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Command Master Chief William Smalts Interview by MC3 Casey Cosker



ommand Master Chief (AW/SW) William Smalts has served in the Navy since 1986, and his career is impressive. Despite youthful setbacks—including going to captain’s mast—he climbed from E1 to E5 at his first command aboard USS L.Y. Spear (AS 36). He was aboard USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) when it sailed up the Mississippi River after the devastation in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. He was the command master chief of squadron VAW 124 aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during its ship’s last deployment. I sat down with Smalts to discuss his new role as TR’s CMC. I expected him to have the intelligence and candor that many high ranking Sailors possess, but I did not expect how much he would convey his care for the Sailors working under him or his passion for service. I will let his words speak for themselves. What are your goals with this new command? To make Theodore Roosevelt the best carrier that the United States has ever seen. How do you want to go about doing that? By empowering Sailors to own their ship and take care of each other. Any crew is about the people. Either you’ve got a great group of people or you don’t. I think the leadership on the ship between the officers and the chiefs has to lead from the front. We’ve got to focus on taking care of each other—watching each other and holding each other accountable—and making the crew the best they can be. The rest will just fall into place. What can junior Sailors expect from you as the CMC? That I hold their leadership accountable for their behavior. The same standards that they’re held to are the same standards that we’re all held to. Regulation and instruction isn’t written for any specific pay grade. It’s written for all of us. I know as sure as I’m sitting here that there are juniors and seniors alike that are not behaving or acting like they should or not setting the example when the Navy expects them to do that. It’s hard when you’re a junior Sailor and you see poor examples. Although there are many good examples in the Navy and especially on TR, there are those who are not. My promise to the junior sailors on this ship is that they have a CMC that is aware of that, is looking for that, and is holding everybody accountable for their share of their responsibility. You went from E1 to E5 on the USS L. Y. Spear (AS 36). How? Especially after going to captain’s mast once? The only way I can describe that is when I came to work I worked as hard as I could. I was honest. I think I had a good moral compass. I was young, making young people mistakes, and I had a lot of people who recognized the goodness in me and took care of me and helped steer me in the right direction. That is ultimately why I became a CMC—from those experiences on my first ship and the people who took good care of me. I still to this day feel obligated to pay that back. Why did you decide to take on the CMC program? My first tour when I was taken care of, I honestly didn’t have the pride in the ship that I think a Sailor should have. Once I gained a little maturity and got into my early 20s and started realizing that people were truly looking out for Bill Smalts, I realized that’s what it’s about. The people part of the Navy has always been important to me. That’s why I became a boatswain’s

mate. Everybody chooses their own route for their own reasons, but not everybody has the opportunity to lead as many Sailors as deck department has. I’ve always enjoyed people. The rest of it—being able to drive boats and be outdoors—was what I personally enjoyed, but I became a CMC because that was my niche. Watching people grow and be successful and find happiness— that’s the sheer joy of life more than driving any boat. I think that the human interaction is what should drive people to happiness in life. That’s why I became a CMC. This is not your first time as a CMC onboard TR. You were the CMC of VAW 124. What’s it like coming back? Amazing. TR was a great ship. It executed the mission as well as can be in the gulf under extreme conditions. Knowing what it was like to me was really important to me as CMC. Although most of those people are gone now, the example that was set was important to me. And I know TR is a good ship. She’s given us a good shell for a good crew to do a lot with. She was solid for the last cruise, and I have no doubt that this crew can take a new, revitalized TR into legend. Where do you see us going as a crew and as a ship coming out of the yards? I see us being the go-to carrier in the Navy. I did some workups on the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77), which had just come out of the yards. Although she’s a great ship, she was a base-model Nimitz-class. That’s how they come out of the yards—with a few upgrades to the radar rooms and whatnot. TR is so much more than that. In my opinion she’s more mission capable, more comfortable for the crew. She’s matured and now brought up to the current standards. If you’ve been on a new ship, you know that we’re in a better place and in a better situation being on TR coming out of a four-year RCOH than going to a brand new carrier because it’s not a base model Nimitz-class anymore. It’s an evolved Nimitz-class. I think the rest of the Sailors on the ship need to understand how fortunate they are to be where they are, because the opportunities for TR to dominate the battle E competitions; to come out of the yards and blow away all the workups; to walk to the exchange—to go anywhere with your TR patch on your uniform—and have people whisper, “There’s one of those TR Sailors”—that’s who I personally want to be. That’s the vibe of what I want the ship to feel like. When you tell your mom and dad how great the ship is, that’s a reflection of you personally because you have something to do with it. I’ve had a lot of great commands, but I want this to go down as one of the best I’ve been at in 27 years.






