News to use
Hispanic Heritage Month underway
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
This year’s theme is: “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.”
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30-day period
Hispanic Americans have been integral to the prosperity of the U.S. Their contributions to the nation are immeasurable, and they embody the best of American values. The Hispanic-American community has left an indelible mark on the U.S. culture and economy.
USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) decommissioned in San Diego
by Julie Ann Ripley
SAN DIEGO - USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), the 11th ship of the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser, recognized more than 37 years of naval service during a decommissioning ceremony here Sept. 22.
Guest speaker, Bunker Hill’s second commanding officer, Vice Adm. (Ret.) Rodney Rempt wished the current crew fair winds and following seas as they bid farewell to their ship.
Bunker Hill’s final commanding officer, Capt. Jason Rogers reflected on the service of his crew and those who came before.“With great pride, I acknowledge the dedication and valor of the Sailors who served aboard this ship for the past 37 years,” said Rogers.
Senate comfirms 3 defense leaders
The Senate has confirmed the appointment of three military leaders to positions within the Defense Department.
On Sept. 20, the Senate voted to confirm Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Senate then voted to confirm Gen. Randy A. George as Army chief of staff and Gen. Eric M. Smith as Marine Corps commandant.
“I want to congratulate Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. on his confirmation as our nation’s next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said following the confirmation vote. “He will be a tremendous leader of our joint force, and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”
Since August 2020, Brown had served as Air Force chief of staff. In his new role, he will replace outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, who retires at the end of this month. Brown will be sworn in later this month.
Keel laid for future Amphibious Assault Ship Fallujah
by Fatima Bahtic
The keel laying and authentication ceremony for future amphibious assault ship USS Fallujah (LHA 9) was held at the Huntington Ingalls Industries Pascagoula shipyard Sept. 20.
Future USS Fallujah is the fourth ship of the America-class of amphibious assault ships, built to facilitate forward presence and power projection.
LHA 9 is the second Flight I ship of the class, with a reincorporated well deck to increase operational flexibility while maximizing the aviation capability inherent to Flight 0 ships.
Designed to support the Marine Corps tenets of Operational Maneuver from the Sea and Ship to Objective Maneuver, America-class ships are capable of rapid combat power buildup ashore.
The America-class accommodates the Marine Corps’ Air Combat Element including F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and MV-22 Osprey, essential to maintaining power projection, air superiority, and theater logistics.
Miramar Air Show draws thousands
for military showcase
For complete information on the air show click here...
Camp Pendleton is conducting live-fire mortar and artillery training from September 16-24. Explosive munitions fire will start at 6 a.m. and end around midnight.
The sound of explosions may be amplified by environmental factors and can be heard up to 50 miles away.
For more information regarding noise reports and why we train, visit the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton website here.
Surface Force leaders gather, discuss the future of surface warfare at SNA
by Karli Yeager, Commander, NSF/Pacific Fleet
SAN DIEGO – Leaders from across the Navy and defense industry gathered to discuss the future of naval surface warfare at the fourth annual Surface Navy Association (SNA) West Coast Waterfront Symposium aboard Naval Base San Diego, Sept. 13-14. Read more...
Syphilis, STIs growing threat to U.S. Armed Forces
Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are continuing to spread in the United States – affecting millions of men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the continuing rise of these sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, as an epidemic that is not slowing down.
STIs have also been increasing in U.S. active-duty populations. The March 2023 Department of Defense Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, or MSMR, shows STIs steadily increasing among U.S. active-duty service members between 2014 and 2022. Read more in our 9/21/23 issue -- link in right hand column.
DoD won’t stop looking until all POW/MIAs are home
by C. Todd Lopez, DOD News
Nearly 81,000 American service members remain missing after having served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and other conflicts involving the U.S.
During a recent event at the Pentagon to commemorate National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks reassured the families of service members who never returned home that the Defense Department would never stop looking for them.
