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www.ipaa.org PreSIdenT GeOrGe H.W. BUSH SerVed On THe IPAA BOArd OF dIrecTOrS FrOm 1955 TO 1957.
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The Independent Petroleum Association of America
We thank President George H.W. Bush for his
is proud to support the United States Armed
service to IPAA and the United States of America,
Forces and President George H. W. Bush at the
and the men and women of our armed forces for
commissioning of the U.S.S. George H. W. Bush.
their service, loyalty and courage.
IPAA Leadership: H.G. “BUddy” KleemeIer, cHAIrmAn BrUce H. VIncenT, VIce cHAIrmAn dIemer TrUe, TreASUrer BArry rUSSell, PreSIdenT And ceO
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CV-41 Congratulates our 41st President
George H.W. Bush & the Commissioning Crew of CVN-77 Godspeed from the crew of the USS Midway Museum, Americaâ€™s West Coast symbol of strength, freedom & peace.
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USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) commissioning committee Shipâ€™s Sponsor Doro Bush Koch
Honorary Chairmen The Honorable John Ellis Bush, Marvin P. Bush, Neil M. Bush
Honorary Co-Chairmen The Honorable and Mrs. Lamar Alexander, The Honorable and Mrs. James A. Baker, III, The Honorable Barbara H. Franklin and Mr. Wallace Barnes, The Honorable and Mrs. William P. Barr, The Honorable and Mrs. Nicholas R. Brady, The Honorable Andrew H. and Reverend Kathleene Card, Vice President and Mrs. Richard B. Cheney, The Honorable and Mrs. Edward J. Derwinski, The Honorable Robert Dole and The Honorable Elizabeth Hanford Dole, The Honorable and Mrs. Lawrence S. Eagleburger, The Honorable Carla Hills and The Honorable Roderick Hills, The Honorable and Mrs. Jack Kemp, The Honorable and Mrs. Manuel Lujan, Jr., The Honorable Lynn M. Martin and The Honorable Harry Leinenweber, The Honorable and Mrs. Robert A. Mosbacher, Sr., General and Mrs. Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret), The Honorable and Mrs. J. Danforth Quayle, Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret), The Honorable and Mrs. Samuel K. Skinner, The Honorable and Mrs. Louis W. Sullivan, The Honorable and Mrs. John H. Sununu, The Honorable and Mrs. Richard Thornburgh, Admiral and Mrs. James D. Watkins, USN (Ret), The Honorable and Mrs. Clayton K. Yeutter
Commissioning Committee Chairman Captain Louis P. Lalli, USN (Ret)
commissioning Committee The Honorable and Mrs David H. Adams, The Honorable and Mrs. Hushang Ansary, Mr. Placido Arango, The Honorable and Mrs. David Q. Bates, Jr., The Honorable and Mrs. Stuart Bernstein, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Busch, Mr. and Mrs. Phil Carroll, The Honorable and Mrs. James W. Cicconi, The Honorable and Mrs. Thomas J. Collamore, The Honorable and Mrs. Peter R. Coneway, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Cooke, Mrs. Flora C. Crichton, The Honorable and Mrs. Walter J.P. Curley, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Davidson, The Honorable David Demarest, Mr. and Mrs. Archie Dunham, The Honorable and Mrs. Donald L. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Farmer, The Honorable and Mrs. Marlin Fitzwater, Mr. and Mrs. Charles C. Foster, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Freidkin, Mr. and Mrs. Marc Ganzi, Mr. and Mrs. Victor Ganzi, Mr. Walter J. Ganzi, Jr., The Honorable and Mrs. Bruce Gelb, The Honorable C. Boyden Gray, Mr. John Griffing, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Haagen, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Hall, Rear Admiral William Hayden, USN (Ret), Mr. and Mrs. Williard S. Hemmingway, Jr., The Honorable and Mrs. Glen Holden, Mr. and Mrs. John Hrncir, Mr. and Mrs. David B. Jones, The Honorable Ronald C. Kaufman, Mr. and Mr. John C. Kerr, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert V. Kohler Jr., Ms. Virginia Lampley, Mr. and Mrs. John H Lindsey, The Honorable and Mrs. Frederic V. Malek, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Marchand, Mr. and Mrs. John L. Marion, The Honorable and Mrs. Fredrick D. McClure, Mr. and Mrs. Jim McGrath, Mr. and Mrs. James McIngvale, Mr. and Mrs. Drayton McLane, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. McNair, Mr. and Mrs. Steven L. Miller, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Moran, Mr. Robert Mosbacher, Jr., Mr. Jim Nantz, Dr. and Mrs. Charles Neblett, The Honorable and Mrs. Edward N. Ney, Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Norris, The Honorable and Mrs. C. Gregg Petersmeyer, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reidy, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Rich, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Richard Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. David Rubenstein, Mr. and Mrs. Jin Roy Ryu, Mr. and Mrs. Ali Saberioon, The Honorable and Mrs. Melvin F. Sembler, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Scully, Mr. and Mrs. Chip Shotwell, The Honorable and Mrs. Alan Simpson, The Honorable and Mrs. Dorrance Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Lester Smith, Mr. and Mrs. George W. Strake, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Straus, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Tom Super, Mr. and Mrs. David M. Underwood, The Honorable Marilyn Ware, The Honorable and Mrs. William H. Webster, Mr. and Mrs. Owen W. Wells, The Honorable and Mrs. G. William Whitehurst, The Honorable and Mrs. Roger Williams, The Honorable and Mrs. Joseph Zappala
Finance Committee Chairman The Honorable James W. Cicconi
Finance Committee Deputy-Chairman David B. Jones
finance Committee Members The Honorable David H. Adams, The Honorable David Q. Bates, Jr., The Honorable Thomas J. Collamore, Mr. Walter J. Ganzi, Jr., Mr. John Griffing, The Honorable Ronald C. Kaufman, Mr. John C. Kerr, Mr. Jack L. Oliver, III, The Honorable C. Gregg Petersmeyer, The Honorable Melvin F. Sembler, The Honorable Roger Williams, The Honorable Joseph Zappala
Chief of Staff for President George H.W. Bush Jean Becker
Navy League Commissioning Coordinator Maryellen Baldwin
Deputy Linda Ermen
Navy Commissioning Coordinator Joseph Hanna
Deputy William Huesmann
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Yale University proudly salutes its distinguished alumnus
President George H.W. Bush Yale College Class of 1948 Left: George H.W. Bush as Captain of the 1948 Yale Baseball Team Photos: Michael Marsland (top). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library (bottom).
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IBM and the IBM logo are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. ÂŠ2007 IBM Corporation. All rights reserved. P19913
P19913 Defense Ad 2-Monica Debban.qxd:P19913
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contents Interview: President George H.W. Bush. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 By Charles Oldham
Interview: Dorothy Bush Koch, Ship’s Sponsor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 By Charles Oldham
Interview: Capt. Louis P. “Lou” Lalli, U.S. Navy (Ret.),. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Commissioning Chairman and President, Navy League of the United States, Hampton Roads Council By John D. Gresham
Shipbuilder: An Interview with Mike Petters,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 President, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding By John D. Gresham
Capt. Kevin E. O’Flaherty, Commanding Officer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Capt. S. Robert Roth, Executive Officer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 CMDCM(AW/NAC) Jon D. Port, Command Master Chief. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) SEAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Getting the Message Out: The Navy League of the United States. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 By John D. Gresham
Navy League Ship enhancements for USS George H.W. Bush. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 By John D. Gresham and Erica J. Tingler
Navy league of the united states Commissioning donors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Vital to The United states today and tomorrow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Aircraft carriers – 100,000 tons of combat power, wherever and whenever needed By Edward H. Lundquist
Building American Carriers From Nimitz to Bush … and Beyond. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 By John D. Gresham
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T:9 in S:8.5 in
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Sony Electronics congratulates the men and women of the US Navy on the launch of the USS George H.W. Bush CVN 77.
© 2008 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony and SXRD are trademarks of Sony.
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Information Technology and USS George H.W. Bush. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91 by J.R. Wilson
Training and Simulation Technology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 by J.R. Wilson
USS George H.W. Bush: Hometown FPO AE 09513-2803. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104 By John D. Gresham with Susan Kerr
Making Life Aboard Better: USS George H.W. Bush Quality-of-Life Improvements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 By John D. Gresham
Fighting Flattops. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups By John D. Gresham
Main Battery: The Carrier Air Wing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 By John D. Gresham
CARRIERS AT WAR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134 From World War I to the Present Day By Dwight Jon Zimmerman
U.S. Naval Aviation from birth to the present day. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 By Robert F. Dorr
AIRCRAFT CARRIER EVOLUTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 By Norman Friedman
The Postwar aircraft Carrier Revolution: From Props to Jets and Angled Decks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180 By Robert F. Dorr
UNDER WAY ON NUCLEAR POWER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190 By Norman Friedman
TOMORROWâ€™S CARRIERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .198 By Norman Friedman
CARRIERS AROUND THE WORLD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208 By Norman Friedman
WHERE ARE THE CARRIERS?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218 By Norman Friedman
USS George H.W. Bush Plankowners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .232 CVN 77 H 11
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FROM BRIDGE TO PROPELLER, ONE INTEGRATED SYSTEM FOR POWER AND CONTROL.
Congratulations and best wishes to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and the U.S. Navy on the commissioning of the last Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the CVN 77 USS George H.W. Bush. At L-3 Marine & Power Systems, we value our long-standing partnership with you, and weâ€™re honored to have contributed our systems and expertise to this outstanding new addition to the U.S. fleet. We wish the USS George H.W. Bush and its crew great success in the many years ahead. For more information, visit L-3com.com/MPS.
SPECIALIZED PRODUCTS > C 3 ISR > GOVERNMENT SERVICES > AM&M
Marine & Power Systems
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Freedom at Work USS George H.W. Bush CVN 77 Published on behalf of the Navy League of the United States Hampton Roads
North American Headquarters 701 North West Shore Blvd. Tampa, FL 33609 Tel. (813) 639-1900 Fax (813) 639-4344
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Navy League Hampton Roads Executive Director Maryellen Baldwin Navy League Hampton Roads Project Manager Linda Ermen Editorial Director Charles Oldham, firstname.lastname@example.org Editors Rhonda Carpenter, Ana E. Lopez Assistant Editor Iwalani Kahikina Art Director Robin K. McDowall Project Designer Rebecca Laborde
Navy League of the United States Hampton Roads Publication
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Design & Production Daniel Mrgan, Lorena Noya, Kenia Y. Perez Production Assistant Lindsey Brooks Contributing Writers Robert F. Dorr Norman Friedman John D. Gresham Susan Kerr Edward H. Lundquist Erica J. Tingler J.R. Wilson Dwight Jon Zimmerman Publishers Ross W. Jobson and Peter M. Antell Assistant to the Publisher Alexis Vars European Headquarters 5 Ella Mews, Hampstead, London NW3 2NH UK Tel. 44 (0) 207-428-7000 Fax 44 (0) 207-284-2118 Asia-Pacific Headquarters Level 21, Tower 2, 101 Grafton Street, Bondi Junction, NSW 2000, Australia Tel. +61 (0) 2 8063-4800 Fax +61 (0) 2 8580-5047
©Copyright Faircount LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of editorial content in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Faircount LLC and the Navy League of the United States do not assume responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made therein, nor the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Reproduction of articles and photographs, in whole or in part, contained herein is prohibited without expressed written consent of the publisher, with the exception of reprinting for news media use. Printed in the United States of America. Permission to use various images and text in this publication was obtained from U.S. Department of Defense and its agencies, and in no way is used to imply an endorsement by any U.S. Department of Defense entity for any claims or representations therein. None of the advertising contained herein implies U.S. Government, U.S. Department of Defense endorsement of any private entity or enterprise. This is not a publication of the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Government.
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Interview: President George H.W. Bush By Charles Oldham
Forty-first President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush began a distinguished military career in 1942. On his 18th birthday, June 12, 1942, Bush graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Seaman Second class. A year later, still 18, he became the Navy’s youngest pilot at that time when he received his wings and commission. Bush, who was born in Milton, Mass., flew a Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo-bomber off USS San Jacinto during World War II. On active duty from August 1942 to September 1945, Bush flew a total of 58 wartime missions. On Sept. 2, 1944, during a mission to bomb radio towers on the Japanese-held island of Chichi Jima in the Bonins, anti-aircraft fire hit his plane. Bush managed to successfully bail out, despite taking a glancing blow to his head from the horizontal stabilizer and ripping his parachute. The two other crewmembers aboard the Avenger were killed. The Navy submarine USS Finback rescued him just offshore of Chichi Jima, and he spent a month aboard the submarine as it recovered other shot down aviators and carried out the remainder of its war patrol against enemy shipping. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals for courageous service in the Pacific Theater. On Jan. 6, 1945, Bush married Barbara Pierce of Rye, N.Y. Today, they are the parents of five children: George, John “Jeb,” Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy Bush Koch. The Bushes, who are residents of Houston, Texas, also have 17 grandchildren. Following World War II, Bush entered Yale University, where he pursued a degree in economics and served as captain of the varsity baseball team. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1948.
After his graduation, the Bushes moved to Texas and he embarked on a career in the oil industry. Bush has held numerous important leadership positions over the years. He served two terms as a representative to Congress from Texas, and served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In 1980, Ronald Reagan selected Bush to be his running mate. Bush was sworn in for the first of two terms as vice president of the United States on Jan. 29, 1981. He served as United States President from 1989 to 1993, facing a changing world with the passing of the Cold War. The greatest challenge he faced was when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, then threatened to move into Saudi Arabia. Vowing to free Kuwait, Bush marshaled a 30-nation coalition and successfully opposed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. President Bush graciously agreed to be interviewed at his office on the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. His easygoing grace and wit during the interview often had everyone in the room laughing. A brass plaque across from his desk reads CAVU, or “ceiling and visibility unlimited,” and is one hint of his naval aviation career’s importance to his later life. Despite a long and distinguished political career filled with many achievements, Bush still treasures his years in the Navy as one of the best times of his life, and has said the commissioning of the carrier bearing his name “means everything“ to him.
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Freedom at Work: The commissioning of USS George H.W. Bush is unique in that, not only will you be there to see it, but also that you were a naval aviator and, to the crew, you’re one of them. What are your feelings on having this carrier named for you? President George H.W. Bush: Well, it’s very emotional for me, because the three years that I was in the Navy meant everything to me and it was very important. I was a young, scared kid, but I went into the Navy at 18 years old, my 18th birthday, and emerged three years later a mature guy, reasonably mature, and I loved the Navy, I loved naval aviation, and I am deeply honored to have this carrier named for me.
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
It’s a far cry from San Jacinto, the carrier you served aboard when you were in the Navy. You certainly have been on an American supercarrier since then. What sort of contrasts are there, and what do you think has endured as far as service on a carrier? Well, I think the spirit of naval aviation has endured and will continue to endure. Mechanically, the contrast is enormous between a big carrier like this and the CVL 30 [San Jacinto], the one I was on. The deck is wider. We had no canted deck … it was all straight: If you missed the wire, you ended up in a steel barrier. So the mechanics of them were different. The speed of the planes is much different. We could bring ours in fairly slow. The deck is much more stable than our deck was. Some things stay the same. The spirit of naval aviation stays the same. The thrill of getting in a landing pattern and coming around and landing, I’m sure it’s the same, although I’ve never done that; though I’ve landed on a carrier with an arresting wire there was a difference – it was just as a passenger. There are similarities, but there are big differences: the differences lie in technology; the ship itself; navigational devices, which we had almost none; and the actual arresting operation, which has changed and matured. I think it’s been made much easier. But it’s all flying an airplane and trying to land on a small target. But I’ll tell you, it means everything to me that this ship has been named after me. I have read that after the original USS Houston was sunk in the battle of Sunda Strait, there was a collection taken up by the citizens of Texas to build a new Houston, and that there was so much money contributed that the excess paid for the San Jacinto.
I have not heard that. There were several others, the [Independence-class light carriers with] a converted cruiser hull, converted with a deck on top of it. They had a very narrow hull, narrower deck, than an [Essex-class fleet (CV)] aircraft carrier. This being a cruiser, it could run with the fast carriers. Unlike an escort carrier, a CVE, the CVL was a fast ship, and we operated it with two CVs and another CVL, in a task force usually of four carriers. I don’t know about the financing of it; I had heard something like that but I don’t know if it’s true or not. Have you ever thought that even then, in your young life, there were those connections to Texas?