comeback A

Story and photo by MCSN Christopher A. Liaghat

fter the recent Physical Readiness Test, some Sailors onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) who either failed to make weight or came close to failing may feel like giving up. For those who think putting in the effort to lose those extra pounds is impossible, Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Airman Joseph J. Hickey is walking proof of what hard work can do. Hickey lost 118 pounds total before joining the Navy in July 2012, and he is now on his way to becoming TR’s assistant command fitness leader. “I got bullied a lot when I was a kid for being fat, and since I wasn’t able to do anything about it, the way I dealt with it was to eat,” Hickey said. “I figured if they were going to call me fat, I might as well stay fat.” Hickey experienced his first weight-related health problem while attending community college. “I was sitting in class when I started having bad stomach pains and I didn’t know why,” Hickey said. “The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the nurse’s office. They said I had an ulcer on my stomach, which was caused by stress and my diet. They said I was eating too much fried food, and if I continued to eat the food I was eating, it could get worse and cause other problems in the future.” The health scare was a wake-up call to make some major changes, Hickey said. He started his path to lose weight on his 19th birthday when he decided to adopt a vegan diet. “That was the last time I ate meat,” said Hickey. “I went strict vegan cold turkey. No dairy, no meat. It kept me away from junk food.” The choice was also in part due to Hickey recognizing a history of obesity in his family. “My dad served in the Navy in the 70s, and he was in really good shape, but when he got out he started gaining weight,” said Hickey. “He got up to 400 pounds. My grandmother was diabetic,

Every day I’m trying to find a new challenge—a new journey to better myself—and help bring the people around me to that same level.

and my grandfather had knee problems because of his weight. I thought it might be a genetic problem, and I didn’t want to worry about my health at an older age.” Hickey stuck to his new diet and began practicing better portion control and exercise. In just four months, he lost 75 pounds. “At my heaviest I was 260 pounds,” said Hickey. “I lost a lot of weight from January to April of 2008 and got down to 185 pounds. I first noticed the difference it made when I was running up and down the stairs at my college and I wasn’t out of breath.” Hickey was able to maintain his new weight for more than two years, but he started gaining back the weight he worked so hard to lose in college. “In 2010, I was back up to 215 pounds,” said Hickey. “I gained it all back while I was joining a fraternity because my eating habits and workout routine got off key.” After realizing he had started to gain back the weight he lost, a depressed Hickey decided to go for a drive. It was on this drive that he saw a military recruiting station. “The Navy recruiter gave me some brochures and two weeks later I was talking to my hometown recruiter,” said Hickey. “He told me that to join I needed to be 186 pounds, and he wouldn’t even consider recruiting me until I lost the weight.” Determined to join, Hickey told the recruiter he would lose the weight and be back in three months. The recruiter doubted he would see Hickey again. “When I wanted to lose the weight, all I had was people doubting me” said Hickey. “I often times found myself doubting me too, but at the end of the day I had something to prove. Not just to my recruiter, not just to the people who thought I couldn’t do it, but to myself.” Three months later, when Hickey stepped on the recruiter’s scale it read 172 pounds. “They always tell you to take off your sneakers and extra clothes to avoid adding extra weight,” Hickey said. “I went on fully clothed just to mess with him.” Today, Hickey is a runner and a mixed martial arts fighter. He is sponsored by, a community website for vegan athletes, and More Than Ink, a clothing line that endorses an alcohol, tobacco, and drug free lifestyle. “Every day I’m trying to find a new challenge—a new journey to better myself—and help bring the people around me to that same level,” said Hickey. “Sure, I’ll hit speed bumps along the way. I might get chewed out at work for something, or have a bad running day, but the bumps in the road are all a part of the process. It’s what helps me grow, helps me learn and makes me a better person inside and out.”


cranes Photos by MC3 Casey Cosker

Top left: Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Justin Hagele handles a safe aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during an equipment onload May 22, 20 dling) (AW/SW) Carl Dawson explains safety procedures to members of TR’s V-1 Di right: Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Justin Hagele handles a line se Mate (Handling) (AW) Janet Salas coils line around her arm as she supports the eq


ety line as an aircraft crash and salvage crane, nicknamed “Tilly,” is loaded 013 in Newport News, Va. Bottom left: Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Hanivision. Center: TR’s V-1 Division loads Tilly onto the carrier’s flight deck. Top ecuring Tilly during the equipment onload. Bottom right: Aviation Boatswain’s quipment onload.

aircraft of F-18 F/A Superhornets are strike fighter aircraft used for long-range attacks against surface and air targets and positions.

