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VOL. 5| ISSUE 4 NOV 14, 2016


in this issue: 08

NIMITZ NEWS Capt. John Ring Commanding Officer Capt. John D. Boone Executive Officer CMDCM Jimmy Hailey Command Master Chief

Media Department Lt. Cmdr. Theresa Donnelly PAO Ens. Meagan Morrison DIVO Chief Ahron Arendes Media LCPO PO1 Porter Anderson Media LPO PO2 Jimmy Cellini Production LPO PO2 Andrew Price Creative Lead PO2 Holly Herline Phojo WCS SN Emily Johnston Lead Designer

SALT: In ancient China, Greece and Babylon, salt was a commodity one would risk a life for. Today, Sailors pay in sweat and blood for a little bit of salt of their own. Read how two Nimitz Sailors are earning their salt.

PO2 Mark Brison PO2 Eli Buguey PO2 Jose Hernandez PO2 Siobhana McEwen PO2 Ian Zagrocki PO3 Chad Anderson PO3 Samuel Bacon PO3 William Blees PO3 Eric Butler PO3 Colby Comery PO3 Marc Cuenca PO3 Deanna Gonzales PO3 Jessica Gray PO3 Austin Haist PO3 Lauren Jennings PO3 Erickson Magno SN Kenneth Blair SN David Claypool SN Cody Deccio SN Weston Mohr SN Liana Nichols SN Cole Schroeder SN Leon Wong SN Bethany Woolsey

04 HONOR THROUGH SERVICE: On any given year, roughly 250 Sailors serve on the Navy Ceremonial Guard honoring and laying to rest those who have gone before us and given the ultimate sacrifice. Nimitz’ Garet Sax shares his experience with the Navy’s most elite honor guard.



Our Navy


Story by PO3 Samuel Bacon

tap… tap… tap… THE DRENCHED MARBLE headstones echoed the sound. Remnants of the rainstorm still remained, with a hint of the shower looking to return soon. Eight men marched forward with a burden shouldered, their sharp steps breaking the silence of the chilly morning in perfect unison. This is the last honor rendered to a fallen comrade, to be carried to their final resting place by the Navy Ceremonial Guard. An elite and prestigious group, only a handful of Sailors in the Navy are selected for the guard every year. One of these few is Petty Officer 3rd Class Garet Sax, now of USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Sax, a native of Spokane, Washington, looms over fellow shipmates at 6 feet 3 inches, his broad shoulders often brushing the sides of hatches and doorways as he travels about the ship. His eyes light up with a fire as he speaks, his hands gesturing with a distinct carefulness of someone who expects to be observed closely. Despite his bearing, he narrowly made the height requirement to stand among the ceremonial guard. In addition to exceptional military bearing, guard candidates must be a minimum of six foot two inches, lack any facial scarring,


or noticeable tattoos while in uniform. Potential members must show remarkable spirit and confidence to their new command. Sailors are hand selected after one-on-one meetings with current members of the ceremonial guard. “Once you make it through, you basically are forced to forget everything you ever learned in boot camp, including grooming standards,” said Sax with a hint of a smile behind his new mustache. “Hair is cut at a level one razor. If it can be grasped, you’ll be shining a belt buckle for a few hours. Mustaches are also banned as part of the grooming standard.” Sailors assigned to the Navy Ceremonial Guard perform in various joint service and Naval ceremonies, from parades and funerals, to ship commissionings and change of command ceremonies. Due to their high visibility, a special level of instruction and coaching is required. “Everything gets shined, brushed and starched. I would clean my cover alone for about three hours a day. I might’ve been the only one who spent that much time on just the cover though,” Sax said with a laugh. Once candidates are selected and make it through the initial screening process, they forgo any advanced training schools for two years and spend 10 weeks in an intensive program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, District of Columbia. Once they finish the training regimen, the newly minted guardsmen select a preferred specialty. Split into two companies, with two platoons each, Bravo company contains the Casket Bearers and Firing Party, Charlie company consisting of Color Guard and Drill Team. Each platoon averages 35 members depending on the time of the year, with around 250 Sailors and support staff bringing their different aspects of life to the command. Casket Bearers are often put through tremendous strains, both mentally and physically, with long hours and hard work. It is not uncommon for an average member of the team to do four or five funerals a day, with as little as 10 minute breaks in between. In a two year span, it’s possible for a guardsmen to lay


