and in Port operations. If this partnership – which is being conducted as a pilot program through 2030 – is successful, it could be duplicated between other U.S. ports and naval bases.
“We’re excited to be the first in the Navy to participate in this innovative program,” said Rear Adm. Brad Rosen, commander, Navy Region Southwest.
“Our Sailors and their families live and work throughout San Diego County; we’re part of this community, and are proud to do our part towards improving air quality locally, and contributing to a more resilient electric infrastructure.”
U.S. Navy establishes “Divine Nine” Ambassador program to strengthen ties with HBCUs
U.S. Navy Recruiting Outreach and Diversity has announced the
establishment of the “Divine Nine” Ambassador program to build
stronger relationships with students, faculty, administration and alumni
at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Read more...
Novavax COVID-19 vaccine available to troops; no mRNA, no human fetal cells in development
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with the Department of Defense, has secured 3.2 million doses of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Novavax is the latest company to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA for its vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and is now an option for active duty troops who are not vaccinated.
The protein-based, adjuvanted vaccine will be made available for free to states, jurisdictions, federal pharmacy partners, and federally qualified health centers.
This vaccine is an option for those who objected to vaccines developed from fetal cell tissue. Novavax says that “no human fetal-derived cell lines or tissue” were used in the development, manufacture or production of its vaccine.
Unlike the vaccines produced by Pfizer or Moderna, which use mRNA, the Novavax shot uses a SARS-CoV-2 recombinant spike protein to produce an autoimmune reaction in order to protect against further infection. The Novavax shot is more traditional and similar to other vaccines against disease like tetanus or HPV.
An FDA summary found the Novavax vaccine had 90 percent efficacy in protecting people against mild, moderate and severe disease.
National Military Youth of the Year awarded in DOD-supported program
As part of its commitment to military family readiness, the Defense Department has collaborated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America both on- and off-installation in the United States and overseas since 1991. This year the Annual Military Youth of the Year celebration was held August 4 in Washington, D.C.
The event honors exemplary teens who have overcome setbacks, demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments, and are prepared to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood, said Dianna Ganote, program analyst in the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy.
DOD officials: Women’s health care unchanged by Supreme Court decision
While last month's Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization means each state now makes its own laws regarding abortion services, the health care that the Defense Department provides to service members has not changed, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness said.
Armed Forces Classic returns in 2022 aboard USS Abraham Lincoln
The U.S. Navy is proud to partner with ESPN Events to host the 2022 Armed Forces Classic men’s college basketball game featuring Gonzaga and Michigan State universities, Nov. 11, 2022, on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) at Naval Air Station North Island.
“It is truly an honor that, on Veteran’s Day in the centennial year of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, we will host the Armed Forces Classic basketball game on the flight deck of one of our most renowned aircraft carriers, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72),” said Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, Commander, Naval Air Forces. “Those who serve, and who have served, know that the military is the ultimate team sport, and I can think of no better way to salute our men and women in uniform than to celebrate this all-American pastime together on one of our nation’s capital warships.” Read more...
Navy takes accountability actions after USS Bonhomme Richard fire investigation
WASHINGTON (July, 2022) - The U.S. Navy completed the accountability actions in support of the command investigation into the July 2020 fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Samuel Paparo, the Consolidated Disposition Authority (CDA), made individual disposition decisions and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro issued a Secretarial Letter of Censure (SLOC).
As CDA, Paparo made 27 individual disposition decisions, which were primarily focused on the ship’s fire prevention, readiness, and response efforts. The disposition decisions included six Nonjudicial Punishments (NJP) with guilty findings, two NJPs with Matter of Interest Filings (MIF) and a Letter of Instruction (LOI), two NJP dismissals with a warning, one additional MIF, five other LOIs, three Non-Punitive Letters of Caution (NPLOC), two letters to former Sailors documenting substandard performance, and six no-action determinations. Read more...
TRICARE: 7 questions to help you with your next PCS move
by TRICARE Communications
Will you be embarking on a permanent change of station (PCS) this summer? This can bring big adjustments for you and your family. However, whether you’re moving stateside or overseas, your TRICARE coverage will move with you. Still, you need to be prepared.
“If you have PCS orders coming up, following some simple steps can help for a smooth transition to your new area,” said Jeremy Schneider, TRICARE Health Plan program analyst. “We encourage beneficiaries to plan ahead and reach out to their regional contractor early if they have questions about their TRICARE coverage or need help finding support in their new location.” Read more...
