USS Enterprise (CVN-65) Final Foreign Water Fleet Deployment
Part 1 of 6 (10 February to 26 March 2012)
Part 2 of 6 (27 March to 12 May 2012)
Part 3 of 6 (12 May to 18 July 2012)
Part 4 of 6 (19 July to 21 September 2012)
Part 5 of 6 (22 September to 3 November 2012)
Part 6 of 6 (4 November 2012)
Enterprise Holds Safety Stand-Down
“A mid-deployment safety stand-down was held aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) on 19 July 2012.
The purpose of the stand-down was to address any safety issues that may be prevalent throughout the ship, including the common dangers, stresses, fatigue and complacencies Sailors and Marines deal with while on deployment.
"Sailors become complacent and fatigued after performing the same tasks for extended periods of time," said Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician David L. Thorne, a safety department chief petty officer. "This leads to an increase in mishaps and added dangers that are preventable."
The Safety department aboard Enterprise provided training that was shown throughout the day on the carrier's SITE-TV system. The stand-down represented a period for all Sailors and Marines to get together and discuss the issues they deal with on a day-to-day basis and ways to prevent other Sailors and Marines from becoming injured.
"Safety margins in the Navy are much narrower than we experience in our personal lives," said Capt. William C. Hamilton, Jr., commanding officer of Enterprise. "They must be for us to be effective as a fighting force."
Hamilton continued by saying that the Navy operates to the very limits that the machinery and personnel can handle, so Sailors and Marines must train like they fight.
"We must be well trained and disciplined in our professional lives so that we can operate effectively, close to danger, without blindly standing in it," said Hamilton.
Other members of the Enterprise team provided information concerning heat, electrical safety and general awareness about the ship.
Throughout the rest of the Enterprise's current deployment, crew members can use the information presented during the safety stand-down to help keep them safe while underway. With this information in mind, Enterprise will continue to practice safety and educate the crew on its importance while conducting operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120720-05 - Release Date: 7/20/2012 11:34:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Heath Zeigler, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
Family Readiness Group Sends Care Packages to Vicksburg
“Guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) raffled care packages sent by the Family Readiness Group (FRG) on 19 July 2012.
Twenty-five boxes filled with gifts ranging from $15 to $130, donated by spouses of the crew and the Family Readiness Group (FRG), were raffled to Sailors to raise money for the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) homecoming celebration for Vicksburg later this year.
"It was a great morale booster for the crew," said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Jay R. Hill, who won two boxes after purchasing 60 tickets in the raffle. "I was excited to see what was in all the boxes. They turned it into a major event and it was good to see such a big turnout."
Hill was one of several Sailors who ended up winning more than one care package.
"I can't believe I won two boxes," said Hill. "I got exactly what I wanted in my boxes."
Hill's boxes were filled with snacks and movies. Sailors who won multiple boxes shared the wealth. Capt. Logan Jones, commanding officer of Vicksburg, won two boxes and gave both away to his crew.
"I gave one of my boxes away so a shipmate could give it to his wife," said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Eric F. Woodruff, who won three boxes after purchasing 25 tickets.
"I was surprised to have won one box, let alone three," said Woodruff. "I mostly got what I wanted, but one of the boxes was clearly meant for females, so I gave it away."
Woodruff's boxes were filled with energy drinks, snacks and a beauty kit.
The opening of the gift boxes was an entertaining event for the crew, but the reason for the raffle was to raise money for a homecoming ceremony for Vicksburg.
"We raised $1,818.00 from the raffle," said Chief Master-at-Arms (SW/AW) Dennis Mattingly, who was one of the Sailors in charge of the event. "We are looking forward to a big homecoming. It's nice that the [FRG] is doing all of this to keep the troops entertained. We really do appreciate all the support we get from our spouses and loved ones."
Vicksburg is on her final deployment and is currently operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120721-07 - Release Date: 7/21/2012 9:16:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS)).
James E. Williams Celebrates Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month
“As people across the U.S. recognize the month of May as Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG-95), celebrated and educated the crew on AAPI culture and history while underway on 20 May 2012.
The Diversity and Heritage Committee aboard James E. Williams, comprised of Sailors from multiple backgrounds and cultures, serves as an organization driven to celebrate and embrace the different cultures of the crew, including those cultures recognized during AAPI Heritage Month.
"Our goal is to educate the crew," said Yeoman 2nd Class Brandy Stiles, the ship's secretary and president of the Diversity and Heritage Committee. "We also try to have fun and boost morale with everything that we do."
The committee spreads awareness through flyers, events and celebrations.
"We are posting information about AAPI Heritage Month around the ship for everyone to read," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Charlotte Williams, secretary of the Diversity and Heritage Committee. "This includes a background and history of the month, as well as famous Americans that are of Asian and Pacific Islander decent."
Apart from educating the crew, the Diversity and Heritage Committee is hosting a special meal prepared by the ship's culinary specialists, aimed at celebrating Asian and Pacific Island cuisine through a diverse selection and sampling different recipes from around the world.
"We prepared a menu to celebrate different cultures and to highlight the versatility of our culinary specialists," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Randall Rufolo, the ship's supply department leading petty officer. "We are preparing a Mongolian barbecue where everything is freshly cooked on the grill to keep with the Asian and Pacific Island tradition, while applying unique twists to standard menu items."
"Every month we try to honor different cultures," said Williams. "We all come from different walks of life, and the most important aspect of these celebrations is enlightenment."
James E. Williams is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and supporting missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120523-08 - Release Date: 5/23/2012 7:39:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel J. Meshel, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS JAMES E. WILLIAMS, At Sea (NNS)).
Messlords Visit Enterprise
“USS Enterprise (CVN-65) played host to the "Messlords," a group of popular restaurant owners from 18 to 20 July 2012, giving the chefs an opportunity to tour the legendary ship, and to meet with and cook alongside the crew.
Sponsored by Navy Entertainment, the group of business-owning chefs have traveled to multiple forward-deployed military installations, have been featured on the Food Network and are renowned for their culinary skills. Their visit to the “Big E” however, presented the chefs with a thrill different from that associated with being on television.
What the "Messlords" were most looking forward to about their time aboard Enterprise was a chance to practice their craft aboard the United States' first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the opportunity to work with the culinary specialists (CSs) stationed aboard.
"I look forward to cooking my hamburgers for everyone, that's what we're here for," said Michael "Hodad" Hardin, owner of Hodad's burger restaurants in San Diego. "We get a lot of perks and are treated like rock stars, but the main reason we're here is to meet service members and show off a little bit of our food. We're here for them."
Hodad's was opened in 1962 by Hardin's parents. The restaurant and its food have been featured on CNN and the Food Network. Hodad's burgers have also been featured in "Gourmet Magazine."
Joining Hardin on the Navy Entertainment-sponsored embark were Sarah Simington, owner of Blue Moon Cafe in Baltimore, Pete "Panini Pete" Blohme, owner of Panini Pete's Cafe and Bakeshoppe in Mobile and Fairhope, Ala., and Jeffrey "Stretch" Rumanerh, owner of Grinders Pizza in Kansas City, Kan.
Simington and her mother opened The Blue Moon Cafe in the Fells Point area of Baltimore in 1996. Her work combines her love of people and food, a combination she brought with her to the Enterprise.
"This is the first ship we've been on," said Simington, "and it's been absolutely fantastic. Working with, and getting to know the people here has been amazing." Blohme, or "Panini Pete," has been cooking since age 14, and opened Panini Pete's Cafe and Bakeshoppe in February 2006. His restaurants have been featured on the Food Network shows "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and "Guy's Big Bite."
Stretch, owner of Grinders Pizza and Grinders West, has been featured on the Discovery Channel television show "Monster House" and has also worked with ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." During their time aboard Enterprise, the "Messlords" were able to take in the operational aspects of the ship, including flight operations and a replenishment at sea with Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE-6).
The "Messlords" also visited the carrier's weapons magazine, Medical and Dental spaces, forecastle, ship's store, navigation bridge, primary flight control, the museum (the Enterprise Room) and the coffee shop, Starboard Joe's.
Beyond the extensive tour of the legendary aircraft carrier, the chefs seemed most eager to participate in regular shipboard activities and to give back to the service members by cooking their most famous dishes. They accomplished this goal with the help of most of the ship's culinary specialists, who the chefs spent hours with during the trip.
