Navy.TogetherWeServed Newsletter - October, 2007 

A Pearl of Leadership Wisdom...

Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works, too.
- Robert Half

FUTURE LOOKS - Three Sailors model prototype uniforms for enlisted service dress white and officer/CPO service dress khaki. The prototype service dress khaki uniform style (left and right) is a throwback to those worn during WWII. Chiefs and officers can easily shift from service khaki to service dress khaki by adding a black tie and the jacket. The enlisted service dress white uniform prototype (center) focuses on the use of better fabric and fit without drastically changing the look. The most visible change of the uniform is the addition of blue piping along the cuffs and the collar. Polyester fabric makes up the construction of the new enlisted uniform, allowing for improved ventilation and can be machine-washed, eliminating the need for dry cleaning. Click on the headline link below for more details.
Photo by MC1 Brien Aho

- Wear Test for New Navy Uniforms Announced

- 30 New Chiefs Pinned at Al Faw Palace

- USS Boxer Sweeps Surface Line Week

- U.S. Surgeon General visits, tours USNS Comfort

- Hospital Corpsman Named USO Sailor of the Year

- U.S. Military Wraps-up Hurricane Felix Relief Efforts

- Commander, Naval Activities United Kingdom Disestablished

- "Dukes" Actor John Schneider, "General Lee" Visit Ronald Reagan Sailors

New NTWS Military Book & DVD Store

We have just launched our new NTWS Book & DVD Store which contains one of the largest selections of military books and DVD sets available. Find what you are looking for here at lowest prices with fast delivery. The NTWS Book Store is available on the left hand Home Page as you log into NTWS or by clicking on this link:

One of many Navy books in stock: LEFT FOR DEAD - The story of the USS INDIANAPOLIS, the worst naval disaster in American history. 1,100 men went into the water...and then the sharks came. The story of her brave sailors & their wronged captain.

We hope you will enjoy browsing our Store and hope you find something of interest either for yourself or as a gift.

NTWS Forums - Your Sounding Board!

What was your best duty station or shipboard assignment and why? What is the recipe for that wonderful dish you make for a holiday or other occasions? Do you have any tips about keeping healthy, or things to watch out for if you have a disease? These are but a few of the topics that are covered by the many Forums on NTWS. These forums provide you, the members, a variety of places to discuss with other members the many topics we have in common.

Those members still on active duty would probably like to know about good assignments when they make out their "dream sheets" or talk to their detailers at BUPERS. Those who have worked as detailers might want to provide a few tips for members in preparing to talk about their next assignment.

If you have a disease like diabetes, what tips can you give others about the disease and things to watch out for with diabetes? Encourage a shipmate on NTWS to keep on top of a health problem so he stays with us for a long time.

These are but a couple of topics that are available for you to offer advice, warn others about, discuss with other NTWS members, or just vent your frustrations about. So check out the many Forums and start a lively discussion about a topic that interests you!
NTWS Sailor Pride Poster (September)


Recently left the Navy? Maybe you're looking for a new career, or just going "in a different direction"?

Welcome to the NTWS Job Board which is on the left hand Home Page just as you log into NTWS and contains hundreds of positions! All positions, described in detail, are posted by fellow NTWS Members who are familiar with the credentials and experience offered by former Shipmates.

Here is just a small sample of the many new jobs recently posted:

Position Offered:
Location: Naples and Guam
Salary Range: $85k

Position Offered:
Hunting Staff, Videography, Graphic Arts, Web Design
Location: Various
Salary Range: TBD

Position Offered: Admin Assistant II
Location: UCSD LaJolla, CA
Salary Range: $2593.00 - $2764.00

Position Offered: Realty Professional
Location: Alamogordo, NM
Salary Range: TBD

Position Offered: Finish Carpenter
Location: Greene, NY
Salary Range: TBD

Position Offered: Military Combat Skills Instructor
Location: Norfolk, VA
Salary Range: TBD

Position Offered: Seabee Builder (BU) Instructor
Location: Port Hueneme, CA
Salary Range: TBD

Position Offered:
Senior Technical Writer
Location: Port Hueneme, CA
Salary Range: TBD

Position Offered: Tactical Communications Specialist (MOS 18E)
Location: Quantico, VA
Salary Range: TBD

Position Offered: Personal Financial Management Instructors
Location: Fort Lee, VA
Salary Range: $22.62 p/h

To view additional job postings, please check our new Job Board in the LEFT-HAND column of the NTWS Home Page.
Useful Military Links



ARMY - AR 670-1

AIR FORCE - AFI 36-2903


The OFFICIAL source of news and information from the Department of Defense, related agencies and all military branches.

The Pentagon Channel 24-hour broadcasts of official military news and information for members of the US Armed Forces through select stateside cable systems, and overseas via American Forces Network (AFN).

Stars & Stripes
The DoD-authorized UNOFFICIAL daily newspaper for US Forces overseas, printed in European, Pacific and Mideast editions.

Department of Defense Educational Activity (DoDEA)
DoDEA operates more than 218 public schools for grades K-12 in 14 districts located in seven U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 12 foreign countries to serve the children of military service members and Department of Defense civilian employees. "To provide an exemplary education that inspires and prepares all DoDEA students for success in a dynamic, global environment."

Navy World Wide Locator
This office locates individuals on active duty, those recently discharged, and current addresses for retired Navy service members.

Navy Retired Activities Branch keeps the retired community informed of their benefits and provides customer service to Navy retirees and their families.

Shift Colors
-- The Magazine for Navy Retirees.

Official links to the monthly/quarterly online magazines of each service branch:
NAVY - All Hands


ARMY - Soldiers

AIR FORCE - Airman

COAST GUARD - Coast Guard
Place your Website Link on NTWS!

If you operate a Navy-orientated website and interested in trading links with TWS, please contact NTWS's Links Manager, CPO Art Gazelle, at with your site's URL, up to 100 words describing your website, and a 468x60 website banner in jpeg format, if available.

For information on posting an NTWS banner on your site, please click here.
NTWS Public Service Announcement

Click to expand image


EDITOR'S NOTE: USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is on a four-month deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing humanitarian medical assistance to patients in a dozen countries. Comfort is operated and navigated by a crew of 68 civil service mariners (CIVMARS) from the Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC).

Here are a few touching stories that her crew of medical specialists from all military branches, allied forces and the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) encountered recently.

Three Haitian-born translators assisted hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) on the first day of their humanitarian mission to Haiti, Sept. 2, providing medical and dental care to Hôpital De Universite Etat d' Haiti, in Port-Au-Prince. This French-Creole-speaking nation provided a new hurdle for the Comfort crew as they have only been to Spanish-speaking nations to this point.

Comfort has a high number of bilingual Sailors, but Creole is less commonly used throughout the world. With the help of three Haitian-born Sailors as well as local translators, patients were able to communicate with ease to the Comfort staff which allowed for more accurate and efficient medical assistance.

Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Yonel Joseph was born in the hospital he is now working at as a translator. Joseph left Port-Au-Prince seven years ago and joined the U.S. Navy right after he completed high school.

"The U.S. military has been a great experience for me because I have learned so much and I really enjoy what I do," Joseph said. "When I heard about this mission and that Haiti was on the list, I volunteered. I am proud to be Haitian and glad to have this opportunity to come back to help my brothers and sisters. We are all family here in Haiti."

Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Herold Desauguste left Port-Au-Prince five years ago and is now attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, which has provided aerial personnel and equipment transportation for the mission since June 15.

"I'm really excited about being here providing translating services," Desauguste said. "The Haitian people are excited as well about the United States being here because they do not have much of anything."

Chief Hospital Corpsman Joseph Edouard from Gonaives arrived two days ago from Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Va. Edouard, who has made the Navy a career, left Haiti 22 years ago, but still speaks Creole fluently.

"It's been quite a change but I feel good having the opportunity to come back with the Navy to help," Edouard said. "We are making a great impact here. The people have been talking amongst themselves about how great it is that the United States is here."