An operational test launch of an Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 1:26 a.m. PT. The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness, and readiness of the weapon system, according to Air Force Global Strike Command. U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kadielle Shaw
U.S. Sailors assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One (MDSU-1) prepare diving equipment to conduct search and survey operations in Lahaina Harbor in Lahaina, Maui, Aug. 27, 2023. In support of Maui County authorities, Joint Task Force 50 (JTF-50), composed of the Hawaii Army and Air National Guard, U.S. Army Active Duty and Reserve and U.S. Navy, is dedicated to the safety and recovery of affected Maui residents, coordinating with local first responders and adhering strictly to local, state, and federal guidelines and laws. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Lianne M. Hirano
Read us on line with a fresh issue weekly, find us in print on base and in the community twice a month!
Great news for trees! With prices ever increasing, and more readers getting their news on line, we are switching our print issues to twice a month and staying online with weekly issues. We will have fresh print issues out on the 1st and 16th of each month. We will be posting new issues weekly on line in our downloadable pdf format right here at www.afdispatch.com (see weekly links on the right side below the ads or current issue link at top of left column) and we are also viewable for the page turners on issuu.com/armedforcesdispatchnewspaper (click link under the rolled up newspaper at the top right of this page). Its a win-win -- saving money, saving trees, reducing our carbon footprint, while serving our readers the news they want and helping our advertisers reach the military market. Thank you to our advertisers who support our military readers! We're still kicking it in our 63rd year in San Diego thanks to you!
Rear Adm. Wikoff takes helm as acting Air Boss during NAS North Island ceremony; Rear Adm. Whitesell slated to retire
Naval Air Forces received a new acting commanding officer, as Rear Adm. George Wikoff relieved Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell Thursday, Sept. 7, during In a ceremony aboard NAS North Island.
Rear Adm. Daniel Cheever was nominated to be the next Naval Air Forces commander and to get his third star in March, but his confirmation is being held up in a blockade on military confirmations.
Whitesell took command of the community in October 2020 and oversaw the initial deployment of a carrier air wing that featured the F-35C Lightning II jet, the CMV-22B Osprey and the MQ-8C Fire Scout drone, according to the Navy. Whitesell is set to retire after 39 years of service.
Wikoff most recently ahs been serving as vice director of the Joint Staff, a job he has held since May 2021.
SAN DIEGO (Sep. 01, 2023) – The crew of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), disembark the ship during a decommissioning ceremony. Lake Champlain was decommissioned after more than 35 years of distinguished service. Commissioned Aug. 12, 1988, Mobile Bay served in the U.S. Pacific Fleet and supported Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, and the support of global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Stevin C. Atkin
USS Lake Champlain decommissions after 35 years of service
by Julie Ann Ripley
SAN DIEGO – Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), the 11th ship of its class, was recognized for more than 35 years of naval service during a decommissioning ceremony here Sept. 1. During the ceremony guest speaker Vice Adm. (Ret.) Thomas H. Copeman III wished the current crew fair winds and following seas as they bid farewell to their ship. Copeman was a former Lake Champlain XO and the 17th commander, Naval Surface Forces. Read more....
Welcome Home USS Paul Hamilton
SAN DIEGO (Aug. 28, 2023) Lt. Cmdr. Kevin McDermott embraces his family from the pier of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) in San Diego, Aug. 28, 2023. Paul Hamilton returned to homeport following a seven-month deployment in U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Elliot Schaudt
SAN DIEGO (Aug. 28, 2023) Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Elvis Osemwengie meets his daughter from the pier of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) in San Diego, Aug. 28, 2023. Paul Hamilton returned to homeport following a seven-month deployment in U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Elliot Schaudt
SAN DIEGO (Aug. 28, 2023) Sailors man the rails on the fo'c'sle of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) in San Diego, Aug. 28, 2023. Paul Hamilton returned to homeport following a seven-month deployment in U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Elliot Schaud
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kamryn Giddings, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron metals technology apprentice, performs metal inert gas welding, Aug. 14, 2023, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Metals technicians support the mission by utilizing fabrication techniques to repair and overhaul multiple tools and aircraft parts. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Katelynn Jackson
Rear Adm. Yvette Davids comes aboard as new Surface Force skipper
SAN DIEGO - Rear Adm. Yvette Davids relieved Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener as acting Commander, Naval Surface Forces and acting Commander, Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet, during a change of command ceremony Aug. 18 at Naval Base San Diego, pier 2 with USS Princeton (CG 59) in the background.