"We love it when we get to work service men and women," said Hardin. "I was in the forward galley today, and everyone in there really welcomed me." During the course of their three-day visit, the "Messlords," with the help of the Enterprise CSs, cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for the more than 4,600 Sailors and Marines aboard the Big E.
They then went on to host ship-wide Bingo, a further indication of the visiting chefs' desire to simply spend time with the crew and thank them for their service. "What you do is hard work," said Blohme. "You guys that work in the galleys, you know it's tough work...well, even those that don't work in the galley. I haven't seen anything that looked easy on this ship."
While the entire crew got to enjoy the effort put forth by the "Messlords" in the kitchen, much of their visit was spent working with the Sailors and Marines who cook for the carrier's crew day in and day out.
"These chefs spent a lot of time just talking shop with the junior culinary specialists," said Master Chief Culinary Specialist Thaddeus T. Wright, the assistant food service officer aboard Enterprise. "The feedback that the young Sailors gave was pretty amazing."
The "Messlords" received rave reviews for both their willingness to spend quality time with the crew as well as, not surprisingly, their food. "This is one of the best burgers I've had," said Machinist's Mate 1st Class James Holman. "It's nice to have a home-cooked meal to help remind us what is waiting for us following deployment."
The "Messlords" departed Enterprise 20 July 2012 to continue their Navy Entertainment tour with a stop at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Enterprise is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120723-02 - Release Date: 7/23/2012 6:02:00 AM - From Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
Family Members Reunite on Ike
As reported on 26 July 2012, “twenty-one crew members from USS Enterprise (CVN-65) took a carrier on board delivery (COD) flight to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) today to reunite with family members currently serving aboard Ike. Crew members from Enterprise toured the Ike and seized the opportunity to spend time with family members and spouses they had not seen for nearly five months.
"Twenty-one of the twenty-two passengers aboard the COD had family members aboard Eisenhower," said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Cheri R. Snaza, the leading chief petty officer of Enterprise's Medical Department. "They ranged from spouses, brothers, sisters and cousins to uncles and nephews."
Snaza, whose husband is Command Master Chief Gregg Snaza, the command master chief aboard Eisenhower, thought it would be an auspicious undertaking to help arrange a rendezvous between crewmembers from Enterprise and their respective family members aboard Eisenhower.
"Taking the Ike's deployment into consideration, it was going to be a 13-month time period before we were going to be able to see our spouses or significant family members," Snaza said. "My husband and I began chatting about how we could accomplish some kind of a cross-deck."
After coordination and communication between the two carriers' commanding officers and operations departments, the visit was made possible. The visit to the Ike included a welcome aboard by Eisenhower's commanding officer, a group photo, individual photos, and most importantly, time for family members to spend with each other.
"We wanted each Sailor to get as much time as possible with their family member," said Snaza. "Because we went over via COD, instead of a helicopter, we were able to afford the family members much more time with each other."
"As soon as I walked off of the COD, my cousin was there waiting with arms wide open," said Yeoman 2nd Class Jacqueline M. Martinez, assigned to the Screwtops of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123. "The trip was phenomenal. I'm very thankful for the opportunity."
The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG)recently arrived in U.S. 5th Fleet, replacing the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group on 17 July 2012, augmenting the presence of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (ECSG)in the region.
Enterprise and Eisenhower are both currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Maritime Security Operations and theater security cooperation efforts in support of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120726-06 - Release Date: 7/26/2012 1:20:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Reynolds, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
AIT 12-07 Augments James E. Williams' VBSS team
“U.S. Coast Guard advanced interdiction team (AIT) 12-07, assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard Deployable Operation Group, embarked guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG-95) to augment the ship's visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team on 26 July 20112.
Comprised of Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) South and Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) New York, AIT 12-07 is an experienced maritime interdiction team proficient in maritime boarding, international law, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics.
"We bring experience from a law enforcement perspective," said Maritime Enforcement Specialist 1st Class Carlos Perez, assistant team leader for AIT 12-07. "If any situation we find ourselves in makes case law, we also bring the experience of creating case packages for prosecution."
VBSS boardings are conducted to enforce safety regulations and international law, as well as deter illicit activity such as human-trafficking and narcotics smuggling. In order for AIT 12-07 and James E. Williams' VBSS team to operate jointly, the two teams must develop a solid working relationship.
"Developing a relationship is the biggest piece of the equation," said Lt. j.g. Matthew Kahley, team leader of AIT 12-07. "It's being able to rely on each other by knowing that we'll all be there doing the same mission, doing it together."
The first step in integration begins by incorporating shared experience and knowledge of both teams through a series of exercises aimed to establish roles and capabilities, said Kahley. "Integration between James E. Williams' VBSS team and the AIT has been transparent," said Lt. Darin Dimmerling, boarding officer aboard James E. Williams. "Our training pipelines are very similar and include some of the same U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy Seal instructors."
From tactical movements and gear application, to the use of the force continuum and breaching, each exercise is designed to establish a working foundation for conducting VBSS boardings. "Good communication is one of the most important aspects of integration," said Maritime Enforcement Specialist 1st Class Michael Vecchione. "[Good communication] is being on the same page by training together, and getting to know and understand each other's roles."
"The blending of the AIT into the VBSS team adds strength and a greater depth of experience," said Dimmerling. "It allows us to have two fully-qualified, 12-man teams who are fully capable of responding at a moment's notice." James E. Williams is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and supporting missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120730-03 - Release Date: 7/30/2012 1:21:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Meshel, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, GULF OF OMAN (NNS)).
USS Nitze Trains with HMCS Charlottetown
“U.S. Navy Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG-94) participated in a series of training exercises with Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Charlottetown (FFH-339) on 27 July 2012.
The exercise included a short term crew exchange which sent Nitze Sailors to Charlottetown while Nitze hosted Charlottetown Sailors. The exercise offered a glimpse into the operations of a different ship performing a similar mission in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
"We are a lot more alike than I thought we would be," said Engineman 2nd Class Michael Graham, a Sailor assigned to Nitze. "They basically run their ship the same way we do. If we work together operationally, I would have a better understanding of what they are doing on their ship."
The visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team assigned to Nitze spent time practicing maneuvering, apprehension and detainee handling aboard Charlottetown while their Canadian counterparts, the naval boarding party assigned to Charlottetown, conducted the same training aboard Nitze.
"It was a great experience," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Justin Williams, a member of Nitze's VBSS team. "I enjoyed watching their team operate. If we get to work with their team in the future, we will be able to work together more effectively."
Following the boarding exercise, the ships conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX). A PASSEX is meant to strengthen the ability to maneuver the ships and increase interoperability, a valuable training opportunity for junior officers aboard each ship.
"This exercise with Charlottetown helps to increase our awareness of each other's capabilities," said Cmdr. Christopher Nerad, Nitze commanding officer. "We were successful in sharing ideas, tactics and procedures that we are sure to execute if we work together within the coalition. I look forward to working closely with our Canadian partners as we continue to provide a measure of maritime security in this region."
Nitze is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120801-03 - Release Date: 8/1/2012 5:13:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Atherton, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS NITZE, At Sea (NNS)).
“Big E” Celebrates Caribbean Island Heritage
“Sailors and Marines aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) held a Caribbean Island Heritage Celebration in the ship's hangar bay on 29 July 2012. Enterprise's Multicultural Heritage Committee (MCHC) was responsible for planning and hosting the observance aboard the “Big E” as the carrier continued its final deployment.
The ceremony focused on this year's Caribbean Island Heritage Month theme: "Striving for Excellence in Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion." The ceremony's intent was to educate crew members about the culture of the Caribbean islands. "The military is not only populated by Americans," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Judith L. Wesley, the MCHC coordinator aboard “Big E.” "There is a large diversity of people from different countries who joined the Navy to help defend our nation."
The ceremony included a brief history of the Caribbean, a poem by Machinist's Mate 1st Class Carlos Jimenez and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gregory White and cultural dance performances. The event featured Lt. Winston Cotterell as a guest speaker. The ceremony also included an invocation by Lt. Cmdr. Henry F. Holcombe as well as remarks by Rear Adm. Ted Carter, commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group.