Red Rippers Strike Fighter Squadron 11 F-18s

Checkmates Carrier Strike Squadron 211 F-18s

Knighthawks Carrier Strike Squadron 136 F-18s

When USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) deploys, its purpose will be to launch aircraft. These are the squadrons of Carrier Air Wing Two that are slated to deploy with TR.


air wing 2 Thunderbolts Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 2 F-18s

E2-C Hawkeyes are the eyes in the sky. They identify contacts through long-range radar. Screwtops Carrier Early Warning Squadron 123 E2-C Hawkeyes

Dragonslayers Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11 Sea Hawks

Sea Hawk (SH-60H/F) helicopters perform combat search and rescue (CSAR), naval special warfare, anti-submarine warfare, vertical replenishment, anti-ship missile defense, and passenger and cargo transfer missions.



about face

hrough a combination of tug boats and the power of the natural tide, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) performed an about face maneuver and shifted 180 degrees at its pier May 17, putting it another step closer to leaving the shipyard in Newport News, Va. and returning to the operational fleet. The “turn ship” operation, which provides an opportunity for vital systems on the ship’s port side to be overhauled, marks the first time TR has left her dock at pier three at Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding in two years. It is an important milestone that takes the ship closer to the end of its Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) process. “Turning the ship is a major milestone for us in that it proves that we can accomplish all the major muscle movements that have to go into getting the ship underway,” said Cmdr. Brendan Murphy, TR’s navigator. “The deck department executes their job; the navigation department executes their job; the engineering department-all of the team comes together at a very specific instant in time when we get underway, and that’s a big part of what we do in the Navy.” According to Ens. William Boll, TR’s boatswain (Bos’n), the evolution was “a 60% version” of a normal underway. “We’ll be manning the foc’sle, the fantail and the bridge,” Boll said. “The fantail and the foc’sle will be where we’re manning up the wiring. We’re working with the shipyard getting wire ropes on and off the ship and making sure it’s a safe evolution.” Boll had praise for the shipyard workers who worked alongside his crewmembers on the decks. “They’re hard workers,” the Bos’n said. “The communication is great between the two of us, the Navy and the shipyard. They do their job, and they do it well.” The deck department backed up the shipyard workers with communications and extra workers. “Deck, as a department, we’ve been pretty much supporting the shipyard workers while they remove and work with all the lines that are going out to the pier,” said Seaman Merlena Peter, who worked as a sound-powered phone talker during the evolution. Peter, who has been aboard TR for five months, added, “This is the first time I’ve seen any movement of the ship, and it was kind of nice.” After lines were cast from the ship, the aircraft carrier was guided by tugboats and used the current of an ebb tide to drift away from the pier Murphy recounted. As soon as TR was clear of the pier, the tugboat Huntington propelled the carrier away from the dock and into the open water of the Chesapeake Bay.


Story by MC3 Casey Cosker

Two more tugs then joined TR on the starboard side of the ship, and they maneuvered opposite the tugs on TR’s port to hold the ship on both sides, forward and aft. The tugboats then rotated the ship clockwise so that TR’s bow faced the shore. Then, using the bay’s flood tide, they guided the ship back to the pier. “We’ve had a lot of milestones in the past year,” said Capt. Mark Colombo, TR’s executive officer. “Probably others were just as important and just as significant in getting us out of the yards, but none were as noticeable of an achievement as it is to turn the ship. So because of that, I think we should all be justifiably proud. It was a heck of an accomplishment for us.”

Top Left: Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class John Porter blows the Boatswain’s Mate pipe at the conclusion of a turning maneuver. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Katie Lash. Top Right: Airman Eric Walton stands a security lookout watch while the ship conducts a turning maneuver during its mid-life overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va.. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian G. Reynolds Bottom: The tug boat Huntington pulls along side the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during a turning maneuver in the James River at Newport News Shipbuilding. Photo by MC3 (SW/AW) John Kotara.




