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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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Around San Diego This Weekend

 

ARABIAN GULF Jan. 11, 2015--Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Daniel Simon cuts old arresting gear wires into sections aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a re-reeve. Carl Vinson is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 John Philip Wagner, Jr.ARABIAN GULF January, 2015--Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Daniel Simon cuts old arresting gear wires into sections aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a re-reeve. Carl Vinson is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 John Philip Wagner, Jr.

Divider BarNavy installations to conduct Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2015
1/27/2015
From Navy Installations Command and Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) will conduct Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2015 (SC-CS15) Feb. 2-13 on Navy installations located in the continental United States.
This annual anti-terrorism force protection (ATFP) exercise is designed to train Navy Security Forces to respond to threats to installations and units.
"This is the largest force protection exercise conducted across the Department of Defense and the value of training events like this cannot be underestimated. This exercise enhances the training and readiness of our security personnel and first responders. Additionally, it creates an integrated learning environment for installation and afloat personnel to exercise functional plans and operational capabilities," said William Clark, CNIC's exercise program manager.
Exercise SC-CS15 is not in response to any specific threat, but is a regularly scheduled exercise. The exercise will consist of roughly 130 simultaneous field training exercise attacks across the country, each designed to test different regional ATFP operations.
"Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2015 provides an opportunity to assess the Navy's ability to respond to and recover from a broad spectrum of antiterrorism threats," said Capt. Greg Sandway, USFF ATFP exercise director. "One of the key components of the exercise is to improve our ability to protect our Navy equities, but this exercise also enables us to integrate with the emergency responders from the various local communities and establish coordinated response and recovery procedures that are mutually beneficial."
Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base operations, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around bases or delays in base access. Residents near bases may also see increased security activity associated with the exercise. Base personnel should register for the AtHoc wide area alert network if they have not already done so as this will keep them updated of force protection conditions and other emergency, environmental, or exercise-related impacts on the area.
Stay up to date with events happening in your area. Visit CNIC at https://www.facebook.com/ NavyInstallations and USFF at https://www.facebook.com/ usfleetforces.
Divider BarUSS Nimitz moves to Bremerton

BREMERTON, Wash. Jan. 13, 2015--The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) moors pierside at its new home port at Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton. Nimitz is undergoing a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility where the ship will receive scheduled maintenance and upgrades. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Ryan J. Mayes.BREMERTON, Wash. Jan. 13, 2015--The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) moors pierside at its new home port at Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton. Nimitz is undergoing a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility where the ship will receive scheduled maintenance and upgrades. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Ryan J. Mayes.

YOUR MONEY
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USS Cape St. George, HSM 78 det 4 return from deployment
1/16/2015
by Commander,
U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) returned to San Diego Jan. 16 from an independent deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean.
During the deployment, Cape St. George and the Blue Hawks of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78, Detachment 4, participated in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 as part of U.S. 3rd Fleet. Upon assignment to U.S. 7th Fleet, the crew of 350 personnel and two embarked helicopters conducted various presence operations and goodwill activities with partner nations and participated in two major exercises, Valiant Shield and Keen Sword.
"I cannot be prouder of the professionalism of my crew," said Cape St. George's Commanding Officer Capt. Michael P. Doran. "Every Sailor did an outstanding job this year especially during deployment. The ship excelled in every mission we were given because of their dedication and hard work."
The Blue Hawks flew 780 hours in support of anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare missions with two MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters, tracking both surface and subsurface contacts, as well as supporting Cape St. George's crew in training.
"Each and every one of our Sailors worked together as a team to tactically employ and maintain two MH-60R helicopters in the dynamic Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Lt. Cmdr. Jeremiah N. Ragadio, officer-in-charge of HSM-78, Detachment 4. "We executed a diverse mission set to include surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and vertical replenishments. This deployment exemplified Blue Hawk professionalism and showcased the versatility of the HSM community's combat capabilities."
The ship also participated in community relations projects in Singapore, Guam and South Korea.
Cape St. George is named for the battle fought in the South Pacific off the island of New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago on Nov. 25, 1943. HSM-78 was established March 1, 2012 at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., as the Navy's newest MH-60R squadron.
Cape St. George provides deterrence, promotes peace and security, preserves freedom of the seas, and can provide humanitarian/disaster response when necessary.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy

From left to right: Petty Officer 2nd Shaun Roberts, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob Mack and Hospitalman Roberto Allegue pose by the Marine Corps Exchange Christmas tree during a recent holiday blood drive. From left to right: Petty Officer 2nd Shaun Roberts, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob Mack and Hospitalman Roberto Allegue pose by the Marine Corps Exchange Christmas tree during a recent holiday blood drive.
Make the difference, donate blood!
January is blood donation month. What better way to celebrate than by spending an hour doing something that may give someone a lifetime.
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or to get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube. Find the drop. Donate.
If you are in the San Diego metropolitan area and would like to help out, contact the Naval Medical Center San Diego or Camp Pendleton blood donor recruiters at (619)-279-0526 or (619) 532-6653. Donors can also make an appointment at www.militarydonor.com.