"You don't have to look very far to see the wonderful things that have come from the Caribbean culture," said Carter. "Who hasn't heard of Bob Marley, or that wonderful island sound, Reggae? The exotic fruits and spices have swept the globe and are recognizable no matter where you are."
One of the many focuses of the celebration was to educate the crew about how the Caribbean islands have been a cauldron of cultures since European explorers arrived on the North American continent. Caribbean people have been forced to embrace the changes and obstacles that have defined their culture. The goal of the ceremony was to not only celebrate the flavorful culture of the Caribbean region, but also to celebrate the vast diversity of the ship's crew.
"We should celebrate moments like this to educate others so that they can understand why some people react in certain ways," said Wesley. "It also helps people understand why others eat certain foods, listen to certain music, and even practice certain religions."
During the celebration “Big E's” crew united to observe one of the many cultures that make up the nation they are sworn to protect. "This was a great opportunity for the crew members to remove certain stereotypes," said Wesley. "It was also a great opportunity for cultures to come together and exchange music, knowledge, education and unity."
Caribbean Island Heritage Month is celebrated in July across the nation and is a time to recognize Caribbean islanders living in the U.S.” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120730-24 - Release Date: 7/30/2012 8:20:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian G. Reynolds, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
Records Reveal Enterprise is on 25th Deployment
“On 3 August 2012, marks the 50th anniversary of the first deployment of USS Enterprise (CVN-65), and historians recently discovered the actual number of deployments is higher than commonly reported. Now as the “Big E” continues her final deployment, scores of Sailors and historians are reviewing and double checking all aspects of the carrier's storied career.
The number of arrested landings, historic milestones, major evolutions, and, yes, even number of deployments are being checked and double checked for accuracy. As the Navy entered into the digital age, many of the historical documents associated with the carrier were made available online.
Cases in point are the command history reports, which outline the milestones and accomplishments that occur over each calendar year. Research into these and other documents have led researchers to a startling new discovery.
Tracing the number of deployments that Enterprise has completed would seem like a relatively easy task - simply tally up the number from the command history reports. Unfortunately, a few format changes over the years made for a task a bit more challenging than expected.
According to retired Navy captain Todd Creekman, executive director of the Naval Historical Foundation in Washington D.C., researchers at the foundation have unearthed some surprising news. "In reviewing Enterprise's operational history, we made an interesting discovery" Creekman said. "All the current reports say that the ship is on her 22nd deployment. Actually."
Research from the Naval Historical and Heritage Command's (NHHC) online database and other reports reveal that the carrier has "been there, done that" more often than commonly thought. "We've run it by NHHC historian Mark Evans and it matches his data," Creekman said.
As researchers worked to piece together what happened, it appeared that a focus on the ship's “WestPac’ deployments led to the error. In a number of accounts, including command history reports, a particular deployment would be listed, for example, as "the tenth “WestPac’ deployment," which would be accurate counting from the ship's first 1965-66 epic "first nuclear carrier in combat" deployment to the Vietnam War.
The carrier completed its fourteenth and last sequential “WestPac’ in 1990, before entering Newport News Shipyard in 1990 for the ship's third refueling. Following the final refueling, Enterprise made Norfolk, Va., her homeport once again and only made deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf.
"The problem began when later history reports used the same number sequence but dropped "WestPac" from the description," Evans explained. "The refueling reports failed to re-account for the three deployments “Big E” made to the Mediterranean Sea between 1962-1964." One example is the command history report from the ship's historic 2001 deployment, which reads:
"On April 25, the Enterprise Navigation Department set Special Sea and Anchor Detail to begin a historic 17th deployment for operations in the Mediterranean Sea, Arabian Gulf and North Arabian Sea." This was, in fact, the ship's 20th deployment. As the 51-year-old carrier steams along today on its final deployment (30th Foregin Water Fleet Deplyment-EQNEEDF NOTE), researchers continue to verify and cross reference important facts and milestones to ensure accuracy.
"It's already exciting to be a part of Enterprise's final deployment, but each day we are discovering more and more about the rich history of which we are a part," said Capt. William C. Hamilton, Enterprise's commanding officer. "We estimate over 200,000 Sailors and Marines have served aboard the “Big E,” and every one has helped in making her the legend we serve aboard today. We are a very, very proud crew."
The eighth ship to bear the name Enterprise is scheduled to inactivate from service on December 1, 2012, in a Ceremony in Norfolk, Va., in preparation for her defueling and decommissioning in 2016” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120803-03 - Release Date: 8/3/2012 4:52:00 AM - By USS Enterprise Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
120806-N-FI736-210 - ARABIAN SEA (Aug. 6, 2012) - Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus cuts a specially made cake honoring his visit to the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65). Enterprise is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Randy J. Savarese/Released)
Secretary of the Navy Visits Enterprise
“Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus visited USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in the Arabian Sea from 6 to 7 August 2012, as the carrier continued its final deployment. Enterprise Sailors and Marines, currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, used this opportunity to welcome Mabus to the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Following his arrival on the carrier's flight deck, Mabus was greeted by Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter, commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (ENTCSG) and Capt. William C. Hamilton, Jr., Enterprise's commanding officer. Mabus was then escorted to the ship's navigation bridge and primary flight control before moving to the hangar bay where he addressed more than 3,000 Sailors and Marines gathered for an all-hands call.
"I'm happy to be here with you all," said Mabus as he addressed “Big E's” crew. "I'm happy to be here on this historic ship, on its historic last voyage." During his address, Mabus thanked the crewmembers for their service and told them that he understands that what they do is not easy. "The Navy and Marines are America's 'away team,'" said Mabus. "The people at home never know just how skilled you are. They never see what it takes to do what you do and put on that uniform on a daily basis. On their behalf, I want to say 'thank you.'" Mabus continued his expression of gratitude, saying, "I know that this ship and all of our ships have had an incredibly high operational tempo. I understand the stress that it puts on your families. The importance of what you all are doing for America cannot be overstated."
He also spoke of how the Navy's role in maritime combat operations will change in the future. "We're going to build the fleet," said Mabus. "We are going to begin to use ships differently. We are growing the fleet to meet the new responsibilities of the new national defense strategy that the president announced in January." During the event Mabus also presided over the reenlistment of 32 Sailors and Marines and presented awards to members of the Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 team. "The United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps are the finest expeditionary fighting force that the world has ever known," Mabus told the crew. "You are making part of the history of not only this Enterprise, but of all of the Enterprises that have sailed on behalf of our Navy and our nation."
After concluding his remarks, Mabus answered questions from the crew of “Big E's” and CVW-1 and posed for photos with those gathered in the hangar bay before heading to dinner with members of the enlisted crew on the carrier's mess decks. Following dinner, Mabus was escorted on a tour of the legendary ship, visiting, among other areas, Medical department spaces, a weapons magazine, the combat direction center, carrier air traffic control center, a squadron ready room and the machinery repair shop. He was also able to observe flight operations from the flight deck, both in daylight and after sunset. Enterprise is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security operation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120806-14 - Release Date: 8/6/2012 3:04:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian G. Reynolds, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
120808-N-ZZ999-021 - GULF OF OMAN (Aug. 8, 2012) - A starboard beam view photograph of a dhow flying an Iranian-flag, taken from the USS James E. Williams (DDG-95). The James E. Williams rendered assistance to 10 Iranian mariners who had to abandon their burning vessel. James E. Williams is currently deployed as part of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
USS James E. Williams Rescues Iranian Mariners
“Guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG-95) rescued 10 mariners from their burning vessel in the Gulf of Oman on 8 August 2012.
The mariners - who claim to be Iranian - are being well cared for, receiving medical treatment and awaiting transport to aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), which is coordinating the repatriation efforts.
The vessel was flying an Iranian flag.
James E. Williams is currently deployed as part of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations and theater security cooperation efforts” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120808-14 - Release Date: 8/8/2012 6:39:00 PM - From Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
“USS Enterprise (CVN-65) steamed from the North Arabian Sea after completing operations conducted from 13 July to 6 August 2012, operating in the Arabian Sea from 6 to 7 August 2012, transiting the Strait of Hormuz ((7th transit of her deployment) and and entered the Gulf of Oman on 9 August 2012 en route to the Persian Gulf” (Ref. 76).
