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Housing recovery funds available
Military DoD civilians who face financial losses due to the current housing downturn can find relief in the ARRA influx of funds to the Housing Assistance Program (HAP).
Active members, former members, and survivors of those who have died on deployment of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, as well as DoD civilians, who have sold a primary residence for a loss, or are considering selling their home, may qualify for funds.
The Recovery Act appropriated $555 million in funds to the HAP, which DoD will use to temporarily expand this program in order to partially reimburse eligible members. applications.
To speak with a HAP representative, call (916) 557-6850 or 1-800-811-5532.

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U.S. Navy marks 239th birthday

WASHINGTON (Oct. 9 2014) Vice Adm. Scott H. Swift, left, Director of the Navy staff, and Rear Adm. Mark K. Rich, commandant of Naval District Washington, salute a wreath in honor of the 239th birthday of the U.S. Navy at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington D.C. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Leonard Adams

WASHINGTON (Oct. 9 2014) Vice Adm. Scott H. Swift, left, Director of the Navy staff, and Rear Adm. Mark K. Rich, commandant of Naval District Washington, salute a wreath in honor of the 239th birthday of the U.S. Navy at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington D.C. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Leonard Adams. Story

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Navy commissions amphibious assault ship America
10/11/201
Washington D.C. (NNS) -- The Navy commissioned its newest amphibious assault ship, USS America (LHA 6), during a 1 p.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, October 11, 2014, in San Francisco, California.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Mrs. Lynne Pace, wife of retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is serving as the ship's sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life."
"This ship, forged in America, with components and systems manufactured all across America, shall remind us of the long and historic links between our communities and our Navy and Marine Corps," Secretary Mabus said. "Having a ship named America, sailing the world's oceans, always present in defense of our freedoms and ready to respond is yet another extension of our American spirit."
USS America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa class of amphibious assault ships. As the next generation "big-deck" amphibious ship, LHA 6 is optimized for aviation, and will be capable of supporting current and future aircraft such as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Lightning II. The ship is equipped with a fuel efficient hybrid electric propulsion system, the same built for USS Makin Island (LHD 8), which is an energy initiative designed to give the ship the benefit of increased range, endurance and time on station enhancing USS America's combat capability. It also provides greater flexibility with regards to scheduling refueling and reduced maintenance costs.
LHA 6 provides a flexible, multi-mission platform with capabilities that span the range of military operations -- from forward deployed crisis response to forcible entry operations. The ship also provides forward presence and power projection as an integral part of joint, interagency and multinational maritime expeditionary forces.
USS America will operate for sustained periods in transit to, and operations in, an amphibious objective area to include: embarking, transporting, controlling, inserting, sustaining and extracting elements of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and supporting forces by helicopters and tilt rotors supported by F-35Bs.
The ship includes additional aviation spaces and will have an increased aviation capacity: enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity. USS America, as well as the second ship of the class, the future USS Tripoli (LHA 7), will not include a well deck.
Capt. Robert A. Hall Jr. of Billerica, Mass., is the ship's commanding officer and will lead a crew of 1,200 sailors and nearly 1,900 embarked Marines. The 44,971-ton ship is 844 feet in length, has an overall beam of 106 feet, and a navigational draft of 26 feet.
Since the American Revolution, three U.S. Navy warships have sailed with the name America. The first America was originally a racing schooner launched in 1851 and taken into Confederate naval service in 1861 before being captured and taken into the U.S. Navy service in 1862. She served in the U.S. Navy until 1873 before returning to civilian life racing and cruising. In 1921 she was presented to the Navy for preservation as a relic and remained at the U.S. Naval Academy until being scrapped in 1945. The second America transported troops during World War I. The third ship to bear the name was a Kitty-Hawk class aircraft carrier that supported operations from the Vietnam War through Operation Desert Storm. USS America will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear this name



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Words to live by: Remarks by Adm. William McRaven at U of Texas commencement