Davids assumes the duties as acting commander after serving as Director, Learning to Action Drive Team.
“Vice Admiral Kitchener led us through some impressive organizational changes, a global pandemic, forward deployed operations, and all the while tirelessly advocating for you, the Surface Warrior and your ships,” said Davids. “My charge to you as we keep a steady strain on our jobs and initiatives; take care of your people, conduct safe operations, and get ready to take to the fight when your command is called.”
Davids is a 1989 graduate of the Naval Academy with a bachelor of science in oceanography. Davids has served in a variety of operational command and staff leadership positions as a Surface Warfare Officer.
The ceremony marked the end of Kitchener’s more than 38-year naval career. “There is nothing in my career that I have enjoyed more than being your commander,” said Kitchener.
NBSD WWII-era pier replaced
by Katie Cadiao
SAN DIEGO - Naval Base San Diego held a ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 17 to celebrate Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southwest’s completion of a new ship berthing pier.
Pier 6 general purpose berthing pier replaces an aging structure that had been in place since 1945.
At 120-ft wide and 1,500-ft in length, the new pier is twice as wide as the old pier and significantly longer.
The expanded footprint of 180,000 square feet will enable the simultaneous berthing of six ships. The previous pier only accommodated four ships. Increased and adequate ship berthing is required to support the growing number and variety of vessels home-ported at Naval Base San Diego.
“As the Navy is expanding its presence on the West Coast in support of the rebalance to the Pacific, it is vital that our warfighters have the tools and workspaces they need to support their operational readiness,” said Capt. Laurie Scott, Commanding Officer for NAVFAC Southwest. “This new pier not only meets the needs of the Navy today, but will support readiness for many years to come.”
NAVFAC Southwest awarded a contract, April 30, 2021 in San Diego to Manson Construction of Seattle, Wash., to execute work on the Pier 6 project. Construction of the new pier cost $101.4M and took just under two years.
NAVFAC Southwest supports planning, design, construction, real estate, environmental and public works for U.S Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force and other supported federal agencies in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO (Aug. 19, 2023) – Sailors, assigned to the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) assist the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) in getting underway in response to Tropical Storm Hilary. “In order to ensure the safety of our Sailors and ships, we are taking all necessary measures to mitigate potential damage to infrastructure and Third Fleet vessels caused by the storm,” said Vice Adm. Michael Boyle, commander, U.S. Third Fleet. “Safety remains our top priority, and putting all capable ships to sea makes it easier for us to manage the situation ashore.” U.S. Navy photos by MC2 Christopher Thomas
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO (Aug. 19, 2023) – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) departs from Naval Base San Diego in response to Tropical Storm Hilary. The ship will remain at sea until inclement weather from the storm subsides.
Sortie Condition Alpha sends ships from local bases out to sea
From Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO – Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet set Sortie Condition Alpha this afternoon. San Diego-based ships are scheduled to get underway tomorrow as weather is forecasted to bring high winds and heavy rain to portions of Southwestern California.
“In order to ensure the safety of our Sailors and ships, we are taking all necessary measures to mitigate potential damage to infrastructure and Third Fleet vessels caused by the storm,” said Vice Adm. Michael Boyle, commander, U.S. Third Fleet. “Safety remains our top priority, and putting all capable ships to sea makes it easier for us to manage the situation ashore.”
Ships and submarines will sortie from Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Coronado and Naval Base Point Loma. The ships will remain at sea until inclement weather from the storm subsides. Aircraft are secured in hangars that are rated to withstand wind greater than those anticipated onboard Naval Air Station North Island and Naval Air Facility El Centro.
Ships remaining in port will take extra precautions to avoid potential damage. Commanding officers have a number of options when staying in port, depending on the severity of the weather. Some of these options include adding additional mooring and storm lines, and dropping the anchor.
San Diego Navy installations are preparing for the expected heavy rain and wind by removing hazards and securing buildings, protecting essential equipment, moving small craft to safe havens, placing sandbags and removing debris from drainage areas.
All personnel and their families should review their Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) account (https://navyfamily.navy.mil) and review hurricane checklists.