With the help of local translators, Comfort jumped right in to do what they do best with the same results, despite language barriers. The Hôpital De Universite is the largest of four sites where Comfort is providing humanitarian assistance, and is located in the densely populated center of Port-Au-Prince along with two more sites: Hôpital Universitaire de la Paix and Centre Hôpitalier Eliazar Germain a' Petionville.

Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 will provide construction services at Centre de Sante de la Croix des Bouquets, a remote clinic, to help repair an electrical system and improve a solar-powered power generating station.

"The Haitian people have heard of the U.S. military forces but never really understood what we are about," Edouard said. "Being here has given them an understanding that we are not about war but to help people."

Aryana Balwah was born with a choledochal cyst, which is a growth between the liver and gallbladder that obstructs the common bile duct and, as a result, can cause jaundice.

Aryana first displayed signs of jaundice when she was 6 months old. "The jaundice was a sign that the bile was being blocked from her liver," said Cmdr. Frazier Franz, a pediatric surgeon on Comfort. "She can continue to get jaundice if it's not fixed."

The cyst was discovered earlier this year by doctors in Trinidad and Tobago after they ran blood tests and conducted ultrasounds and an MRI. Franz reviewed the results and was able to make a diagnosis. The jaundice Aryana displayed caused a very high fever and made her eyes look 'yellowish,' according to her father, Anthony Balwah.

Because of her rare condition, Aryana experienced pains in her chest, akin to that caused by acid reflux. "We'd walk back and forth with her all night because she couldn't sleep," Balwah said. To correct Aryana's rare condition, Franz removed the cyst and her gallbladder and re-routed her intestines up to her liver to recreate her common bile duct.

"The cyst was abnormal and from the chronic exposure to bile, the lining of the cyst would become cancerous," Franz said.

Balwah learned that the Comfort would be in the area when his wife called him at work to tell him about an article she read about the ship in their local paper. They learned more about how to get help from Comfort doctors when Aryana's doctor referred them to the ship.

"We are most thankful Comfort came along," Balwah said. "I was a little worried about the surgery because she's so small and she's only 13 months old but now I am most grateful. For everything."

In Trinidad and Tobago, Aryana would have had to wait until January 2008 to be operated on. Balwah said he knows the operation saved his daughter's life. "She would have been sick every day -- I'm so grateful our countries can work for the greater good. When we come together like this, share this kind of respect for each other -- it's a great thing," Balwah said.

While Aryana is recovering, local medical professionals will continue to monitor and provide care for her.

Two host nation doctors assisted and observed while Franz performed the surgery. "This country has very good medical care," Franz said. "With the doctors in the operating room, they know exactly what's going on -- I think that's really good for the patients."
Remembrance Profiles

NTWS is a place for all Sailors, living and deceased.

You can post and maintain Remembrance Profiles for your Shipmates by clicking on Remember a Shipmate on the left-hand side of the Home Page. This allows you to remember a Fallen, Deceased, MIA/POW, Unlocated Sailor/Aviator or to create an Assisted Profile for a living Sailor/Aviator who is unable to post their own profile.

The nation has stood in awe of the U.S. Air Force's "bravery and endurance," dating from the Berlin Airlift during the Cold War's outset, through two wars in Asia and to today's global conflict, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in observing the Air Force's 60th birthday, at ceremonies at the Pentagon on Sept. 18.
DoD. photo by TSgt. Jerry Morrison, USAF

- Coalition Forces Continue to Target al Qaeda Leaders in Iraq
- Troops Thwart Insurgent Ambush, Nab Suspect in Afghanistan
- Military Leaders, Stars Come Out for USO World Gala
- Defense Department Will Not Relent in MIA Efforts, Leaders Pledge
- Africa Command Poised to Help Continent's Security, Stability


- Chuck Norris delivers round house kick of fun during Al Asad visit
- Toys for Tots asks for donors to screen toys
- Marine Drum & Bugle Corps offers celluar ringtones
- Marksmanship course teaches Marine MPs to quickly engage, dispatch enemies
- Marine immortalizes fallen brother through art


- PACAF unveils 60th anniversary aloha shirt
- Housing privatization to begin at 6 bases
- POW/MIA Day: Remembering those who are not home
- B-52s demonstrate global reach, power
- 'Famous' former Airman recalls his service


- Military Advanced Training Center Opens at WRAMC
- Army Honors Its 'Top Dogs'
- Operation Arkansas: A Different Kind of Deployment
- Latest Version of Army Combat Shirt Debuts
- All New Soldiers to Become Combat-Lifesaver Certified


- New technology helps Coast Guard pinpoint emergency signals
- Boston-based Coast Guard cutter celebrates 20th anniversary
- Law enforcement agencies increase presence in So. Cal. waters
- Hawaii CGAUX to compete in international SAR meet
- Cutter Dauntless returns from patrol
Help NTWS Grow!

For every five Sailors who join NTWS from your invitation, you'll be rewarded with 6 months FREE Full Membership allowing you special access to all the premium areas of the TWS website!

Your support will also be recognized by a special "Recruiting Ribbon" placed on your LH Profile Page -- and a bronze star for every five new members you invite!

By inviting other Shipmates to join this site you not only greatly increase the chances for Members to find others with whom they served, but the site becomes even more enjoyable through the increased interaction between Sailors from all eras and Navy communities.

Inviting a Shipmate is simple: Click on the Invite tab at the top of your Profile Page, enter the name and e-mail address of the Sailor you wish to invite and a formal invitation, in your name, is instantly e-mailed to the recipient with full instructions on how to join. Also, all Sailors you invite will have your name on their Profile Page as being invited by you!
Stay Connected -- Keep Your E-mail Addresses Current!

There are two ways in which an old friends and Shipmates can contact you via the NTWS website: the first is via your "public" e-mail address displayed in your Personal Details on your Profile Page; and the other is by leaving a message in your Message Center Inbox.

The latter triggers an advisory e-mail, sent to your "private" e-mail address to inform you that you have received a message and who it's from.

Your "private" e-mail address, which is the one that TWS uses, is contained in your Account Details at the top of your Profile Page which you can modify at any time.

NTWS Members' "private" and "public" e-mail addresses are usually the same. So, please regularly log-in and update any changes to your e-mail addresses both in the Account Detail and Personal Detail sections of your Profile.
THE HOIST- Editorial Guidelines For Submissions

Want your command or unit in an edition of The HOIST? Here's our editorial submission standards for submitting items for online publication:



- Keep your submission under 500 words in length.
- Avoid, or explain, military jargon or acronyms that other Navy communities might not understand.
- Keep the writing CONVERSATIONAL, like you would tell the folks back home. A news story is not a Navy memo or formal letter generated by the admin department.
- When identifying shipmates in a story, use their rate/rank and FULL NAME. For example, there's a few hundred "PO3 Smiths" in the Navy, but identifying "MC3(AW) Harlan Smith, a native of Indianapolis, Ind." makes that person stand out.
- Include the writer's name, email address and phone number (if applicable), should we have any questions.

Submit them by email as a PLAIN TEXT (.txt) attachment to: or

All submitted news stories will be reviewed and edited for clarity, grammar, spelling and punctuation.


We love getting pictures from the fleet and field, so send us your pictures in LARGE FORMAT (at least 1024 pixels wide) as an email attachment to:


- Candid photos of Sailors on-the-job, in all situations
- Interesting/artistic pictures of Navy people and equipment (within security regulations)
- Navy families (we can't get enough of them -- kids, parents, relatives)
- Action photos (candid pictures of Sailors during drills, evolutions or operations)

- "Firing squad" photos
(People lined up by rows, facing the camera)
While most military organizations like this kind of photography, it doesn't work well on a webpage when the picture will be cropped and reduced -- making the faces of the people into blurry little pixels. Save those for the trophy case.

- "Grip 'n grin" photos
(The bane of all military photography - the receipient grips the presenter's hand while smiling for the camera and showing their award)
Better idea:
If a Sailor gets an award for being the best left-hand wrench turner, show the Sailor at-work turning the wrench! Readers like seeing people at-work, doing a top-notch job!