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George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
USS San Jacinto (CVL 30), the Independence-class light carrier that future president George H.W. Bush served aboard. No, I hadn’t really dwelt on that at all, but I’ll tell you, my going down to get my wings at Corpus Christi gave me an insight into Texas and that weighed on me when I had to determine where to go to make a living. I mean I liked Texas and I wanted to go back to Texas. I didn’t know it very well, just from being a naval aviation cadet at however many fields around Corpus. When World War II began for Americans, after Pearl Harbor, you were still at Andover, you had been accepted to Yale, you didn’t have to enlist. What motivated you to do it? To serve my country. It was clear that this was going to be a major conflict and would last for some time, and I
was just motivated by wanting to serve and never had any regrets about it. None. Then when the war ended, I was lucky to get out on … points, and then went to college. When you went off to pre-flight school, near Chapel Hill in North Carolina, what was your impression on meeting and training with all these other inductees from all over the country? Well, you know, I had led what many considered a sheltered life, properly considered a sheltered life, and I didn’t know anybody. I don’t think I knew one single person when I got on that train in New York that was going down to Chapel Hill. But I quickly made friends. I was the youngest guy, it was my 18th birthday, but it
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George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
George H.W. Bush in the cockpit of his TBF Avenger during World War II. The large size of the torpedo-bomber is evident.
was a wonderful group of people, all motivated by the same thing, wanting to serve their country, and I made a lot of friends. There were a lot of different backgrounds represented there, but nobody gave a damn whether your father had money. In my case, my father was successful on Wall Street, probably the last thing I’d want them to know, and you were just accepted for what you were. That seems to come up a lot from people who served with you, that they didn’t know your background initially. It seems like you wanted to be taken at face value.
Well, it gave me more of an understanding of the real world. Everybody had families, everybody’s family was concerned about the service of my squadron mates and others in naval aviation, and so there was a commonality there that transcended family background. Properly so. And it was very revealing to me, having come from a rather cloistered background. Earlier you were talking about technology and how it’s changed over the years; for a generation of young men and women serving on this carrier who only know jets, I wonder if you could describe the first aircraft you soloed in. How was it constructed, and what were the landing and take-off speeds?
Well, I think that’s true, and I hope that’s the case. How do you think meeting these people from different walks of life affected your public service later on?
The first one I soloed in was an N2S Stearman. It had an open cockpit, two-place, with an instructor in the front and the cadet in the back, and the first solo was a huge thrill. It’s all so different now, the technology.
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12/9/08 4:02:43 PM
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Downed pilots rescued by USS Finback shown with the officers of the Finback. Rescued pilots and crew: front row (kneeling), left to right: Ensign Tom Keene, USS Enterprise; Ensign George H.W. Bush, USS San Jacinto; Ensign James Beckman, USS Enterprise; Crewman Stovall, USS Enterprise; Crewman Dougherty, USS Enterprise. Officer Complement, USS Finback (SS 230), back row (standing), left to right: Lt. James Griswold, Lt. j.g. William H. Parkman, Lt. j.g Jack Peat, Ensign William Edwards, Lt. Cmdr. Dean Spratlin, Lt. Cmdr. R.R. Heyworth, Lt. Jerry Redmond, Lt. j.g. Ollie Brostrom. Circa September 1944.
But it was low and slow and a biplane – two wings, a very stable aircraft. I remember making a solo night landing, out in Wold-Chamberlain [Field], and I got too low and the wheels on my plane crushed the top of a tree. It scared the hell out of me, and it could have easily flipped over. But it was a stable aircraft and it could recover from something like that. So, you know, you had to pull the propeller through and had to get out there and freeze in the open cockpit. There’s a picture circulating in the annals of my Navy life that I hope never resurfaces that shows me with a frozen face. You had to wear a leather face mask because it was so icy cold out there in Minnesota.
Yes, [the Stearman is] a fabric plane, like a model airplane. But it was a good plane, a steady plane; you learned to do your acrobatics in it. It was safe; you could get it out of a spin and you learned the fundamentals of what you might call acrobatic flying in that airplane. It was a safe plane to recover from a spin, for example, and learning that was good to know when you’ve got a more advanced aircraft.
But the Stearman was a wood- and fabriccovered aircraft?
Oh, yeah. You could choose what you wanted to be. That happened at the next stop down in Corpus Christi.
Was there a process at that time, according to how you were doing in flight school, that would decide whether you were going to fly a multi-engine aircraft, fighter, torpedo-bomber, or other aircraft?
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AbilityOne Honors AbilityOne honors the commissioning of the USS George H.W. Bush CVN 77 and nearly two decades of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. Providing employment to more than 40,000 people, the AbilityOne Program is the largest single source of jobs for people who are blind or have other severe disabilities in the United States. For more about the nationwide AbilityOne network, visit AbilityOne.org.
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You went there for advanced or intermediate training. I forget what it was called, but it was there they asked if you wanted to be a fighter pilot or a torpedo-bomber pilot, seaplane pilot, whatever. For some reason being a torpedo pilot appealed to me. I wasn’t particularly good at acrobatics, didn’t like it that much. I had to do it, had to qualify, but torpedo-bombers just seemed real exciting, and the big planes we flew I was told – I hadn’t flown it but I was told – were very stable, and proved to be so – the TBM and TBF. It was a really good choice. I forget what my roommates chose, whether they wanted to be fighter pilots – that was the main difference, the main choice – fighter pilots or torpedo-bomber pilots. They had dive-bombing too, SBDs – so, I made the right choice. You spoke about the Avenger. What was your first impression? Can you describe the aircraft for somebody who’s not familiar with it? The biggest single engine aircraft in the fleet. The biggest aircraft in the fleet, period. It was a stable aircraft. You could slow it down on landing, which was good for coming aboard the carrier, get down to 80 knots, something like that, don’t quote me on that number … but it was a large wing and a very stable wing, which made it easier to land in rough weather and things like that. It was a great big thing, heavy plane, three-place, pilot, turret gunner, and tail gunner, and I was very pleased that I was in that airplane. It was the workhorse of the fleet. Was it responsive on the controls or was it kind of truck-like?
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
It was heavier than a fighter plane. I checked out on the Corsair, the F4U, which, of course, was considered to be a real hot airplane. I didn’t land that on a carrier, just flew it, but there was a night and day difference. You had to use the trim tabs a lot on it for landing, but it was a pretty responsive airplane. Today, it is fairly uncommon for a naval aviator to have a mishap, such as a ramp strike, or having to ditch. But from what I’ve read, you had a few close calls, several emergency landings with duff engines, and a ditching. Would you be able to talk about any of that? Well, in ... June 1944, our ship came under attack, and we had to get the planes off. We got them off, I was in the air, and my plane hadn’t
properly warmed up, there was no oil pressure, so I had to decide to try to come back aboard the ship. They wouldn’t take me on because the deck was cluttered, and so I went around and landed in the water, but the sea was pretty calm. I was a little concerned because I had four 500-pound depth charges in the body of my ship, and they weren’t armed, but here you are landing in front of your own fleet, you don’t want to blow up your own fleet. That would not have been good, but they went off way, way, way, way down deep in the Pacific.
Lt. j.g. George H.W. Bush in the cockpit of an Avenger aboard USS San Jacinto.
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12/15/08 4:09:59 PM
Former President George H.W. Bush in his Kennebunkport office.
Is that why they called the N2S the Yellow Peril? [Laughs] No, this was in a TBF. It might have been the same thing in the Yellow Peril, I don’t know that I did there, otherwise I might have been washed out. And then, of course, the big one was Sept. 2, 1944, when I was shot down. That’s all been documented, but it was scary. …
As you said, the Sept. 2, 1944, mission has been fairly welldocumented and I want to go past that to when you came back to flying. You had obviously lost friends and even in training there were people who were crashing and you lost friends that way, but there’s an account where, after returning to the squadron, you were flying a strike on shipping in Manila Bay, and one of your crew told you that flak had blown a hole in one wing, and you were said to have responded, “You’re right, there’s a hole in the wing.” And then you went in for a second attack. Well, I don’t remember being quite that heroic, but the plane was hit, I think, and we made it back to the carrier all right. Do you think you’d had enough experience, having gone through so much at that point, that it wasn’t as …
How did you feel taking off on your first combat mission?
Traumatic? Yeah, I don’t – frankly, I don’t remember it as vividly as I do Sept. 2, obviously. It was hostile, you could see the flak, but I don’t remember the details of it, and I don’t want to make them up.
Scared. Why not admit it? Everybody else was too, I think. The first combat mission was at Wake Island, and we didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t a terribly hostile environment, so we got that one out of the way.
You are one of a fairly small group of naval aviators that have experienced a war patrol in a submarine, as well, and considering there is a traditional rivalry between carrier sailors and submarine sailors, what did you come away with after that experience?
Photo by Ross Jobson
So that was scary, but on that one, the crewmen didn’t even get wet, they just stepped out of the turret and climbed onto the wing or to the life raft we had and paddled away. The plane went down and we went over to get rescued by a destroyer. It was a scary experience. We just wanted to be sure we did it right, and the sea was a calm sea state, like today, so it wasn’t a big heroic adventure. But it was ... well, you never know, you get it done and that was the first real close experience like that. I had a couple of ground loops in training, did in a wing or two on these planes.
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Great respect for the submarine service. It was terrifying. In the plane, you’re controlling – to a degree you control your own destiny. Sitting in a submarine – they put us up in the wardroom and said, “You guys stay here” – two other pilots were on the submarine when we were depthcharged and all that. We got bombed by a Nell bomber, we got depthcharged by God knows what, and it was scary, I was scared. It shook … and this wardroom guy, not a particularly well-educated fellow, said, “I like that.” I said, “What do you like about it?” [He said,] “That means they won’t come any closer, when they get in that close, they won’t come any closer.” Wham! Another one came in. It was just unbelievable. You were confined, you couldn’t move, but overall, I have great respect for the service. Our skipper, [Capt. Robert R.] Williams, on that submarine, got decorated big time – pretty high decoration, Silver Star or something like that – for sinking Japanese tonnage when I was on there, and he let me come look through the periscope to see the Japanese ships that [we] were about to launch a torpedo at. It was very exciting, and it was a very disciplined crew. They became great friends. We all met ashore when we [got to Pearl Harbor.] They let me off at Midway, and I flew back, then hitchhiked down to Pearl Harbor to a rest home, and then I caught up with the submarine crew when the submarine came in. I went down, and we knew it was coming into port, and then we went out, all those good old boys and a couple of the air guys. How do you think your experiences during the war affected the moments in your presidency when you had to send young Americans into battle? Well, I think it made me more sensitive to the awesome responsibility. I mean, sending somebody’s kid to war is the toughest decision that a president makes by far, and only he can do it; there’s nobody to blame, you can’t do it by committee. The ultimate responsibility is your own. So it felt, I never felt kind of dramatic about it, but I knew that that was the way it worked and yet you had to proceed anyway. We sent troops down to Panama, we sent troops of course for Desert Storm, and [with] all of those, the buck stopped there and properly so. I always felt it was less bad because I had very good people whose advice I listened to, but they couldn’t pull the trigger, they couldn’t make the decision. I knew when we went to war in the Gulf that very sensible men and women felt that we should go ahead and that this was the thing to do. That was very reassuring. Congress didn’t. We had to fight and battle Congress on Desert Storm. They made it a partisan political vote if you can believe that. I think that the vote was 53-47, or something like that, and we managed to peel off a handful of Democratic votes. But the leader, George Mitchell, made it a partisan vote. Even good defense people like Sam Nunn voted against giving the president the authority granted him under the U.N. resolution. So that made it more difficult, but we did it right, got the United Nations resolutions. I had confidence in the military and that confidence was properly placed. You’ve got to remember back in that time, after the Vietnam experience, people were thinking, “Well, the damn military can’t do anything right.” Well, sure enough we set the record straight on that. Someday, fairly soon, it’s not unlikely that there will be young men and women launched into battle from the carrier that bears your name. What would you want to tell them? Do your duty, serve with honor, and have confidence in the greatest country in the world. It might be that that would happen, no question,
but they should also know that the U.S. Navy will do everything in its power to find them and keep them safe. That was reassuring to me when I was floating down under a parachute. Having parachuted into the sea, I knew that. I’m not sure if I knew I was going to be safe, but I knew that if it was in their power, the Navy would do what it could to save my little 19-year-old, 20-year-old life. I think that kids flying today have got to know that that’s the way the Navy works and they’ll go the extra mile to support an individual – not just pilots, that’s the crewmen or whoever else it is. It was a wonderful thing that the Finback happened to be pretty close by. Very. And I didn’t know whether it was or not. I just sent out a coded message that we were in trouble. We knew there was a rescue sub in the area; we didn’t know what the name of it was; I didn’t know if it was the only one in the general area. I knew there was a submarine diverted from its war patrol that would be on rescue duty. And lo and behold there they were. Thank God. It wasn’t that long ago that there was a story in Naval History magazine, with a picture of you on the cover, and the headline on the magazine read something like, “Why Me, Why Did I Survive?” I wonder, after all you’ve accomplished in your life, do you still ask that question? Yeah. I still wonder because these two kids were killed with me. I’ve still, you know, gotten on with my life, but I have certainly food for thought there. Well, you hit your head on the way out of the aircraft; you might have been a casualty as well. Yeah, I hit it on the horizontal stabilizer going out. I’m not too proud of that because I pulled the rip cord too early going out of the plane, forgot to unhook the radio lead, and I finally got that unhooked. Though you were supposed to dive out of the plane, I did on the starboard side, but I guess I was scared. I pulled the rip cord early and hit my head a glancing blow on the tail, and the chute temporarily got hung up on the tail; it must have, because I looked up as I was floating down, three or four of the panels were ripped out, and the chute was accelerating faster than it should to float me gently down to sea. It was a close call. That was my own fault. I didn’t do that right. How do you feel about the Navy League’s role in the commissioning and in its initiatives for the Navy at large? The Navy League of the United States, and specifically the Hampton Roads Council, has been instrumental in bringing this ship into the fleet. They have held true to their core mission. The Hampton Roads Council has tremendous experience in working closely with the Navy on many initiatives that include commissionings. The commissioning team will have provided many upgrades that will improve life aboard the carrier when it deploys. All of this is done with private funding. They recognize the importance and the magnitude of placing a highly skilled crew together to man the Navy’s most advanced warship. I am honored that they have continued this outstanding support for CVN 77.
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12/15/08 4:11:00 PM
Interview: Dorothy Bush Koch, Ship’s Sponsor By Charles Oldham
orothy Bush Koch, known as Doro, is a Houston, Texas, native who currently lives in Bethesda, Md. She is the daughter of President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush and is married to Robert “Bobby” Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. The Koches have four children – 12-year-old Gigi, 15-year-old Robert, 22-year-old Ellie, and 24-year-old Sam. Koch earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. She is involved in various community activities. She serves on the board for the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., where she formerly worked in the development office. The hospital specializes in treating people with physical disabilities caused by spinal cord and head injuries, stroke, arthritis, amputation, multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome, and other neurological and orthopedic conditions. Koch also has an interest in education and serves on the board for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The foundation’s mission is to establish literacy as a value in America by helping every family in the nation understand that the home is the child’s first school, that the parent is the child’s first teacher, and that reading is the child’s first subject. The foundation supports the development of family literacy programs where parents and children can learn and read together. Koch is the founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy Maryland Initiative, which raises money to support family literacy programs all over the state of Maryland. Koch is the author of My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George H.W. Bush, published by Time Warner Books.
