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.
Missile defense system test
PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 6, 2014) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) conducts a flight test from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. The test resulted in three successful near-simultaneous target engagements over the Pacific Ocean. U.S. Navy photo
AEGIS Baseline 9 Destroyer scores historic flight test mission by Program Executive Officer Integrated Warfare Systems Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) in partnership with U.S. Pacific Command and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully executed Flight Test Standard Missile-25 (FTM-25), announced Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS), Nov. 20.
This was the first live-fire event in the integrated air and missile defense radar priority mode to engage a ballistic missile target and a raid of cruise missile targets with its AEGIS Combat System.
John Paul Jones engaged three successful near-simultaneous target shots over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis Baseline 9.C1 (BMD 5.0 Capability Upgrade) Weapon System. One short-range ballistic missile target was intercepted by a Standard Missile-3 Block IB guided missile, while two low-flying cruise missile targets were engaged by Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA guided missiles.
"The capability that the USS John Paul Jones demonstrated during FTM-25 is the culmination of years of tough engineering across the Navy's technical community and our industry partners," said Rear Adm. Jon A. Hill, PEO IWS. "The technology displayed during FTM-25 will be a critical addition to the fleet and their ability to stay prepared."
PEO IWS spearheaded the FTM-25 as part of a developmental test/operational test sequence of events. Other test participants included discriminating sensors flown on two MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles and sensor systems ashore, command and control, battle management and Communications (C2BMC) Enterprise Sensors Lab, C2BMC Experimentation Lab, and the AEGIS Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex located at the Pacific Missile Range Facility.
New Fisher House underway at CPen
Camp Pendleton, together with the Fisher House Foundation and United Health Foundation, broke ground on the construction of a new Fisher House, Tuesday, Nov. 18.
The construction of the Camp Pendleton Fisher House will be the first of its kind to be funded through the sole support of one organization – United Health Foundation. The home will be an 8-suite, 8,000+ square foot home that is expected to serve more than 280 families, provide nearly 3,000 nights of lodging annually, and save those families over $250,000 a year in lodging expenses.
Fisher Houses are constructed to provide free, temporary housing to the families of service members and Veterans needing medical care. Enabling family members to be near a loved one in a time of need – often without warning or the ability to muster the financial resources to do so – is a core concept of the Fisher House motto: “A Family’s Love is Good Medicine.”
3,000 mile ride for PTSD awareness: 'Long Trail Home' ends at Camp Pendleton
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Matt Littrell, a Marine veteran, completed a cross-country horseback ride from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to Camp Pendleton, California on Nov. 30. He calls the nearly 3,000 mile ride "The Long Trail Home" and made the journey to raise awareness for veterans that are suffering from PTSD. “I didn’t really want to do this ride; however, I woke up one day and knew that I just had to do it. We’re losing 22 of our brothers and sisters every day and I was almost one of them," said Littrell. "I am doing this for them.” Littrell started with his horse’s hoofs in the Atlantic Ocean and 2,800 miles later finished with them in the Pacific Ocean. He started on May first and rode 20 miles a day until completing the journey on November 30. Littrell is an Elbert, Colorado native and served as an infantryman with Golf Co., 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment from 2001 to 2005. USMC photo by Cpl. Orrin G. Farmer
Naval Region Southwest selects 2014 Sailor of the Year
Commander, Navy Region Southwest, Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge presents NRSW Sailor of the Year, MA1(EXW/IDW) Jody M. Jones with her SOY award. The Sailor of the Year ceremony was held aboard the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, Nov. 21. U.S. Navy Photo by Yeoman 2nd Class Carla Ocampo
by Yeoman 2nd Class Carla Ocampo,
Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Navy Region Southwest (NRSW) named its 2014 Sailor of the Year (SOY) during a ceremony aboard the USS Midway Museum, Nov. 21.
Nominees from 11 different installations throughout the region came together in San Diego to compete for the honor of becoming NRSW Sailor of the Year.
The ceremony was the culmination of several week long events including visits, tours and interviews.
They began the week by visiting the home of Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge, commander, Navy Region Southwest for an ice breaker reception. The candidates also toured Los Angeles-class submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767), Explosive Ordnance Disposal team training sites and the USS Midway Museum.
The tours allowed the Sailors to learn more about the different aspects of the Navy and an opportunity to bond and learn from one another.
"It was truly exciting to hear about the positive leadership that occurs on a daily basis with these Sailors on our installations," said NRSW's Command Master Chief David Dearie. "We all agree that if we were up for Sailor of the Year now we could not compete with the competition that there is today. We were most impressed that these Sailors have the same things on their mind that we do as senior leaders."