800 or more service members to rest. Each detail must be perfect, despite the rapid tempo. “You had to carry service members from all walks of life. One service member was over 400 pounds without the casket. You’re carrying a casket over tombstones, sometimes for quite a distance into the cemetery.” Sensing the oncoming question, he shook his head quickly, “and we never dropped a casket. Never.” For grieving families, a veteran’s commitment to their country may be their most treasured memory, so the guardsmen must follow the tradition and protocols to the best of their ability. “I folded the same American flag around 5,000 times before I touched one for the first time at a funeral,” said Sax. “A majority of our training is passed down from senior members of the detail, rather than written on paper. He went on to describe an event called a “drill-out”, during which guardsmen would demonstrate their ability to flawlessly perform a specific part of a funeral or procession. Senior personnel would watch your every move, looking for one wrong step or fold. Three mistakes and you’re back to training until you think you can try again,” Sax said as he holds out his hand, bringing his fingers to his eyebrow. To an average service member, it looks like a proper salute. The Ceremonial Guard would say otherwise and it would probably lead to several hours of belt polishing. Each motion is made with precision, an expression of respect for the Navy’s fallen service members. Casket bearers stand as the face of the U.S. Navy to grieving families, the final chapter of a Sailor’s service to his country. “I really wanted to help families through tough times,” said Sax. “Knowing that I was there to push through the grieving with the families made me pick casket bearer. We were the escorts of the family and the older veterans who came to the funerals, making us the closest face of the Navy to those affected. If anyone was going to do it, I wanted to be

PO3 Sax parades the colors in a training exercise at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling

Tap… Tap… Tap…

there, so I knew it was done right.” The bulkheads echo the parade of boots down their passageways. Sailors pass by, carrying scraps of a table and chair. Sax finds himself near the front of the group, taking charge of the Sailors. He now works as part of a crew of berthing maintainers, upholding

the material readiness of his division’s living space with several other Sailors. Although he left the duties of the Ceremonial Guard behind, he still lives by the lessons of honor, professionalism and accountability instilled over two years of service. The lessons he will cherish always.


Story by PO2 Siobhana McEwen


“And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.” - John F. Kennedy, President and WWII Navy veteran, 1962


that a Sailor earns his pay for the work he does at sea, where the cry of the Boatswain’s whistle means it’s time to wake up, and ‘quitting time’ only comes around when the job is truly done. The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) is out to sea for the first time in nearly two years, and for much of her crew, this is their first time at sea - for them, they’ll be earning more than just their pay check over the next several months. With every cast off of mooring lines, catch on the arresting gear wires and replenishment at sea comes a little bit of experience for Nimitz’ young crew, and a little bit of salt as well. Airman Samantha Latty knows she’s got a way to go before she’s able to claim that she is a ‘salty Sailor.’ “Salty Sailors are those who’ve been on deployment, or spent a lot of time underway, doing what Sailors are supposed to be doing,” she said. “I think that’s what earns you salt.”

Latty left Salem, Oregon slightly more than a year ago for Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois, and has only been on board since September. Her inexperience hasn’t deterred her from trying to jump right into the operational tempo of the ship. “I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable now than I was even a couple of weeks ago when I first got here,” she said. The daughter of Coast Guard veterans, Latty joined the Navy without really knowing what experiences were in store for her. It didn’t take her long, though, to realize she was going to fall in love with the Navy. “I loved hearing stories my recruit division commanders would tell us,” she said, her eyes aglow with excitement. “When they would take off their red ropes and talk to us like we were already Sailors, I’d just get so excited about going to the Fleet. I knew I wanted to go to sea and experience everything.” Three short months after leaving Oregon for boot camp, Latty found herself alone with a few “A” school shipmates for Thanksgiving. It was the first holiday she’d spent away from her family in her entire life. “We all went to the local United Service Organizations (USO) and ate together,” she said. “We were all alone together, and I really felt a sense of place – I knew that was exactly where I was supposed to be at that time. I