Courtesy of Dorothy Bush Koch
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Freedom at Work: How did you come to be the ship’s sponsor? Doro Bush Koch: Well, my dad asked me to be the ship’s sponsor. It’s traditionally a woman, I am my dad’s only daughter, so he asked me to do it. What does being a sponsor entail? What sort of things have you been doing? It entails generally having a relationship with the ship and its crew. I was at the laying of the keel, where I made some remarks, and I was at the christening of the ship. I recently sent a letter to the crew, and have given them an e-mail address so that we can correspond, before the commissioning and after the commissioning, so that I can be in touch with them and know what life is like on the George H.W. Bush. So far, that’s what my responsibilities have been and it has been a lot of fun. Also, I am working on getting books donated to the library/chapel on the ship from authors I have worked with through the Barbara Bush Foundation. I plan to bring “A Celebration of Reading” to the ship. The Celebration is what we do at the Barbara Bush Foundation. It’s our fundraiser where we raise money for family literacy programs. We have best-selling authors do readings and we give out their books. On the ship, it would simply be for the crew – not a fundraiser. But it would promote the importance of literacy. The ship’s crew already volunteer in a local school reading and mentoring, and United Through Reading is working with the ship on a program where parents will be able to read books to their children on video and send them home. My hope is that the George H.W. Bush will be an “Ambassador of Literacy” throughout the world. What do you feel like you have learned about the Navy and sailors in your experience so far? First, I am just amazed at how the Navy, along with Northrop Grumman, can build an enormous city on water. It’s incredible to have seen a ship progress through the different stages; the enormity of the task of putting this thing together. It’s been interesting to watch the captain put together the crew and how it has grown over time. The military does everything so precisely and so beautifully. I have also enjoyed seeing how the military has honored my dad. This is a huge deal for him, to be alive and to see a ship named for him, and he himself is a proud Navy man and was commander in chief and commander of all the armed services. So those have been impressive things. I mentioned that to your father as well. Carriers have been named after presidents before. But in this case, not only, as you said, was your father commander in chief, but he is a former naval aviator, and I would imagine that means a lot to him.
It does. It really does. He spent some time on an aircraft carrier, a very different kind of aircraft carrier than the ones being built today, but it just means the world to him. He thinks about it. We talk about it a lot and he is really excited about it. I imagine that the contrasts are pretty strong, as you said, between the carrier he served aboard and the one that is being built now. Yes. I mean, from the length of the flight deck to the capabilities, just the little things that you don’t think of on a regular basis like the cable – how many miles and miles of cable line there are, or all the details of an aircraft carrier today are just so mind-boggling really. I was struck in reading your book, My Father, My President, by what people who would have been, I guess, your father’s political enemies said about him. It seems that despite their differences, they all show tremendous respect and even affection for him. Why do you think that is? My dad is a person who has more friends than anybody I know because he tends to look at the positive side of people. I mean, he just has a great way with people. He is very charismatic and genuinely likes people no matter who they are. His friendship with Bill Clinton is a case in point. They are two diametrically opposite people [laughs] and they are good friends. I never thought that I would see the day that Bill Clinton would come and spend time at our home in Kennebunkport, Maine. It wasn’t any different when he was in public service; he worked closely with people on the other side of the isle. He was genuinely friendly with Tip O’Neill and people like that. He and Geraldine Ferraro just appeared together on a news show because of the difficulty of male/female debating [in reference to the Sarah Palin/Joseph Biden vice presidential debate]. She had nothing but incredibly nice things to say about him, because my dad is a gentleman; he is a kind person; he is a people person; he loves people. In your book, you document your father’s feelings about sending young men and women into battle, considering his own experience of war. It must have been very difficult for him to commence Operations Just Cause and Desert Storm as a president when he knew, as a young man, realistically what the cost might be. That’s true. He always said that the hardest decision he had to make as president was that one, and he knew, as a very young man – he was 18 when he enlisted – what it was like to be very scared and to leave your family, and so he knew firsthand what a decision like that would mean, and it was a tough call to make.
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“There are still people out there who want to serve their country and who believe that this kind of service is noble and good. I really admire our military today. I think they are an incredible bunch of people and we should honor them more.” In meeting the young men and women who are going to be aboard this ship, do you think that the spirit and patriotism that motivated your father to join the Navy more than 60 years ago still survives today? I think so, from some of the e-mails that I have received already from different crewmembers. They tell me why they enlisted and how excited they are to be on the George H.W. Bush, and I have to believe that it has to be similar. There are still people out there who want to serve their country and who believe that this kind of service is noble and good. I really admire our military today. I think they are an incredible bunch of people and we should honor them more. When sailors go aboard this ship, they will, at least, know the high points of the biography of the person for whom their ship is named, but what would you want them to know about your father that is not in that standard biography? I would want them to know that he cares about each and every one of them, that he appreciates their service; that he knows the importance of family, and how difficult it is to leave your family, and how important it is to care for their family while they are away. I hope to be a part of some of that and be involved in some of the programs that are part of this whole endeavor. I would want people to know that he was a guy who was proud to be a public servant, who really cared about his country just as they do. When you mentioned that you wanted to stay involved with the ship and its crew, is that a standard thing for a ship’s sponsor? No! It really is not. When I thought of the e-mail idea, no sponsor has ever done anything like that, so I was excited that that was one thing I could do. There is a society of sponsors and I think it can be ceremonial, but I think you can be creative and do more with it, which is what I hope to do. And the e-mails that I have received I sent to my dad, and we both answered them. So I think that is kind of a fun way to stay in touch, and hear what is going on, and people’s concerns. So, after the commissioning, I am hoping that there will be more things that I can do. I hope to go visit. I think that would be amazing. I am going to keep on thinking of ways, but I am just so honored that my dad
asked me that I hope to make the most of whatever this role can be. I was going to say that it seems to me the sort of thing your father would do. Yes. He is excited about it and I hope that the crew will know what this means to him. Because, you might think the president is famous, he gets things named for him all the time, but this is really special to him. Again, it seems that this is a situation where there is this connection of sailors being able to understand or maybe feel more of a connection with someone who has gone through the same things that they are going through. Not just the aspect of going into battle but the fatigue, the long work hours, the danger of working aboard an aircraft carrier, not just for the air crew but for the young men and women who work on the flight deck or down in engineering. I would hope that they would feel even more of a connection with your father because of that, in contrast to serving aboard a ship that has been named after the first president of the United States or the 16th. I think so. I think the fact that Dad is around and showing up for all these preliminary events that happen before the ship goes to sea, that kind of thing, [builds] that personal relationship going on with their namesake. That really makes for a strong connection to what they are doing on that ship, I think. He will probably go visit the ship when it’s out somewhere when he can. I’d imagine that it would be an amazing thing to go back and stand aboard the ship that has been named for you and watch young men and women doing what you did so many years ago. I think that’s very true. Is there anything else that you would like to add? I am just so touched and honored to be part of it and I really look forward to all the different ways I can participate in the life of the ship.
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12/15/08 5:18:04 PM
Doro Bush Koch
Ship Sponsor salutes her mother & Americaâ€™s First Lady of Literacy
Barbara Bush on the 20th anniversary of the
Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
he mission of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has not changed from
the very first day my mother opened its doors. Although much progress has been made, Americaâ€™s literacy challenges are still great. The Barbara Bush Foundation will continue to work to make literacy a value in every family, and to support programs in which parents and children learn and read together.
hanks to my mother and the generous support from so many, thousands of parents
and children who were without the most basic literacy skills can now read, write and comprehend.
Inspired by her mother, Doro Bush Koch founded the Maryland Initiative of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, along with her sister-in-law, Tricia Reilly Koch in 2003. The Maryland Initiative will hold its 6th annual Celebration of Reading on May 11, 2009. For more information, call 800-222-5652, or go to www.barbarabushfoundation.com.
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12/2/08 10:32:38 AM
Interview: Capt. Louis P. “Lou” Lalli, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Commissioning Chairman and President, Navy League of the United States, Hampton Roads Council By John D. Gresham
or those fortunate enough to attend the commissioning of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), the day will be a ceremony and spectacle unlikely to be seen again. A father and son, one a former president and the other the sitting chief executive, will be in attendance, speaking to a crowd of more than 25,000. What few of those present will know, however, is that while the U.S. Navy will be an active participant, a nonprofit civilian group will be making the event possible: the Navy League of the United States. Leading this event will be the commissioning chairman, Capt. Louis P. “Lou” Lalli, U.S. Navy (Ret.), president of the Hampton Roads Council of the Navy League. Lalli, whose day job is that of director of operations for Boeing for Naval and Joint Commands, is a native of Philadelphia, Pa. He entered the Navy in 1968 and began his Navy career as the events coordinator and interim announcer for the Blue Angels flight demonstration team. Lalli spent most of his 27-year career as a naval aviator, with more than 4,500 flight hours and 1,000 arrested landings in A-6 Intruders and F-4 Phantom IIs. The Navy League’s Hampton Roads Council has sponsored 21 commissionings, and many months of work go into each one. But the Navy League doesn’t just do commissionings; it provides many services and programs for Navy personnel and their families such as ship enhancements, and Lalli takes pride not only in the work he and his Hampton Roads Council team have done to make the entire process of commissioning USS George H.W. Bush run smoothly, but in the many things the Navy League Hampton Roads Council does for the Navy every day.
Photo courtesy of Navy League
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Freedom at Work: How did you start out with the Navy League? Lou Lalli: One thing we were encouraged to do at Boeing is to become active in the communities in which we live and work, especially contributing to the community via nonprofit organizations. So, I became a member of the Association of Naval Aviation [ANA], and then I joined the local Navy League council. As an active member of the service, you’re not allowed to join the Navy League because of its activities in the legislative arena. I then worked my way up, starting on the board of directors and on the executive board and was elected three years ago to be the organization’s president. As the commissioning chairman for USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), what is your perspective on the naming of this carrier, and how significant is it? I wouldn’t want to marginalize in any way that he was the 41st president and our commander in chief, but he is the first naval aviator who has had an aircraft carrier named after him. He was also a carrier pilot during World War II, who was recognized for his heroism with a Distinguished Flying Cross as a result of his actions during the bombing of the island of Chichi Jima in 1944. As a former president and commander in chief, it obviously makes him much more eligible, but if ever there was a carrier named after someone, I couldn’t think of a better former naval aviator and person than George H.W. Bush. As commissioning committee chairman, what role have you and the Navy League Hampton Roads Council played in this commissioning of George H.W. Bush thus far? We basically serve as the nucleus of the committee. There are honorary chairmen, three sons of the former President Bush: Neil, Jeb, and Marvin; and a list of luminaries such as former Vice President Dan Quayle and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who are honorary members. Our major task is to raise funds to provide shipboard enhancements for the crew of CVN 77, as well as all the major events associated with the commissioning. These include the Sponsor’s Luncheon, the Honorary Reception, Precommissioning Breakfast, the reception before the Crew’s Reception, and the Cruise Reception. I’m happy to say we just secured comedian and host of The Tonight Show Jay Leno to perform at the reception. All the ship enhancements and the events cannot be supported by public funds – they are funded by private donations that have been collected by the finance committee. The lion’s share of the donations we’ve received have come from the Honorable Jim Cicconi, the deputy chief of staff of the White House under the president, and his deputy chairman, Mr. David Jones, from Houston, Texas. We also have received significant donations from
the defense sector, but also many other people from all over the U.S. who want to get involved and support the military. All our committee members are volunteers led by our executive director, Maryellen Baldwin. When you think about all the subcommittees and arrangements and logistics associated with the commissioning events – 25,000 people or more attend all the commissioning ceremonies – you can imagine all the scheduling and logistics involved. Especially those related to the ship enhancements and coordination with the Navy to be sure that all the ethics rules, regulations, and laws are followed and everything is done in the manner of form befitting a former president and the major ship in the line of U.S. Navy. What makes this commissioning different from others that you’ve been involved with? It’s an absolute privilege and honor. To have a former, living, and very active president and commander in chief who was also a World War II naval aviation combat hero and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross to be there from every aspect of the ship’s evolution has been amazing. He’s attended most of the events associated with the ship from the naming and keel laying ceremonies, to the day when he and Capt. Kevin O’Flaherty placed their naval aviator wings down onto the deck and the 700-ton island structure was lowered over those wings. He also came down and served as the catapult officer – he actually gave the signal when Newport News Shipbuilding [part of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding], did the first deadweight catapult shots last January. President George W. Bush has reportedly made the comment that “… this ship has given my father extra years of life.” What are your thoughts on that? I believe that. He’s [George H.W. Bush] looking forward to going on the first fleet trials of the ship, so he can watch the crew start to mature, and the ship turn into 90,000 tons of diplomacy. What are “ship enhancements,” and how do they add value to the life of the crew? Also, how do you manage the funding and installations of these with all of the U.S. Navy bureaucracy involved? It’s a challenge, but an awful lot of fun. This is a capital warship built and provided to the U.S. Department of Defense under a contract with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding with stringent government-defined specifications. It has most of the modern conveniences that you would associate with a very large ship, and is a modern city afloat. It’s very comfortable, a hospitable environment to live in when a crew of almost 6,000 is embarked. However, public monies cannot be used to provide the quality-of-life enhancements that help to make life a little nicer and easier. That is where the Navy League comes in.
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“I feel the same way that most of my team feels: it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.” There are all different types of enhancements, such as improvements that are made to the ship’s library and chapel. One of our major sponsors, who is selling an estate, is about to donate his entire collection of books to the ship in addition to a generous donation of funds – we receive a lot of donations of that kind. We’re also going to upgrade and provide more equipment to the gym, the ship’s media center’s capabilities will be improved, there will be computers provided for a shipboard Learning Center and all kinds of learning technology added. The local ANA squadron here at Hampton Roads is providing a larger-than-life-size bronze statue of the former president as a 20-year-old naval aviator on the ceremonial quarterdeck, looking as though he’s heading to climb into an aircraft ready to fly a mission. It is so lifelike! The Tribute Room will highlight the amazing major global accomplishments of this man, this president, this commander in chief, this citizen of the 20th and 21st centuries, a “tail-hooker,” a World War II hero, a U.S. congressman, a U.N. ambassador, and an envoy to China. To make this all happen, we work with the commanding officer of the Pre-commissioning Unit [in this case Capt. O’Flaherty of Bush] and the Navy’s Judges’ Advocate General Office to be sure we are in complete legal compliance with all laws and statutes. What does it mean to you personally to be the commissioning chairman for USS George H.W. Bush? I feel the same way that most of my team feels: It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve had the opportunity to work personally with former President Bush, Mrs. Bush, members of his family, his Cabinet members, and other members of his former administration. We’ve worked with the Bush Library at Texas A&M University and members of his current staff. Many years ago, a teacher told me, it’s nice to be important, but that it’s more important to be nice. George H.W. Bush epitomizes that statement. He’s kind; he’s caring. When you talk with him about this new warship, you have his undivided attention and he is conveying to you how he feels about one of the most important things in his life – all this to little old me, a retired Navy captain, being treated like someone special. I’ve been to Kennebunkport [Maine]; they invited me to go to lunch with them at College Station, they brought me into his home and office. You’re in awe that you’re there with a former leader of the free world, but he personally never has that air. He just exudes being “normal,” and sometimes it is hard to explain. You can see his eyes light up when you talk about politics, golf, family, and friends, because he’s totally
dedicated to all of them. The whole family and staff exude the same type of feeling because of having the opportunity and privilege of being around him. Can you tell us about the Navy League’s roles and mission? In 1902, the Navy League was formed at the encouragement of former President Theodore Roosevelt. Our mission is to foster and maintain an interest in a strong sea service – the Coast Guard, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and Merchant Marine – as integral parts of a sound national defense that’s vital to the freedom of the United States. We also want to inform and educate the American people in the role of sea power in the nuclear age, and the overall role of defenses in the dangerous age in which we live. Navy League also wants to improve the understanding and appreciation for the individuals who wear the uniform of our four sea services, and promote better understanding of the conditions under which they serve. We want to also provide support to the Reserve forces in our local communities, and see them grow. We also sponsor and are also active in the Naval Sea Cadet Program to educate and train our youth about the four sea services. We want to become strong advocates for those in uniform and support the policies of sea services. What other sorts of things, other commissionings, does the Navy League do?
We’re involved in legislative affairs in support of the sea services, support, and work with many nonprofit organizations on the local and national level, and publish our magazine, SEAPOWER. In the local Hampton Roads area, we are involved in numerous community awards and recognition programs for many of the local sea service commands. We sponsor workshops for spouses and dependents, along with occupying many spots on various boards of directors. Finally, we sponsor continuing efforts like Operation Homecoming and the Wounded Warrior program, the U.S. Fleet Forces Command Sailor of the Year program, and many sea service-related scholarship funds. Who is allowed membership in the Navy League and how do they join? Any citizen of the United States who is interested in the sea services can join. The only exceptions are activeduty military personnel who cannot participate because of our involvement in legislative activities. You can apply right online, quickly and easily, at http://www.navyleague.org.