- People out-of-uniform, not within grooming standards
Ensure your subject(s) are in proper uniform (including proper safety gear) and within grooming regs if they're in a work/duty environment.

- Exposed security badges/classified material
If your subjects work in an environment where ID/security passes are worn, ensure they remove them before taking the picture or blur/black them out before submitting them. Same goes with any area where classified material may be on desks or in a workshop. If you're unsure, ask your security coordinator or PAO.

- Obviously posed/manipulated ("PhotoShopped") shots, mugging for the camera
We won't print shots of people hamming it up for the lens, nor shots that depict sailors in unfavorable or unprofessional situations.

These are just some tips to keep in-mind. Don't be discouraged if we don't immediately use your submission, we might find some use for it in a later edition!

If you have questions concerning photo submissions, contact us at or

USS ROBISON (DDG-12) The Robie is having a reunion in Branson, MO Sept. 11-14, 2008. This is will be the first reunion and formation of the association. For more info and to get listed on our roster, contact RM1 Chuck Siedschlag (71-74) at or call (715) 787-4559.

We are trying to get a reunion together for any and all shipmates in VA-113/ VFA-113 from 1980 to 1985 who made the transition from A7e's to F/A-18's. Please contact Michael Noonan at

Reunion October 9-11, 2008, Boise ID. Contact: George H. Overman, P.O. Box 6098, Oceanside, CA 92052-6098. (760) 889-2216

We are looking for all shipmates who have served on this great ship. If you are interested please respond to or with your name, address, years on board, rate/rank and we will place your information in our database.

40th Anniversary Reunion for crewmembers of the one and only "Orient Express!" June 21-28, 2008; Handlery Hotel & Resort, San Diego, CA (the birthplace of all Mars-class AFS).
For details and registration, contact Steve Edmison at, or visit the AFS-4 Association website at

USS SAN DIEGO (AFS-6) Reunion planned for May 2008 in Norfolk, VA. We are looking for all shipmates who have served on this great ship. If you are interested please respond to with your name, address, years on board, rate/rank and we will place your information in our database.
Please check out the ship's website at We look forward to hearing from you soon!

ASWOC Misawa, Japan
Plans in the works for a 2009 Las Vegas reunion for those who served at the ASWOC in Misawa, Japan. Contact AW3 Jeff Blankenship (ASWOC Misawa, 1990-1992) at, or visit for more information.

USS MARVIN SHIELDS (FF/DE-1066) Second reunion in Fall 2008. For further details go to

USS GUNSTON HALL (LSD 44), 1995-1999
Those interested in attending a reunion for those who served aboard the "G Hall" from 1995 to 1999, please email Katina Robertson at

A joint reunion for crew members from both subs in Branson, Missouri Sept. 19-23, 2008. The reunion website is
For more information, contact BU1 Jeff Stone at (512) 352-7034

South Dakota offers bonus to veterans
South Dakota is paying a veterans bonus of up to $500 to certain military personnel who were legal residents of the state for no less than six months immediately preceding entry into the Armed Forces, who are currently on active duty or were honorably discharged from the Armed Forces, and who served on active duty during one, or both of the following periods.

Individuals who have previously received the maximum $500 payment, for one or both of these periods, are not eligible for any additional payment. For service between the dates of Jan. 1, 1993 through Sept. 10, 2001 payment will be made only to those who served in an imminent-danger pay area or were awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal, Southwest Asia Service medal, Kosovo campaign medal or any other United States campaign or service medal awarded for participation in combat operations against hostile forces.

All active duty between the dates of Sept. 11, 2001 through a date to be determined, qualifies for a bonus payment. This program also allows payment for active duty during the Operations Desert Storm/Desert Shield dates of Aug. 2, 1990 to March 3, 1991, and for individuals who served in an imminent-danger pay area during the dates of March 4, 1991 to Dec. 31, 1992.

Individuals who have previously received the maximum of $500 for these dates are not eligible for any additional payment. Applicants living outside of South Dakota may request an application from Please include your branch of the military and dates of service.

If you do not have e-mail, you may request an application and instructions by writing SD Veterans Bonus, 500 E. Capitol, Pierre, SD 57501 or by calling 605-773-7251. Applicants living in South Dakota may apply through the nearest County or Tribal Veterans Service Officer.

Illinois offers death benefit for OIF/OEF survivors
The State of Illinois established a new death benefit for Illinois resident Armed Forces members who are killed in line of duty in connection with either OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM or OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. The amount of this death benefit depends on the date of death, and ranges from $118,000 to $259,000.

The death benefit may be claimed either by the member's designated beneficiary or in absence of a designation certain family members in accordance with the State of Illinois Line of Duty Compensation Act (LODCA), 820 ILCS 315/1, et.seq..

Claims must be filed within one year of the member's death. Members killed prior to the effective date have until 17 October 2005 in which to have their claims filed with the Illinois Court of Claims. Eligible deaths extend back to the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001.

In order to receive benefits under the Line of Duty Compensation Act dependents will need to complete an application and send to the Illinois Court of Claims. A printable application is located here you must have Adobe Reader to view.

The primary contact in the State of Illinois for this matter is Eric K. Schuller of the Lt. Governor's office at (312) 814-3139. For help applying for this benefit, and for assistance understanding this death benefit and other death benefits specific to the military, including Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, the Survivor Benefit Plan, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, burial, medical, and PX/Commissary benefits, and other benefits, visit your local Legal Assistance Office. Legal Assistance Attorneys are trained in survivor benefits and estate planning law, and will provide advice on planning for these issues. Attached below is a "Designation of Beneficiary" form for use with this Illinois death benefit.
Free Maps of Iraq and Afghanistan

Free, downloadable full color maps of Iraq and Afghanistan in Adobe PDF format, courtesy of the military's only UNOFFICIAL daily newspaper, Stars and Stripes.
You must have Adobe Reader 8.0 to view the document. If you need to download Reader, get it here.
THE MAIL BUOY: Your E-mails, Letters and Comments

Drop us a line anytime at or Emails submitted may be edited for length or clarity.

All I can say is -- WOW! This is the best military newsletter/newspaper/magazine I have ever read!!! I served in the US Air Force, US Navy, and the Reserve components of both Services for 42 years, and have never seen a publication so chock full of such interesting reading and excellent reporting!!!

CONGRATULATIONS! And, please, keep up the good work! We need you!
- CDR William T. Tucker, USNR (ret.)

I just read your most recent issue of The Hoist and am truly impressed with not only its quality but also with the depth of content. I joined the US Navy on my 17th birthday, February 1, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, where I grew up. It was a time I wouldn't trade for anything in the world and so my interest level is very high for both the Navy and the Marine Corps.

My father was a China Marine, I lost my only uncle on March 8, 1945 at Iwo Jima and my older brother was a Marine as well.

You have done an outstanding job with your newsletter and I encourage you to continue as you meet an unfulfilled need among veterans of all stripes.

Thank you very much.
- Paul Curtis, Past Commander
American Legion Post 291, Newport Beach, CA

An old Swabby e-mailed me the article by Shayla Brown on GIs getting boot for Personality Disorders.

My old Swabby was retired out of the Navy back in the early 1960s after 18 years, diagnosed as "neurotic depressison." Of course, he had just served 12 years straight on sea duty, and after two years shore duty, back again to 5 more of sea duty until retirement...which is not supposed to happen. He flipped out while on the USS Lake Champlain. After 6 months in the Naval Hospital in Jax and Bethesda, they decided to medically retire him with NO pension, leaving us with three young children and no income.

True, I'm sure that his "bipolar disorder" (they've finally settled on a name for it) was genetically inherited, and it took prolonged sea duty to trigger it, but he did everything he was told for 18 years, including service in WWII and Korean waters, yet the Navy washed their hands of him when they felt he could no longer happily do as ordered. So its not just the VA.