Ceremonial Flag Initiative Continues Aboard Enterprise
“As reported on 10 August 2012, “aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), a sense of pride and dedication is an easily recognizable attribute of those who serve on the Navy's oldest active warship. However, a little-known program is proof the enduring legend of Enterprise reaches many not actively serving aboard. This program serves as evidence that the “Big E's” legacy is known far and wide among military personnel and civilians alike. The program involves the flying of flags sent to the ship by individuals. After being flown, the flags are sent back to the requestors with certificates stating when and for whom they were flown.
The ceremonial flag initiative, coordinated by Enterprise's Navigation Department, has been extremely successful. Since April, Enterprise Sailors have accommodated more than 200 requests for flags to be flown. That is more than 50 requests each month, and the requests come from everywhere. "We have individuals who have either been stationed on the ship before, or who are on the ship currently, or even civilians who have just heard about the program, who send flags to us," said Quartermaster 1st Class Craig Bowman, native of Albuquerque, N.M., and departmental leading petty officer.
"We raise it for them, let it fly for a little bit and then we'll bring it down and send it back to them with a certificate signed by Cmdr. Donald E Kennedy, Enterprise's navigator. Upon special request it can also be signed by Capt. William C. Hamilton, Jr. (Enterprise's commanding officer)." The program has spread mostly through word of mouth and e-mails sent from department heads aboard Enterprise. The process for having a flag flown is exceptionally simple considering the impact it has on the recipients of the flags.
"Anyone can have flags flown by contacting me and requesting to have one flown. The request should include a name, the date you may want it flown and anything specific to your request," said Quartermaster Seaman Apprentice Tiffany Odom, native of Robertsdale, Al., and ceremonial flag coordinator. "If it's for a retirement then you need to include how many years you've been in and what rank you are retiring at."
"I get the mail and I log it in my book to make sure everyone is accounted for," said Odom. "From there, depending on the particular request, I'll fly it on a specific date. Then I generate the flag certifications." Those interested in having a flag flown must provide their own due to the increasing number of requests. Some people, wishing to be a part of history, just want a flag flown on Enterprise because of the legendary status of the carrier. Others have a more personal connection to the ship and want to commemorate that in a tangible symbol.
"We had a Vietnam veteran who had a flag flown on the ship because Enterprise provided air support for him during the war," said Bowman. Odom has also received some memorable requests including, just recently, a request from a couple who wanted a flag to commemorate their wedding anniversary. Flying these flags over the Enterprise is more than a job. Odom sees this as an opportunity to fill other people's lives with the deep connection she herself feels to the flag and what it represents in her own life. "It overwhelms me," said Odom.
"I think about my grandfather who passed away about five years ago. He has his flag in a shadow box. I wish I would have had the opportunity to fly it on a ship like this. Every time I fly a flag it reminds me of my grandfather and his shadow box." "I'm always free for someone who wants to fly a flag," said Odom. "Any occasion, any date, I'll do it"” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120810-17 - Release Date: 8/10/2012 10:21:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Randy J. Savarese, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
Vicksburg Trains Sailors In CPR
As reported on 10 August 2012, “Guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) held cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training on 27 July 2012. CPR training is held every two weeks, and Sailors are encouraged to become qualified. "I believe that Sailors should be CPR qualified," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Clayton Duke, who runs Vicksburg's CPR training program. "Whether you are in the field, on a ship or on shore, you may need to resuscitate someone.
Medical personnel may not always be the first ones on the scene." During the training Sailors are taught basic patient evaluation, and how to recognize respiratory and cardiac arrest. To earn their qualification they must demonstrate what they learned. "I've been CPR qualified before, but it's important to keep your qualifications current," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Joshua Doane. "The training was very helpful. The focus was on what we could encounter in the Navy and made sure to involve everyone in the class."
Training keeps Sailors safe. CPR is an important qualifications for a Sailor to have. "Just like all Sailors need to be able to fight fires, we also expect them to know medical basics like CPR," said Cmdr. Carl Brobst, Vicksburg's executive officer. "We train Sailors to be first responders because loss of human life is not something I'm willing to gamble with. I expect to come back with the exact number of Sailors I left with every time I go on deployment, and I can do that because of training like this."
Vicksburg is on her final deployment and is currently operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120810-04 - Release Date: 8/10/2012 4:36:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS)).
“USS Enterprise (CVN-65) pulled in for a port of call at Khalifa Bin Salman Port, Bahrain on 10 August 2012
O'Kane Sailors Offer Assistance to Porter
“Sailors from guided-missile destroyer USS O'Kane (DDG-77) are assisting the crew of guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG-78) to recover from damage sustained in a collision with a large Japanese-owned merchant vessel near the Strait of Hormuz on 12 August 2012.
Porter transited under its own power to Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, and is now pierside for assessment and repair. O'Kane, moored nearby, is offering meals, showers, and temporary berthing to Porter Sailors while they conduct repairs.
"When we were escorted into port and moored, some of my first questions had to do with where we [the crew] were going to sleep and eat," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Nick Anderson, a tomahawk missile technician aboard Porter. "Within hours of being pierside, O'Kane opened her doors to us for assistance; I think all of us here were visibly relieved."
O'Kane Sailors have also volunteered their time and assistance to Porter, whether it be taking ammunition magazine temperatures, or simply lending a hand to help bring ship systems back online.
"When we hear of others in need, I think we feel a natural human desire to assist," said Cmdr. Michael Ray, O'Kane's commanding officer. "The opportunity to lend a hand to fellow Sailors has given my crew a chance to proudly help their shipmates."
For the duration of their stay pierside, O'Kane and its Sailors will be ready to help, said Ray.
"Porter's crew has shown remarkable resilience and commitment - to their ship and each other. O'Kane will gladly assist in any way we can until we are no longer needed," said Ray.
Porter and O'Kane are on scheduled deployments to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations and theater security cooperation efforts” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120816-16 - Release Date: 8/16/2012 12:56:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex R. Forster, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS O'KANE, At Sea (NNS)).
Vicksburg Sailors Focus on Fitness
As reported on 13 August 2012, “the crew of guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) has remained focused on maintaining a high level of fitness throughout the final scheduled deployment.
Physical readiness is an important part of Navy life and many Sailors use deployment as an opportunity to become more physically active.
"Working out is my Zen time," said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 2nd Class Andrew C. Buzzanco, who exercises daily. "It keeps me focused and gives me the energy I need to do my job properly. I always feel great after I'm done." However, staying healthy and fit involves more than just working out.
"I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables in my daily diet," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Charlon A. Clarke."I try to keep away from soda and sugary juices and stick to water. The key is staying hydrated."
Although exercising regularly is important, it is also important not to take on more than you can handle. "Go slow if you are just starting out," said Clarke. "Never try to lift more weight than you are capable of lifting and remember that Rome wasn't built in a day."
During a time when the Navy is very competitive, maintaining the Navy's physical fitness standards can be just as important as earning qualifications. "We are assessed twice a year on our physical readiness and the Navy has very high standards," said Lt. Dylan Richmond, navigation officer aboard Vicksburg, who exercises six times a week.
"It is important for both the physical and mental health of Sailors to exercise regularly and keep a balanced diet," Richmond also said. "It also helps me feel free, even out to sea. It is a great stress reliever for those extra stressful days during deployment."
To help its Sailors stay healthy, Vicksburg is equipped with cardio equipment, two weight rooms and additional exercise equipment on the weather decks as well as a "victory track" that operates on the main weather deck at designated times during the day.
Vicksburg is on its final deployment and is currently operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120813-08 - Release Date: 8/13/2012 2:47:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS)).
“USS Enterprise (CVN-65) made a port of call at Khalifa Bin Salman Port, Bahrain from 10 to 13 August 2012 and then entered Persian Gulf” (Ref. 76).