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An Interview with Mike Petters, President, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding By John D. Gresham
Courtesy of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding
Corporate Vice President of Northrop Grumman and President of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Mike Petters.
espite public perceptions otherwise, there are still some leaders of American businesses who make a living by running companies that build real things and deliver them to customers. Despite the growth of the service and information economies here in the United States, there are a few places where heavy industry still flourishes. One of those is military shipbuilding, which remains a bastion for skilled workers like welders, pipe fitters, and electricians. But 21st century shipbuilding also is a place for environmental engineers, computer technicians, and other postindustrial tradesmen. This melding of the old and the new is key to making the shipbuilding business work in this day and age, and the corporate leaders who can do it are a rare breed. One of these leaders is Mike Petters, corporate vice president of Northrop Grumman and the president of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB), the melding of three great 20th century shipbuilders into the largest such concern in the world today. Created in 2008 by Northrop Grumman Corporation through the acquisition of Newport News Shipbuilding, Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding, and Avondale Shipbuilding, NGSB builds a greater variety and number of warships for the U.S. Navy than any other company in America. And when the Northrop Grumman board of directors decided who it wanted to lead this massive new industrial concern, it chose Petters, who was already running the massive shipyard at Newport News in the Virginia Tidewater region. Petters is a native of Florida, where he grew up as one of six children in a farming family. It was there he learned the value of national service, and something of the importance of producing things people really need.
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Freedom at Work: Please tell us a bit about your origins and how you became so involved with the sea, the military, and shipbuilding. Mike Petters: I was born in Florida in an orange grove community north of Tampa, so I’m a native Floridian. There aren’t many folks who are thirdgeneration Floridians, particularly these days. Dad had orange groves and cattle. Days were full; nothing like growing up on a farm! My dad had a view that everybody that was born in this country was pretty darn lucky to be here and you owed something back to the country. There were six of us; I’m the oldest and all six of us went to college on
– I learned an awful lot that day. I went into the nuclear submarine force, went through all the training pipelines, and served on a ballistic missile submarine that was going in and out of Kings Bay, Ga. It was a great place to be from and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Navy. That said, beyond the basics of how these ships operate and beyond gaining the technical background, what I really gained was an appreciation for in the Navy was how much of a full-contact sport leadership is. When you are on a ship with a hundred other folks, everyone is counting on everyone else to make sure the ship stays submerged and stays safe. You very quickly learn how to do “deckplate” leadership. I would venture to say in my observations over my years in corporate America
“I think that the Navy is a forging place for developing your sets of leadership principles for how you want to create teams and accomplish things.” Uncle Sam. I managed to go to the Naval Academy; I have another brother who was a helicopter pilot; I have three brothers who went into the Air Force; one of them is still in the Air Force today, and he is in a place called Kabul, Afghanistan. I have a sister who is in the Army who has been in every combat zone the U.S. has been involved with in the last 15 years. She is a colonel serving in Hawaii right now, getting ready for her next duty station. You came from a very service-oriented family? Dad was in the National Guard, but he was a farmer, no question about it. He was a guy who could walk into an orange grove, look at a leaf and tell you what a tree needed – but one weekend in the month and two weeks out of the year, he was an officer in the National Guard and he would do his drill. Artillery was his specialty, but he did infantry, and even later in his career, he was involved in the setup of a M.A.S.H. [Mobile Army Surgical Hospital] unit. At the time of his retirement, he was the highest-ranking officer in the Florida National Guard Bureau without a college degree. You went to the U.S. Naval Academy, trained as a nuclear-propulsion engineer, and served aboard submarines. Can you tell us how that affected your approach to your civilian job, which has been building, maintaining, and operating warships? I went to the Naval Academy to go into nuclear propulsion – I was a physics major there. I had an opportunity to interview with Adm. [Hyman] Rickover twice in just one day, and it was a learning experience
that the folks who get that kind of experience when they are 22 to 25 years old have a pocketful of experience that our senior corporate executives never, ever get a chance to see. I think that the Navy is a forging place for developing your sets of leadership principles for how you want to create teams and accomplish things. You came out of the Navy, joined Newport News Shipbuilding – the old name – and you started working on the Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine construction program there. What did you bring from the deckplates that made you good at building submarines in the late 1980s? I’m not sure that I, or anyone else, would ever say that I was terribly good at building ships. That said, I’ve had the opportunity to lead some very good folks who taught me a lot about the way ships get built. When I came to the shipyard, I had spent an entire year of my life underwater. I was 27 years old, and had spent one of those years submerged. Not once during that underwater time did I ever think about the quality of a weld, the spacing of a frame, or that a pipe didn’t fit. It never occurred to me as an operator that I should be worried about such things. In the five years that I served [aboard] submarines, I never had to deal with that kind of an issue because of the quality of the construction. So when I came to the shipyard, I had my eyes opened as to how much effort, work, and attention, and all that is done the right way, so the operators don’t have to think about it. That was [a] very eye-opening experience for me. I loved being in the Los Angeles-class program; frankly, we could see [USS] Seawolf [SSN 21] program on the horizon and I knew that someone I had gone to
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school with would have command of one of the ships that had my fingerprints on it. That was motivation to be sure we got it right. In fact, my roommate at nuclear prototype school, who was a groomsman in my
up one morning and say, “I will be really good at this.” There are great advantages of having absorbed it over a lifetime. Sometimes, starting that absorption when you are young gives you an advantage. I was driving tractors
“I knew when I walked in the door at Newport News that my Navy friends would take these ships into harm’s way and we needed to make sure they had everything they needed.” wedding, was the second commanding officer of the Seawolf. I knew when I walked in the door at Newport News that my Navy friends would take these ships into harm’s way and we needed to make sure they had everything they needed. At age 48, you’re one of the youngest presidents of a major manufacturing concern in America. What’s your vision for it as a part of Northrop Grumman? As far as being young, there are days when I age a lot more quickly! I have spent 20 years in Virginia at Newport News Shipbuilding and now NGSB. I know people throughout the shipyard; I know the shipbuilders – I’ve gone back and forth through the gates with them every day. They are noble Americans and I’m awfully proud to have the opportunity to associate with them. Building ships is hard work. It’s hot work in the summertime and cold work in the winter. These folks, for five generations here at Newport News, have been going back and forth in the shipyard building the ships that America’s Navy needs. I’m pretty proud to say that I put “shipbuilder” on my tax returns. In January of 2008, I was given the chance to take over responsibility also for the shipyards on the Gulf Coast. We also have a facility in Gulf Port, Miss., and a small operation in San Diego [Calif.] at Continental Maritime that does repair. Basically, Northrop Grumman has put shipbuilding all under one roof, and the charge from the board was, “Go figure out how to make shipbuilding as efficient and effective as you possibly can.” All of these operations have been independent for generations, so now we need to ask, “What does it mean to have an integrated operation that is the largest non-governmental employer in three different states?” What value is there in having that community and family involvement in this large business concern that you’re trying to form out of these five business units? There are lots of examples of children going into the same business as their parents. I don’t think you can wake
for my father when I was 10 years old. I would probably be growing oranges today if my dad hadn’t been so adamant about me joining the service. Would you like your kids to work at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding? In fact, my daughter did work in the Newport News shipyard one summer and she does work for Northrop Grumman today in another part of the corporation. We tell our leaders that part of their job is to make this a place that we all would like our kids to work. You are dealing with legacy industrial operations that are building some of the most advanced and complex weapons systems in the world today. Can you please tell us about your business approach and how you reconcile those two realities in the real-world situation of building warships? I fundamentally believe, at the end of the day, somebody, somewhere has to be making something. You can’t just be doing services for everybody. If we’re all doing services for each other, that rat race will come to a grinding halt. For me, watching manufacturing move offshore has been very troubling. Now I’m watching people start to figure out that we ought to bring manufacturing back, and they’re starting to realize that the fact that making things means the start-up costs are going to be much more than they ever thought. They moved offshore only because transportation costs were lower than wage costs and now that is reversed, so we’re looking at bringing it back in. I think that’s very shortsighted and it plays to some of the “quarter-by-quarter” myopia we have in this country. I do think that the advantage and luxury I have as a shipbuilder is that my business is not quarter-by-quarter; it’s measured in years. At the Newport News facility, we just signed a contract for a new class of aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford [CVN 78], the first one [of] which we’ll deliver in 2015. I concede that there are not many businesses out there that can draw their business profile in 2015 with any kind of accuracy, the way we can at Newport News, so that allows me to be a
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“We have the rare opportunity to see the products that we build show up on the news often, doing presence missions, tsunami relief or evacuations, or whatever the nation needs done; we get there first and do it best.” lot more strategic in my approaches to solving various kinds of problems. Regarding integration, if you looked at these three shipyards, we’re trying to integrate from a facility and technology perspective. We can compare them as if they were three banks. Somewhere in the first 24 months following a merger, you’d take on a large restructuring charge to get everyone on the same software, get everyone to same forms and payroll system, and you’d have one bank name. I can’t do that. It would completely disrupt the work I have in process today. I need to look at where do I want the operations to be in 2020? What kind of capital investments do I need to be making so I can achieve it? I have the luxury of a strategic horizon that is substantially different than many people can afford. On the other hand, other people have to make themselves take long-term, strategic perspectives. Northrop Grumman Newport News has had a unique community relationship with the surrounding area, your workforce, your vendors, and the surrounding merchants: What value do you place on that kind of a relationship, both looking back and looking forward? I’m a big believer in community involvement by the corporations. Businesses have a responsibility to get themselves involved at the level of their success in business. I have a workforce of 40,000 people; we have jobs for them, but they need to have a community full of the kind of things that are important: Good schools, good places to live, good community activities, things that impact the effect of the job they’re doing. All of our facilities believe this: Most of the institutions of the communities we’re in were either founded by or run by shipbuilders. That becomes very important when things are going well, but is also important when things aren’t going well – when there may be a downturn in the local economy, or a downturn in the shipbuilding business. If you’re working together when things are going well, it’s a lot easier to work together when things aren’t going so well. You are fitting out the 10th and last ship of one of the most amazing classes of warships in history, the Nimitz-class (CVN 68) nuclear aircraft carriers. Can you tell us something about that legacy from your point of view?
How about I tell you a little story? At one point in my career, I was responsible for the aircraft carrier program back in March 1996, when President [Bill] Clinton allowed the president of Taiwan to visit the U.S., and the mainland Chinese did a series of ballistic missile exercises to threaten Taiwan. In response, the USS Nimitz sailed on nuclear power from the Indian Ocean towards the Straits of Taiwan at high speed. Suddenly, USS Nimitz is sitting between Taiwan and mainland China. My wife’s cousin was on board the Nimitz at the time, so we paid attention to it over that weekend. So I went into my morning meeting on Monday, with my team of general foremen, [and] I asked, “How many of you actually worked on the Nimitz? Probably two-thirds to three-quarters of their hands went up. Then I asked, “Do any of you know how many lives the Nimitz saved this weekend?” Then I told them the story about what the Nimitz had done over the previous days. I can tell you that they all walked out with a little more lift in their step to go out and work on USS Harry S. Truman [CVN 75]. We have the rare opportunity to see the products that we build show up on the news often, doing presence missions, tsunami relief or evacuations, or whatever the nation needs done; we get there first and do it best. That is something our workforce is exceptionally proud of, and is something we will absolutely endeavor to always make sure we live by. You’re getting ready to come to the end of this program, and getting ready to start work on USS Gerald Ford (CVN 78). What are you, the Navy League, and the community doing to commemorate not only the last ship of this class but the name that goes on it as well? It’s not often, in fact it’s rare, that you have the opportunity to interact with the namesake of the ship. However, former President George H.W. Bush, the namesake, has had the opportunity to be in the shipyard on several occasions to assist us, be with the shipbuilders and assist us with the evolutions that are going on. He comes for the main commemorative events, but he came last January, just after back surgery, and he was launching the deadweights off the catapults. To give our shipbuilders the chance to interact with someone like that is good for everybody. We’re pulling out the stops on this ship to hit our commissioning. We think that it’s going to be a tremendous event, maybe not be seen before and probably ever again.
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commanding officer USS George H.W. Bush
Capt. Kevin E. O’Flaherty Commanding Officer C
Adapted from PCU George H.W. Bush Web site materials
U.S. Navy photo
apt. Kevin E. O’Flaherty hails from Los Angeles, Calif., and was commissioned through the U.S. Naval Academy in May 1981. He was designated a naval aviator in April 1983 and completed a tour as SERGRAD instructor in VT-23, flying the T-2 Buckeye. After completing training in the A-6E Intruder in November 1985, O’Flaherty served in two A-6E Intruder squadrons, including tours with the Eagles of VA-115, and a department head tour with the Milestones of VA-196. He transitioned to the FA-18 Hornet in 1996 and served as the executive officer and subsequently the commanding officer of the VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes from June 1997 to December 1999. Subsequent sea tours include a tour as the executive officer of USS Abraham Lincoln and commanding officer of USS Juneau. He participated in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Ashore, O’Flaherty served on the staff of the Naval Strike Warfare Center in Fallon, Nev., as a tactics and air wing training instructor. He also attended the Air Force Air Command and Staff College, graduating with distinction, additionally earning a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Alabama. He subsequently served on the staff of headquarters of U.S. Air Forces in Europe as Navy Liaison and joint exercises planner. He completed Navy Nuclear Power training in May 2001. He reported to commander, Naval Air Forces Carrier Requirements in March 2005. He reported to his current duty as commanding officer, Precommissioning Unit George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in July 2006. During his career, O’Flaherty has accumulated more than 4,000 flight hours and 600 carrier-arrested landings. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, and various campaign, unit, and service awards.
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Executive officer USS George H.W. Bush
Capt. S. Robert Roth Executive Officer
U.S. Navy photo
apt. S. Robert Roth was born in Summit, N.J. After graduating from West Morris Mendham High School, Mendham, N.J., in 1977, he attended Lafayette College, receiving a baccalaureate degree in civil engineering in 1981. He later earned a master’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1999. In 1986, he was commissioned an ensign from Aviation Officer Candidate School, Pensacola, Fla. After earning his wings, he served as a flight instructor with VT-25 for two years in Beeville, Texas. He completed his FA-18 Hornet Initial Training at VMFAT-101, Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Calif. His first sea duty was with the “Privateers” of VFA-132 as the assistant operations officer and aircraft division officer. In 1992, he joined the “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87 and served as the NATOPS officer and quality assurance officer. Roth completed deployments on USS Forrestal (CV 59) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). From 1994-1997, Roth attended U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and received a follow-on assignment as an ordnance test pilot at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. In 1997, Roth transferred to the “Knighthawks” of VFA-136, where he performed department head duties in administration, maintenance, and operations. Roth then attended the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., where he received his second master’s degree, this time in National Security and Strategic Studies, graduating with highest distinction. Roth was assigned to the commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, as flag aide from 1999 to 2000. He then joined the VFA-34 “Blue Blasters” in 2001 and served as executive officer and commanding officer. The squadron deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73). After attending the Joint Forces Staff College, Roth joined U.S. Joint Forces Command and served as an observer trainer, participating in several combatant command exercises and headquarters assistance visits, including Multi-National Force-Iraq and Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, Djibouti. He completed nuclear propulsion training in December 2007 and reported in March 2008 to his current assignment as executive officer, Pre-commissioning Unit George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). Roth has amassed more than 3,500 flight hours and has logged more than 800 carrier arrestments. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Strike Flight Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, and numerous unit and campaign awards.
Adapted from PCU George H.W. Bush Web site materials
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command master chief USS George H.W. Bush
CMDCM(AW/NAC) Jon D. Port Command Master Chief aster Chief Jon D. Port enlisted in the Navy in May 1986. He completed basic training in Orlando, Fla., and served a tour of duty as a non-rate seaman prior to reporting to the Defense Language Institute, Monterey, Calif., for Russian language training in August 1988. He graduated near the top of his 112-member class in September 1989 and was selected to remain for extended intermediate Russian language training, graduating in March 1990. He completed technical training at Naval Technical Training Center Detachment (NTTCD) Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas, and reported for Naval Aircrew Candidate Training in Pensacola, Fla. Upon successful completion of Aircrew Candidate School in September 1990, he reported for Morse code training at NTTC Corry Station prior to reporting to his initial assignment to Naval Security Group Detachment, Brunswick, Maine. During his tour of duty in Brunswick, he accumulated more than 600 combat flight hours in support of Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Provide Hope, and Continue Hope, earning an Individual Action Air Medal for a particular mission flown over Mogadishu, Somalia. In 1994, he reported to the Defense Language Institute for the Advanced Russian Interpreter course prior to duty with the On-site Inspection Agency (now the Defense Threat Reduction Agency) in Washington, D.C. He accumulated an additional 1,500 flight hours aboard the OC-135B Open Skies aircraft as well as 110 flight hours flown aboard a Russian IL-38 ASW aircraft, the first Naval aircrewman to do so. Selected to chief petty officer in 1997, he received orders to serve as the first-ever cryptologic liaison to headquarters, Navy Recruiting Command Headquarters in Arlington, Va., during which he moved with the command to its current location of Millington, Tenn. Upon selection to senior chief petty officer, he attended the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy with orders to the Naval Security Group Activity Kunia. Arriving in April 2001, he assumed duties as the senior enlisted advisor to a multiservice operations department, later serving as the Fleet Support LCPO, which led to his selection to master chief in March 2003. Selected to command master chief during the January 2004 CMC Selection Board, he attended the Capstone Command Master Chief Course at the Senior Enlisted Academy, graduating the two-week course in April 2004. From April 2004 to May 2006, he served as command master chief of AIRLANTâ€™s largest deployable squadron, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM15) in Corpus Christi, Texas. In June 2006, he became the first command master chief for Pre-commissioning Unit George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). Port holds an MBA in management, a bachelorâ€™s in political science, and is a designated Master Linguist. His personal awards include two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal (Individual Action), two Navy Commendation Medals, and four Navy Achievement Medals.