Story and photos by MCSN John Drew


ai’lah Driver, the five-year-old daughter of Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class (SW/AW) Jamorn Driver, assigned to USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), called the Newport News Fire Department when her mother, LaQuin Driver, began seizing on the morning of September 12, 2012. For her good deed, Jai’lah Driver received the Newport News Fire Department’s Good Samaritan Award on May 13, 2013 during the Newport News Fire Department Recognition Ceremony, at Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center. Jai’lah acted as soon as her mother started seizing that Monday morning. When the operator picked up, she quickly began assessing the situation by asking Jai’lah a set of questions, Jamorn said. “I answered all of the questions,” Jai’lah said. “I wasn’t scared at all.” While Jai’lah was speaking to emergency services, her father, who was at work, received a phone call from his mother-in-

law that his wife had begun having a seizure. Jamorn said that he immediately began calling his home, and when no one answered he started to get worried. A short while after the call was made, emergency services arrived at Jamorn’s house to find a locked door. The emergency service members walked Jai’lah through how to open the door, and shortly thereafter they were inside. When Jamorn arrived at home, emergency services were already treating his wife. He was impressed at how well Jai’lah had handled the emergency situation. “I was amazed at how much of what we taught her had stuck,” said Jamorn. “When you teach your kids you always hope that they remember it when or if the time comes, and it just so happens that it did this time.” LaQuin was rushed to a nearby hospital where she recovered. “She’s doing fine now,” Jamorn said with a smile. With TR almost out of the shipyard, it was important to Jamorn and LaQuin that their daughter be taught what to do in an emergency, Jamorn said. “I knew I would be gone a lot of the time, and it worried me to leave my wife and daughter at home alone, so my wife and I began teaching Jai’lah what to do in case something did happen,” Jamorn said. “She knows to trust police officers and firemen when she needs help, so I guess that’s why her first instinct was to call them.” The Newport News Fire Department’s Good Samaritan Award goes to a civilian who shows bravery and selflessness when someone’s life is in danger. The awardee is chosen by 11 judges on an awards committee. “If it wasn’t for this girl’s bravery this story may not have had as happy an ending as it did,” said Scott W. Liebold, acting fire chief of the Newport News Fire Department. “She acted quickly and calmly answered all questions she was asked, she’s a hero.” The Drivers were very happy to see Jai’lah receive the award. “It feels amazing that she received this award,” Jamorn said. “I mean, it’s been so surreal the past few months. The media has been interviewing us, and there were cameras Scott W. Liebold, acting fire chief of the Newport News Fire Department, presents everywhere. She deserves all of it though. She’s Jai’lah Driver with the Newport News Fire Department’s Good Samaritan Award a blessing.” May 13.




celebrates diversity asian and pacific islander heritage month


Story by MCSN John Drew

he Diversity Committee onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is scheduled to host an event celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander heritage in the U.S. Navy May 23,

2013. “The Diversity Committee’s goal is to primarily raise morale,” said Chief Legalman (SW/AW) Katrina Hall, leading chief petty officer of TR’s legal department and head of the Diversity Committee for two years. “It’s great to get a group of people together with different backgrounds and work towards a common goal. This event is a great way to do that, and raise morale in the process.” The Navy’s ethnically diverse community ranges from officers to seamen, and Asians and Pacific islanders have a strong history within its ranks. To that end, Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution in 1978 to commemorate Asian and Pacific American Heritage Week during the first week of May. In 1990, Congress voted to expand it from a week to a monthlong celebration, and in 1991, the month of May was permanently designated as Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. “It’s great how people come from different places and back-

grounds,” said Operation Specialist Seaman Kent Baylon, a third generation Filipino Sailor. “It creates one big melting pot. Everyone has something unique to bring to the table that helps us be a better Navy.” That melting pot extends to Sailors who were not citizens prior to joining the Navy. For example, Machinist’s Mate Fireman Michie Biyo was nationalized in boot camp. “I really wanted to join the Navy so I could live and serve in the U.S.,” said Biyo. “In the Philippines it’s frowned upon for a woman to serve in the armed forces, but I wanted to. When I was nationalized as a U.S. citizen in boot camp, I felt really proud, and I knew my family in the Philippines were proud of me as well.” Biyo, Baylon and two other Sailors will perform a native Philippine dance called the Tinikling at the Diversity Committee’s event. The dance involves two or more people beating, sliding and tapping two poles while jumping between, over and underneath them. “It’s our national dance, we’re proud to perform it,” Baylon said. Another Sailor, Machinist’s Mate Fireman Raymond Li will perform a Lion Dance with another Sailor. In a Lion Dance, one person acts as the head of a dragon and the other as the tail. The two weave back and forth to mimic the motion of a flying dragon, Li said. “This is normally performed on a Chinese New Year or holiday” said Li. “We are proud to be representing our country in this dance.” Li added that he was the first person in his family to join the U.S. military. “I’m pretty excited at the chance for us to show people something different,” said Li. “This month is a chance for the Asian and Pacific Islander community to represent our culture with pride.” The event will have food from Thailand, Japan, Hawaii, China and the Philippines, as well as musical performances sung in multiple languages, Hall said. “There is a rich history of diversity in the Navy,” said Hall. “It’s one of the great things about the Navy. The Navy doesn’t care about the color of your skin or where you’re from. It sees you as an invaluable asset, and it allows fair opportunities to everyone in turn.”