Marine dies during live-fire exercise at Camp Pendleton
The U.S. Marine killed during an Aug. 17 training event at Camp Pendleton has been identified as Lance Corporal Joseph D. Whaley.
Whaley, a native of Maury County, Tennessee, died during a nighttime live-fire training exercise on Thursday. He was in his fourth week of the 13-week Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC), the Marine Corps said in a statement.
BRC is the entry-level course for Marine Corps Reconnaissance. Whaley's designated occupation was 0300 Infantry Student.
The circumstances of the death are being investigated, and the command is “fully cooperating,” officials said.
NAVFAC Southwest Commanding Officer Capt. Laurie Scott joined Navy Region Southwest Commander Rear Adm. Brad Rosen, as well as Naval Base San Diego Commanding Officer Capt. Robert Heely and contracting partners from Manson Construction for a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new ship berthing pier at Naval Base San Diego on Aug. 17, 2023. Photo by Katie Cadiao.
Servicemembers answer aid call in Hawaii
(Aug. 14, 2023) The National Guard continues to provide support in Maui, Hawaii, after a devastating wildfire swept through part of the island. More than 130 troops have been activated - including Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel - to assist in the in the ongoing local and federal response effort. The fast-moving blaze began Aug. 8, fueled by strong winds from a nearby hurricane. The wildfire has killed more than 90 people. Officials are preparing for a long recovery and are now warning residents that toxic materials and particles may be present in the air left behind by the fires. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are now surveying the wildfire area for hazards.
USS Mobile Bay decommissions, honors 36 years of service
SAN DIEGO - USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) honored more than three decades of naval service during a decommissioning ceremony at Naval Base San Diego Aug. 10.
Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, commander, Naval Surface Forces served as the ceremony’s guest speaker and wished the current crew fair winds and following seas as they bid farewell to their ship.
“The Sailors of USS Mobile Bay demonstrated time and time again the resolve and readiness the Surface Force provides around the clock in support of our nation’s interests,” said Kitchener. “Everywhere this ship and crew deployed, Mobile Bay Sailors served their nation well, and lived up to the valor enshrined in the Battle of Mobile Bay.”
Commanded by Capt. Brandon J. Burkett, Mobile Bay maintained a crew of 30 officers and 300 enlisted members.
“It’s been an honor to be Mobile Bay’s last commanding officer,” said Burkett. “It has been a distinct privilege to work alongside some of the finest Sailors our Navy and our nation have to offer. Their persistence through adversity is commendable and truly represents the spirit of Mobile Bay’s motto, ‘Full speed ahead.’ They truly embody what it means to be a ‘MOBster.’ It is now my solemn responsibility as the ships final captain to order hauling down the colors and disembarking the crew.
Jump Trio: Soldiers participate in an airborne operation in Pordenone, Italy, July 26, 2023. Army Photo By Paolo Bovo.
Thomas assumes command of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson
PACIFIC OCEAN – Capt. Matthew Thomas relieved Capt. P. Scott Miller as commanding officer of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an underway change of command ceremony, Aug. 7. “I want to congratulate Capt. Miller for a job well done,” said Thomas. “It is clear that Capt. Miller’s leadership resonates throughout the ship – from the top of the island down to the bottom-most deck plates. I look forward to taking command of Carl Vinson and leading these outstanding Sailors who make it all work.”
Pentagon pulls troops from U.S.-Mexico border mission
It was reported recently that the Pentagon is pulling 1,100 active duty troops from the U.S.-Mexico border it deployed earlier this year as the government prepared for the end of asylum restrictions linked to the pandemic. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the deployment of a total of 1,500 active duty troops for a temporary 90-day military presence surge at the border in May. At the time, illegal border crossings were swiftly escalating with concerns they’d go even higher after the restrictions ended but instead the numbers have fallen. The 1,100 troops concluded their 90-day mission by Aug. 8; the remaining 400 were extended through August 31.