120814-N-CH661-055 - U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Aug. 14, 2012) - Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Mark Ferguson speaks with Sailors aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65). VCNO is visiting deployed Sailors and leadership in the U.S. Central Command area of operations to thank Navy personnel and demonstrate the continued commitment to regional partners and allies. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jared King/Released)
VCNO Visits Enterprise, Discusses Flexibility of Naval Forces
“The vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) and Navy Total Force/Manpower, Personnel, Education and Training (MPT&E) fleet master chief visited USS Enterprise (CVN-65) on 14 August 2012 as the ship continued its final deployment. Adm. Mark Ferguson and Fleet Master Chief (SW/AW/SCW) Scott A. Benning visited Enterprise as a part of an ongoing tour during which they are visiting and thanking Sailors deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
Following their arrival aboard the “Big E,” Ferguson and Benning were greeted by Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter, commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group and Capt. William C. Hamilton, Jr., Enterprise's commanding officer, before embarking on a tour of the ship. During his visit aboard the Navy's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Ferguson stressed the importance of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group's (ECSG) role in ensuring that the sea lanes remain open to trade and commerce in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
"The security of our nation depends on freedom of the seas - particularly at the maritime crossroads," said Ferguson. "For this reason, the Central Command area of operations remains vital. Your presence here demonstrates our continued commitment to regional partners and allies, provides needed capability and is in direct support of our new defense strategy." Benning also stressed the importance of Enterprise's role in the area and underlined the importance of warfighting. "Warfighting is our first priority," said Benning.
"Our Sailors need to remain ready through great training and operating in the environment in which we fight when necessary, but protect through our always important presence. There is no substitute for the force multiplier that is a proven deckplate-leading Sailor at sea." While aboard the “Big E,” Ferguson and Benning took the opportunity to engage with thousands of Enterprise Sailors and Marines. During the visit, Ferguson and Benning conducted question and answer sessions with several of Enterprise's Departments including Reactor, Engineering, Weapons, Supply, Aviation Intermediate Maintenance, Operations, Deck and Enterprise's embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 1.
During many of these sessions, Ferguson stressed the critical nature of what Sailors do on a daily basis; and how the importance of their efforts cannot be overstated. "The demonstrated flexibility and professionalism that has long been the hallmark of U.S. Naval forces is on display everyday throughout the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group as you carryout the chief of naval operations tenets of 'warfighting first, operate forward and be ready,'" said Ferguson.
Enterprise is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security operation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120814-04 - Release Date: 8/14/2012 1:48:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Reynolds, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
CVW-1 Conducts Aerial Change of Command
“Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 held an aerial change of command ceremony in the skies above the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) on 15 August 2012. Capt. Robert D. Boyer relieved Capt. Jeffrey L. Trent as Commander. During the ceremony, Boyer flew in an F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251, while Trent flew in an E2-C Hawkeye, assigned to the Screwtops of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123.
After both aviators read their orders, Trent gave the formation lead to Boyer as they flew over Enterprise. Boyer, the former deputy commander of CVW-1, said he looks forward to his role as the air wing's final commander aboard Enterprise. "To become commander of the air wing aboard this ship and to be a part of the namesake of Enterprise is a tremendous feeling," said Boyer.
The current deployment is the final time any air wing will operate aboard Enterprise. The carrier is slated to be inactivated following its return to homeport in Norfolk, making this the final change of command CVW-1 will hold while attached to the legendary Big E. There will be two more squadron changes of command.
"It has been a real pleasure to be a part of this historic ship and this historic cruise," said Trent. "I'm honored to be a part of Enterprise and the entire team." Trent's next assignment will be with the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group in Newport, R.I.
"It was great working for Capt. Trent," said Boyer. "He was always a very humble, teamwork oriented-leader and just an awesome guy to work for." Boyer also said that his motivation comes from the Sailors and Marines of CVW-1. To Boyer, their hard work and dedication are an inspiration.
"The crewmembers of the air wing are really who this day is for," said Boyer. "It is their sweat, their work and their effort that get the aircraft off of the flight deck. I am truly humbled to be a part of this air wing."
Following deployment, CVW-1 is scheduled to transition to aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) as the carrier completes it Refueling Complex Overhaul in Newport News, Va. "The future is bright with another deployment in a couple of years," said Trent. "The air wing will continue to do great things as a part of another team."
Enterprise is currently on its final deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security operation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120815-04 - Release Date: 8/15/2012 2:43:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian G. Reynolds, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
VFA-11 Conducts Aerial Change of Command
“The "Red Rippers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 held an aerial change-of-command ceremony in the skies above aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) on 16 August 2012. Cmdr. Marcus Lopez relieved Cmdr. Daniel Sullivan as commanding officer. During the ceremony, Sullivan and Lopez flew F/A-18F Super Hornets. After both aviators read their orders, Sullivan gave the formation lead to Lopez, symbolically turning over the squadron to his relief.
"I would say I have not left my mark on the Rippers, the Rippers left their mark on me," said Sullivan. "I was blessed to be the 76th commanding officer of the Red Rippers [in] 85 years and, I would honestly say, I've taken away as much as I've given." Sullivan has taken orders to the Pentagon to work on the Quadrennial Defense Review, a 20-year investigation into future Navy and military program expenditures. His future may lie in Washington D.C., but his past remains with Enterprise. "When I was growing up, my dad told me stories about when he was a young boy learning and reading stories about the Big E.
And now, fast-forward 50 years and I'm serving on it as a commanding officer of one of the fighter squadrons on board," said Sullivan. Like Sullivan, the Red Rippers have early ties to Enterprise as well. The Rippers were the first squadron to trap aircraft on the flight deck of “Big E.” "It's special to be back here 51 years after that first trap," said Sullivan. "Hopefully the Red Rippers will have the last trap on Enterprise."
The Rippers have been hard at work since that first trap, completing many combat operations and deploying with different aircraft carriers, and, even as they prepare to make more history, they remember their forbearers.
"The ship and the squadron are kind of paired up in that sense of long lineage and heritage," said Lopez. "That's a pretty cool aspect of this deployment. It's particularly nice because I worked really hard and I wanted to come to this squadron from the get-go, so it's very cool to get here and be with what I see as the best squadron out there."
Lopez has a large task at hand, being the final Red Ripper commanding officer to serve aboard Enterprise, but he said he feels up to the task, thanks in part to Sullivan. "Cmdr. Sullivan really helped me out along the way and really gave me the opportunity to exercise being the executive officer," said Lopez. "I think we've been able to accomplish a lot together here and I enjoyed working with him."
As for Sullivan, his parting thoughts are simple, yet heartfelt. "The only thing I would leave with the Rippers is to continue to take care of each other and remember and be proud of our heritage and what has made us great, which is the people of this squadron," said Sullivan. This change of command ceremony comes a day after the Carrier Air Wing 1 change of command ceremony held above Enterprise” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120817-02 - Release Date: 8/17/2012 5:13:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Scott Pittman, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
USO Hosts Barbecue for Porter and O'Kane Sailors
“The USO in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, hosted a barbecue for Sailors assigned to guided-missile destroyers USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS O'Kane (DDG-77) on 16 August 2012.
The picnic was coordinated by USO employees and volunteers while Porter is pierside in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, for assessment and repair following a collision with a large Japanese-owned merchant vessel near the Strait of Hormuz on 12 August 2012.
The USO is working hard to make Porter's time there as comfortable as possible according to a local USO official.
"There's nothing more we want than to help you guys out - whether that's through a barbecue or offering Wi-Fi and other services. It brings a smile to all of our faces when we know we're making a difference," said Mark Buzolich, a USO center director.
The barbecue was held during lunch, complete with hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages.
"This is the best burger I've had in a while," said Seaman Brandon Fitzgibbon, a Sailor assigned to Porter's Deck Department. "While we are away from home, it's hard to get that summer barbecue atmosphere, but they definitely got it right."
"It's hot today, and it's not comfortable by any means, but if there's something I can do for the brave men and women of the USS Porter, then the temperature doesn't matter," said Bruce Thomas, a USO volunteer who helped prepare and maintain the food for the barbecue.
After the event, Cmdr. Martin Arriola, Porter's commanding officer, presented a plaque to the USO in appreciation of the assistance it has provided since the destroyer arrived in Jebel Ali.
"For the USO to open up some of its services and host a barbecue for our Sailors really means a lot. I think everyone is extremely thankful for the services the USO has provided. Team Porter is strong and resilient, but we are that much stronger with the support of those around us," said Arriola.
While Porter is pierside, the USO will continue to provide services and assistance to the crew.