The services are the same way. Mental illness is still treated as something to totally be ashamed of, yet there are more genetically predisposed mentally ill people than there ever has been, and far more than any other physical problem. It is too bad that ignorant Americans cannot accept it, or even admit it, and shun those who do.

It is too bad that the services (i.e., federal government) have lied to service personnel for years and years over various things. One being medical care for life if you retire from the service. That rule was reneged clear back during Eisenhower's regime, yet the service personnel (were) lied to for nearly fifty years; recruiters promising that wonderful benefit if you retire from the military. But once you reach that 65 and go on ends. It took Bill Clinton to pass the "Keep Our Promises" act to reinstate the Tricare For Life supplement to Medicare.

They had not reckoned with his fightin' wife. I got busy and wrote our wonderful congressman of the time, Charlie Bennett who was also a medically retired Naval Officer with (a) pension. He managed to get Ken the time amounting to $130 per month. Big deal, but better than nothing. He drew that for the next 20 years while working Civil Service, and then had to make a choice between Navy or Civil Service pensions, (no double-dipping...thanks to Reagan) and of course, chose the Civil Service, but they combined his time served in the Navy to his Civil Service time in calculating his pension.

My point to all this is that what they are doing now is nothing new. For all their promises to get these boys to face getting killed in a stupid war, those promises will not be kept. The bunch in Washington want their pork, their pensions, their annual salary increases, but they refuse to take care of the boys fighting to keep this Democratic Republic going, which also includes the jobs in Washington.

Thanks for listening to my rant.
- Beth Perry, Jacksonville, FL
NTWS Membership Growth

Since its launch on Navy Day, October 27th, 2006, more than 270,000 Sailors of all eras, from WWII to present-day, have joined this website. As a result, many Members have reported reconnecting with Shipmates from the past; and as the site continues to grow towards 350,000 Members by the end of the year, this will be an increasingly common occurrence. NTWS does not permit public access, and therefore has one of the highest percentages of Navy Members of any Navy community website - most Members have been invited by existing NTWS Members. Please help our unique Navy Community continue its strong growth and invite other Sailors that you know. To go directly to the website click on: Navy.TogetherWeServed

Each edition, we'll feature some of the success stories NTWS members have enjoyed as members of the best Navy website online. Submit your testimonial in the "Shipmates Found Success Stories" header in the MESS DECKS forum.

Found One After Just One Day...
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PO1 Steve Parr
I always had a lot of respect for an old XO from my days on board PRINCETON (CG-59). Through this website, I found him. Good guy, never pulled any punches, and always spoke his mind. You never had to wonder where you stood with him. Always wanted to track him down; I figured he'd be retired by now. Far from it; he's the CO of the SAN JACINTO!

Finding shipmates
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PO2 Emery Barg
I have found a few friends from previous duty stations. Some of them pretty close. Heck, one lives only about an hour away. I also have dibs on another one that lives in the same state. All because of this site.

I would like to find a good friend that I had kept in touch with until a couple of years ago. His name is Mark Wilhelm. He was an IC3 on the USS Iwo Jima LHP-2 in the mid-late 80's. He was a deputy for the LaPorte County Sheriff's office for a good number of years. He always wanted to get to the US Marshall's. A few years ago, he moved to Florida (I assume he got got in to the Marshall's).

If anyone has connections and can help me out, I would much appreciate it. Just send me an e-mail. Thanks!

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PO1 Ina Kaleopa
I am not a "myspace" person, but as soon as i was invited to this site, I was all over it! I have found many of my friends from bootcamp and have kept in touch with lots of friends/shipmates from previous commands. I have also made numerous friends along the way.

This site is awesome! I recommend this site to everyone i meet whether retired, reserve, or active. They, too, will enjoy it! MAHALO and FA'AFETAI LAVA!
Profile Assistance

The NTWS profile pages are very detailed, so we've created a list of tips and pointers to help you navigate and use the features of the site more easily.

You may visit the "Member Assistance" section at the bottom left of the Home Page under the "Home" tab or e-mail for assistance.
THE HOIST - NTWS Newsletter

A monthly online publication of, a commercial entity in no way affiliated, authorized or endorsed by the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any of its agencies. Opinions and views expressed herein are not necessarily those of, the U.S. Government, Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.

- NTWS Newsletter is published for informational purposes only and should not be considered official command policy, regulation or doctrine.

All photos used in this online publication are official U.S. Navy/Department of Defense property, unless otherwise indicated.

Please send any comments, quality improvement suggestions or story ideas to: or

Jon Yim -
LaShayla Brown -

FIRST CALL: Notes & Ramblings From The Pilothouse

"OLD SALTS" Photo courtesy of Naval Historical Center

- Hearty congratulations to all those NTWS members who recently transitioned from White Hat to CPO Khaki! A snappy salute goes in your direction for all your hard work, sacrifice and perseverance in reaching your career goal.

- Sometime during your busy day, take a moment to remember and reflect on our fellow Shipmates, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines who are still missing in action from all of our Nation's conflicts. The search continues to bring them home to their waiting families.

- Another salute goes out to that other service that wears blue -- as in Air Force Blue. Congratulations, USAF on 60 years of defending America's skies!

- Thanks to everyone that e-mailed me their "condolences" and suggestions when my old PC rig took a nose dive. Although a Mac is a bit too rich for my blood at this point (and I like to tinker with a computer's innards, which makes most Mac users blanch and scream "Blasphemy!"), I'll stick with what I've got for now.

Although there's this Alienware rig that's been making eyes at me over in the corner...

As a former legacy JO, I'm still on the fence over the merger last year of my former rating with the Photo Mate (PH), Lithographer (LI) and Illustrator-Draftsman (DM) ratings -- now called Mass Communication Specialist (MC). I've got great respect for folks from those legacy ratings -- but the real litmus test comes when one has to literally put "pen-to-paper," so to speak.

Case-in-point: Use of the word "approximately" in recent Navy press releases and photo captions. Seems to be the new Navy crutch buzzword (like "promulgate" was in the 80s and 90s). A $10 word to describe a 25-cent situation. How 'bout "about," "around," "near" and "almost" -- won't they work just as well?

Hullloooo?? Roget's Thesaurus, anyone?

When was the last time you used the word "approximately" in normal conversation?

"Honey, I think there's approximately a half-gallon of milk in the 'fridge!"
Or, "Dear, it's approximately time you took out the trash!" Or, "It's all 'proximately the Benjamins, 'yo!"

Is someone trying to cover-up a shortcoming in (or lack of) basic news writing skills? I dunno. Back when I was kicking-out stories and press releases from the PAO shop, my stories used to come back with so many editor's blue pencil marks, it looked more like a Sanskrit porn novel. Learn from your mistakes, Grasshoppah. And, by cracky, I did...oftentimes the hard way.

Maybe they're thinking, "Well, if it passes Spell Check and Grammar Check on the computer...IT'S OK FOR RELEASE!"

Gee...whatever happened to craftsmanship? Did it get lost to the digital realm? I used to work with some of the BEST news writers that wore Navy, Marine, Army and Air Force uniforms over the years. They were "old-school" military newsmen -- smoked and drank to excess on-occasion, but they cranked out at least six or seven news stories a day before calling it a night and getting polluted at the local watering hole. Oh, and they weren't speed-typists, either...they did the old single-digit finger dance on manual typewriters (geez...that really dates me...).

As my teachers and mentors from all service branches taught me when I was a journeyman Navy Journalist: "WRITE like you SPEAK." And if you speak well, your writing should reflect that.

I'm keeping my old Quill and Scroll.

Until next time...


Jon Yim

CNO TO NEW CPOs: "Get Out There And LEAD!"

WASHINGTON - Chief of Naval Operations Mike Mullen sent a direct message to the Navy's newest chiefs in his weekly podcast to the fleet, available at, telling them that once they put on khakis, he expects them to lead, every single day.