Navy creates Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One to manage experimentation for medium & large vessels
by Ensign Ronan Williams
SAN DIEGO - Commander, Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet established Unmanned Surface Vessel Division (USVDIV) One during a ceremony May 13 which also included a change of command ceremony for Surface Development Squadron (SURFDEVRON) One.
During the combined ceremony, Cmdr. Jeremiah Daley assumed command of the newly established USVDIV One. Read more....
Miramar Veterinary Clinic offers services for your pets by appointment only
Veterinary Treatment Facility
MCAS Miramar Building 6360
Hours: Mon.-Fri.: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (858) 307-6552/1773
Open for retail sales (flea and heartworm prevention, oral care) and drug/food prescription refills (if applicable) daily. Routine wellness checkups and vaccinations available, as well as minor sick call. Appointments can be made in person or by phone. Walk-ins aren’t accepted. Dogs and cats of all active duty military members and retirees with medical benefits are eligible to be seen at the facility. The facility always recommends that patrons of the clinic keep their own civilian veterinarian in case of emergency, or if the facility is unable to fulfill their needs.
Camp Pendleton takes big steps toward wildlife preservation
by Lance Cpl. Nataly Espitia , Camp Pendleton
Camp Pendleton honors, protects, and conserves the Earth every day of the year. Plenty of land and resources go into the conservation and care for wildlife aboard the installation. Read more....
San Diego's VA Medical Center renamed after
Capt. Jennifer Moreno
In March President Biden signed into law H.R. 3665, designating the San Diego VA Medical Center as the Jennifer Moreno Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and supporting the designation of a prominent space within the facility to honor Kathleen Bruyere. Read more....
March Air Reserve Base named preferred location for next KC-46A Pegasus
WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Department of the Air Force selected March Air Reserve Base (ARB), in Riverside County, California, as the preferred location to host the next KC-46A Pegasus aircraft.
The decision was made after conducting site surveys that assessed locations based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, environmental considerations and cost.
Twelve KC-46As will replace KC-135 Stratotankers at March ARB.
The new tankers will bring many enhanced capabilities, such as boom and drogue refueling on the same sortie, worldwide navigations and communication, cargo capacity on the entire main deck floor, receiver air refueling, improved force protection, and multi-point air refueling capability.
The location is about an hour and a half north of San Diego.
A final basing decision will be made after an environmental impact analysis, which is expected to take place in fall 2023. Grissom ARB, Indiana, and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, are considered reasonable alternatives and will also undergo environmental impact analyses.
Read more about the KC-46A Pegasus...
Dept. of Navy, California Energy commission partner on energy and water initiatives
SAN DIEGO - The Department of the Navy and the California Energy Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Dec. 1 that will help the Navy and Marine Corps and the state collaborate on energy and water-related projects at DON Installations. Read more...
California lawmakers pass bill for license reciprocity for military spouses
New state license reciprocity legislation was signed and passed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oct. 8, 2021, easing restrictions for veterans and spouses of California active-duty service members to actively practice certain professions or vocations. Read more...
Department of Defense offers information about domestic violence
The DoD’s 2021 Domestic Violence Awareness campaign is over but resources are available all year long. The campaign brought awareness to the military community’s responsibility to support victims, respond to abuse, and focus on prevention efforts this month and throughout the year.
Victims have two reporting options:
Unrestricted: those who want to pursue an official investigation report through the service member’s command, FAP or local law enforcement.
Restricted: those who do not want an official investigation but do want victim advocacy services, medical care and/or counseling should make a restricted report to a FAP victim advocate, clinician or supervisor, or a military health care provider. Read more...
First Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom, decomissioned
USS Freedom (LCS-1) was decommissioned in Sept. at Naval Base San Diego after 13 years in the fleet. The decommissioning service was limited to ship plankowners and former crew members due to safety measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more...
Resources for struggling veterans
Veterans from all eras are reacting to the events around the world, and may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth their sacrifice. US Dept of Veterans Affairs in California offers the following information. Read more...
United Through Reading®
Service members invited to record stories for family
United Through Reading® (UTR) is a free program helping ease the stress of separation for military and veteran families by having the service members or Veteran read children’s books aloud for their family to watch at home during times of physical separation. It is available for any type of separation, including but not limited to, deployment, training, geobaching, or shift work.
UTR provides service members and veterans a chance to make lasting connections from afar through the power of shared storytime. The recording and the book are given to the child and family at home at no cost.
Being a parent is not required; service members can send the recording & book(s) to any special child in their life such as younger sister or brother, niece, nephew, grandchild, or godchild.
The recording can be made via UTR’s free and secure UTR App, at one of UTR’s story stations, or at the Mobile Story Station at a community event. For more information visit unitedthroughreading.org or e-mail email@example.com