Prior to announcing the winner of the competition Lorge praised all of the SOY nominees for their hard work and dedication.
"I am confident that every one of you sitting in the front row is someday going to be a chief in our U.S. Navy," said Lorge. "You are and have been identified as the cream of the crop of wherever you are stationed. Regardless of what happens today just remember that. Remember that you have an unbelievable future in this Navy. I am tasking you with one thing and that is to continue to be the leaders that you all are and understand that it is a special gift, but not one that everyone gets, so embrace it and use it. Be the best person you can be, lead your Sailors, and you will find success. Congratulations to every single one of you."
The 2014 NRSW SOY was Master-at-Arms 1st Class (EXW/IDW) Jody M. Jones from Naval Base San Diego.
"I'm overwhelmed," said Jones. "It feels amazing to be recognized for what I've been doing. I have so many people to thank that I couldn't list them all. Everyone that I have ever been stationed with has helped me in some way, from my leadership to all my junior Sailors."
Jones added that the she learned a lot during the week leading up to the ceremony. The events were a great opportunity to get to know the other Sailors and about what they do.
"I have learned so much," she said. "I have more respect for the submarine community and the Navy band. It was great to meet the Sailors of the Year from each installation and their CMCs. There was a lot of mentoring and bonding. The CMCs taught us so much."
Jones will go on to compete against Sailors from other regions for the honor of Commander, Naval Installations Command Sailor of the Year. The selectee from that competition will go on to compete for Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year.
The NRSW 2014 SOY nominees were:
* Musician 1st Class Jennifer Lange from NRSW Headquarters, San Diego
* Navy Counselor 1st Class (SW/AW/) Alexander Zavithsanos from Naval Base Coronado, California
* Master-at-Arms 1st Class Betsy Manning from Naval Base Point Loma, California
* Yeoman 1st Class (SW/EXW) Stacey L. Brennen from Transient Personnel Unit, San Diego
* Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Deon Pits from Naval Air Facility El Centro, California
* Master-at-Arms 1st Class (SW) Christopher Noeth from Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, California
* Master-at-Arms 1st Class Scott D. Chilko from Naval Base Ventura County, California
* Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 1st Class (AW/SW) Michael D. Vertrees, Jr. from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California
* Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Nathaniel L. Black from Naval Air Station Lemoore, California
* Master-at-Arms 1st Class Nicholas Sharp from Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada
USS Vandegrift-Coast Guard team prevents smuggling attempt off Central America 12/1/2014
by MC3 Cory Booth, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command
& U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs
PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (USCG LEDET) interdicted almost 2,000 pounds of cocaine being smuggled in a small vessel Nov. 20 while on patrol in international waters off the coast of Central America.
Vandegrift located a small vessel while on patrol in a known drug trafficking area and proceeded to launch one of Vandegrift's SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopters, flown by Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49, to further locate and identify the vessel.
Plotting an intercept course, Vandegrift was able to approach the vessel for further inspection.
The 11th Coast Guard District directed Vandegrift to deploy it's USCG LEDET. Upon boarding, the LEDET searched the vessel and discovered large amounts of fuel and other evidence of illicit drug trafficking. Upon further investigation, 14 bales of contraband were discovered on board and all tested positive for cocaine.
"The tenacity, dedicated team effort, and operational expertise of Vandegrift's crew, embarked HSL-49 Air Detachment, and embarked USCG Law Enforcement Detachment have been exceptional," said Cmdr. Daryl Robbin, executive officer of Vandegrift. "I remain extremely proud and humble to serve with such a remarkable team."
This marks Vandegrift's ninth successful smuggling interdiction in recent months, disrupting the distribution of approximately 13,000 pounds of illicit drugs off the coast of Central America.
Vandegrift is currently deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Martillo, which began in January 2012. Operation Martillo, a joint operation involving the U.S. and 14 European and Western Hemisphere partner nations, targets illicit trafficking routes in the waters off Central America.
Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is accomplished by Joint Interagency Task Force South headquartered in Key West, Florida. U.S. Maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occur under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, California.
U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
USS Mississippi Welcomed as Newest Member of Pacific Submarine Force 11/26/2014
by MC1 Steven Khor, Commander, Submarine Force,
U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Mississippi (SSN 782) was welcomed to the Pearl Harbor waterfront at an aloha ceremony Nov. 25, as the newest submarine permanently assigned to Submarine Squadron 1 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The arrival of Mississippi makes her the 4th Virginia-class submarine to be home ported in Pearl Harbor, and one of 18 fast-attack submarines permanently homeported at the historic base.