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Navy commissions amphibious assault ship America
10/11/201
Washington D.C. (NNS) -- The Navy commissioned its newest amphibious assault ship, USS America (LHA 6), during a 1 p.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, October 11, 2014, in San Francisco, California.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Mrs. Lynne Pace, wife of retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is serving as the ship's sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life."
"This ship, forged in America, with components and systems manufactured all across America, shall remind us of the long and historic links between our communities and our Navy and Marine Corps," Secretary Mabus said. "Having a ship named America, sailing the world's oceans, always present in defense of our freedoms and ready to respond is yet another extension of our American spirit."
USS America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa class of amphibious assault ships. As the next generation "big-deck" amphibious ship, LHA 6 is optimized for aviation, and will be capable of supporting current and future aircraft such as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Lightning II. The ship is equipped with a fuel efficient hybrid electric propulsion system, the same built for USS Makin Island (LHD 8), which is an energy initiative designed to give the ship the benefit of increased range, endurance and time on station enhancing USS America's combat capability. It also provides greater flexibility with regards to scheduling refueling and reduced maintenance costs.
LHA 6 provides a flexible, multi-mission platform with capabilities that span the range of military operations -- from forward deployed crisis response to forcible entry operations. The ship also provides forward presence and power projection as an integral part of joint, interagency and multinational maritime expeditionary forces.
USS America will operate for sustained periods in transit to, and operations in, an amphibious objective area to include: embarking, transporting, controlling, inserting, sustaining and extracting elements of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and supporting forces by helicopters and tilt rotors supported by F-35Bs.
The ship includes additional aviation spaces and will have an increased aviation capacity: enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity. USS America, as well as the second ship of the class, the future USS Tripoli (LHA 7), will not include a well deck.
Capt. Robert A. Hall Jr. of Billerica, Mass., is the ship's commanding officer and will lead a crew of 1,200 sailors and nearly 1,900 embarked Marines. The 44,971-ton ship is 844 feet in length, has an overall beam of 106 feet, and a navigational draft of 26 feet.
Since the American Revolution, three U.S. Navy warships have sailed with the name America. The first America was originally a racing schooner launched in 1851 and taken into Confederate naval service in 1861 before being captured and taken into the U.S. Navy service in 1862. She served in the U.S. Navy until 1873 before returning to civilian life racing and cruising. In 1921 she was presented to the Navy for preservation as a relic and remained at the U.S. Naval Academy until being scrapped in 1945. The second America transported troops during World War I. The third ship to bear the name was a Kitty-Hawk class aircraft carrier that supported operations from the Vietnam War through Operation Desert Storm. USS America will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear this name.

2nd Annual Bob Feller Act of Valor Award recipients announced
10/10/2014
by MC2 (SW) Kevin J. Steinberg, Defense Media Activity

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (NNS) -- The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation announced its 2014 winners Oct. 8, followed by the announcement of an official ceremony to be held at the Navy Memorial on Nov. 5 for the awardees.
The award recognizes three recipients to include one baseball hall of famer, one current professional baseball player and one U.S. Navy chief petty officer. The winners are selected based on their values, integrity and dedication to serving the United States.
The winners are former Los Angeles Dodgers manager and hall of famer Tommy Lasorda, current Cleveland Indians player Nick Swisher and Senior Chief Petty Officer Carl Thompson.
The ceremony will feature a gathering of baseball luminaries and Navy leadership with Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael Stevens scheduled to participate in the event.
The event is scheduled to be held Nov. 5 at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Navy accepting applications for FY16 MCPO, SCPO, CPO selection board members
10/9/2014
From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Navy is seeking senior enlisted Sailors to serve on Fiscal Year 2016 active-duty and Reserve master chief, senior chief, and chief petty officer selection boards, according to a message released Oct. 9.
According to NAVADMIN 235/14, active and Reserve component master chiefs are encouraged to apply to serve on a board. Frocked master chiefs may also participate in the selection board process. There are no restrictions on active-duty serving on reserve boards or reserve/full-time support serving on active boards.
Senior chief petty officers may also serve on the active or reserve E-7 boards as either members or recorders. They may only serve as recorders on the E-9 or E-8 boards. Chief petty officers may serve as recorders on E-9, E-8 and E-7 selection boards. Applicants should not discuss their application with any members from their command, other than those required to review their application.
Deadline for member and recorder applications are: Reserve E-8/E-8, Dec. 5; active-duty E-9, Dec. 19; active-duty E-8, Jan. 29; Reserve E-7, Feb. 20, 2015; and active-duty E-7, March 27, 2015. Board dates, application procedures and additional guidance are available in the message.
Prior to submitting an application, applicants should review BUPERSINST 1401.5B, the supplemental guidance for U.S. Navy selection boards.
For more information, read NAVADMIN 235/14 available on the NPC website at www.npc.navy.mil.