"You are no longer a machinist's mate, fire controlman, culinary specialist, operations specialist, or you pick the rate," CNO said. "You are a chief, and you are responsible for one thing and one thing only, and that's leading."

Mullen recounted a time early in his career while serving as a gunnery officer aboard a destroyer. The ship was conducting a gunnery exercise, but the gun failed to fire. Embarrassed and angry, he went to the chief, demanding to know what happened.

"He said, 'Lt. Mullen, there’s about 5,000 microswitches in that gun that all have to work perfectly for it to fire. Now, obviously, at least one didn’t. Why don’t you let me worry about finding out which one it was, and I’ll keep you informed,'” Mullen said.

"In other words, it was his gun, his gun crew and he was going to get it working," Mullen said. "He was going to lead the problem. I never forgot that day. I never wanted to forget that day."

Mullen said that when the Chief's Mess is "hitting on all cylinders," there is no better command, and he agreed with Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Joe Campa that deckplate leadership is vital.

"You can’t be a chief from behind a computer screen or in an email or even on the phone. You’ve got to be there, out on the deckplates with your people and their families," he stressed. "You’ve got to walk the spaces. It’s the first principle of naval leadership."

Having in depth knowledge of Sailors gives the Chief's Mess its credibility and a special trust and confidence -- not just from the command, but from the American public.

"They may not completely understand your rank or your responsibilities, but they will know you are set apart by your uniform and the way you carry yourself," CNO said.

CNO stressed that we live in a dangerous world, and that "we are a Navy at war in that world."

"We have Sailors, sons, daughters, husbands and wives in harm’s way right now on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere, not to mention thousands more at sea and it is to you, the chief petty officers, those Sailors and their loved ones back home look to for guidance and a safe return," he said. "It is a heavy load, a big responsibility. I have no doubt that you’re up to it."

Mullen also reminded the Navy's newest chiefs that someone paved the way for them, and challenged them to now do the same for their Sailors.

"You must give that opportunity to someone else. You need to extract that same potential from your Sailors."

Wrapping up his podcast, Mullen said, "Enjoy those anchors, chiefs. Enjoy the day. You've earned it. But tomorrow get out there and lead, Chief."

Petraeus: Troop-Reduction Plan Has Solid Military Backing

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Navy Adm. William J. Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff fully support Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' proposal for reducing troops in Iraq to pre-surge levels by mid-July, Petraeus told Congress earlier this month.

The recommendation, which President Bush must approve for it to be put into effect, would reduce the U.S. force in Iraq from 20 to 15 combat brigade teams next summer.

Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I), told the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees that coalition and Iraqi forces have made significant security progress since the surge began.

“As a result, the United States will be in a position to reduce its forces in Iraq in the months ahead," he said. Petraeus recommended no replacements for two units that make up the surge force: a Marine expeditionary unit to redeploy later this month, and an Army brigade combat team to redeploy in mid-December.

He also recommended that four additional brigade combat teams and two surge Marine battalions redeploy without replacement during the first seven months of 2008.

"Five Army brigade combat teams, a Marine expeditionary unit and two Marine battalions represent a very significant force,” he said. “They are the force, in fact, that have helped us substantially in achieving some of the recent gains that our troopers have fought so hard to achieve.” Petraeus said his proposed timeline for a drawdown of these surge forces reflects a careful consideration of conditions on the ground, successes made to date, and what’s needed to maintain and build on those successes.

Petraeus said the plan represents a careful balance of important factors. Among them, he said, is the fact that political progress in Iraq will take place only if there’s enough security. Meanwhile, he said, he recognizes that force reductions as the surge runs its course will benefit the long-term viability of U.S. ground forces. In developing his proposal, he said, he factored in operational requirements as well as demands on the force. He said he’s “very aware” of strains on the force, particularly among ground troops.

Based on these considerations, Petraeus said, he and Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, worked through the “battlefield geometry” to come up with the plan.

“I believe that this is the approach to take to sustain the gains that we have achieved, to build on them, to transition to Iraqi security forces as quickly as we possibly can,” he said. Petraeus said it’s too soon to determine how quickly additional troop reductions can take place.

“I do not believe it is reasonable to have an adequate appreciation for the pace of further reductions and mission adjustments beyond the summer of 2008 until after mid-March of next year,” he said.

He cautioned against withdrawing troops too quickly. “There are no easy answers or quick solutions. And though we both believe this effort can succeed, it will take time,” he said. Petraeus said his assessment underscores the recognition that a premature drawdown of U.S. forces would have devastating consequences.

“Lieutenant General Odierno and I share this assessment,” he said. “(We) believe that the best way to secure our national interests and avoid an unfavorable outcome in Iraq is to continue to focus our operations on security the Iraqi people while targeting terrorist groups and militia extremists, and, as quickly as conditions are met, transitioning security tasks to Iraqi elements.”
- Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Scandal, Corruption Forces Closure of U.S.-Japan Agency

TOKYO - After 60 years as the Japanese government's liaison for facilities on American military bases in that country, corruption and scandal has brought down the Defense Facilities Administration Agency (DFAA).

The DFAA had been the prime coordinator on all contract operations with U.S. troops stationed in Japan since it began operating as the Occupation Forces Procurement Agency in 1947. It formally began work under the DFAA title to procure land and facilities across the country for the U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF).

Government officials first began questioning contract irregularities within the agency several years ago, but an event in which two high-level agency officials and a former DFAA officer were caught rigging bids to sway contracts with Japanese electronics and construction firms, put the agency under intense scrutiny two years ago. The three were arrested, convicted and jailed.

A decision to disband the agency came after intense study of DFAA files showed such bid-rigging to be much the norm -- to the point of custom -- involving ex-DFAA officers subsequently hired by the very firms bidding on government contracts. DFAA officially closed its doors this month, and its functions will be absorbed within the Japan Defense Ministry.

One remaining project involving the DFAA is mired in controversy.

The replacement airfield in northern Okinawa to replace the controversial Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan City, is hung up in a combination of environmental, economic and political challenges. The new airfield is linked to a deal made between Japan and the United States to move nearly 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam. Costs of the airfield, and the relocation of U.S. Marines, will come from the Defense Ministry’s budgets.
- Combined field reports

Hawaii Commemorates 62nd Anniversary of the End of World War II

Story & photo by MC3(AW) Eric J. Cutright
Fleet Public Affairs Det. Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR - Service members and veterans attended a ceremony held aboard USS Missouri (BB-63) Memorial earlier this month, to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the end of World War II and the signing of the Instrument of Surrender.

The surrender document holds its place in history where Japan conceded defeat to the Allies and brought to an end World War II, the most destructive conflict of the modern era.

Attending the commemorative ceremony were more than 100 guests ranging from World War II veterans, active-duty service members, as well as their families and friends.

Guest speakers at the ceremony were Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, and Edwin Ogonowski a former crew member of the Iowa-class battleship during World War II.

"I always wanted to go aboard that ship before I pass away, so it's an honor to be aboard the ship 62 years later," said Ogonowski.

Ogonowski was a crew member of the Missouri and remembered what he felt when he saw the ship more than six decades later.

"I'm proud to be aboard the ship today, which I never figured I would. When I saw the ship yesterday, I felt like I was 20 years old...and here I am 82, and all my pain went away. I felt no pain, but I was in shock, and I’m enjoying every minute of it," said Ogonowski.

During Ogonowski's speech during the ceremony, he reflected back to the day when the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed.

"We were looking down the superstructure, and I saw all the dignitaries coming down -- all from different countries: France, England and the other countries that participated in the surrender -- as they were being greeted by General [Douglas] MacArthur," said Ogonowski.

The ceremony was held not only to honor the event of the signing of the surrender, but also to honor the service members of yesterday and today.

"This ceremony honors men and women who served. It honors the lives of those that gave their lives in the war in the Pacific," said Keating. "It honors the alliance that we now have with those we fought in World War II, and it honors the men and women in uniform."

Former Supreme Allied Commander and General Of The Army, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, spoke 62 years ago, of the unconditional surrender.