Adapted from PCU George H.W. Bush Web site materials
U.S. Navy photo
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USS George H.W. Bush seal
USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) SEAL E
ach element of the seal is significant for its relevance to the ship’s namesake, naval aviation, naval service, and our great nation. There are six prominent features of the seal, beginning with the 41 white stars. These stars symbolize the ship’s namesake and the nation’s 41st president, the Honorable George H.W. Bush. After taking the executive oath of office, with his hand on the same Bible George Washington used in 1789, Bush inspired the nation to use power to help people. The rays of light that appear on the seal’s horizon represent Bush’s concept of a thousand points of light. He urged Americans to find meaning and reward by serving a purpose higher than themselves, to imbue the timeless ideas of “duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.” The crew of CVN 77 stands ready every day and takes pride in pitching in. The graphic depiction of the aircraft carrier reflects the carrier as both a symbol and instrument of American strength as “a force for good.” Bridging the past, present, and future of naval aviation are the overhead profiles of the TBM Avenger torpedo bomber, the FA-18 Hornet strike fighter, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Avenger was selected for its relevance to Bush’s days as a Navy pilot. The foiled anchors and shields, as seen centered on naval aviators wings, honor the ship’s namesake’s aviation history. The youngest pilot in the Navy when he earned his wings, he later flew an Avenger bomber during World War II. During one combat mission, his aircraft received heavy anti-aircraft fire. Although his plane was afire and severely damaged, he courageously completed his bombing run before heading out to sea, where he bailed out and was rescued by a Navy submarine, USS Finback. Finally, the motto “Freedom at Work” is adapted from Bush’s inaugural speech, during which he said, “We know what works: Freedom works. We know what’s right: Freedom is right.” USS George H.W. Bush and its crew, proud to serve a higher purpose, are the finest examples of Freedom at Work.
Adapted from PCU George H.W. Bush Web site materials
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the navy league of the united states
Getting the Message Out: The Navy League of the United States By John D. Gresham “We believe that the security of our nation and of the people of the world demands a well-balanced, integrated, mobile American defense team, of which a strong Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine are indispensable parts.” Statement of Policy, Navy League of the United States
or more than a century, the Navy League of the United States has been the keeper of a vital truth, which is encapsulated within the Statement of Policy above. It states that the United States is, first and foremost, a maritime nation and power, and always will be to both its benefit and peril. This simple idea, that without free and open sea lanes for trade and transportation America will be at risk and its basic ideals will be threatened, is pretty powerful stuff for a humble nonprofit organization formed in 1902 at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt. However, given the fact that the 20th century is now called “the American Century,” in great part because of our ability to project power across the oceans and keep most threats at arm’s distance, the Navy League’s point has obvious merit. It was with that spirit that the Navy League came into existence in 1902.
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the navy league of the united states
Since that time, Roosevelt’s vision has been proven correct time and time again. As the mood of the nation supporting its sea services has ebbed and flowed, the message of the Navy League has remained as constant as the oceans themselves. Quite simply, the reasons for the League’s existence breaks down this way: • To foster and maintain interest in a strong Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine as integral parts of a sound national defense and vital to the freedom of the United States. • To serve as a means of educating and informing the American people with regard to the role of sea power in the nuclear age and the problems involved in maintaining strong defenses in that age. • To improve the understanding, appreciation, and recognition of those who wear the uniforms of our armed forces and to better the conditions under which they live and serve. • To provide support and recognition for the sea service Reserve forces in our communities in order that we may continue to have a capable and responsive maritime Reserve community. • To educate and train our youth in the customs and traditions of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine through the means of an active and vigorous Naval Sea Cadet Corps. So how does the Navy League manage to foster all the above goals? In a word: communications. Few nonprofit organizations have been so effective over such a long period in getting their ideas and messages out, be it through placement of editorials in the mainstream press, or the huge Sea-Air-Space exposition it holds every year in Washington, D.C. Key to this communications effort is its magazine, SEAPOWER, which can be found monthly in the offices of contractors and members of Congress, as well as on the shelves of libraries and coffee tables of interested citizens. Quite simply, when a particular message about America’s sea services needs to get out to the world, the Navy League can get that message heard loud and in a hurry! Helping the Navy League to spread the message of America’s need for sea power are a number of partners, including corporate members, and associated organizations such as the Association of Naval Aviation. Other nonprofit organizations like Operation Homefront, Military Spouses’ Career Network, and America Supports
You are just a few of the groups that benefit from their association with the Navy League. In addition to its mass media messages, the League also supports long-term educational efforts, like the reading programs of the Chief of Naval Operations, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard. The support of America’s sea services is a neverending campaign for the League, and it makes a point of effectively using all the tools at its disposal. The key to the Navy League’s success is found in its membership, which is organized into a series of regional councils across America. From Los Alamos, N.M., to Hampton Roads in Virginia Tidewater, the Navy League councils are organizing events for speakers, placing stories in local media, recognizing outstanding sea service personnel, and making the mission of the U.S. sea services relevant for Americans, no matter how far they are from an ocean or river. Sometimes that message is simply pointing out how much of the local economy is tied to use of the sea lanes to import or export goods in and out of their area, or how even the smallest landlocked congressional district has a significant contractor/employment contribution from the sea services. Other times, the League is in the midst of a national discussion, as it was in the 1970s and 1980s during the battle for what became President Ronald Reagan’s 600-ship Navy. Whatever the question of the day, count on the Navy League being there to make itself known on behalf of those in the sea services who are not allowed a voice of their own. This last point is vitally important, as active service members are not allowed membership in the Navy League. The Navy League is deeply committed to the fundamental Constitutional principle of civilian control over the military and its operations, while helping give the sea services and its personnel a voice in the national media and discussions about sea power. Therefore, the League walks a fine and delicate line, while always promoting the ideals originally set forth by Roosevelt back in 1902. That said, however, the League has now done so for more than 100 years, and clearly has become a cornerstone of any discussion about national defense and sea power. This respect for the Constitution and propriety is one of the reasons politicians, military leaders, and the captains of American industry have no concerns about speaking and appearing at Navy League events like Sea-Air-Space. Perhaps the most visible promotion of America’s sea services by the Navy League is its program of sponsoring the commissioning of new vessels into the sea services. Federal law, ethics rules, and service regulations heavily limit the sea
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America today is a proud, free nation, decent and civil, a place we cannot help but love. We know in our hearts, not loudly and proudly, but as a simple fact, that this country has meaning beyond what we see, and that our strength is a force for good. —President George H. W. Bush The USS George H.W. Bush, with its 80-plus combat aircraft and 6,000-member crew, weighs anchor to begin its “Freedom at Work” journey, protecting and defending America’s freedom. Named for the forty-first President of the United States, who heroically served our nation as a young naval aviator in World War II, this final and most technologically U. S. Navy photos
advanced nuclear powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will be a “force for good” around the world for the next half century. Stewart & Stevenson is proud of its contribution to this world-class addition to our nation’s naval fleet.
www.stewartandstevenson.com The Department of the Navy and the Navy League did not select or approve this advertiser and do not endorse nor are responsible for the views or statements contained in this advertisement.
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the navy league of the united states
services in what they are allowed to do during the fitting out and commissioning of new vessels, and the Navy League has made it its mission to help out and finish the job the way it should be done. This is because, in the view of the League, commissionings represent a rare chance in this day and age to allow the public a chance to touch the painted metal of a ship’s hull, and interact with the crew in a way simply not available when the vessel is on cruise or operations. Also, like a newborn child, every ship and its crew deserve a great start to build their own legacy, and the League helps make that possible. The Navy League’s contribution to a ship commissioning begins long before the vessel ever goes into the water, working with the shipbuilders and other contractors, the sea services themselves, and local councils to lay out a program for the ship commissioning that will be supportive of the ship and crew, educational for the community, and, most important, legally allowable for all the parties concerned. Often, more than one Navy League council is involved, as in the case of the new nuclear attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779), due to commission in 2009. The New Mexico council is leading the effort, while the Hampton Roads council, near where the vessel is being built at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., is assisting with hosting and coordination. The roles of the Hampton Roads Council provide an insight into what can be done within the commissioning process itself to promote the mission and messages of the League. Hampton Roads is the largest collection of military power in the world today, with everything from Langley Air Force Base and the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command, to the U.S. Joint Forces Command headquarters and most of the U.S. Second Fleet. It is in this amazing concentration of sea power that the Hampton Roads Council, the largest in the Navy League, operates with more than 1,200 members, supporting the sea services and getting its messages out. The Hampton Roads council controls a number of different Navy League projects during commissioning of a ship like the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), from the ceremonial and presentation aspects of commissioning to a discreet process of fundraising to help improve the lives of the crew aboard the ship itself. These include finding funds to provide shipboard enhancements to help make the ship more of a home for the young servicemen and women who will live aboard. Improvements to the ship’s library/chapel spaces, buying gym equipment for crew fitness, and computers and software for ships’ learning centers are just some of the things that Navy League councils help provide for the men and women who sail America’s ships.
Embedded in the ship enhancements program, as in all Navy League activities, is the containing mission of selling the need to support the sea services. On board every aircraft carrier since USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) is a special compartment off of the hangar deck called a “tribute room.” Part museum, part exposition, these spaces provide visitors with a chance to learn about the ship’s namesake, and the lineage of the ship’s name in other ships that have borne the name. This last point is carried on with vessels other than carriers, as was shown several years ago with the nuclear attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 74). The first of a new class of boats for the U.S. Navy, the Virginia had been preceded by a number of other American warships carrying the same name, including a nuclear guided missile cruiser, a battleship, and one of the first Civil War ironclads. As part of her commissioning, the Hampton Roads Council made sure that the proud name being attached to SSN 774 was recognized as being part of a proud line of American warships called Virginia going back more than a century. Other parts of the commissioning process are specifically geared toward the crew personnel who have worked hard to take their pre-commissioning units and turn them into commissioned American service vessels. Called “plankowners,” these hard-working young men and women have a special status in the history of a ship, and there are events and presentation items especially for them during the final stages of the commissioning process. For all concerned, the Navy League’s contributions are a critical part of the commission in process, and would be empty events without their special aid. Commissionings, however, are hardly the only ways for councils like Hampton Roads to give sea service personnel the recognition they are so richly due. Though a bit smaller, programs like “Sailor of the Year,” which gives ships, squadrons, and shore-based units a chance to recognize their finest young professionals, are a vital part of what the Navy League does to keep the faith with those who go to sea to protect our nation and interests. For more than a century now, the Navy League has kept the faith with the sea services and the nation it serves. Even in times when America was not interested or listening, the Navy League has managed to keep its message of sea power’s influence out in the public domain, where it needs to be if the United States is to sustain itself as the preeminent maritime power in the world. As a nation, the United States owes the Navy League a debt of thanks for its persistence and steadiness, along with the hope that as long as there is a United States, there will be a Navy League. To learn more about the Navy League of the United States, obtain membership information, or make a donation, please contact the Navy League at: www.navyleaguehamptonroads.org.
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navy league ship enhancements
Navy League Ship enhancements for USS George H.W. Bush By John D. Gresham and Erica J. Tingler
ake a tour of almost any World War II aircraft carrier that is preserved as a museum, perhaps USS Yorktown at Patriot Point in Charleston, S.C., USS Intrepid in New York City, or USS Hornet at Alameda, Calif., and you will be struck by the stark and purposeful finish of the vessels. These were mass-produced, Essex-class aircraft carriers, built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company (now part of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding [NGSB]) during the early years of World War II, with much more attention given to function than form. While beloved by their crews over the decades of service they provided, nobody ever confused them with a place one might call home. These were warships, plain and simple, conveying several thousand young American draftee sailors and dozens of warplanes into combat, icons of massive, efficient, brute combat force. Todayâ€™s Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carriers, while the direct descendants of the USS Essex, are a much-evolved design with a completely different service life plan. While the World War II-era ships were expected to be lost in combat or scrapped when the conflict was won, Nimitz-class carriers are planned with a service life of at least 50 years, and have habitability features much improved over those of the Essex class. Permanent sleeping bunks and private stowage for clothing and personal effects are now standard. So too are more tangible creature comforts, like real-time Internet access and e-mail to and from home, along with vastly improved library, chapel, exercise, and recreation areas. However, this last series of improvements is severely restricted by law. Federal law limits what can be provided in the way of creature comforts and enhancements aboard warships being built by companies like Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, despite the best intentions of taxpayers, a grateful government, and willing contractors. The often-inconsistent layers of ethics laws and federal regulations are an impediment to anything more than a basic, Spartan warship being delivered by contractors like Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. Thankfully, there is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that makes it a big part of its mission to try to provide some of the
Courtesy of Universal Exhibits
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navy league ship enhancements
Courtesy of Universal Exhibits
A pre-construction section of USS George H.W. Bush’s Tribute Room.
enhancements and creature comforts that can turn a stark warship into something of a second home: the Navy League of the United States. The Navy League is known for many things, from its advocacy magazine SEAPOWER to the annual Sea-Air-Space exposition in Washington, D.C., every spring. Throughout the nation and the world, Navy League councils provide a voice for America’s sea services, so that the message of their importance and value to America can be heard by all. But behind the scenes, there also is a discrete set of programs and efforts in place to positively affect the lives of sailors, Marines, Coast Guard members, and merchant mariners while they are aboard ship. One of the most important of these is ship enhancements. Ship enhancements are the Navy League’s way of making the basic warship that is delivered by contractors like Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding into a more comfortable, pleasant, and productive vessel for service personnel to live and work aboard. In addition, the Navy League ship enhancements also try to add some character and context to a
warship, which exerts its presence through port visits and other peaceful pursuits as well as combat operations. What makes these additions both possible and legal is that they are all based upon private donations, fundraising, and endowments, with no taxpayer monies or resources being involved. This said, the story of how the Navy League makes these enhancements become reality illustrates how the public can make a difference for service personnel on duty far from home.
Ship Enhancement 101: Rules and Funding “We, as taxpayers, pay contractors for incredible warships to be built – and that’s what we get,” explained Executive Director of the Navy League’s Hampton Roads Council Maryellen Baldwin. “What we, as the Navy League, provide are enhancements that improve the quality of life aboard ship. Whether that’s building out the library/chapel space, or providing enhancements to the chief’s and crew messes.”
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Weâ€™re proud to salute the United States Navy on the commissioning of its newest supercarrier, USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77). This state-of-the-art ship further demonstrates the Navyâ€™s commitment to naval air power and to the brave men and women who will take it to sea in the name of freedom.