don’t think I had ever felt like that before.” That feeling has only grown stronger in Latty with each day she’s spent in the Fleet. “From what I’ve seen, I think it’s great being at sea,” she said. “I love my job; I love the way people get in a zone and just get work done. I’m excited for general quarters, for man-overboard drills, for getting lost on the ship. I’m excited for all of it!” Latty knows she’s got a lot to learn, both about her work in the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department and about being a Sailor in general. But something about her energy and enthusiasm suggests she doesn’t mind. Who exactly should hold the title of “Saltiest Sailor” on board Nimitz may be a matter of opinion. A sure-fire contender, though, would have to be Lt. Cmdr. Michael Prince, the ship’s First Lieutenant, and a 28-year veteran of the seas. Prince joined the Navy in 1988 as a Mess Management Specialist. He walked a troubled path before getting there, though. “I was going down the wrong road,” he said. “If there was a way to get in trouble, I found it. And then I just woke up one day and realized I needed a change. I had nothing to lose, so I decided to join the military.” Prince shipped off to boot camp thinking he would be what was known as a ‘hotel manager.’ When he arrived


at A-school, however, he was surprised to learn that he would actually be receiving training to be a cook. When he inquired about the change in jobs, Prince was told he could either “chip and paint, or stay and cook.” “I didn’t know what ‘chip and paint’ meant, but I knew it sounded better to me than cooking,” Prince said. “With that, I became an ‘IBM’ – an Instant Boatswain’s Mate.” With nearly three decades in the Navy, and time spent aboard 10 ships, Prince has a lot of seafaring memories to look back on. Surprisingly, one of his most significant memories happened on his first ship, when he advanced to a BM3.


“I knew it was a different world for me then,” he said. “Out of all of the promotions I’ve experienced, that one was the most distinguished for me. I was no longer a worker; I was a leader.” Another extremely significant moment in Prince’s career came on his next ship, USS Haleakala (AE 25), whose mission at the time was to supply ships engaged in Desert Storm and Desert Shield with munitions and guided missiles. Haleakala had been steaming for days to get to a rendezvous spot with other ships on their way to war, and Prince was on the port side of the ship setting up an underway replenish-

ment station. “I looked over the side of the ship and towards the horizon, and there were ships for as far as the eye could see,” he said. “Our captain came on the 1MC and told us that we wouldn’t be sleeping until we’d replenished all of those ships. I just thought to myself, ‘this is gonna be a painful day.’” Prince and his shipmates worked from sun-up, through the day and on past sun-down, sending munitions to ships on both port and starboard sides of his vessel. The next day, they woke up and did it all over again. In fact, they continued working like that for several days in a row. “I remember having a bunk on

the ship, I just don’t remember ever sleeping in it,” he said. That day is one that has been etched in Prince’s memory ever since. “I’ll always remember the first time I pulled along-side another ship,” he said. “That feeling when you’re pulling alongside – it’s the closest you’ll ever come to feeling like you’ve got all the power in the world. Even today, I still feel like a little kid when I’m pulling alongside another ship.” When Prince talks about the ships he’s served on, or all of the lessons he’s learned in the Navy, it’s obvious that he’s earned his weight in salt. “I think you earn your salt on the

bad days,” Prince said. “They say you never learn anything on a good day - when things go wrong, it can actually be helpful. I think in order to earn your salt, you have to have experienced at least a few bad days.” Prince has seen his fair share of Sailors, and ships, come and go in the fleet. A lot has changed in the course of his career, but one thing has remained constant. “You don’t know what a Sailor is capable of in port,” he said. “When we pull in all lines, you see something different. The appearance of the crew changes, and you start to see the fear and excitement you can’t see in port. At sea, though, is where we

become a family.” As the days begin to blend together, and sea trials turn into routine operations, Nimitz moves closer and closer to her first deployment since 2013. With each nautical mile the ship steams, Sailors old and young alike can rest assured they’ll have a few “bad days” in store for them. But those situations will end in learning opportunities, and the crew will walk away weighing a little bit more than they did when they boarded the ship. Instead of wiping dirt from their shoulders, they’re bound to take pride in the salt they’ve accumulated.


Insomnia, headaches, nightmares, hypervigilance, anxiety

Side effects of PTSD:


8% of

Americans have PTSD at any given time







About 10 of every 100 women develop PTSD in their lives, compared to about 4 of every 100 men.


of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives.

Women are about twice as likely as men to develop


Among people who are victims of a severe traumatic experience, 60-80% will develop PTSD.