"It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past --a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish -- for freedom, tolerance and justice," said MacArthur.
- Surrender signing photo courtesy of the National Archives, U.S. Army Signal Corps Collection

An NTWS Member's Brush With Greatness!

NTWS member, Chief Damage Controlman Jason Nofsker, poses for a quick snap with actor and martial arts star Chuck Norris during his meet-and-greet tour of Iraq this month.

According to Jason on his meeting the action star: "He was one cool dude."

You can read about Norris' recent trip to Iraq in our Around The Services section in the left column.

Did you experience a brush with a celeb while you were in-uniform? Got a personal photo to show-off? Send your digital pictures to, and tell us where and when it happened!

The History of an American Family -- A Story of Heroes

By LaShayla Brown
HOIST Correspondent

When asked the story of how he came to join the Navy at the very young age of 17, Darwin McKee jokes that his dad moved so fast to sign the papers that he almost broke his leg.

Darwin McKee, known as "Mac" to his friends, joined the Navy in October 1964. "I had thought about the Navy," he said. "I had dropped out of high school. A buddy of mine dropped by my house with a Navy recruiter and I said 'OK'.”

And so began a career that would lead Mac on a path not so different from that of his father, Byron McKee.

In January 1940, Byron left his parents and the small coal mining town of Carbon, Iowa to join the Navy. Mac, who speaks of his dad very lovingly, said of his father's service:“Dad joined the Navy in very early 1940. Typical story of a farm boy seeking adventure somewhere besides walking behind a team of plow horses.”

Byron attended Naval Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., and by the end of the year reported aboard the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45) as a Machinist Mate. By the summer of 1941, Colorado returned from the Pacific, headed for the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton for a shipyard overhaul, for what the entire crew knew to be an impending war. After the overhaul was complete, Colorado and her crew got underway, headed toward Pearl Harbor. But the battleship turned-back for Bremerton shortly after departure when it suffered a major engineering problem.

While repairs were being made to Colorado, Byron took leave and returned home to Iowa. He had been home for three days when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. When Byron learned of the attack, he made his way back to the Colorado with three of his shipmates, driving three days non-stop.

Repairs were completed in 1942, and Colorado got underway and into the war waging in the Pacific. Byron saw action during the battles of Tarawa, Guam, Leyte Gulf, Mindoro, and the invasion of Okinawa. USS Colorado played a major role in the Pacific campaign through the rest of the war.

Byron was still stationed aboard Colorado when World War II ended, but not before the McKee family suffered a great personal loss.

Byron's brother, Willard, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country on April 27, 1945, two weeks before the surrender of Germany. The oldest of the six McKee siblings, and only 25 at the time of his death. Willard is buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in France and was awarded a Purple Heart.

In 1944, Byron married his high school sweetheart, Marvel Lola Davis. He served aboard USS Colorado until he left the Navy in 1946. That same year he and his wife welcomed a son, Darwin (Mac), and then joined the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF). A year later, Byron would transition from Soldier to Airman and into America's newest military branch -- the United States Air Force. Again, Byron became a part of military history.

Mac remembers his father as a Sailor, though he retired from the Air Force as Master Sergeant (E7). He recalls his Dad heading the crash boats at Langley AFB, Va., and taking servicemen out on the weekend to fish. During his childhood, Mac had a front row seat to American history. He saw the Panama Canal while his dad was stationed at Howard AFB, he met all the original Mercury Program astronauts while Byron as stationed at Langley, and Mac even remembers Navy astronaut Scott Carpenter's son attending his brother's birthday party.

By the time Mac was a teenager, the country was again at conflict. He was also aware that his family's history had already been tied to the Country's when his father served on the USS Colorado.

He says of the ship's fate: "If the Colorado had not returned to Bremerton, she would have been sitting right where her sister ship (USS West Virginia) had been moored -- at Pearl Harbor. My very existence may have been tied to that shaft malfunction. If dad had been killed at Pearl, my brother, our kids, and grandkids wouldn't be here.”

What Mac didn't know was he himself was about to write his own page in history.

In 1964, the climate in America was again on the verge of change, and once again the McKee family was about to have a front row seat as it happened. The conflict in Vietnam had already begun, and was about to come to a boil.


NTWS Ships Store - For All Your Navy Merchandise Needs!

Pay a visit to our online NTWS Ships Store for all your Navy Merchandise needs - Shirts, Jackets, Hats, Jewelry, Footwear, Medals, Patches and much, much more!

(The Ships Store can also be found under the "Navy Store" tab or on the left hand Home Page just as you log into NTWS)

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"I'm, a new customer, and a satisfied one at that. Your service is excellent, and so are your prices - talk about time to receive items! Its service like the old days.
Roger Alexandre (Gunner)

Thank you for your support of the NTWS Ships Store. All Store proceeds go towards promoting the NTWS website, bringing more Sailors to the TWS Community.

PHOTO LOG: Views Around The Fleet This Month

Servicemembers line up to meet and say farewell to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, who presented each of them with a coin and thanked them for their service at the Pentagon on Sept. 20. Gen. Pace will retire next month from the Marine Corps after 40 years of active duty. - Photo by Cherie A. Thurlby

Seabees attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 participate in a two-mile forced march in full "battle rattle" at the Naval Construction Battalion Center. These Seabees are preparing for their upcoming field exercise and deployment by making sure everyone is prepared to wear and use their equipment. - Photo by MC2 Gregory N. Juday

Sailors stand-by as an F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the "Swordsmen" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, gets into position before launching from Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting carrier qualifications. - Photo by SN Kevin T. Murray Jr.

A Mozambiquen sailor practices weapons handling during maritime interdiction training held aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98). Forrest Sherman is operating as a part of the Navy’s Southeast Africa Task Group and is the first U.S. Navy ship to visit Mozambique since 1974. - Photo by Gillian Brigham

Capt. John Litherland, commanding officer of Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN-728), escorts Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue onto the bridge. Perdue participated in a VIP visit, which included an overnight underway period aboard the submarine. - Photo by MC2 Kimberly Clifford

A member of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Dive Team demonstrates his skills while submerged in the Navy’s 6,800-gallon EOD Mobile Dive Tank at the Utah State Fair. The fair coincides with Utah Navy Week, one of 26 Navy Weeks planned across America in 2007. Navy Weeks are designed to increase awareness of the Navy in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence. - Photo by MC1 Josh Treadwell

Quiet Honor

Joint-Service Team Prepares Uniforms for Nation's Fallen Heroes
Story by Capt. Christine L Kunz, USAF
Photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi, USAF

Air Force Staff Sergeant (E5) Daniel Geoffroy ensures there are no fingerprints on any brass buttons. Not a scratch on a chrome belt buckle. He's proud of how the two tiny bronze star devices on the ribbon rack gleam from the polishing he gave them with a high-speed rotary tool lying nearby. With a toothpick, the sergeant painstakingly fills the letters of every metallic name tag with Air Force blue paint.

To say he's meticulous with the uniforms he works with doesn't say it all.

They're not his uniforms.

They belong to men and women of the nation's military services who have come home for burial. He works at the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

Part of an eight-person team - four active-duty Airmen, two Soldiers, a Reserve Airman and a Marine - Sgt. Geoffroy runs the uniform prep room. His team has worked as many as 235 hours in 17 days, doing their part in the global war on terrorism.

Their sense of duty reflects the quiet honor they bestow on their comrades. So words like honor, respect and dignity echo through the room when talk turns to the nation's fallen heroes.

This team may not be on the front lines. But ensuring each servicemember looks their best for the final trip home makes their solemn job an equal part of the mission.

As such, the team doesn't have time to ponder the reality that the troops they're serving will never return to duty. They've formed a kind of detachment from that truth that helps them focus on their serious task.

"The fallen are placed in our hands," Geoffroy said. "We're here for the families, and we're not going home until every one can be back home with their loved ones." The uniform operations mission isn't a nine-to-five, five-day-a-week job. Aircraft bearing the deceased arrive at Dover at all hours. So the task can take a tremendous toll on the team.