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navy league ship enhancements
The process of adding ship enhancements to a warship like USS George H.W. Bush actually begins years ahead of time, and is part of the larger process of ship commissioning, which is sponsored and organized by the Navy League. Each commissioning is sponsored by a particular Navy League regional council, such as the Hampton Roads council. In addition to the many ceremonies, events, presentations, and speeches is the ship enhancement program, which actually begins during the design phase of the ship. With the support and approval of the U.S. Navy, and with strict adherence to federal laws and guidelines, the Navy League and the shipbuilder combine to provide both the spaces and necessary features to make the enhancements aboard ship possible. In the case of Bush, plans date back to before the first steel was cut in Dry Dock 12 and her keel was laid. Like any other charitable effort, ship enhancements aboard Bush begin with a fundraising campaign. The entire process of commissioning is itself very costly, with an expenditure of privately raised funds well into the seven-figure range. This means that the process of fundraising goes on over a one-year period. Depiction of the Tribute Room on board USS George H.W. Bush. “From the perspective of raising funds … having a name such as former President George H.W. Bush, which is known worldwide, helps a great deal,” Baldwin said. “But raising money is never easy under any circumstances; you have to know what you’re doing • A program of providing the mess and common spaces with artwork and you have to prove to your donors that their contribution will make and other memorabilia reflecting the ship’s namesake, former a significant impact to the crew and to the Navy at large. We at Navy President George H.W. Bush. League take very seriously the obligation we have to the donors – we “The Bush Library [at Texas A&M University] has extended family and never do or say anything we cannot absolutely back up, because our personal artifacts to the ship, and we provide the receptacles that will integrity is at stake.” house those articles, making them permanent and preserved for the life In addition to funds, there are other donations that make the ship of the ship,” Baldwin explained. “We’ve also taken some of the media from enhancements program work. For example, the local Hampton Roadsthe archives, such as photographs, and had them reproduced and placed based squadron of the Association of Naval Aviation has commissioned a throughout the ship. These are not only appealing visually, but also are quite larger-than-life bronze statue of Bush, depicting him as a 22-year-old naval educational and historical as well. They chronicle his life visually, offering aviator in his flight gear. Other donors have supplied books from personal a sense of the history from President George H.W. Bush’s life, spanning libraries, and corporate sponsors have supplied goods and services in his service with the CIA, serving as U.S. ambassador to China, as the vice support of the overall enhancement effort. All of these combine to make up president, and of course, back to his service in World War II and his rescue a package of funding and materials that allow the Navy League to create at sea. The way we’ve been able to put the prints up in various parts of the a tangible set of ship enhancements that will serve the crew of the Bush ship is really quite unique.” for decades. In addition to the actual donations of equipment, media, and other physical resources, Baldwin and the Commissioning Committee are working hard to raise funds for the long-term maintenance and upgrade of One of the key objectives of the Navy League’s ship enhancements to these spaces and gear so that they will be available for future USS George the Bush is to enhance the quality of life for the crew, along with serving H.W. Bush crew personnel. their personal and professional needs. The Hampton Roads Council enhancements package includes the following in the crew spaces: • An enhanced professional learning center, with additional computer For the next half-century, USS George H.W. Bush will travel the equipment and resources for crew advancement and study; oceans of the world, projecting power and influence across the globe. • Improvements to the ship’s library and chapel spaces, including a program of book acquisition from all 50 states, and additional The most powerful conventional weapons system in the world, Nimitzmedia/study resources; class aircraft carriers are a source of awe and wonder when they • Additional exercise and workout equipment for the Bush’s gymnasium visit foreign ports, and often are allowed to have visitors aboard the facilities, including weights and powered equipment; and huge vessels. To help these visitors better understand the ship and its
Courtesy of Universal Exhibits
DOWN BELOW: ENHANCED CREW SPACES
THE STORY OF A LIFE: THE GEORGE H.W. BUSH TRIBUTE ROOM
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Honoring the men and women of the CVN–77
Raytheon is proud to participate in the Commissioning of the USS George H. W. Bush. Raytheon salutes the brave men and women who will man the USS George H.W. Bush, and honors President George H.W. Bush for his service to our country. Just as America’s 41st president championed freedom, so too will his namesake ship safeguard the security and interests of our nation and all freedom-loving nations around the world.
www.raytheon.com © 2008 Raytheon Company. All rights reserved. “Customer Success Is Our Mission” is a registered trademark of Raytheon Company.
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navy league ship enhancements
Courtesy of Navy League
Refitting of the space on CVN 77 for the Tribute Room.
namesake, along with perhaps winning some “hearts and minds,” the Navy League is funding what is called a “Tribute Room” just off of the hangar deck, near the gangway at which visitors usually arrive when they board the ship. “Every new aircraft carrier since the USS John F. Kennedy [CV 67] has had a space that honors the ship’s namesake; we call it the Tribute Room,” said Baldwin. “In this case, it will be dedicated to former President George H.W. Bush, whose personal honor, courage, and commitment certainly fill that bill. This space, off the hangar bay, is designed to serve dignitaries and people from around the world, along with crewmembers that may come through to see a part of history and the spirit of the ship’s namesake. It’s ceremonial certainly, but it is something tax dollars would never pay for. We’re proud to say that we’re going to make sure that this gets done and will be in place for the next 50 years.” The Tribute Room aboard the Bush will highlight the life of the former president, as a young naval aviator during World War II, a congressman,
an ambassador to the United Nations and China, vice president, and president. There will be depictions of his Avenger torpedo-bomber, and the carriers off which the future president flew. Most of all, there is the story of a great American who has made public service the cornerstone of his life and that of his family. The ship enhancements that Navy League Hampton Roads and the Commissioning Committee are providing are the capstone to a multi-year effort to make the Bush into more than a warship to her crew. In addition, they are helping add character to a vessel that shortly will become what the Navy likes to call, “90,000 tons of diplomacy.” The effort to seek funding and donations to support the ship enhancements for the Bush and other Navy warships continues now and into the future. Already, plans are under way for the planned enhancements that will be included in America’s next aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). To learn more about the ship enhancements program, or to make a donation, please contact the Navy League at: www.navyleaguehamptonroads.org.
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Photo Courtesy Northrop Grumman Newport News
Congratulations USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77)! AT&T salutes the Navy League of the United States on the commissioning of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). AT&T is honored to support the Navy League through the creation of three Learning Resource Centers on board the vessel to facilitate extended training and continuing education for crew members. Through these state-of-the-art Learning Resource Centers, the carrierâ€™s crew will be better equipped to meet challenges and bring new capabilities to the Navy in support of its vital mission â€” keeping America safe.
At AT&T, we are proud to keep Americans connected, on land and at sea.
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Navy league of the united states Commissioning donors Presidential The Honorable and Mrs. Hushang Ansary The Grainger Foundation
Five Star Admiral AT&T Foundation The Boeing Company Northrop Grumman Corporation PMX Industries, Inc./Poongsan Corporation
Four Star Admiral Faircount Media Group Susan and Tom Friedkin and Debra and Dan Friedkin Hearst Communications, Inc. Gloria and Glen Holden Natalie and Herb Kohler and Kohler Co. Anne and John Marion Linda and Jim McIngvale Juliette and Frank Reidy Marilyn Ware
Three Star Admiral PlĂĄcido Arango The Flagship Carole and John Moran Raytheon Company Alice and David Rubenstein
Two Star Admiral BAE Systems City of Virginia Beach City of Norfolk Corporate Express Linda and Archie Dunham Family The Farmer Family Foundation Melissa and Marc Ganzi Palm Restaurant Group â€“ Mr. Walter J. Ganzi, Jr. Adele and Donald Hall Susan and John Kerr Lockheed Martin
Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Mica and Bob Mosbacher The Family of Edward N. Ney Betty and Mel Sembler Isabel and Joe Zappala
One Star Admiral Kathi and Andy Card Trisha and Jim Cicconi Coneway Family Foundation Flora C. Crichton Lynn P. and Richard K. Davidson Farm Fresh C. Boyden Gray Betty and John Hrncir Pat and David Jones Sara and John H. Lindsey Marlene and Fred Malek Northrop Grumman Marine Systems Julie and Gregg Petersmeyer Pratt & Whitney Mindy and Bob Rich Gita and Ali Saberioon Brent Scowcroft Lynne and Chip Shotwell Tri-Tec Manufacturing, LLC Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Astrid and Gene Van Dyke Verizon Foundation Anna H. and Owen W. Wells Patty and Roger Williams
Captain Susan and James A. Baker, III Chris and Bill Barr Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. Cardinal Point Partners, LLC Charlene and Phil Carroll Lou Ann and Steve Caruthers Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Co. Marie and Walter J.P. Curley David F. Demarest
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USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77)
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At your service, Mr. President. We stand in full support.
Herb and Natalie Kohler
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Earl Industries Susan M. and Donald L. Evans Lily Chen and Charles C. Foster Barbara Hackman Franklin and Wallace Barnes Lueza and Bruce S. Gelb Karen and John Griffing Betty and Alex Haagen, III Carla and Roderick Hills Roy M. Huffington Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Kleberg, III Harriet and Fred McClure Charline and Red McCombs Anne and William McCormick Steven and Sheila Miller Foundation Jim Nantz Sally and Charles Neblett Gena and Chuck Norris Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones Marcia and Dick Robinson, in honor of Ellen Robinson Schwartz Ann and Al Simpson Honey and Sam Skinner Mr. and Mrs. Dorrance Smith, in honor of Kathleen and Sidney V. Smith Sue and Lester Smith Strake Foundation Ginger and Louis W. Sullivan Lunda C. and William H. Webster
Commander Anne Armstrong Anne and David Q. Bates, Jr. Wilma and Stuart Bernstein Kitty and Nick Brady Robert Bryn Catherine and Michael Busch Mary Kate and Rob Cary Henry E. Catto, Jr. Lynne and Dick Cheney Controlled Systems Bonita and Edward Derwinski Cathy and Bob Estrada J.L. Holloway, III Connie and David E. Jeremiah Jean and Manuel Lujan, Jr. Judi and Paul Marchand Paula and Edward McCann Janice and Robert McNair Ginny Mulberger Laurel and Ed Murnane Q.E.D. Systems, Inc. Elizabeth and William K. Reilly Lisa and Matthew Rose Ann and Tom Scully
Joci and Joe Straus James E. Summar, Sr. Ginny and Dick Thornburgh Cristy and Clayton Yeutter, in memory of Jeanne Yeutter
Sponsor a Plankowner Sailor Bonnie and Dave Adams Jake and Tom Collamore Rose Marie and Steve Farrar Melinda and Marlin Fitzwater Spike Heminway Michael E. Melo, President, ITA International, LLC Jane Newman David Oldani Todd Stotler
Petty Officer Honey and Lamar Alexander John M. Bogie Julie and Tom Cooke Gary E. Fendler Theresa and John Gaddy Janet and Harold Gehman Betsy Heminway Roxanne and Tim Neumann Daniel T. Mannerino Paulina and Jim McGrath James Snapper Janet and James D. Watkins Clarkson C. Wormer
Shipmate Barry Akers Meredith Ashley Mark Ashley Jeremy F. Barnes Jessie K. Beavers Eugene C. Book Crusader Industries Herbert Farrington Kathryn and Lawrence Finely Allan S. Forman David Hinnant Jane and Bill Whitehurst, in memory of Captain Douglas B. LaPierre, USN Kelly Moore Beth and Tom Robertson Raymond Sinwell Brian Skon Daniel V. Smith Katherine L. Super Dr. and Mrs. John M. Templeton, Jr.
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The Navy League of the United States Hampton Roads and the Commissioning Committee wish to thank The Grainger Foundation for its generosity in support of the crew of USS George H.W. Bush.
The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Ill., established in 1949 by Mr. and Mrs. William Wallace Grainger, is a generous supporter of educational institutions, museums, health care, human services, and the field of power engineering.
12/15/08 2:53:32 PM
The Navy League takes great pride in acknowledging the efforts of the following individuals who have provided their time and talents during this commissioning process:
Barry Akers Jim Appleby Amanda Aulds Emmett Babb Patrick Baldwin Jeremy Barnes Jack Barry Faye Bauer Laura Baxter Jean Becker Patricia Burchfield Lisa Byard Susan Byrne Bill Cabell Bet Cake Stuart Cake Roni Clymer Janice Comber Gigi Craig Nancy Creech Terri Davis Michele Dempsey Conie Duncan Carrie Eickenroht Linda Eisan Noni Fisher Tom Freeman Lisa Gove Polly Haag Joe Hanna Anne Hart Ruth Hendricks Maria Herring Bill Huesmann Marcus Jones Albert Karpovich Melinda Lamoreaux Nancy Lisenby William Maples Victor Martinez
Elizabeth Mayo Ed McCann Mark McDonald Jim McGrath Kari Mewbourne Christina Murray Louise Nagourney Nancy Newman Eileen Oâ€™Hanlon Laura Pears Richard Pearsall Anne Phillips Linda Poepsel Don Randall Mary Sage Lynn Schlemeyer Ursula Stelly Kelsey Stewart Emily Webb Adair Wells
H ampton Roads
Navy League of the
We regret any omissions due to print deadline.
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carriers and the national interest
Vital to The United states today and tomorrow Aircraft carriers – 100,000 tons of combat power, wherever and whenever needed By Edward H. Lundquist
hen we talk about aircraft carriers today, and especially the 100,000-ton “supercarriers” of the United States Navy, we think of “four-and-a-half acres of U.S. sovereignty.” We think of a flight deck that’s bigger than four football fields, loaded with combat power, able to launch anywhere, anytime. Aircraft carriers and the 80 aircraft they carry are a visible symbol of American naval presence. Even more so, they are tangible evidence of America’s resolve. But, these magnificent ships do not exist of and for themselves. Carriers are the high-end of a spectrum of naval warfighting capability that spans all the way to small patrol boats. “The aircraft carrier is the single most important instrument of national power,” said Eric Wertheim, defense analyst and editor of the Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World (Naval Institute Press). The carrier strike group, with its own air wing, has everything it needs. It can be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and relatively benign warfighting functions, to major combat operations. “The more independent a carrier strike group is, the better it is,” Wertheim said. An aircraft carrier is basically a floating airport. It is the combat power of its aircraft and its escorts that give the carrier its teeth. But, the carrier is neither stealthy nor subtle. “Its strength is against known threats and powerful enemies,” said Wertheim. Rear Adm. Charles Martoglio is the operations officer (J3) for the United States Pacific Command and its vast area of responsibility, which includes 60 percent of the global population and covers half of the Earth’s surface – most of that being ocean. “America’s aircraft carrier strike groups play critical roles across today’s spectrum of operations from demonstrating our commitment to stability and security, to providing all of the key elements for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, to providing surveillance and strike support in the struggle against violent extremism, to enabling air and sea control wherever they operate, and to maintaining high readiness to fight and win our nation’s wars,” Martoglio said. “Carrier strike groups are enormously capable, maintained in high readiness, and inherently flexible to successfully accomplish today’s complex and diverse mission sets – by themselves, as part of the joint force, or as part of a coalition force.”
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carriers and the national interest
An idea that took off
cleared of all obstacles. It will be flat, as wide as possible without jeopardizing the nautical lines of the hull, and it will look like a landing field. “Of necessity, the airplanes will be stowed below decks; they would be solidly fixed anchored to their bases, each in its place, so they would not be affected with the pitching and rolling. Access to these lower decks would be by an elevator sufficiently long and wide to hold an airplane with its wings folded. A large, sliding trap would cover the hole in the deck,
and it would have waterproof joints, so that neither rain nor seawater from heavy seas could penetrate below. “The ship will be headed straight into the wind, the stern clear, but a padded bulwark set up forward in case the airplane should run past the stop line.” A century has passed, but some things have not changed that much. In 1910, the U.S. Navy rigged a wooden platform on top of the gun turrets of the cruiser USS Birmingham, and a test pilot for Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company named Eugene Ely flew from the ship to the shore at Norfolk, Va., a distance of only 2.5 miles. That was the first flight from a ship. Navies went about trying all kinds of combinations, but the British, who operated seaplanes in World War I for reconnaissance and spotting, have the distinction of operating the first aircraft carrier, HMS Furious, a “hermaphrodite” aircraft carrier and battle cruiser, in 1917. The Royal Navy (RN) installed a large deck forward, retaining the after 18-inch gun. The Furious, complete with a hangar, was also the first ship to conduct flight operations while under way. When the United States entered World War I, the Navy had 54 operational aircraft. At war’s end, less than two years later, it had more than 2,000 aircraft, but no carriers. The British and Japanese both developed multilevel flight decks, so that aircraft could land on the upper deck while other aircraft could simultaneously take off from the lower deck. In
Official U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer’s Mate Spike Call
The Wright Brothers’ first flight took place in 1903, and just four years later aircraft were being used in combat. So it makes sense that flying airplanes onto and off of ships was a pretty good idea. That’s what Frenchman Clément Ader wrote about in his 1909 book, L’Aviation Militaire. “An airplane-carrying vessel is indispensable. These vessels will be constructed on a plan very different from what is currently used. First of all the deck will be
Carriers USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) cruise together at the start of Exercise Valiant Shield 2006. The Reagan Carrier Strike Group was participating in Shield 2006, the largest joint exercise in recent history. Held in the Guam operating area June 19 to 23, the exercise included 28 naval vessels including three carrier strike groups. Nearly 300 aircraft and approximately 22,000 service members from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard also participated in the exercise.