USS Peleliu to be decommissioned after nearly 35 years of service
1/15/2015
by MC3 Ryan J. Batchelder, USS Peleliu Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) will end nearly 35 years of service during a decommissioning ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. at Pier #7 at Naval Base San Diego, March 31.
The last general-purpose amphibious assault ship of the Tarawa class, Peleliu's decommissioning marks the end of a career comprising multiple deployments to U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet, humanitarian efforts and peacekeeping missions.
Capable of launching a coordinated air and sea attack from one platform, Peleliu has conducted 17 deployments, 178,051 flight operations, served 57,983 personnel and steamed approximately 1,011,946 nautical miles since being commissioned May 3, 1980 in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Significant in its history, Peleliu played a critical part in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Peleliu was the first ship in the Global War on Terror to deploy Marines to the beach in support of operations in Afghanistan.
Capt. Paul Spedero will be the last in the long line of 23 commanding officers. Cmdr. Donald Hudson, Peleliu's executive officer, will make up the final decommissioning chain of command.
After the decommissioning process is complete, Peleliu will be towed from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to join the reserve fleet.
Named for the Battle of Peleliu in World War II, the ship will be placed in an inactive reserve status and moored alongside the class's namesake USS Tarawa (LHA 1).
Peleliu's motto, "Pax Per Potens," will stand long after its decommissioning as a testament to the ship's legacy of providing "Peace Through Power."
For more information on Peleliu or the decommissioning ceremony, contact pao@lha5.navy.mil or visit https://www.facebook.com/USSPeleli.

U.S. Navy forward deploys guided-missile cruiser to Japan, underscores commitment to the region
1/16/2015
From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy announced today that the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) will join the Forward Deployed Naval Forces in Yokosuka, Japan.
As part of the U.S. Navy's long-range plan to send the most advanced and capable units to the Asia-Pacific, Chancellorsville will leave her homeport of San Diego and deploy to Yokosuka in the summer of 2015.
Chancellorsville completed a combat systems update through the Navy's Cruiser Modernization program, making her among the most capable ships of her class. She is fitted with the latest Aegis Baseline 9 combat system, and will be the first to be forward deployed with that capability. The Baseline 9 suite of capabilities includes state-of-the-art air, surface, and undersea warfare systems needed to directly support the carrier strike group.
This ship, along with her counterparts in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, makes up part of the core capabilities needed by the alliance to meet our common strategic objectives.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 14, 2015) Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Chuck Hagel speaks with Sailors during an all-hands call on board the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). America is the first ship of its class and is optimized for Marine Corps aviation. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Vladimir RamosPACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 14, 2015) Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Chuck Hagel speaks with Sailors during an all-hands call on board the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). America is the first ship of its class and is optimized for Marine Corps aviation. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Vladimir Ramos

SECDEF visits USS America
1/15/2015
by MC1 Demetrius Kennon, USS America (LHA 6) Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Chuck Hagel arrived aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) by MV-22 Osprey Jan. 14.
During his time aboard, Hagel held an all-hands call where he thanked the crew for their hard work and dedication, spoke about the ship's accomplishments during its recent sail around South America, and the importance of people, capacity and partnerships.
"I was in Chile a couple of months ago, and I heard about what you all accomplished on that swing around South America - not only how impressed everyone was with the ship and its capabilities, but you represent the best of America," Hagel said to the crew. "You've lived up to the name of this ship in every way, so thank you."
After his initial address, he answered questions and took photos with the crew.
"I appreciate that a person in such a high position would recognize the accomplishments we've made on USS America and that he would go out of his way to meet with us," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Matt Hessamfar, from Virginia Beach, Virginia. "It was truly an honor to meet him."
After the all-hands call, some Sailors had the opportunity to eat lunch with Hagel. Personnel Specialist 1st Class Quiana McGrew, from Silas, Alabama, was one of those Sailors.
"It is refreshing to know how personable the SECDEF really is. As we told our stories about where we came from and some of our experiences, it was interesting how there were similarities in each of our stories. Each one of us had something in our histories that he could relate to," McGrew said. "It was not something I expected from someone at his level. He was genuinely interested, and that made it worthwhile for me."
merica is currently underway conducting a variety of testing and evolutions as part of its preparation for final contract trials later this year.
America is the first ship of its class and is optimized for Marine Corps aviation.