During contingency operations, about 65 remains a month arrive at the mortuary. That number doesn't include troops who have died on duty, regardless of the cause of death. Since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the mortuary staff has worked 10 to 12-hour days, non-stop, sometimes going without time off.

At the height of operations, the staff swelled to 200, and included people from the FBI and other sections of the Department of Defense.

"Not for 30 years have we seen an ops tempo like this," said Karen Giles, the center's civilian director and an Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel. "It's a terrible and a wonderful mission all in one." Giles is not new to the impact death has on people, not only grieving families, but those who work in the mortuary. The teams must learn to deal with the workload and the grim nature of the job they perform.

Stress takes a heavy toll on the group, but with training and counseling, they learn to cope.

Sergeant Geoffroy said seeing how well his team works is how he gets through trying days. That's when, he said, "A feeling of accomplishment and emotion takes over." But to help the staff deal with the stress, the mortuary relies on trained counselors. They give the team the opportunity to talk about their feelings, which helps build trust and rapport. Plus, the mortuary has two full-time chaplains available around-the-clock to help.

"This job isn't for everyone," Giles said. "If someone changes their mind about being able to do this job after their two-day orientation training, then we tell them it's OK to leave." While a tough job, at best, what's unlikely to change is the commitment and sense of duty the mortuary staff feels.

Close-knit group

Senior Airman (E4) Edward Rorie, a 41-year-old Air Force Services journeyman, loves what he does because he gets to work side-by-side with Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.

"We're a close-knit group," he said. "We have to be, because we're all working for our fellow servicemembers." It's why he didn't mind working every holiday last year. Still, the end of the day is best, when the work is done. Or when the team gets word there's no one else coming in.

"This is the most humbling job I've ever done," he said. "There's nothing hard about what we do - we create comfort for the next person in a family."

Attention to detail
Creating that reassurance takes a lot of effort and attention to detail. So once Sergeant Geoffrey receives a name, the team springs into action.

First, he pulls a decorations "rip sheet" so a ribbon rack can be built -- from scratch. Each team member must have a good working knowledge of all the service's awards and decorations regulations. It's one of the toughest jobs for the noncommissioned officer in charge of the uniform shop.

"The guides are always changing," the 12-year veteran from Massachusetts said. "And we have to know the exact placement of awards that aren't even available for purchase yet. I have to make a lot of phone calls, and you can't be afraid to ask questions."

The mortuary keeps a full stock of uniforms and insignia from all military branches, and makes every effort to ensure each one - down to the last button and pin - is as complete as possible.

And while building ribbon racks, the team must also find every badge needed. So rows and rows of badges and devices adorn the uniform shop's walls. "The last thing we want is to not have something in stock when we need it," Sergeant Geoffroy said. "Time is everything, so we're constantly updating our supplies and staying on top of everything [new] that comes out."

Attention to detail takes on a whole new meaning at the shop. As some make ribbon racks or polish badges and medals, other team members iron new creases on the uniforms. Everyone inspects each uniform with the critical eye of a basic training instructor. They look for lint, a smudge, a lone piece of string dangling. They check, double-check and then check again the decoration rip to account for every ribbon. That each device is squared away. That every badge shines to perfection.

"We do a mission here that doesn't tolerate mistakes," said Sergeant Geoffroy. "If you've made one mistake, you've made one too many."
- Reprinted from Airman Magazine
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mortuary Affairs (MA) are tasked differently in each service branch. In the Navy, care for the deceased is a Medical Department function by specialized HMs; in the Army and Marines, it's a Quartermaster/Combat Logistics task; and in the Air Force, MA matters are considered logistics support and handled by Services Squadron (SVS).


WATCH OUT, EMERIL! Host Army Sergeant 1st Class (E7) Brad Turner is ready to add some BOOM! to your BAM!

Send your recipes to, along with video or a photo of you and your dish, and you could be featured on the show!

Stay tuned this Fall for The Grill Sergeants: serving up meals...military style.
If you want to take a taste test, click the link below to watch a clip from the pilot episode.
The Grill Sergeants

If you don't get The Pentagon Channel in your area, call your local cable or satellite operator and request they carry it!

DECK LOG: USS Tennessee (ACR-10) & USS Memphis (CA-10), Part 2


By HM1 Sandra A. Dunlap (vet.)

World War I and her Humanitarian Mission
The Tennessee was the receiving ship at the New York Navy Yard from 2 MAY 1914 until the outbreak of World War I in August of 1914. At the outbreak the war, the Tennessee made a European deployment as part of the American Relief Expedition, leaving on 6 AUG 1914 on a rapid crossing to Falmouth, England. She arrived on 16 AUG.

When she left New York, the Tennessee was carrying US Treasury officials, banking officials, and $3 million in relief funds. Part of the gold went to London by traini and then the Tennessee departed on 20 AUG for Holland to deliver the remainder to The Hague. She returned on 28 AUG to Falmouth. From 1-6 SEP, she evacuated 400 Americans from LeHavre France. Two runs between LeHavre and Weymouth, England were made during that period. With a report of German submarines in the area, the Tennessee moved back to Falmouth on 29 SEP. She was ordered to steam to Italy the next day. Shortly thereafter, she set sail and arrived in Brindisi, Italy on 12 OCT.

Leaving Brindisi, the Tennessee sailed into the eastern Mediterranean the next week with port calls in Beirut, the Greek isles and several port cities in Anatolia (Turkey) before proceeding on to Alexandria, Egypt. Arriving in Alexandria on 16 DEC 1914, she took on stores and money destined for the Jaffa, Palestine relief efforts and mail for the North Carolina at Beirut.i Upon arrival off Palestine, the Tennessee began refugee evacuation operations. By 30 JAN 1915, she had evacuated 3600 refugees from Jaffa and brought them to Alexandria, in four separate trips.

Evacuation operations then ran into some problems with Turkish officials denying refugees permission to leave. Once these problems were rectified, evacuations continued into the late spring. From 15-17 FEB 1915, the Tennessee evacuated 657 more refugees.

Refugee relief operations were complicated by the fact that traditional American allies, Britain and France, were at war with the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) at this time. In spite of these complications, the Tennessee continued to support evacuation and relief efforts in the region. Her final evacuation of refugees occurred on 28 JUN 1915 when she transported 127 refugees from Jaffa to Alexandria. After disembarking her passengers, she steamed for home via Barcelona, Spain and Horta, Fayal (Azores) arriving in New York on 30 JUL 1915.

Caribbean and Atlantic Service 1915-1916

After a short yard period for repairs, the Tennessee again put to sea. Haiti was in the midst of political turmoil. The United States sent marines to quell the civil unrest and train a national police force. The USS Tennessee transported marine infantry and artillery to the Caribbean. The initial landing force of marines was put ashore the day after the death of then President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam on 28 JUL 1915.

Three companies of sailors and the marines from the USS Washington as well as the 12th Company, 2nd Regiment, USMC (on detachment) landed.i The goal was to restore order, disarm the remainder of the Haitian army, and protect foreign legations in Port au Prince. The day after the first landing party went ashore, the 24th Company from Guantanamo Bay, reinforced them.

RADM William B. Caperton requested additional Marine reinforcements the next day. Col. John A. Lejeune, in the position of Acting Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, sent the 2nd Regiment from Advanced Base Philadelphia to Haiti on board the USS Connecticut. Additional reinforcements were requested by Caperton a week after the arrival of the 2nd Regiment.

Lejeune dispatched the 1st Regiment on board the USS Tennessee along with the Advanced Brigade Headquarters under Col. Littleton W. T. Waller. The Tennessee then returned to the United States to pick up an artillery battalion. The only artillery battalion active in the United States Marine Corps, they were equipped with twelve 3-inch landing guns and two 4.7-inch heavy field pieces. They landed on 31 AUG near Cape Haitien.