Porter and O'Kane are on scheduled deployments to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations and theater security cooperation efforts” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120820-07 - Release Date: 8/20/2012 8:21:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex R. Forster, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, JEBEL ALI, United Arab Emirates (NNS)).
“USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was underway in the Persian Gulf from 14 to 21 August 2012” (Ref. 76).
“USS Enterprise (CVN-65) pulled in for a port of call at Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates on 22 August 2012” (Ref. 76).
Gunner's Mates Have Big Impact Aboard “Big E”
As reported on 24 August 2012, “though its primary arsenal lies in the squadron aircraft embarked aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the ship is also equipped with both small arms and crew-served weapons. The gunner's mates (GMs) aboard Enterprise are responsible for these weapons and systems. They clean these weapons, maintain them, train crewmembers on their usage, and finally man the .50 caliber gun mounts and M-240 machine guns during special evolutions.
"The role that we play on Enterprise is almost strictly defensive," said Master Chief Gunner's Mate Joseph Cassista, G-2 Division leading chief petty officer, from Cutler, Maine. "We defend the ship with the .50 caliber machine guns, and we own all of the sprinkler systems that keep our weapons magazines safe from fire or accident."
There are 230 Sailors in the Weapons Department of Enterprise, only 18 of them are GMs. "We're such a small division in such a big department on such a big ship," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Kyle T. Gregory, from East St. Louis, Ill. "That aside, I feel like we are one of the most important pieces to the ship because we work with security involving their weapons, and we're a part of most special shipboard evolutions."
G-2 Division has custody of the shipboard small arms and is overall in charge of the armory. In addition to these responsibilities, they are also in charge of weapons ranges used for qualifications and training. "In addition to weapons, we keep the keys to the different weapons magazines in the armory," said Gregory. "Aside from giving those out to G-3 division, we do a lot of training to stay up-to-date with the different weapon requirements and scenarios we encounter in our job."
During underway replenishments (UNREP), up to five GMs will be on station at different UNREP stations prepared to fire shot-lines from Enterprise to whatever ship will be alongside to resupply her. The shot-line, made of spooled thread, is fired from an M-14 rifle and used to move different types of lines and connectors between ships. They remain on station in case of emergency breakaway, in which case they would need to use explosive bolt cutters to disconnect the span-wires between the ships.
Another aspect of the job, perhaps just as, or more, important than assisting in resupplying the ship, is standing .50 caliber gun-mount watches. There are usually two Sailors per .50 caliber mount, with an additional body allotted to the double .50 caliber mounts to assist in loading the second weapon. "It's not just the GMs who man the gun mounts during transits and special evolutions, though," said Gregory. "The aviation ordnancemen from the other divisions of Weapons Department also stand the watches with us."
One of the final and more obscure duties of the GM is the "Shark Watch," during which a GM will stand watch with an M-14 watching for sharks while Sailors enjoy a swim-call, though whether or not the GMs of Enterprise will have to stand that watch remains to be seen. The GMs of G-2 Division are not the only ones doing the job, however. "In G-2 Division, our job as Gunner's Mates is shared by our aviation ordnancemen," said Cassista. Our department is mostly AOs, more than half of my division is AOs, and here, there is no distinction between the two rates. We do the same jobs and maintain the same equipment.
The G-2 Division on this ship is probably the finest division that I've ever served with." Enterprise GMs will continue to stand ready to defend the ship as the ship finishes its final deployment, which currently has them underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120824-13 - Release Date: 8/24/2012 10:36:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Scott Pittman, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
USS Vicksburg Completes Bahrain Port Visit
“Guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) departed Bahrain on 24 August 2012 following a regularly-scheduled port visit. The visit helped to continue U.S. 5th Fleet effort building global maritime partnerships with Middle Eastern nations and improving maritime safety and security in the region.
"It was good to have some much needed (rest and relaxation) after a lengthy underway," said Lt. Robert E. Danielson, operations officer aboard Vicksburg. "The long underway was strenuous, but we are here to (complete) a mission and that always comes first."
Though Sailors still had to stand duty and perform regular maintenance while the ship was in port, they were also able to take advantage of the facilities at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain.
"There were a lot of uniform items I needed, so it was good to be close to a Navy Exchange again," said Operations Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Priestly J. Birks.
In addition to having access to the base, Sailors were able to take part in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours such as go-cart racing, a beach barbeque at the Al Bander Resort, a fishing trip, a trip to the Lost Paradise Water Park and a trip to the Bahrain Dolphin Resort, complete with a chance to swim with dolphins.
Apart from the MWR-sponsored tours, there were many other activities to choose from, including sampling the wide variety of cuisine available in Bahrain.
"I spent most of my time using the internet and enjoying the local food," said Birks. "Overall, it was nice to be back on land." Others used the port visit as an opportunity to display their athletic abilities.
Sailors from Vicksburg's Deck department defeated a group of Vicksburg officers, including the ship's commanding officer, in a basketball game 45-35. "The officers played very well," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Jeremy Anthony who played on the Deck Department team.
"We had a lot of fun. The commanding officer played well, the executive officer played well, but in the end, nobody beats Deck." This was Vicksburg's second visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain this deployment.
Vicksburg is on her final deployment, and is currently operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120902-01 - Release Date: 9/2/2012 12:11:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS)).
“USS Enterprise (CVN-65) pulled in for a port of call at Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates on 22 August 2012” (Ref. 76).
“USS Enterprise (CVN-65) made a port of call at Jebel Ali, United Arab from 22 to 25 August 2012 and then entered the Persian Gulf, en route to the North Arabian Sea via the Strait of Hormuz (8th transit while on her deployment) and the Gulf of Oman (Ref. 76).
“USS Enterprise (CVN-65) entered the North Arabian Sea on 27 August 2012” (Ref. 76).
'United Through Reading' Connects Vicksburg Sailors to Families
As reported on 28 August 2012, “Sailors aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) have been staying connected to their families through the ship's United Through Reading program. United Through Reading is a non-profit public benefit organization founded in 1989 with the purpose of uniting deployed service members with their families back home.
Through the program, Sailors are able to videotape themselves reading books to their children and loved ones. The videos are then sent to the Sailors' families to view. "Kids will touch the screen and really feel closer to their loved ones," said Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Gregory L. Bosworth, coordinator of the ship's United Through Reading program.
"I was in charge of the program on USS Carney (DDG-64), so when they were looking for someone for Vicksburg, I jumped at the chance," said Bosworth. "I participated on my last deployment and sent videos to my nieces and nephews, but now I am sending videos to my wife who is expecting our first child while I am deployed." Most Sailors who participate in the program take part more than once.
"I have recorded for my son at least five times," said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Derek J. Marsik. "It helps me feel connected to my family back home. United Through Reading helps me and my family stay in touch." Some Sailors aboard Vicksburg received proof of their children enjoying their United Through Reading videos.
"My wife has sent me photos of my kids watching the videos I send," said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class (SW/IDW) Mark D. Simpson. "I have two girls and one boy and I make videos for all of them. I never knew about it before I was on Vicksburg, but this program has made this deployment go so much more smoothly for me and my family." More than 30 Sailors take advantage of this program every month aboard Vicksburg.
Vicksburg is on her final deployment and is currently operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120828-01 - Release Date: 8/28/2012 6:58:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS)).
To: Enterprise, From: Enterprise
As reported on 28 August 2012, “Members of USS Enterprise's Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) organization recently took some time out of their various operational commitments to answer a few pieces of mail. While underway on its final deployment (based on more then a month or two or three or four), USS Enterprise (CVN-65) received dozens of letters from the students of Enterprise Elementary School in Enterprise, Fla. These letters were then distributed to Sailors throughout the ship, including members of “Big E's” CSADD and the First Class Petty Officers Association, who later took the time to write the students back during one of the organization's meetings. The Enterprise to Enterprise connection was not lost on those answering the mail.
"It felt like the history of this great warship reached all the way back to the states," said Legalman 2nd Class Ashley D'Aunoy, native of Mandeville, La. "It's amazing that the story of the Enterprise name is so legendary, it is a part of our nation's youth's story." The letters and cards were written by the Enterprise Elementary School's 3rd, 4th and 5th graders as a part of the "Letters to Sailors" campaign, which was started a few years ago by Chris Folcik, president of the Navy League of the United States Daytona Beach Area Council. The initiative is similar to a pen pal program and gives students in the United States the opportunity to ask Sailors questions about the ship, as well as tell deployed Sailors a little about themselves.