Aboard the USS John P. Murtha, NASA and Department of Defense personnel practice recovery operations for Artemis II in July. A crew module test article is used to help verify the recovery team will be ready to recovery the Artemis II crew and the Orion spacecraft. Credits: NASA/Frank Michaux
NASA conducts Artemis II Orion test capsule, recovery hardware demonstration in San Diego
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO - NASA unveiled its newest test version of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, as well as the hardware that will be used to recover the spacecraft and astronauts on its return from space for the Artemis II mission, here Aug. 2.
Teams are currently conducting the first in a series of tests in the Pacific Ocean to demonstrate and evaluate the processes, procedures, and hardware for recovery operations for crewed Artemis missions. The tests will help prepare the team for Artemis II, NASA’s first crewed mission under Artemis that will send four astronauts in Orion around the Moon to checkout systems ahead of future lunar missions.
The Artemis II crew – NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Christina Koch, and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) astronaut Jeremy Hansen – will participate in recovery testing at sea next year.
For more information about Artemis, visit:
Navy ship will honor tribal rights leader Billy Frank, Jr.
WASHINGTON - Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced recently that a future Navajo-class Towing, Salvage, and Rescue ship will be named USNS Billy Frank, Jr. (T-ATS 11).
The future T-ATS 11 honors Billy Frank, Jr., who was a Nisqually tribal member and is an iconic Native American environmental leader and treaty rights activist. The name selection follows the tradition of naming towing, salvage, and rescue ships after prominent Native Americans or Native American tribes.
Military child beats huge odds to become the 2023 Gerber Baby
MILITARY TIMES - It felt like a “one in a million chance” that his baby daughter, Maddie, would be chosen to be the 2023 Gerber Baby, said Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jun Mendoza. But Maddie, now 10 months old, was the one baby chosen out of tens of thousands of entries and is now Gerber’s “chief growing officer.” Both her parents grew up in Navy families, and were high school sweethearts in San Diego. Mendoza is a doctor at the Air Force academy in Colorado Springs, where he specializes in allergy and immunology. He’s also board certified as a pediatrician, and has served in the military for 16 years.Maddie’s mother, Crystal, is a dentist.
Tuskegee Airmen recognize 75 years of trailblazing
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) - Three Tuskegee Airmen joined Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., at Joint Base Andrews July 26 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of desegregation in the military and officially induct a PT-17 Stearman into the National Museum of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The event recognized the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and their impact of ensuring Airmen as well as other service members can serve to their full potential. On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, calling for the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces, renouncing 170 years of sanctioned discrimination.
Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program celebrates 75 years
WASHINGTON - August 4 marks the birthday of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, a joint Department of Navy and Department of Energy organization responsible for all aspects of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion, including research, design, construction, testing, operation, maintenance, and ultimate disposition of naval nuclear propulsion plants.
In 1946, shortly after the end of World War II, Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act, which established the Atomic Energy Commission to succeed the wartime Manhattan Project and gave it sole responsibility for developing atomic energy. At this time, Capt. Hyman G. Rickover was assigned to the Navy Bureau of Ships, the organization responsible for ship design.
Read more in the Armed Forces Dispatch online....
USS Canberra commissions in Sydney, Australia
SYDNEY, Australia - Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Canberra (LCS 30) commissioned at the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Base East here July 22.
During the ceremony, leaders and distinguished guests from the U.S. and Australia wished the crew of Canberra fair winds and following seas as they brought the ship to life and began its commissioned service.
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address.
“This truly is a special occasion for our fleet and our nation to be here with you in Australia, one of our closest allies, to celebrate the commissioning of our Navy’s newest warship that is destined to serve throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” said Del Toro. “I’m confident that wherever USS Canberra is sailing, and whatever challenges her crew may face, they are ready, as reinforced by this warship’s motto - ‘Can Do!’”
Canberra departed its homeport of Naval Base San Diego for the first Navy ceremonial commissioning in Australia on June 13, visiting American Samoa and the Pacific Island Nation of Fiji prior to its arrival in Sydney for commissioning.
HII is awarded contract for aircraft carrier maintenance in San Diego
NEWPORT NEWS, Va., - HII announced July 24 that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has been awarded a Navy contract to support maintenance of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in San Diego. The award contract has a potential value of $528.4 million over five years, if all options are exercised. The contract covers maintenance, repair and modernization efforts for Nimitz- and Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers homeported in and visiting the San Diego area. It will support emergent work, continuous maintenance availabilities, as well as Chief of Naval Operations scheduled availabilities.