After landing the artillery battalion, the Tennessee returned to the United States and entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for repairs. She was in the yards until the end of the year. After leaving Philadelphia, the USS Tennessee returned to Haiti where she served as the flagship for the cruiser squadron operating in the Caribbean off Port au Prince. She functioned in this capacity from 28 JAN to 24 FEB 1916.

The Tennessee then returned to Hampton Roads, VA. Within a month, she left port to begin a two-month round-trip voyage to Montevideo, Uruguay, returning on 4 MAY 1914 The United States was in the midst of increasing the battleship fleet. On 25 MAY 1916, the Tennessee was renamed USS Memphis and re-designated as CA-10. The name Tennessee was re-assigned to Battleship 43, which was under construction. After being re-named USS Memphis, she once again steamed to the Caribbean as part of a regional peacekeeping mission.




Air cushion craft for transporting, ship-to-shore and across the beach, personnel, weapons, equipment, and cargo of the assault elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) is a high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious landing craft, capable of carrying a 60-75 ton payload. It is used to transport the weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel of the assault elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force from ship to shore and across the beach. LCAC can carry heavy payloads, such as an M-1 tank, at high speeds. The LCAC payload capability and speed combine to significantly increase the ability of the Marine Ground Element to reach the shore. Air cushion technology allows this vehicle to reach more than 70 percent of the world's coastline, while only about 15 percent of that coastline is accessible by conventional landing craft.

Concept Design of the present day LCAC began in the early 1970s with the full-scale Amphibious Assault Landing Craft (AALC) test vehicle. During the advanced development stage, two prototypes where built. JEFF A was designed and built by Aerojet General in California. JEFF B was designed and built by Bell Aerospace in New Orleans, Louisiana. These two craft confirmed the technical feasibility and operational capability that ultimately led to the production of LCAC. JEFF B was selected as the design basis for today's LCAC.

The first LCAC was delivered to the Navy in 1984 and Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was achieved in 1986. Approval for full production was granted in 1987. After an initial 15-craft production competition contract was awarded to each of two companies, Textron Marine and Land Systems (TMLS) of New Orleans, La., and Avondale Gulfport Marine, TMLS was selected to build the remaining craft. A total of ninety-one LCAC have now been built. The final craft, LCAC 91, was delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2001. This craft served as the basis for the Navy’s LCAC Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). To date three operational craft have been delivered to the Navy in the SLEP configuration.

LCAC first deployed in 1987 aboard USS Germantown (LSD 42). LCAC are transported in and operate from all amphibious well deck ships including LHA, LHD, LSD and LPD. The craft operates with a crew of five.

In addition to beach landing, LCAC provides personnel transport, evacuation support, lane breaching, mine countermeasure operations, and Marine and Special Warfare equipment delivery.

Program Status All of the planned 91 craft have been delivered to the Navy. A Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) is currently in progress to add service life to the craft design life of 10 years, delaying the need to replace these versatile craft.

General Characteristics, LCAC 1

Textron Marine and Land Systems/Avondale Gulfport Marine.
Date Deployed: 1982.
Propulsion: 4- Allied-Signal TF-40B gas turbines (2 for propulsion/2 for lift); 16,000 hp sustained; 2- shrouded reversible pitch airscrews; 4- double-entry fans, centrifugal or mixed flow (lift) / 4 – Vericor Power Systems ETF-40B gas turbines with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC)
Length: 87 feet 11 inches (26.4m).
Beam: 47 feet (14.3m).
Displacement: 87.2 tons (88.60 metric tons) light; 170-182 tons (172.73 - 184.92 metric tons) full load.
Speed: 40+ knots (46+ mph; 74.08 kph) with full load.
Range: 200 miles at 40 kts with payload / 300 miles at 35 kts with payload.
Crew: Five.
Load: 60 tons / 75 ton overload (54.43/68.04 tonnes)
Military lift: 24 troops or 1 main battle tank.
Armament: 2 - 12.7mm machine guns. Gun mounts will support: M-2HB .50 cal machine gun; Mk-19 Mod3 40mm grenade launcher; M-60 machine gun.
Radars, Navigation: Marconi LN 66; I band / Sperry Marine Bridge Master E.

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OFF DUTY: Troops Invited to Submit Original Songs

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON DC – The Dallas Songwriters Association is inviting aspiring songwriters who happen to wear a military uniform to enter their original tunes in its 2007/2008 “Songs from the Soul of Service” contest.

“We’ve ramped up a little bit better technology this time so we can facilitate everything online,” William Brown, the program’s director, said of this second competition. “We have it set up for them to upload (submissions) directly to Broadjam music service.”  Broadjam provides Web-based promotional tools and services for independent musicians, the music industry and fans around the world, according to the company’s Web site.

He said he hopes this, and earlier publicity, will result in a bigger turnout than the last contest. “We’re hoping to double (the number of entries),” Brown said. “We got about 400 submissions last year (and) I’m hoping for 800. The association also will accept cassette tapes or CDs via “snail mail” as well, he said. While e-mail is not a primary entry method, Brown said the group is flexible.

“E-mail is not an official entry method, but, if we get them, we take them,” Brown said.

Servicemembers can submit their songs or those of an immediate family member into one of seven categories including country, world, instrumental, novelty, hip hop, pop or inspirational. Military personnel also may submit a song posthumously on behalf of an immediate family member or a fallen comrade.

Servicemembers are encouraged to follow their hearts when it comes to the songs.

“In the last contest, we had (a winning entry that) had some language on it that wasn’t quite family friendly. So we had to kind of work with (the writer) on a kind of a radio edit of that one,” he said. “We don’t want to impose that kind of a thing on somebody at the beginning. If it gets to the end and it turns out to be...a winning song, if there are things we need to do, we’ll do that at the end.”

Entries, which are currently being accepted, must be received no later than Dec. 31. Winners from each category will be notified in February, according the contest Web site. A grand prize winner will be selected from the category winners.

The grand-prize winner will receive a weekend stay at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, as well as a premium Broadjam membership, Brown said. “In addition to their premium services that they’re making available as a prize … they give you a free six-month basic membership,” he said. “Broadjam is … a great service for the aspiring musician and performer.”

Category Winners will be included on a professionally produced compilation CD of the best songs from the contest. Other prizes will be announced throughout the contest. For more information, and complete contest rules, please visit the Songs from the Soul of Service web site.

Battleship Missouri Memorial commemorates military birthdays with admission specials

PEARL HARBOR -- Every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces recognizes a specific date as its official “birthday.” To commemorate these special anniversaries, the Battleship Missouri Memorial will offer complimentary admission to all active-duty and retired military personnel throughout the week of their respective service birthday. Immediate family members will also enjoy half-off admission.

In addition, both will enjoy 10% off retail purchases at the memorial's pierside Victory Store.

Qualified visitors must present a valid military ID during their corresponding service birthday week at the Missouri's ticket window on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Active-duty and retired military personnel and their families are encouraged to take advantage of these specials during the following 2007 dates:
Oct. 13 – 21 U.S. Navy (Birthday is Oct. 13)
Nov. 10 – 18 U.S. Marine Corps (Birthday is Nov. 10)
Dec. 8 – 16 National Guard (Birthday is Dec. 13)

The Battleship Missouri Memorial is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $16 per adult and $8 per child 4-12. Regular military and kama'aina (local resident) rates are $10 per adult and $5 per child.

All military in uniform are granted free admission at the gate, year-round.

Guided tours are recommended and begin at just $7 additional. For more information or to reserve a tour, call toll-free at 1-877-MIGHTYMO (1-877-644-4896) or visit

The Battleship Missouri is an American icon maintained and operated as the Battleship Missouri Memorial under the tireless care of the staff and volunteers of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a private Hawaii-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to create and maintain a fitting memorial to the people and historic events reflecting our nation’s legacy of duty, honor, strength, resolve and sacrifice.

Battleship Missouri Memorial does not receive government funding. The memorial’s continued success is made possible by visitors’ support, grants, memberships and the generosity of donors.

The NTWS Administration Team

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