"The general aura of the crew is that of excitement in becoming part of a great ohana (family) in Submarine Squadron 1 and Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet," said Cmdr. Tory Swanson, the ship's commanding officer, a native of Arvada, Colorado, and a graduate of Perdue University. "Many were ready to set forth out west like the old frontiersmen, looking for adventure in the unknown of the Pacific. The crew is looking forward to the sunshine, warmth and aloha of Hawaii."
Swanson said Mississippi's ship technology, along with a focused and energetic crew aboard the vessel, will provide a great variety and coverage for missions vital to national security and any tasking from the operational commanders. Mississippi offers the submarine force's newest technologies, along with accommodation for special operations forces and dry-dock shelter operations.
"We are ready to demonstrate our prowess as WESTPAC (Western Pacific) warriors and bring the great capabilities and stealth of the Virginia-class to the Pacific Fleet," said Swanson. "This is the newest submarine in the Pacific Fleet, and we are proud of her material condition and the hard work the crew put into it."
Named for the state of Mississippi, her keel was laid down on June 9, 2010. The ninth in the Virginia class of submarines, Mississippi was christened Dec. 3, 2011.
The submarine is 377-feet long, displaces 7,800 tons, and can carry torpedoes as well as Tomahawk missiles and have features including a torpedo room that can be refigured to hold Navy SEALs.
Mississippi is the second submarine to newly arrive at Pearl Harbor this week, with the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) out of San Diego arriving Nov. 24 for a scheduled two-year maintenance overhaul period at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
NAVFAC announces 2015 Engineers of the Year 11/25/2014
by Don Rochon, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) announced the winners of its Military and Civilian Engineers of the Year Awards Nov. 24.
Lt. Cmdr. Keith Benson from NAVFAC Washington was selected as the Military Engineer of the Year and Timothy Bayse from NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic was selected as the Civilian Engineer of the Year for 2015.
"I am very proud of everyone who was nominated," said NAVFAC Commander Rear Adm. Kate Gregory. "We are very fortunate to serve with a vast number of extraordinary engineers who lead NAVFAC and the Navy with dedication, service, selflessness and technical superiority. They continue to build on our 172-year legacy of serving the Navy with the 'Can-Do' spirit."
Benson and Bayse will represent NAVFAC in February at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) will announce their Federal Engineer of the Year.
Benson currently serves as the NAVFAC Washington energy officer and made significant contributions in the field of engineering throughout the year. He served in several critical positions for NAVFAC that supported the Navy shore enterprise and energy programs.
"I am truly honored and humbled to be selected for this competitive NAVFAC engineer award," said Benson. "It's a privilege to serve our country in uniform, and with such a diverse and talented team of professionals."
While serving as the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain Public Works officer, Benson led a team of 424 personnel in managing 320 active construction projects valued at $618 million that supported 94 commands across the Middle East. His efforts ensured continued support to warfighters while increasing readiness and effectiveness, while more than doubling the base's footprint.
When he was assigned to Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC) headquarters, he was appointed as the energy action officer and skillfully spearheaded the Navy's renewable energy "Net Zero" program. While at CNIC, Benson developed over 150 energy projects valued at $225 million and achieved $50 million in annual consumption reduction savings.
Bayse served as a construction manager in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Djibouti, Africa during 2013 and 2014. While in Djibouti Bayse executed a substantial workload of 33 projects valued at over $340 million, while fostering collaborative teamwork processes to ensure mission success.
He completed a complex $150 million, multifacility, multiutility, fast tracked project on schedule and within budget. He was also the lead U.S. government subject matter expert on a European Union sewer line project.
"It is hard to briefly describe how beneficial that TAD (temporary assigned duty) was, as I was able to do so much there that I had not experienced before," said Bayse. "You get to directly see your impact on the warfighter, and it is exhilarating. From airfield operations to building the first brick and mortar barracks for troops, it's very fast paced and rewarding. You can see just how important running water is, and laying down the first paved roads."
At NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Public Works Department (PWD) Pennsylvania, Bayse provided invaluable technical expertise and leadership vital to numerous Department of Defense, Department of the Navy and international missions.
Bayse used his vast knowledge to lead the successful completion of projects valued over $200 million. He spearheaded a fast-tracked $21 million energy initiative that leveraged the utility company to install gas fired furnaces throughout the Philadelphia Navy Yard facilities with no upfront taxpayer dollars. The efficiency initiatives resulted in a $2 million per year utility savings.