"It was a lot of fun answering the questions they had," said D'Aunoy. "I made an effort to make the responses just as colorful and creative as they did for us. I believe I speak for all of the CSADD members who participated in this when I say that we had a great time supporting this project." It is fitting that a batch of letters arrived aboard “Big E's” courtesy of Folcik's program. The "Letters to Sailors" founder served aboard the “Big E's” in 1964 and remembers what it is like to be underway. "In the middle of a tour at sea, you're getting into the doldrums," said Folcik. "There's no end in sight and the morale starts to drag." The letters from the students of Enterprise Elementary were meant to help lift that morale of the crew and provide Sailors with a touch of home.
Those who received the letters, many of which were decorated with drawings or patriotic sentiments, were more than happy to write back to the students in Florida to let them know what life at sea is like and to say "thank you" for the mail. "I really liked the letters because the students took their time to write us and it shows they appreciate what we are doing out here," said Yeoman 2nd Class Alonte D. Horn, native of Oceanside, Calif., a CSADD member and letter recipient.
The students of Enterprise Elementary also sent crew members a flag to fly while deployed. The flag was flown by Navigation Department and mailed back to be flown in front of their school. "There's so much appreciation of the military even at this young age," said Folcik. "When I speak to the students they're very interested in what's going on in the Navy"” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120828-22 - Release Date: 8/28/2012 10:39:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Gregory Pickett, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
Cartoonists Visit Vicksburg on USO Tour
“Guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) hosted a group of nationally-renowned cartoonists during a USO-sponsored visit to the cruiser on 30 August 2012. The cartoonists included Jeff Keane, creator and illustrator of The Family Circus; Rick Kirkman, creator and illustrator of Baby Blues; Dave Coverly, creator and illustrator of Speed Bump; and, Sam Viviano, art director for MAD Magazine.
The visit marked the second USO-sponsored tour to come to Vicksburg and included several hours where the visiting artists were able to interact with Sailors and even create personal drawings of their characters as well as caricatures of some of the servicemembers.
"It was really cool that they came aboard," said Operations Specialist Seaman Jose E. Rosas. "I was very excited to meet all of them, Mr. Viviano in particular. As an artist myself, I really respect what these artists do, and I hope one day I can make a living on my art as well."
The cartoonists set up shop on the Vicksburg's mess decks and drew for Sailors until their departure. "I got a personalized drawing from Rick Kirkman," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class (SW) Eric C. Askea. "I've always been a fan of, 'Baby Blues.' I hope we can have more events like this. I had a great time."
The USO provides this type of entertainment throughout the fleet and they attempt to find entertainers that appeal to a large group of servicemembers.
"We keep current on the demographic," said Jeremy Wilcox, a USO entertainment tour provider who accompanied the visiting artists. "Cartoonists are unique and popular and people want to meet the people behind the legendary comics. There is a lot of interaction (with Sailors) on this particular tour. In this case, you get quality over quantity."
The Vicksburg crew experienced the quality of the artists' work first hand and the artists themselves enjoyed meeting crew members from all walks of life. "The best thing was meeting all the Sailors," said Jeff Keane, creator and illustrator of The Family Circus. "I like coming to ships because I feel less rushed (than on a base) and I really get the time to know the [crew]."
Vicksburg is on her final Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120905-02 - Release Date: 9/5/2012 7:42:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS)).
SAPR Master Mobile Training Team Visits 'Big E'
“A Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Master Mobile Training Team (MMTT) visited USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in the Arabian Sea to provide training to command leadership from 31 July to 31 August 2012 as the ship continued its final deployment.
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response MMTTs began deployments to worldwide locations July 13, as part of the Navy's aggressive efforts to prevent sexual assaults and promote essential culture changes within the force.
The teams are providing SAPR leadership training (SAPR-L) to command leadership triads (commanding officer/officer in charge, executive officer/assistant officer in charge, and command master chief/chief of the boat/senior enlisted advisor) in fleet concentration areas and locations with significant Navy presence. The command triads will then deliver the SAPR-L training to their command leadership, E-7 and above.
"We provide leadership with the tools, such as awareness, prevention and response," said Naval Education Training Command (NETC) Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Dominic A. Musso, the senior enlisted advisor to Rear Adm. Cliff Sharpe. "Our goal is to ensure that everyone understands what it is, how to prevent it, and, if it happens, how we can respond correctly. You respond correctly by supporting, reporting and initiating the official investigation."
Nearly 650 SAPR-L training sessions are scheduled to be conducted Navy-wide by the middle of August, providing training for regular and reserve commands. All SAPR-L training must be completed for E-7 and above by Sept. 30th, and SAPR-L training completion will be documented by individual commands via the Fleet Training Management Planning System (FLTMPS).
"Until recently we have not made an official stance saying that we will eliminate sexual assault in the Navy," said Musso, a former Enterprise command master chief. "Our CNO has done that. We are now equipping commands with the tools to ensure that Sailors feel comfortable reporting these events up the chain of command where action can be taken."
Sexual assault prevention is an important element of the readiness area of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the department of the Navy (DoN).
"This training is a key component to stamping out sexual assault," said Enterprise Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Dwayne Huff. "It was concise and made clear that sexual assault affects everyone and we have no room for it in our Navy"” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120801-12 - Release Date: 8/1/2012 3:04:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian G. Reynolds, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
Drawing Smiles: Renowned Cartoonists Visit Big E
“Sailors and Marines aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) got the chance to meet a group of distinguished artists from the National Cartoonists Society during a USO-sponsored tour from 29 August to 1 September 2012. "We are here to draw for (the Sailors and Marines), hopefully bring some smiles to their faces and bring a little bit of home," said Tom Richmond, an artist for NOW, Marvel Comics and MAD Magazine, and one of six cartoonists on the tour.
While aboard, the cartoonists toured the aircraft carrier, observed flight operations, met with budding cartoonists from the crew and drew caricatures and personalized cartoons for hundreds of Sailors and Marines. The visitors all came to know each other through the National Cartoonists Society and for the last several years have worked with the USO to come out to ships and bases and show their support for forward-deployed troops.
"We are all members of the National Cartoonists Society," said Jeff Bacon, creator and illustrator of Broadside. "[This] actually started out with 'chalk talks' that cartoonists did for soldiers in WWII, so we have a long history of supporting the troops and their efforts." The cartoonists came to the ship to make people smile, but as their visit progressed, it became clear that they got just as much enjoyment out of the Sailors and Marines as the Sailors and Marines did from them.
"The thing that really struck me was the friendly competitiveness around the ship," said Rick Kirkman, creator and illustrator of Baby Blues. "I've never seen anything like it. That competitiveness that makes everyone want to be better." The cartoonists saw plenty of that competitiveness, pride and spirit while interacting with Sailors and Marines throughout their visit. When meeting with the cartoonists, Sailors and Marines brought photos of their children, drawings they had done and even drawings they offered to the cartoonists as gifts.
"It's great just to hear the stories from all these people. It is just fantastic," said Dave Coverly, the creator and illustrator of Speed Bump. "We get to let them know that we appreciate what they're doing out here." The individuals from the National Cartoonists Society are all accomplished illustrators and story tellers. But as successful professionals, these nationally-renowned cartoonists were able to recognize and appreciate the professionalism and teamwork the Enterprise crew has to offer.
"There's an incredible sense of history on this ship, but generally, with the people I talk to, it isn't so much the boat they're on. They take more pride (in) the people around them," said Sam Viviano, art director for MAD Magazine. "That's what makes the Enterprise; it's the crew. Not the walls or the nuts and bolts, but the fact that they depend on the people around them to do the things they do and they are proud of all of those people as much as they are of themselves."
When talking with the cartoonists, it becomes clear they have a large part of their hearts set aside for soldiers, Sailors and Marines. Those service members who met them could sense that appreciation. "I had a lot of fun getting to know the cartoonists and letting them know what ship life is like," said Hull Technician Fireman Matt A. Smith.