DoD ups military presence near Oman to defend U.S. interests
by C. Todd Lopez
The Defense Department announced July 17 an increased presence in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, including an additional Navy destroyer along with fighter jets.
“In response to a number of recent, alarming events in the Strait of Hormuz, the secretary of defense has ordered the deployment of Navy destroyer USS Thomas Hudner, F-35 fighters and F-16 fighters to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to defend U.S. interests and safeguard freedom of navigation in the region,” said Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh during a briefing.
Earlier this month, Singh said, the Iranian navy attempted to illegally seize two merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
“One attempt included an Iranian navy ship firing upon the merchant vessel,” Singh said. “In light of this continued threat and in coordination with our partners and allies, the department is increasing our presence and ability to monitor the strait and surrounding waters.”
According to a news report from U.S. Central Command, on July 5, U.S. forces already in Centcom’s area of responsibility participated in preventing two commercial tanker ships from being seized by the Iranian military in international waters near the coast of Oman.
One of those ships, the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker TRF Moss, was approached by an Iranian naval vessel, but that naval vessel departed after the arrival of the Navy destroyer USS McFaul.
Later that same day, the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Richmond Voyager was also approached by an Iranian naval vessel. That Iranian naval vessel got within one mile of the tanker and fired on it using small arms and crew-served weapons. As happened with the TRF Moss, the Iranian vessel departed when McFaul arrived on the scene.
According to Centcom, Iran has attacked or seized about 20 merchant vessels since 2021.
“We call upon Iran to immediately cease these destabilizing actions that threaten the free flow of commerce through this strategic waterway, of which the world depends on for more than 1/5 of the world’s oil supply,” Singh said.
Singh also said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley will host a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group from the Pentagon.
“They will join ministers of defense and chiefs of defense from nearly 50 nations from around the world to discuss Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and continue close coordination to provide Ukraine with the security assistance they need to protect their people and defend their country,” she said.
Typo sends millions of U.S. military emails to Russian ally Mali
(BBC) Millions of U.S. military e-mails have been mistakenly sent to Mali, a Russian ally, because of a minor typing error.E-mails intended for the U.S. military’s “.mil” domain have, for years, been sent to the west African country which ends with the “.ml” suffix. Some of the e-mails reportedly contained sensitive information such as passwords, medical records and the itineraries of top officers.The Pentagon said it had taken steps to address the issue.
Top officer, enlisted leader at Marine boot camp regiment fired
(MARINE CORPS TIMES) The commanding officer and the senior enlisted leader at the Marine Corps’ East Coast recruit training regiment have been fired, the Marine Corps confirmed July 17. Col. Bradley Ward and Sgt. Maj. Fabian Casillas on July 5 were relieved of their leadership positions at the recruit training regiment at Parris Island, S.C., “for loss of trust and confidence,” Marine spokesman Maj. Philip Kulczewski said in a statement in response to a Marine Corps Times query. “No other information is available at this time,” Kulczewski said. - by Irene Loewenson
Brown’s confirmation hearing for
chairman of Joint Chiefs held this week
The long-awaited hearing to confirm the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff began July 11, as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee. If confirmed by the Senate, Brown would be the first Airman in 18 years to serve as the commander-in-chief’s top military adviser. Brown said he had a game plan for how to handle the scrutiny: be himself. “I am who I am,” Brown said June 7. “I think about joint operations. I think about combat capability - how we’ll continue to push ourselves to ensure we have the capabilities to provide the nation what it asks us to do.”
Newest Constellation-class frigate named Lafayette by SECNAV
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced in Paris that a future Constellation-class guided-missile frigate will be named USS Lafayette (FFG 65), June 29. Future USS Lafayette will honor Marquis de Lafayette and his service during the American Revolutionary War. A member of the French nobility, the young Lafayette took a fervent interest in the cause of the American revolutionaries, and in December 1776, was contracted into service as a major general in the Continental Army. In 2002, Congress posthumously made Lafayette an honorary U.S. citizen. The ship is scheduled for commission in 2029.