The Navy doesn’t care about the color of your skin or where you’re from. It sees you as an invaluable asset, and it allows fair opportunities to everyone in turn.

-Chief Legalman (SW/AW) Katrina Hall



Man on the Street

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

AO3(AW/SW) Khiry Carter in G4 “It means honoring our past veterans.”

QMCS (AW/SW) Chris Allor (engineering) “Remembering those who have served before us and remembering why we wear the uniform every day.”

Lt j.g. Bryson Carter “Remembering those who have served before us, and remembering why we wear the uniform every day.”

Congratulations to more than 300 TR Sailors who were selected to advance!

Hooyah! 16

Chief Electronics Technician Cheyenne Shasky, assigned to USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is pinned to chief by her grandfather, a retired chief petty officer, and her brother during the Sailor of the Year pinning ceremony in Washington, D.C., hosted by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens. Photo by MC2 (SW) Austin Rooney.

TR Moments

Vice Adm. David H. Buss, Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF), arrives at the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during the in-service New Construction Quarterly Progress Review at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington-Ingalls Industries. Photo by MCSN Christopher A. Liahat.


touch& go T

X-47B By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandon Vinson USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs

he Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) began touch and go landing operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) May 17. For UCAS-D, this represents the most significant technology maturation of the program. Ship relative navigation and precision touchdown of the X-47B are critical technology elements for all future Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) aircraft. Earlier in the week, the UCAS-D test team and CVN 77 worked together to successfully complete the first ever launch of an unmanned aircraft from an aircraft carrier proving the importance of introducing unmanned aviation into the already powerful arsenal of aircraft squadrons. “We are proud to be a part of another historic first for Naval

Aviation. The landing was spot-on and it’s impressive to witness the evolution of the Carrier Air Wing,” said Capt. Brian E. Luther, Commanding Officer USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The various launch and landing operations of the X-47B on the flight deck of George H. W. Bush signify historic events for naval aviation history. These demonstrations display the Navy’s readiness to move forward with unmanned carrier aviation operations. Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager for Unmanned Combat Air Systems program office, said, “When we operate in a very dynamic and harsh carrier environment, we need networks and communication links that have high integrity and reliability to ensure mission success and provide precise navigation and placement of an unmanned vehicle.”

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tony D. Curtis

USS Theodore Roosevelt Command Summer Picnic Tickets Are On Sale Now!!

Staff Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Grieco Executive Officer Capt. Mark Colombo Public Affairs Officer Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Evans Media Officer Lt. j.g. Michael Larson Senior Editor MCCS (SW/AW/EXW) David Collins Public Affairs Supervisor MC3 Katie Lash Editor & Layout MC3 Casey Cosker Rough Rider Contributors MC2 (SW) Austin Rooney MC3 (SW) Brian Reynolds MC3 (SW) William McCann MC3 (SW/AW) John Kotara MC3 Katie Lash MC3 Casey Cosker MCSN Christopher A. Liaghat MCSN John Drew

Command Summer Picnic Friday, 14 June from 1200-1700 Dam Neck Annex beach Cost: E1-E6 $5.00 per person E7+ $10.00 per person No more than $50 per family Tickets can be purchased with a Navy cash card at the MWR Ticket Office M-F from 0900-1400

Entertainment  Food  Activities  Prizes

Father’s Day Video Shout Outs We are creating videos about your dads for this upcoming Father’s Day. We want your stories. Contact:

Command Ombudsman April Kumley The Rough Rider is an authorized publication for the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Contents herein are not necessarily the views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. government, Department of Defense, Department of the Navy or the Commanding Officer of TR. All items for publication in the The Rough Rider must be submitted to the editor no later than three days prior to publication. Do you have a story you’d like to see in the Rough Rider? Contact the Media Department at 534-1406 or stop by 3-180-0-Q.


Publication of U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).


Publication of U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).