USS Vandegrift Commanding Officer Relieved
10/9/2014
From Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The commanding officer of USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), Cmdr. Luis Alva, was relieved of his duties as commanding officer Oct. 8 by the commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23, Capt. Paul Hogue, due to loss of confidence in his ability to command.
DESRON 23's deputy commodore, Capt. Tom Williams, will temporarily assume the duties as commanding officer. Alva has been temporarily assigned to the staff of DESRON 23.
Vandegrift is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate homeported in San Diego and currently on deployment in the 4th Fleet area of responsibility.

Navy Gold Star Program launches
9/23/2014
by Ensign Egdanis Torres, Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- A new initiative to assist Gold Star Families - those whose military members have died in service - will be launched Oct. 1 by Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC).
The Navy Gold Star (NGS) program will provide Gold Star Families a level of long-term assistance and support not previously available through the Navy. It is enhanced with the active participation of new NGS region and installation coordinators, which are the lead agents for actions within the long-term casualty supporting process.
"I am excited about this new Navy program. I believe in it," said Vice Adm. William French, commander, Navy Installations Command during his opening comments for the NGS coordinators' initial training held at the CNIC headquarters in Washington, DC. "Gold Star Families need and their sacrifices need to be recognized. I envy you all because you come to an organization that makes a big difference to families."
According to the NGS Program Manager for CNIC Mike Bruner, NGS coordinators play an important role providing support for family members through a very difficult time, helping them build resilience and establish a new normal. Guided by the coordinators, Gold Star Families will be able to connect with support groups and grief counselors. Additionally, new services may also include chaplain care, school liaison assistance, and family employment.
The training for the coordinators is a two-day program filled with informational tools including the description of the duties and responsibilities of the Casualty Assistance Calls Officers, an overview of all CNIC fleet and family support programs, discussions on the standardized procedures for survivor assistance, and training on the Defense Casualty Information Process System (DCIPS), among others.
"Another great benefit is the inclusion of financial counselors that can provide education on budgeting and investing," added Bruner. "These financial counselors are committed to assisting survivors to create a solid foundation for financial success."
At the training French also spoke to each one of the coordinators stressing the importance of collaboration and team work.
"You are building this program; take all the great ideas from our counterparts, the best ones and leverage each other, push the headquarters ... we want all of you to have the tools in place to be successful," he said.
French spoke about the standardization of procedures across the enterprise and emphasized that this new program provides the opportunity to work on regulating the delivery of services across the regions. In order to accomplish this, he highlighted the importance of the coordinators and urged them to begin working on achieving consistency, identifying the inconsistencies they come across, selecting the ones that really matter, and then feeding back to CNIC so that leadership may be involved in helping solve those inconsistencies.
"A program like this one cannot be managed from the headquarters," French said. "We need the people from the deck to push us for change."
For more information about the Navy's Gold Star Program visit http://www.navygoldstar.com

USS McClusky returns from final deployment
SAN DIEGO - Guided missile frigate USS McClusky (FFG 41) returned from its final deployment to the 4th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) Sept. 26 to make preparations for decommissioning.
While in the 4th Fleet AOR, McClusky participated in Operation Martillo. Operation Martillo is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner-nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters by Central America. Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command leads U.S. military participation.
McClusky is scheduled to be formally decommissioned in January.
Joint, interagency and international relationships strengthen U.S. 3rd Fleet’s ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners.

USS Gary departs for final deployment

SAN DIEGO - Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) departed on an independent deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility, Sept. 24.
Gary will deploy with its crew of 240 Sailors. The ship is expected to play an integral part in the counter illicit trafficking mission Operation Martillo (Spanish for “hammer”), in support of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S 4th Fleet and U.S. Southern Command.
Operation Martillo targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation which includes the participation of 14 countries committed to a regional approach against transnational criminal organizations moving illicit cargo.
Along with the crew of Gary, the drug interdiction team includes the ship’s organic Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team providing support for the embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment. A Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light (HSL) Squadron 49 detachment will provide embarked air support. The law enforcement phase of counterdrug operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda.
Gary helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response.
The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned after completion of this deployment culminating in more than 30 years of service to the country.

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