"I think it was awesome. They were very friendly and were interested in both my home and Navy life." The cartoonists brought the Enterprise much-needed smiles and laughs during deployment. "The most interesting thing to me about the Enterprise, and any of our visits, is meeting the people," said Jeff Keane, creator and illustrator of The Family Circus. "Hearing the stories about people you don't know, (you realize that) they are affected by what we do, but we are affected way more by what they do."
The visit to Enterprise marks the last stop on the cartoonist's most recent tour, which also included a stop in Bahrain. They are scheduled to return to the United States shortly after departing Enterprise” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120901-05 - Release Date: 9/1/2012 10:28:00 AM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brooks Barstow Patton, Jr., Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
Vicksburg Trains Chief Selects for New Leadership Role
“Guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) began induction of four new chief selectees on 1 August 2012. The chief petty officer induction process, which began this week for selectees, culminates in a pinning ceremony aboard Vicksburg on 14 September 2012. Chief induction is meant to train selectees in their new tier of leadership as well as provide mentorship. It has been a tradition since the creation of the rank of chief petty officer in 1893.
"Everybody looks at a chief petty officer as someone who has the answers," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Michael G. Burns, a chief petty officer selectee. "You have to be a subject matter expert in your field and be completely squared away, or else junior Sailors could lose faith in you."
The induction process is one aspect making the E-7 rank in the United States Navy so unique. "We are the only branch of service that has a rank like chief," said Burns. "I think it builds a camaraderie between us that the other branches don't get to experience."
Chief induction can be a rigorous and challenging process for some Sailors, but it is meant to offer training for the challenges ahead. "Some people dread induction," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Luis A. Sandoval, a chief petty officer selectee. "I don't dread it at all. It's not easy, but few things that are worth doing are, and it is a great learning opportunity."
According to Sandoval, the combined experiences of the Chief's Mess make induction an invaluable process. "The chiefs that train us have so much knowledge and experience that can prepare us for the road ahead and show us how to deal with difficult situations," said Sandoval. The induction process is also meant to expand on leadership skills Sailors learned as first class petty officers and enhance them.
"One thing you have to ask yourself is 'what kind of leader will I be?'" said Fire Controlman 1st Class Lawrence Evans, a chief petty officer selectee. "You have to choose a leadership style that fits you and helps your junior Sailors. These are the questions they like us to reflect on during the induction process."
Although the chief induction process has been around for more than a century, it has changed through the years. "They have streamlined the whole process," said Damage Controlman 1st Class Gary S. Lee, another of Vicksburg's chief petty officer selectees. "A lot has changed in the Navy over the last few years. One of the things you can do as a chief petty officer is effect real changes for good in the Navy."
Vicksburg is on its final deployment and is currently operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120806-12 - Release Date: 8/6/2012 2:41:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS)).
Vicksburg Welcomes Newest Chiefs
“New chief petty officers were pinned in a ceremony aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) on 14 September 2012. The chief petty officer induction and training process, which began six weeks ago for selectees, helped prepare the new chiefs for their new tier of leadership.
"You have greater responsibility [as a chief]," said Chief Operations Specialist (SW) Luis Sandoval, who was pinned during the ceremony. "There's no more running to the chief for answers - you are the chief. A benefit is that you have the whole chief's mess backing you up and helping you."
The pinning ceremony marks the end of the induction process and represents a new beginning through a proud naval tradition. "As chiefs we are now proud upholders of tradition," said Chief Information Systems Technician (SW/EXW) Michael Burns, who was pinned during the ceremony.
"We are the only branch of service that has a rank like chief. I think it builds camaraderie between us that the other branches don't get to experience." Becoming a chief can be a long and difficult journey, but there is a reason it isn't easy.
"[Induction] reminds you where you came from and doesn't let you forget how you got to where you are," said Chief Damage Controlman (SW/AW) Gary Lee, another of Vicksburg's newly-pinned chiefs. "Ultimately it's the Sailors that got us where we are. They are the ones who built us up and helped us become good leaders."
The Sailors that have helped the new chiefs get to where they are now have the benefit of being helped by the new chiefs as they assume greater leadership roles. "We have a new role, we have to be more involved," said Chief Fire Controlman (SW) Lawrence Evans, who was also pinned during the ceremony.
"We have to know more about administration and know the Navy instructions," said Evans. "It's not just that though, you have to be involved with Sailors lives personally and professionally. That could be the most important thing of all. Sailors depend on you."
Vicksburg is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120915-10 - Release Date: 9/15/2012 2:57:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS)).
080916-N-5328N-174 - PENSACOLA, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2008) - Chief petty officer combination covers rest on the charge books of the Navy's newest chief petty officers assigned to the Center for Information Dominance (CID) Corry Station and Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Pensacola at the chapel at Corry Station. The new covers will be placed on the heads of the 21 chiefs. U.S. Navy photo by Gary Nichols (Released)
Enterprise Administers Final Advancement Exam
“Sailors aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) occupied the ship's forward and aft mess decks on 20 September 2012 as they took part in the final Navy-wide advancement exam administered aboard the "Big E."
As Enterprise continued its support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, 473 eligible junior Sailors gathered in the early morning hours to participate in the E-4 advancement exam, which was facilitated by the ship's Educational Services Office (ESO).
"Preparation for the exam began months in advance," said Chief Personnel Specialist Jasper D. Mitchell, the ship's educational services officer. "It takes between five and six months of preparation to administer the exam."
As Enterprise steams toward the completion of its final deployment, the significance of the last advancement exam aboard the ship was not discounted by the Sailors taking the test.
"To be one of the last Sailors to test for advancement aboard Enterprise is indeed an honor," said Personnel Specialist Seaman Jarrid L. Boykin, exam participant. "If I advance in rank and become one of the many Sailors frocked in the last of Enterprise's long line of frocking ceremonies, I will feel grateful...grateful for the fact that the Navy has allowed me the opportunity to advance in the ranks and become part of naval history and heritage."
As Enterprise brings to a conclusion a name that has been a symbol of the great struggle to retain American liberty, justice and freedom since the first days of the American Revolutionary War, it offers one final chance for its Sailors to begin their successful journey up the ranks.
"The third class exam is the first step toward a goal that everyone hopes to achieve," said Mitchell. "Whether it is senior enlisted or the officer ranks, advancement is a stepping stone that is exciting and that Sailors look forward to."
Enterprise has been a platform for many Sailors to develop their leadership and excel professionally, throughout its 51 years of service.
"The time I spent aboard Enterprise has aided me in preparation for my advancement exam in ways I never would have thought," said Boykin. "The saying is true, 'there is tough and then there is Enterprise tough,' I am glad to say I chose the latter."
Enterprise is scheduled to inactivate in a ceremony Dec. 1st, following the completion of the ship's current deployment, bringing to an end 51 years of distinguished service” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120920-17 - Release Date: 9/20/2012 12:11:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Robert Guerra, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS)).
Vicksburg Sailors Practice Firearms Safety
“U.S. Navy Sailors, assigned to the 'Grandmasters' of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 46, and the visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) conducted training in firearms safety and familiarization on 21 September 2012.
Vicksburg and HSL-46 Sailors trained with Sig Sauer M11 semi-automatic pistols for the purposes of familiarization and safety. "It keeps Sailors familiar with movements and tactics," said Ensign Christopher Anderson, gunnery officer aboard Vicksburg. "The more we practice, the better we get."
Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Melvin Faust, who is assigned to the 'Grandmasters,' participated in the training. "Everyone aboard should know how to use a weapon properly," said Faust. "I don't own a gun, but I really enjoyed the training. It refreshed my knowledge about gun safety."
After HSL-46 completed their firearms training, the VBSS team trained in both small arms and small-arms tactics. VBSS team member Electronics Technician 3rd Class Benjamin Arndt owns a personal firearm and understands the importance of weapon safety. "So many things go into shooting and maintaining a firearm, you really do need proper training," said Arndt.
"I have been using firearms since I was young and I think one of the most important things to remember is to manage your stress. If you can't keep your stress under control, you can't stay focused." Vicksburg Sailors also trained with the M4 Carbine, the M16 Rifle, the Mossberg Shotgun and the Beretta M9 semi-automatic pistol.
Vicksburg is currently deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom” (Ref. Story Number: NNS120926-02 - Release Date: 9/26/2012 12:10:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS)).