Story by PO3 Chad Anderson

20% of the

soldiers who have been deployed in the past 6 years have PTSD


Every day, U.S. military personnel put boots on ground to defend our country’s freedom. It’s a risk few Americans are willing to take. Though soldiers and Marines mostly make up the country’s forces on land missions, Individual Augmentee (IA) Sailors, or Sailors assigned to a forward-deployed unit as a temporary duty station, are among the few who accept the hellish task.

cont. page 14

In 2008, an estimated 1 in 5 service members returned from deployment with PTSD.

Today, 31.3 million people are struggling with PTSD. 13

Sadly, for those who do return, the things they see and experience sometimes have a lasting negative impact. For some of the Sailors assigned to USS Nimitz (CVN 68) who have gone IA, this is a real concern. According to the American Psychiatric Association, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threating event. The Rand Corporation published a study in 2008 that estimates as many as one in five service members return from deployment with PTSD. “When armed forces personnel are deployed to duty stations with hazardous conditions, some develop what we call acute stress reactions, which is a mindset that makes a person more alert and watchful for suspicious activity,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Gregory Tramble, the behavioral health technician aboard Nimitz and former IA Sailor. “It’s when those people come back from those environments and still have that mindset that it becomes PTSD.” Tramble was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months in 2012. Although Tramble himself never developed PTSD, he did notice a change in himself after his IA time was over. “When I first returned to the U.S., everything felt a bit slower,” said Tramble. “Everything was much more relaxed than what I had become accustomed to. It kind of felt like the world was in slow motion. People went about their day without a care in the world, and I was still in safety mode.” Tramble luckily escaped the clutches that PTSD can have on Sailors, but his first-hand accounts in a hazardous duty station make him better equipped for his job. As Nimitz’ behavioral health technician, Tramble’s job is to help doctors and nurses with the treatment of patients with various behavioral problems. “PTSD is something that’s been recognized and treated since World War I,” said Lt. Nathan Hydes, the clinical psychologist aboard Nimitz. “Sadly, we didn’t really start understanding it and applying the modern


science that we still practice today until the 1970s. We first called it shell shock after World War I and then it was battle fatigue, it wasn’t until after the war in Vietnam that it became PTSD.” PTSD has been studied throughout the 20th century. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 11 percent of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom veterans and a staggering 31 percent of Vietnam veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD. While PTSD is certainly treatable, there is a common misconception that the traumatic things people witnessed or experienced can’t be treated or helped. Another misconception is that only combat veterans suffer from PTSD. “People with PTSD are never going to forget the things that they witnessed and experienced,” said Hydes. “People come in and say that they want to forget what happened, but there is nothing I can do to make them forget it. What I can do is get them to where they can recall what happened without being traumatized by it; to be in a place where they can talk about what happened without being overwhelmed.” Sadly, many people sometimes don’t get the help they need because they feel hopeless and may think it is untreatable. “Treatment can be difficult but if untreated, people can have PTSD for the rest of their lives,” said Hydes. “While others want to forget some believe nothing will ever help them, but we really do have scientific methods to treat this. It is important to talk to a professional. It can be frustrating talking to friends and family who really want to help you but just don’t know what to say. You really do need to see someone who is trained to help.” As the behavioral health technician and clinical psychologist for the Sailors on board Nimitz, Tramble and Hydes are that help. PTSD is a very serious disorder with negative consequences, but it is important to remember that it is very common and very treatable. Nobody has to be alone in their fight to treat it.


Dos and don’ts for voicing your political opinion on social media By Jason Kelly, U.S. Navy Digital Media Engagement Director

Back in 2008, political and media analysts dubbed that year’s presidential election the YouTube election since the candidates used the platform to post videos longer than traditional political ads. Fast forward to 2016 where now a third of 18- to 29-year-olds say social media is their most helpful source for learning about this year’s presidential election, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. More social media opportunities exist now for Americans to share everything from their favorite cat photos to their personal opinions, including about this year’s presidential election. So what do Sailors and Department of the Navy civilians need to know before they post, tweet, and snap their political opinions? The information below doesn’t cover everything but, if in doubt, consult your command’s ethics representative.