Bayse described his team's effort on the many projects he has worked.
"First and foremost this award truly is driven by teamwork," Bayse said. "No man is an island upon himself. The success I have had and the large volume of work I have been able to accomplish is because of the great colleagues I have to support me."
CNO releases Navy's Position Report 11/25/2014
From Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy's top leader released a detailed report Friday that highlights the U.S. Navy's progress toward its vision, plans and current goals.
The Position Report: 2014 was posted to Navy's website and to the leadership page of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Jonathan Greenert. The document reviews the Navy's progress over the last year in pursuing objectives laid out in the Sailing Directions and Navigation Plan 2015 - 2019, which can also be found on CNO's leadership page.
"Just as we rely on a position report to aid navigation at sea, Position Report: 2014 allows us to 'take a fix" on where we are today," said Greenert. "It identifies the 'course and speed' changes necessary to stay on track while countering the 'set and drift' caused by emerging challenges or institutional issues that tend to take us off our intended track," he said.
Greenert highlighted several areas across the service where Navy intends to build upon its 3 tenets of Warfighting First, Be Ready and Operate Forward. From information on ships and platforms to changes in presence the document highlights progress and continuing efforts.
One of many highlights included the development of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (O-FRP); a new readiness construct that improves maintenance and training predictability, ultimately providing stability for deploying Sailors, Marines and their Families.
The Navy continues to rebalance its forces to the Asia-Pacific region, as noted in the report by the end of the fiscal year 2014 there were 41 ships and submarines based in theatre. In keeping with the tenet of Operating Forward Greenert said the Navy is on track to establish a fifth Amphibious Ready Group in the Pacific by 2018.
"It will be the most advanced and capable ARG in the fleet with one amphibious assault ship and two amphibious dock ships."
CNO was clear in his Position Report that the Navy has an eye to the future with superb Sailors, Civilian, and their Families that have enabled the Navy to remain, ready, forward and engaged during challenging times.
Full Position Report: 2014 can be read here: http://www.navy.mil/cno/docs/141104_PositionReport.pdf
USS Simpson (FFG 56) departs for final deployment 11/14/2014
From USS Simpson Public Affairs
MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- To begin the ship's final deployment, USS Simpson (FFG 56) departed her homeport Nov. 14, for regularly scheduled theater security missions in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
Commanded by Cmdr. Ken Anderson, the crew concluded a highly-successful maintenance availability and intense training exercises, and was outfitted with four Fire Scout (MQ-8B) vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicles prior to departure.
Simpson returned from her last 6th Fleet deployment just eight months ago and recently got underway with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit completing a unit exercise designed to prepare the ship for a wide-range of warfighting missions.
As one of the few remaining Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, Simpson excels as a multiwarfare platform and stands ready to answer any and all tasking in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
Simpson was commissioned Sept. 21, 1985, and named for Rear Adm. Rodger Whitten Simpson, who commanded USS Mahan (DD-364) and Destroyer Division 15 during World War II. During his years of combat duty in the Pacific, Simpson was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star and Legion of Merit for rescuing and evacuating more than 7,500 Allied prisoners of war and civilians interned in Japanese concentration camps.
Sailors receive deployment pay in mid-December From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Eligible Sailors will begin receiving Hardship Duty Pay - Tempo (HDP-T) in their December midmonth paycheck Navy officials announced Nov. 10.
The Department of the Navy HDP-T proposal, authorized by the secretary of the Navy earlier this summer, was approved by the Department of Defense, Sept. 17. It authorizes the pay for Sailors and Marines, active duty and reserve, deployed beyond 220 consecutive days as of Sept. 17.
Sailors and Marines will receive HDP-T on a prorated daily basis of $16.50, not to exceed a monthly rate of $495, when they are operationally deployed beyond 220 consecutive days.
USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and USS George H. W. Bush Strike Group were among the first units eligible to receive HDP-T. Bataan returned to Norfolk, Virginia, Oct. 31, while Bush is scheduled to return home in November.
Sailors and Marines on those platforms accrued the pay since September and will see the full amount earned in their midmonth December paycheck.
Sailors and Marines will receive the pay on a monthly basis. Reservists serving in individual augmentee assignments that meet the 220-day threshold will receive their pay upon completion of their mobilization.
The DoD has authorized HDP-T for two years. Military pay systems are being updated to handle payment of HDP-T with implementation by Dec. 1, allowing time for eligible service members to see the pay in their midmonth paycheck.
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.