SAN DIEGO (July 5, 2023) Family and friends of sailors aboard Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) wait on the pier as the boat pulls into Naval Base Point Loma at the conclusion of a seven-month deployment. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Aaron T. Smith.
U.S. Army Capt. Taylor Alton, a veterinarian with U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) leads a military working mule on a hike during Animal Packers Course 23-1 at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California, June 18, 2023. Animal Packers Course teaches personnel to load and maintain pack animals for military applications in difficult terrain with mission-essential gear. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Justin J. Marty
Nimitz Carrier Strike Group returns to San Diego from deployment
SAN DIEGO – Ships from the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (Nimitz CSG) returned to San Diego June 28, concluding a seven-month deployment to U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleet areas of operations (AO).
Sailors assigned to Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) and the embarked air wing of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 returned home with the arrival of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in San Diego. Nimitz will depart San Diego for its return to homeport in Bremerton, Washington at a later date. Read more....
USS Charleston (LCS 18) returns from 26-month deployment
Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO, California -- Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) returned to her homeport of Naval Base San Diego, June 14, 2023, following a 26-month rotational deployment.
On April 7, 2021, Charleston departed San Diego for her maiden deployment with an embarked detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21. While deployed, the ship completed mission tasking for both U.S. 3rd and U.S. 7th Fleet Areas of Operation like patrolling the East and South China Seas, training for contested maritime resupply tasking, and operating with an Amphibious Ready Group. Read more....
Expeditionary Strike Group 3 Changes Command
by Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Spaziano.
Expeditionary Strike Group Three
Rear Adm. Randall Peck relieved Rear Adm. James Kirk as commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3 during a change of command ceremony held on the flight deck aboard amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22), June 9. Read more...
9th Communication Battlaion changes command at CPen
by Staff Sgt. Courtney White,
I MEF Information Group
The journey of the Marine Corps often begins with an individual seeking to serve their country with honor and dedication. When considering the Marine Corps employs more than 180,000 Marines, the odds of two individuals with a shared hometown, with all its unique characteristics and memories, embarking on similar paths is significant. In the case of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Rohman and Lt. Col. Robert Doss III, both raised in the western portion of the Florida Panhandle, their paths crossed multiple times, most recently when Rohman relinquished command of 9th Communication Battalion to Doss during a change of command ceremony on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, June 8, 2023.
Sailors aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) man the rails as the ship returns to Naval Base San Diego following a seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific region, June 8, 2023. The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, comprised of Makin Island and amphibious transport docks USS Anchorage (LPD 23) and USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26), with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, participated in multiple training exercises with international partners while deployed in support of regional stability and a free and open Indo-Pacific. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Eloise A. Johnson
4,500 Sailors and Marines return to San Diego after seven-month deployment to Indo-Pacific
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and 13th MEU returned to San Diego June 8, following a seven-month deployment to the 3rd and 7th Fleet areas of operations.
Makin Island embarked all elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force, including Battalion Landing Team 2/4; the Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 362 (Reinforced), and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122.
Amphibious Squadron 7 is comprised of Makin Island (LHD 8) and amphibious transport docks USS Anchorage (LPD 23) and USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26). Read more and see more pictures...
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl Elijah Richardson-Bailey reacts to a successful lift in the powerlifting competition for the 2023 DoD Warrior Games at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego, Calif. June 3, 2023. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom) See more photos
2023 Warrior Games Challenge hosted at NAS North Island
More than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veteran athletes are competing in the 2023 Warrior Games Challenge, a Paralympic-style competitive event.
This year, the event hosted by the U.S. Army Training & Doctrine Command, is taking place at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego. The event includes 11 adaptive sports including archery, track, field, swimming, rowing, shooting, powerlifting, cycling, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and wheelchair rugby.
The competition features adaptive sports used by wounded warriors as part of their recovery process. Each service provides newly enrolled wounded warriors with access to adaptive sports, allowing them to find new ways of enhancing their recovery journey.
Find results here....
See lots of Warrior Games Challenge pictures here....
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
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/.
Three 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...
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
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.
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. Read more...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org