Service members:

Let’s start with Sailors. NAVADMIN 055-16 and DoD Directive 1344.10 spell it out. Active-duty Sailors may generally express their personal views about public issues or political candidates using social media – just like they can write a letter to a newspaper’s editor. If the social media site or content identifies the Sailor as on active duty (or if they’re reasonably identifiable as an active-duty Sailor), then the content needs to clearly and prominently state that the views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of the Department of Defense (DoD). However, active-duty service members may not engage in any partisan political activity such as posting or making direct links to a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause. That’s the equivalent of distributing literature on behalf of those entities or individuals, which is prohibited. Active-duty Sailors can like or follow accounts of a political party or partisan candidate, campaign, group or cause. However, they cannot suggest that others like, friend or follow them or forward an invitation or solicitation. Remember, active-duty service members are subject to additional restrictions based on the Joint Ethics Regulation, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and rules about the use of government resources and government communica-


tions systems, including email and internet. What about Sailors who aren’t on active duty? They’re not subject to the above social media restrictions so long as they don’t reasonably create the perception or appearance of official sponsorship, approval or endorsement by the DoD.

Department of Defense civilians:

DoD civilians need to consider the Hatch Act and DoD policy. In general, federal employees may use social media and email and comply with the Hatch Act if they: •Don’t engage in political activity while on duty or in the workplace, even if the employee is using their personal smartphone, tablet or laptop to do so. Federal employees are “on duty” when they’re in a pay status (including during telework hours) other than paid leave or are representing the government in an official capacity. •Don’t engage in political activity in an official capacity at any time. •Don’t solicit or receive political contributions at any time. Political activity refers to any activity directed at the success or failure of a political party or partisan political group or candidate in a partisan race. Below is a list of some frequently asked questions. Q: May a federal employee engage in political activity on social media? A: Yes, they may express their opinions about a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race by posting, liking, sharing, tweeting or retweeting, but there are a few limitations. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from: •Engaging in any political activity via social media while on duty or in the workplace •Referring to their official titles or positions while engaged in political activity at any time (note that including an employee’s official title or position on one’s social media profile, without more, is not an improper use of official authority) •Suggesting or asking anyone to make political contributions at any time, including providing links to the political contribution page of any partisan group or candidate in

a partisan race or liking, sharing or retweeting a solicitation from one of those entities and invitation to a political fundraising event. However, an employee may accept an invitation to a political fundraising event from such entities via social media. Further restricted employees also may express their opinions about a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race by posting or sharing content, but there are a few limitations. In addition to the limitations above, the Hatch Act prohibits further restricted employees from: •Posting or linking to campaign or other partisan material of a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race •Sharing those entities’ social media sites or their content, including retweeting Q: If a federal employee lists his or her official title or position on Facebook, may he or she also complete the “political views”? A: Yes, identifying political party affiliation on a social media profile, which also contains one’s official title or position, without more, isn’t an improper use of official authority. Q: May a federal employee display a political party or campaign logo or a candidate photograph as his profile picture? A: Yes, subject to follow limitations. Because a profile picture accompanies most actions on social media, a federal employee would not be permitted - while on duty or in the workplace – to post, share, tweet or retweet any social media content because each such action would show their support for a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race, even if the content of the action is not about those entities. Q: May a federal employee – while on duty or in the work place – send or forward a partisan political email from his or her government email account or their personal email account to other? A: No, they can’t send or forward a partisan political email from either their government email account or their personal email account (even using a personal device) while at work. A partisan political email is defined as one that is directed at the success or failure of a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race. Again, the above information doesn’t cover every situation. If in doubt, consult your command’s ethics counselor.




weekly throwback

1976- Two EA-6B Prowlers fly over Nimitz.


Nimitz News accepts submissions in writing. All submissions are subject to review and editing. “Nimitz News” is an authorized publication for the members of the military services and their families. Its content does not necessarily reflect the official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Navy, or the Marine Corps and does not imply endorsement thereby.

through | the | lens

AN Joseph Kraft blows out pad-eyes on the flight deck while Nimitz transits through the Puget Sound. Photo by PO3 Samuel Bacon PO2 William Tomlinson scans the Puget Sound while PO3 Alysa Alvarez and SN Erik Miller stand watch during a transit through the Puget Sound. Photo by PO3 Samuel Bacon USS Nimitz passes Seattle while transiting the Puget Sound. Photo by SN Weston Mohr



13 November 2016