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the early 1920s, the United States converted the collier (a ship that lugged coal to refuel other ships) USS Jupiter to become USS Langley, America’s first aircraft carrier, equipped with then-state-of-the-art facilities for homing pigeons located on the stern. Actual operational experience was the turning point, said Norman Polmar, author of Aircraft Carriers: The History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events (Potomac Books). “Beginning with Japanese carrier operations over China in the 1930s, and through World War II, carriers became the sine qua non of navies – indispensable for war at sea, strikes against the shore, and for anti-submarine warfare.” During World War II, carriers were in great demand. The famous Doolittle Raid on Tokyo included 16 Army B-25 medium bombers that flew from the flight deck of USS Hornet on a one-way mission to the Japanese home islands. The daring mission called for aircrews to fly more than 2,000 miles, then land in or bail out over China. Carriers participated in the pivotal battles of World War II. Japanese carriers struck the opening blow of the war in the Pacific at Pearl Harbor. While the Japanese inflicted heavy casualties and took negligible losses
themselves, they failed to inflict damage on American carriers, which were not in port. The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first naval engagement where the ships involved never actually saw each other. Each side lost a carrier. At the Battle of Midway, the United States lost USS Yorktown, but U.S. forces sank four Japanese carriers. After Midway, both navies geared up carrier production. Some were built from the keel up as carriers, while others were converted from cruisers while building. The need was so great that smaller “escort” carriers were built with flight decks placed upon converted merchant ship and oiler hulls. These “Baby Flattops,” or “Jeep carriers,” were valuable for hunting enemy submarines, providing close air support for troops ashore, and serving as transports to ferry aircraft. While the United States succeeded in bringing many new carriers to the front lines, Japan was not able to do so. More importantly, Japan was not able to replace losses of carriertrained aviators. There were some curious carriers, too, like USS Sable and USS Wolverine, converted Great Lakes paddle-wheel steamers used to train naval aviators on Lake Michigan. Many Navy pilots made their first
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jay C. Pugh
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) steams through the Atlantic Ocean. The speed and endurance of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers is important because they are usually the first responders in global trouble spots.
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carriers and the national interest
The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) arrives at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. George Washington and Carrier Air Wing 5 will be operating from Fleet Activities Yokosuka as the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier.
harrowing landing on one of these two ships, including the future President George H.W. Bush, namesake of this ship. “The time I spent on Lake Michigan was a great preview of things to come. I still remember well my first actual carrier landing aboard USS Sable. With it came all the usual concern and nerves, but in the end, I was filled with a great feeling of satisfaction,” said Bush. “That was the beginning of one of the greatest chapters of my life.” Polmar said the post-World War II era navies understood the effectiveness of carriers. “As long as navies could afford the ships and their aircraft, efforts were made to obtain and operate such ships. They were invaluable for all types of operations,” he said, “although used in combat only by the U.S., U.K., France, and Australia.” The most significant developments in carriers since World War II have been nuclear strike weapons, jet-propelled aircraft, steam catapults (to permit launching very heavy aircraft), and the angled deck (for operation of high-performance aircraft), Polmar said.
Sea Power 21 Carriers contribute to each of the three pillars of the Navy’s Sea Power 21 construct, which are Sea Basing, Sea Shield, and Sea Strike. Sea Basing gives joint force commanders the ability
to operate without having overseas shore bases or host nation permission. It doesn’t refer to one ship, but to the aggregate of naval capability at sea, able to provide persistent presence and sustained operations. Aircraft carrier strike groups operate freely, unrestrained by reliance upon local ports and airfields. The second pillar is Sea Strike, which is the “dynamic application of persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; timesensitive strike; ship-to-objective maneuver; information operations; and covert strike to deliver devastating power and accuracy in future campaigns.” This capability is dispersed throughout the force, in different manned and unmanned platforms and systems, from submarines to surface ships and aircraft. Aircraft carriers play an important role in Sea Strike, with their ability to launch strike aircraft for complex attacks. Sea Shield is the third pillar. It pertains to more than just defense of one’s own ship or the task group, but is envisioned to provide a layered defense of the sea lines of communication, the theater, and the nation. The attributes of the agile, flexible carrier strike group, including persistent forward presence, a robust command and control capability, and the ability of the air wing to project defensive power deep overland, protecting our forces and our friends ashore, are important aspects of defensive operations from the sea.
U.S. Navy photo by Kuji Kawabe
First Responder Nuclear-powered carriers such as those operated by the United States permit extended deployments at high speed. When these CVNs first joined the fleet, it was decided that nuclearpowered combatants were needed to escort the carriers, but today the Navy has no nuclear cruisers. As big as they are, the Nimitz-class carriers have a power plant that can generate 260,000 horsepower, and can achieve sustained speeds of 30 knots. That speed and endurance is important, because carriers are typically first responders to global trouble spots. President Bill Clinton told sailors aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt in 1993, “When word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it’s no accident that the first question that comes to everyone’s lips is: ‘Where’s the nearest carrier?’” When naval power is required, an aircraft carrier and its strike group are frequently the instrument of choice. “The forward collective strategy used the oceans as barriers in our defense and as avenues for extending our influence abroad to support our allies and protect our commerce,” Adm. James L. Holloway III, U.S. Navy (Ret.) wrote in his book, Aircraft Carriers at War: A Personal Retrospective of Korea, Vietnam and the Soviet Confrontation (Naval Institute Press). It is no less true today than when he was commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet or Chief of Naval Operations and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “In so doing, it exploited the principal that, if we had to fight a war, we intended to engage an enemy closer to his homeland than to ours.” Part of that strategy has involved “forward deploying” a carrier strike group to the Western Pacific, to be more responsive to tasking in that part of the world. With the decommissioning of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), USS George Washington (CVN 73) has arrived in her new homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, as the forwarddeployed aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans, to contribute to the defense of Japan. As USS George H.W. Bush joins the fleet, it replaces the last conventionally powered carrier, Kitty Hawk, currently undergoing inactivation at Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard in Bremerton, Wash., and scheduled for decommissioning in early 2009. The Kitty Hawk replaced USS Independence as the forward-deployed carrier in Japan in 1998, and recently turned that assignment over to USS George Washington. The Kitty Hawk was commissioned in 1961, and at the time of her decommissioning, and
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carriers and the national interest
for the past 10 years, the Kitty Hawk has had the distinction of being the oldest active ship in service.
Carriers and the Maritime Strategy The “Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower” calls for preventing wars as well as winning them. “The first rule of prevention,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, “is strength.” Strength comes from forward presence, deterrence, sea control, and power projection, said Roughead, speaking at the 2008 Naval War College Current Strategy Forum in Newport, R.I. “It comes from our aircraft carriers and our aircraft; it comes from our combatants and submarines. It comes from our sailors, from our Marines, from our Coast Guardsmen, and our international partners. It is what we as a global Navy are about.” To prevent war, however, Roughead said the new strategy calls for two other capabilities: Maritime Security and Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Assistance. “We are operating in all corners of the world, operating with our partners across the spectrum of operations,” said Roughead. “Examples of that include the Lincoln aircraft carrier projecting power through its aircraft day and night in the Persian Gulf, with no need to secure a base or an airfield to remain off station for a long-term presence.” “The basic premise of our newly published maritime strategy is that the United States is a force for good in the world – that, while we are capable
of launching a clenched fist when we must, offering the hand of friendship is also an essential and prominent tool in our kit,” said Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway. “That premise flows from the belief that preventing wars means we don’t have to win wars.” “The Coast Guard completely subscribes to this strategy,” said Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen. “It reinforces the Coast Guard Strategy for Safety, Security, and Stewardship and it reflects not only the global reach of our maritime services, but the need to integrate and synchronize and act with coalition and international partners to not only win wars – but to prevent wars.”
Strategy of engagement The ability of U.S. Naval forces to maintain persistent forward presence contributes to regional understanding, as situational awareness is increased through operational experience and the sharing of expertise among partners. For example, during its recent deployment, the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group exercised with coalition partners in the Fifth Fleet area of responsibility, assisted mariners in distress and provided humanitarian assistance, visited ports, conducted community relations projects, and hosted distinguished visitors. The strike group’s air wing flew more than 7,100 sorties and completed more than 22,000 flying hours in support of U.S. and coalition ground forces.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class N. Brett Morton
The Royal New Zealand Navy Frigate HMNZS Te Mana (F111) sails alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the north Arabian Sea. Lincoln was deployed to the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of responsibility to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as well as maritime security operations.
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carriers and the national interest
Official U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class (AW/SW) Aaron Burden
In an early morning transit, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) prepares to enter Port Klang, Malaysia, for a scheduled port visit. This port call marked the first time Ronald Reagan visited the country of Malaysia. Reagan and Carrier Air Wing 14 (CVW-14) conducted community service projects at local orphanages, schools, and homes for the elderly.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Carrier Strike Group recently called at Cape Town, South Africa. Invited by the government of South Africa, the Roosevelt is the first U.S. carrier to visit that country in 40 years. The visit reinforced relationships, improved interoperability between the United States and South African armed forces, addressed regional security cooperative activities, and conducted a variety of community outreach events. The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group recently called at Port Kelang near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In addition to getting out on liberty and meeting the Malaysian people, more than 320 strike group sailors volunteered to conduct community service projects at local orphanages, schools, and homes for the elderly. While a carrier strike group can deter a government or terrorist group from disrupting our national security or prosperity, that same presence can affect stability and peace by offering a helping hand. “We are now working with our partners and allies to address the roots of conflict – from economic instability, to illegal trafficking, to refugee movements, to environmental disasters, and endemic diseases,” Roughead said. “It was the international maritime community that was the first to respond to the 2004 tsunami in South Asia. I can distinctly remember receiving the first phone call in my command center in Honolulu when they said, ‘There has just been an earthquake off the coast of Indonesia. We’re not quite sure what it will involve, but we’ll keep you posted.’ Within hours, we had surged the Lincoln from her port visit in Hong Kong.”
Roughead, when testifying on Capitol Hill in 2007, told lawmakers, “We do this because it is the right thing to do. Our actions send a message to the world that United States seapower promotes security and stability in cooperative ways that do not necessarily resemble conventional applications of seapower.” “What naval forces provide is strength like none other. Just one carrier strike group in the Gulf today is able to launch strikes in support of ground forces in Iraq, it is able to monitor and protect the Straight of Hormuz and it is able to secure the Gulf for legal trade that will support Iraq’s building economy,” Roughead said at the Naval War College. “Its many capabilities act as a strong deterrent and it is able to provide sea-based ballistic missile defense that is responsive, mobile, and respects the principle of sovereignty.” “Operation Iraqi Freedom began on March 21, 2003, when naval aviators flying from U.S. Navy carriers helped usher in a new era in tactical warfare, an increase in military capabilities ranking with the introduction of jet aircraft or stealth technology,” said Holloway. “Contributing to the shock and awe of the initial air strikes of the Iraqi Freedom campaign deep into Iraq were five aircraft carriers operating in the Mediterranean and Arabian seas, launching air wing-sized formations into the dark night to deliver their bombs and missiles against key military targets in the Arab capital with a precision and effectiveness never before achieved by tactical combat aircraft. “This was history being made,” said Holloway. “It would be the first battle of a campaign in which precision-guided bombs and missiles would
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carriers and the national interest
be used by aircraft against the enemy to the virtual exclusion of unguided bombs. The second historic aspect of this air campaign was the utilization of carrier aircraft at night, in numbers, formations and tactics, which could have previously only been employed in daylight operations. This was a significant breakthrough. Until now, the night had belonged to the unconventional forces, the irregulars, the guerrillas, and the terrorists.”
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aaron Holt
No permission required “With naval forces, you don’t have to worry about bases,” said Roughead. “You do not have to establish a base, you do not have to negotiate for space, you do not have to build extra infrastructure, you do not have to ask permission, and you do not have to infringe on another’s nation’s sovereignty. Our ability to be present without any permanent infrastructure is an advantage today, and I believe will become increasingly important in the future. It will be a key advantage. And what makes it even more advantageous is that we maintain a constant presence forward. We do not become encamped in one location … we are not a garrisoned force.” This forward presence provides national decision-makers a broad range of options to position credible combat power where our vital interests are concentrated, based upon intelligence or other indications or warnings before a situation escalates. Tactical sorties from carriers have several advantages over land-based aircraft. The carrier aircraft can be positioned much closer to the threat area. With the concept of Time-Sensitive Strike (TSS), the time from assigning the target to having an aircraft on top is further shortened. In fact, most carrier-based strike missions to Afghanistan were conducted without the aircrew knowing the target at launch time. At the outbreak of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, carrier-based aircraft flew the bulk of the sorties and delivered a very large percentage of the precision strike weapons, despite the fact that the closest point in Afghanistan to the ocean is 500 miles. Land-based bombers must fly about 3,000 miles to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The U.S. and coalition partners continue to help the people of Afghanistan. For example, carrier-based F/A-18C Hornets are flying over southern Afghanistan today as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, refueling from British Royal Air Force L-1011 tankers as well as U.S. refueling aircraft. “Forward presence also allows us to combat terrorism as far from our shores as possible. Where and when applicable, forwarddeployed maritime forces will isolate, capture, or destroy terrorists, their infrastructure, resources, and sanctuaries, preferably in conjunction with coalition partners,” said Roughead. Carriers are not affected by the political restraints and restrictions that a host nation might impose on aircraft located at an air base on its soil. And, that presupposes that you do have aircraft based somewhere in the vicinity. And, getting the carrier close to the target isn’t a necessity. Both land- and sea-based aircraft may require tankers to get to their operating area, and land-based tankers may not always be available whereas carriers have their own airborne refueling aircraft. “Because they offer unparalleled mobility, provide sustained military presence, can send signals of U.S. concern and possible actions, and free the United States from having to conduct flight operations from foreign bases or obtain permission from foreign powers to fly over territory, aircraft carriers likely will continue to be an asset of choice for years to come,” stated a RAND study, “Leveraging America’s Aircraft Carrier
Sailors load cases of water bound for the Philippines onto a C-2A Greyhound assigned to the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Combat Support Squadron (VRC) 30 on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan sent 12,000 bottles of water and 7,500 pounds of rice to the Philippines in support of disaster relief efforts. The Ronald Reagan carrier strike group supported the government of the Republic of the Philippines to help provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the victims of Typhoon Fengshen. Aircraft carriers are often the first help to arrive at the scene of a disaster.
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carriers and the national interest
Exploring New Combat and Noncombat Roles and Missions for the U.S. Carrier Fleet,” published in 2006. “Indeed, it is entirely possible that, as the United States seeks ways to stretch its defense dollars, pursue the Global War on Terrorism, and meet other nationalsecurity challenges, policymakers will increase their reliance on aircraft carriers, using them more often and in more situations than they have in the past, especially if the vessels have the additional capabilities to respond appropriately.” This forward presence defines the U.S. Navy, enabling the full spectrum of warfighting – from humanitarian assistance to combat operations – to protect U.S. vital interests, assure friends, and deter and dissuade potential adversaries. Aircraft carriers are often the first to arrive at the scene of a disaster. As was mentioned earlier, immediately following the December 2004 earthquake off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, that triggered devastating tsunamis along the coastal areas of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Malaysia, as well as Indian Ocean islands and parts of East Africa, President George W. Bush dispatched the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and other naval and military forces to support relief efforts. In June 2008, Ronald Reagan and other U.S. Navy ships supported the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) humanitarian assistance mission near the central Philippine island of Panay in the wake of Typhoon Fengshen. Closer to home, USS Harry S. Truman responded to Hurricane Katrina, which hit the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005. In fact, carriers can serve as transports, bases for helicopters, floating electric power and fresh water distillation plants, hospitals, warehouses, and command centers to coordinate disaster-relief operations. Forward-deployed naval forces are ideally suited for the challenges of the new security era. Naval forces provide the means of maintaining a global military presence while limiting the undesired economic, social, political, or diplomatic repercussions that often accompany U.S. forces based ashore. Culturally aware forward-deployed naval forces can provide a stabilizing influence on regional factors and can prevent or limit conflict.
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U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Erik Etz
An F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the “Stingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113, holds in the port observation position on a British Royal Air Force L-1011 tanker aircraft while another Hornet assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 takes on fuel. The Nimitzclass aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 were providing support to coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan. Ronald Reagan was deployed to the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of responsibility.