USS Carl Vinson Sailors take part in Navy-wide advancement exam

ARABIAN GULF Jan. 15, 2015--Sailors take the Navy-wide chief petty officer advancement exam on the mess decks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Scott Fenaroli.ARABIAN GULF Jan. 15, 2015--Sailors take the Navy-wide chief petty officer advancement exam on the mess decks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Scott Fenaroli.

DoD 2015 military pay and compensation rates
by Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of Defense 2015 military pay and compensation rates for service members have most service members receiving a one percent increase in basic pay.
The new rates for basic pay, basic allowance for housing, basic allowance for subsistence, and the cost of living allowance rates for the contiguous United States will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
Basic pay for service members will increase one percent, except for general and flag officers who will not see an increase in 2015. For example, an E-4 with 3 years of service will see an increase in basic pay of $22.20 per month, while an O-3 with 6 years of service will receive a basic pay increase of $54.30 per month in 2015.
Basic allowance for housing rates for service members in 2015 will increase on average $17 per month, or 0.5 percent. Rates are calculated using median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) for each pay grade, both with and without dependents. Two changes were made to BAH rate computations for 2015: renter's insurance, which contributed an average of one percent to rates, was eliminated, and the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act reduced housing rates on average one percent for service members.
However, individual rate protection for service members remains an integral part of the BAH program. This means that even if BAH rates decline - including through the elimination of renter's insurance and the reduction in the calculated rate - a service member who maintains uninterrupted BAH eligibility in a given location will not see a rate decrease. This ensures that service members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if local housing costs decrease.
Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the basic allowance for housing calculator here.
The 2015 basic allowance for subsistence rates for military members will increase by 2.9 percent over last year. The new rates are:
* $367.92 per month for enlisted members
* $253.38 per month for officers
The annual adjustments to basic allowance for subsistence -- a monthly nontaxable cash payment to military members intended to be used to buy food -- are linked to changes in food prices as measured by the annual change in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cost of Food at Home Index. From the beginning of October 2013 through the end of September 2014, the index rose by 2.9 percent, forming the basis for the increased BAS rates.
The Defense Department also released its 2015 contiguous United States cost of living allowance rates. Roughly 12,000 members will see a decrease in their CONUS COLA payments, while some 7,000 members will see an increase or no change, and 4,000 members will no longer receive a CONUS COLA payment.
CONUS COLA is a taxable supplemental allowance designed to help offset higher prices in high-cost locations, and rates vary based on location, pay grade, years of service and dependent status. Rates can increase or decrease depending on the prices in a specific duty location compared to prices in an average CONUS location. Service members can calculate their CONUS COLA rate here.

5 things you need to know about
flat rate per diem

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- To provide an incentive to Sailors and civilians on long-term temporary duty assignment (TDY) to seek out extended-stay lodgings, the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) was changed Nov. 1.
The change to a flat rate will help the Department of Defense (DoD) save more than $22 million a year and is in keeping with what many federal agencies already outline for reduced travel rates for longer stays.
Here are five things you need to know about flat rate per diem:
1. Long-term TDY is any temporary duty longer than 30 days. Travel from 31 to 180 days will receive a flat-rate per diem of 75 percent. For travel greater than 180 days, the flat-rate per diem will be at 55 percent. Flat rate will apply to all three parts of the per diem - lodging, meals and incidentals.
2. When staying in government lodging, a traveler will be reimbursed for actual lodging costs. The flat rate per diem does not apply when government lodging or contracted government lodging is available and directed, when contracted government lodging is provided at no cost, or if a traveler chooses to stay in government quarters.
3. Currently the Defense Travel System (DTS) does not automatically calculate the reduced per diem based on the length of the TDY. Travelers should follow their component guidelines for how to handle TDY in DTS.
4. Travelers may consider furnished apartments or similar types of lodging, which are typically cheaper than the standard room rate at commercial hotels. This policy change also simplifies travel expense management as you will not be required to submit lodging receipts or itemize utilities and furniture rental when renting a home, if receiving the flat rate per diem.
5. You still have options if you are unable to find extended-stay lodging within a reasonable distance of the duty location, or if additional costs arise. You may work with your approving official to do actual-expense authorizations, which may go above the flat-rate per diem to 100 percent, if needed. At no time should travelers end up paying out-of-pocket for authorized TDY expenses.
For further information visit www.defensetravel.dod.mil.

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