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carriers and the national interest
Flexible Platforms Naval analyst and author Dr. Norman Friedman published a definitive book, U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History, first published by the Naval Institute Press in 1983 as part of a series by Friedman on the different ship types of the U.S. Navy. “Six decades have passed since the emergence of the aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy, and four decades since the carrier became the dominant element of U.S. sea power,” he wrote in his introduction. “No other type of warship is nearly as flexible as a carrier, which can operate an infinite variety of weapon systems by changing her mix of aircraft.” Aircraft carriers can be quickly reconfigured for emergent missions. During Operation Frequent Wind in 1975, USS Hancock (CV 19) and USS Midway (CV 41) offloaded their attack jets and fighters, and took on board a full complement of helicopters to evacuate personnel from
Saigon. Likewise, air wings can be varied according to the nature of the operation: For example, in 1994, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) embarked 50 army helicopters instead of her normal air wing for operations off Haiti. As an example of their military utility and flexibility, USS Theodore Roosevelt’s air wing was augmented by elements of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) in 1993 to evaluate deploying a multipurpose Marine force on a carrier. Because the carriers can be kept current, they have long service lives of 40 or 50 years. The oldest nuclear carrier in the U.S. fleet, USS Enterprise, was commissioned in 1961. Not only are carriers flexible, but as new aircraft, weapons, and systems are available, the air wing can be updated to bring the new capabilities on board. Shortly after commissioning in 1961, USS Kitty Hawk operated with turbo-prop ground attack A-1 Skyraiders, turbo-prop C-1 Carrier On-board
U.S. Navy photo by PH3 Russell
Army troops from the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y., are escorted to their helicopters by a safety officer during air assault rehearsal on the flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) en route to Haiti. The flexibility of aircraft carriers allows a wide range of operations.
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carriers and the national interest
Delivery aircraft and WF-1 early warning aircraft, A-3 Sky warrior attack and surveillance aircraft, A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft, and F-4 Phantom II fighters and F-8 Crusader fighters. Over the years, the carrier would be home to A-5 Vigilante reconnaissance aircraft, A-6 Intruder attack aircraft, F-14 Tomcat interceptors, and S-3 Viking ASW aircraft. At the end of her career, Kitty Hawk’s air wing included F/A-18 Hornets, E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft, EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft, and the C-2 COD. This list doesn’t include the various Navy helicopters flown, from SH-3s to SH-60s, not to mention Army and Air Force helos. The evolution of carrier-based aircraft was introduced without drastic alteration to the ship, indicative of the flexibility of aircraft carriers and their aircraft. From Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, to Iraq and Afghanistan, to Taiwan and Somalia, the Kitty Hawk was just one example of the inherent utility of carriers.
Carriers today While the U.S. Navy operates the largest carriers, and the most, it is not the only Navy that operates “flattops.” The Royal Navy is replacing its two ski jump-equipped carriers, which operate Harriers and helicopters, with the “CVF.” The new ships, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will displace 65,000 tons, three times larger than the Invincible-class carriers the CVFs will replace. HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal both displace less than 20,000 tons (along with out-ofservice sister ship HMS Invincible), and have served for three decades. They operate Harrier jump-jets and helicopters and are fitted with ski jump ramps to launch the Harriers. While these carriers were used primarily for antisubmarine warfare, the Falklands experience demonstrated the importance of using the carriers for more traditional air power roles of air supremacy and power projection. France has one carrier, the 37,000-ton, nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle. The French navy is now building the follow-on to Charles de Gaulle, but it will feature conventional propulsion. The French carriers have catapults and arresting wires for conventional carrier operations. The new carrier will be very similar in size to the Royal Navy’s new carriers, but will operate conventional fixed-wing aircraft. Russia’s 55,000-ton Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov is conventionally powered, with a complement of helicopters and both fixedwing and VSTOL aircraft. Brazil’s Sao Paolo is the former 30,000-ton French carrier Foch, operating fixed-wing A-4 Skyhawk fighter bombers and helicopters. Several smaller navies have aircraft carriers. Thailand’s carrier, the Chakri Naruebet – actually built to the U.S. Sea Control Ship (SCS) design – conducts both civilian and military operations. The Spanish navy’s Príncipe de Asturias also is a version of the SCS, and operates Harriers and helicopters. Italy’s new 29,000-ton Conte di Cavour will carry fixed-wing V/STOL aircraft and helicopters to accompany the Giuseppe Garibaldi, a carrier of about half the size of the Cavour and presently the flagship of the Italian fleet. India will soon have the word’s third-largest carrier force, after the United States and the U.K. The Admiral Gorshkov is being refurbished in a Russian shipyard and will transfer to India. A new Vikrant-class “air defense ship” aircraft carrier is under construction in an Indian yard. The former HMS Hermes has served in the Indian navy since 1987. The U.S. Navy today operates some sizeable expeditionary warfare ships that are really carriers with well decks. The United States has four remaining 40,000-ton, Tarawa-class amphibious transports and seven active larger Wasp-class helicopter landing ships. An eighth LHD, Makin Island (LHD 8),
is currently under construction. The LHA and LHD classes of ships carry helicopters and AV-8B Harrier jump jets, and will operate the V-22. Some critics say the days of the carrier are numbered. But the former Chief of Naval Operations disagrees. “The concern that carriers may become more vulnerable in future wars has no basis,” said Holloway. “The aircraft carrier is no more vulnerable than any of our fleet units. The carrier is, in fact, the primary source of protection for the conduct of virtually all other naval warfare functions.”
The future Polmar sees a need for “sea-based tac air” in the foreseeable future, although the composition of the air wing might change. With Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles able to accurately hit targets a thousand miles away, the reliance on a large number of strike aircraft on board the carrier might change. Likewise, Polmar sees the new short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 joint strike fighter as being able to operate from smaller flight decks, like amphibious assault ships. Polmar also sees the vertical takeoff V-22 Osprey in airborne early warning and anti-submarine warfare versions. Like the F-35 V/STOL, these aircraft can operate from smaller platforms. But Polmar also points to another emerging technology. Unmanned aircraft, such as the unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV), will be able to conduct strike and SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) missions without placing pilots at risk, or long-duration surveillance missions where aircrew fatigue will no longer be a factor. UCAVs are still at least a decade or more from becoming operational. “To meet combat and noncombat demands in the future, the United States’ aircraft carriers will require a range of capabilities that they do not currently possess. Carriers will need to be better able to mix and match personnel, aircraft, and other assets to emerging and evolving tasks. They will need to perform more extensive surveillance and reconnaissance, conduct air operations at greater distances, and be equipped to operate in nuclear environments. And they will need to be more modular, deploy on shorter notice, and be prepared to handle more casualties than they can today,” the RAND study reports. The next aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), named for the 38th president of the United States and a Navy veteran, is now under contract, with the keel scheduled to be laid in late 2009, and ship delivery in 2015. Formerly called CVN 21, the 100,000-ton CVN 78 represents the first completely new aircraft carrier design in more than three decades. Improvements include a new flight deck; an improved weapons handling system; advanced arresting gear; and a completely re-engineered electromagnetic aircraft launch system. The new nuclear propulsion plant features an electrical power generation system, which provides three times the electrical generation capacity of a Nimitz-class carrier. The new design has an enlarged flight deck and a new island structure. CVN 78, with its air wing of joint strike fighters and joint unmanned combat air systems, represents the future of carrier strike groups, and will contribute to each of the Sea Power 21 pillars of Sea Basing, Sea Shield, and Sea Strike. “For more than six decades, since the earliest days of World War II, the aircraft carrier has been the principal warship in the United States Navy, the fighting ships around which the U.S. fleet has been constructed and organized,” said Holloway. “Over this time, the carrier forces of our Navy have consistently demonstrated their invaluable worth as a principal instrument of national power, through which the military strategy of our country has been exercised in direct support of the nation’s most vital security objectives.”
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Building American Carriers From Nimitz to Bush … and Beyond By John D. Gresham “4.5 Acres of Sovereign U.S. Territory.” “90,000 Tons of Diplomacy.” – U.S. Navy nicknames for Nimitz-class (CVN 68) aircraft carriers
he above nicknames are accurate reflections of the potential destructive power and influence of America’s fleet of nuclear aircraft carriers. They accurately portray the strategic impressions delivered when a Nimitz-class (CVN 68) aircraft carrier arrives off the coast of a foreign land and begins to conduct operations. The largest warships in the world, and the most powerful conventional weapons system in history, the 10 ships of the Nimitz class represent the current state-of-the-art in aircraft carrier design. And while their replacements, the new Gerald R. Ford-class (CVN 78) carriers, are on the design computers at the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding’s (NGSB) Newport News Shipyard, it will be 2015 before the first are commissioned. So for most of the next decade, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and her nine Nimitz-class sister ships will remain the gold standard of contemporary aircraft carrier design. This is a rather bold statement, given that the basic design of USS Nimitz is now close to 40 years old, and that ship itself is more than 30 years old. In fact, the design of Nimitz actually traces back to the first American supercarriers of the Forrestal class (CV 59), dating back to the 1940s. Six decades is a pretty impressive run for any particular interpretation of an idea, much less one that remained the linchpin of U.S. naval strategy during that period. Mike Petters, president of NGSB, summed it up nicely when he said, “First, think about how things in your household have changed from 1970 to today. For example, I can recall a time as a kid when TV Guide used to list which programs were being broadcast in color. Today, TV Guide tells us which are being sent out in high definition! Now think about how far that part of our life has come in the time that the Nimitz-class has been built, since the late 1960s and early 1970s. That
gives you some idea of the robust design this ship has at its core. If you are able to hold onto a basic design from the late ‘60s or early ‘70s, such that in the 21st century, it is still the Navy’s dominant battlespace platform – then you have some idea of how good we think this class of warships is.”
EVOLUTION: THE ROAD FROM USS FORRESTAL TO USS NIMITZ The story of the creation of America’s fleet of Nimitzclass nuclear-powered aircraft carriers begins at the end of World War II, when the U.S. Navy had the most powerful fleet in the history of warfare. At the end of the war, the U.S. Navy was a truly two-ocean fleet, the core of which was two-dozen Essex-class (CV 9) carriers, all completed after Pearl Harbor. In addition, a number of Midway-class (CV 41) battle carriers, built around the propulsion system of the cancelled Montana-class battleships, were being constructed (three would be completed). The problem for the Navy was that none of these ships was able to operate aircraft that could carry and deliver the new atomic bombs entering service, something the new U.S. Air Force could do with its fleet of B-29 Superfortresses. The Navy decided to begin design and construction of a new class of aircraft carrier, USS United States (CVA 58), capable of operating aircraft with the ability to deliver nuclear weapons. Just days after being laid down, through, the United States was canceled and scrapped after the Truman administration decided to cut the program to save money, favoring the Air Force’s huge B-36 Peacemaker bomber for nuclear deterrence operations. However, the coming of the Korean War and the Truman administration’s “rediscovery” of the aircraft carrier’s value in conventional conflicts led to the
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Denny Cantrell
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USS Nimitz (CVN 68) steams through the Gulf of Oman on May 22, 2007. Nimitz, as part of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, was on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Maritime Operations. First of the class, Nimitz is now more than 30 years old.
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Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding
Navy designing the Forrestal-class supercarriers, the first of which was commissioned in 1955. The Forrestals were based upon much of the design work of the United States, with a somewhat more conventional layout including an “island” bridge structure on the starboard side. What was different about the Forrestals was their size (more than 76,000 tons full-load displacement), making them able to carry more aviation fuel and ordnance to sustain flight operations; an enclosed “hurricane” bow; and a host of new design innovations originated by the British. These included steam catapults, a stabilized light system to assist pilots during landings, and an angled flight deck configuration that made “touch-and-go” aborts finally possible. This last feature vastly improved flight safety on board carriers, saving countless aircraft and aircrew personnel. Four of the Forrestal-class supercarriers were constructed, followed by four more improved models of the Kitty Hawk class. USS Kitty Hawk (CV 65), which was commissioned in 1961, was even larger (almost 82,000 tons full-load displacement) than Forrestal, again with more stowage for fuel and ordnance, and for the first time on a carrier, surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). The next U.S. Navy supercarrier, the one-off USS Enterprise (CVN 65 –93,500 tons full-load displacement), was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ever built, with eight A2W 35,000-horsepower atomic reactors in place of the eight oil-fired boilers on the Forrestals and Kitty Hawks. These made Enterprise the fastest, most powerful warship in the world, able to cruise almost indefinitely, and requiring only food, aviation fuel, and ordnance to stay at sea. This was the state of the Navy’s supercarrier development when the United States entered the war in Vietnam in the mid-1960s, where carrierbased aircraft provided tens of thousands of combat sorties “over the beach” in support of U.S. ground and strike operations. For more than a decade, U.S. carriers became flexible mobile airfields able to move between locations in the northern (“Yankee Station”) and southern (“Dixie Station”) South China Sea. Along the way, a number of lessons were learned about aircraft carrier design and operations. The first of these was that bigger was better, particularly when it involved greater aviation fuel and ordnance stowage, allowing for longer time on station and staying in the fight. Additionally, three terrible fires on board USS Oriskany (CV 34), Forrestal, and Enterprise taught valuable lessons about better weapons handling, firefighting, and damage control on carriers. Finally, the emergence of the Soviet navy as a peer competitor in the open oceans had significant inputs into the design of the lead ship of the next class of American aircraft carrier: the Nimitz. Nimitz (the largest warship in history at 97,000 tons full-load displacement) was designed to be the first of a three-ship class that would provide the Navy with a platform that would take advantage of every lesson learned about carrier design and construction since World War II. Powered by a pair of A4W nuclear reactors (with the same 280,000 horsepower as Enterprise’s eight A2Ws), Nimitz would have the largest stowage capacity possible for aviation fuel, ordnance, and crew consumables. Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, long a leader in aircraft carrier construction and the builder of Enterprise, was selected to build the first of the Nimitzclass ships, and laid down her keel in July 1968.
THE LONG RUN: USS NIMITZ TO USS RONALD REAGAN “We shall build good ships here. At a profit – if we can. At a loss – if we must. But always good ships,” stated Collis Potter Huntington, founder, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company.
Unlike Nimitz, the final carriers of the class have been assembled using modular construction techniques. Here George H.W. Bush’s lower bow section, with its bulbous bow bulb, is lowered into place.
Located on 550 acres on the north bank of the James River in the Virginia Tidewater Region, NGSB – Newport News is the sole builder of nuclearpowered aircraft carriers for the Navy. The key pieces of infrastructure that make this possible can be found on the western end of the company’s property, where Dry Dock 12 is located and Nimitz-class carriers are constructed. Just under 2,172 feet long, Dock 12 is the largest such facility in the western hemisphere, and can be subdivided into two separate wet/ dry construction facilities with the addition of a removable/movable caisson.
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USS George H.W. Bush about to float for the first time, with the flooding of Dry Dock 12.
Running on railroad tracks along the full length of Dock 12 is a huge bridge crane, capable of lifting loads of up to 900 metric tons/198,000 pounds, which is the key assembly tool for the Nimitz-class carriers. When the keel for Nimitz was laid down in Dock 12 on June 22, 1968, Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the United States, and the first manned Apollo missions to the moon were still a year away. In 1968, the state of the shipbuilding art was still one of lowering one piece of a ship at a time into position, and building it to a series of paper blueprints, manually updated by hand daily by hundreds of draftsmen in buildings adjacent to the waterfront at Newport News. It was a different era in industrial production, with slide rules instead of calculators and laptop computers, no robots numerically controlled for cutting and welding, and where the skills of shipfitters on the waterfront were the measure of quality and workmanship for a company like Newport News. Perhaps most telling is
this fact: Petters was still a little boy on his family’s farm near Orlando, Fla., and far too young to drive a tractor! It took almost eight years from keel laying in 1968 to commissioning in 1975 to get Nimitz into the fleet, with more than a few growing pains. Years of high economic inflation in the costs of everything from labor to plate steel resulted in severe financial overruns for the program. The fact that Nimitz was a new design rather than an evolved Enterprise- or Kitty Hawk-class carrier also slowed construction and raised costs. There were, however, some good reasons for the problems. The move to a tworeactor power plant, an improved hull form with more stowage for fuel and consumables, and more “compartmentation” and structural strength all contributed. These last two points were extremely important, as the Nimitz-class carriers were facing a tough new threat from the Soviet navy. Beginning in the late 1950s, following the death of Josef Stalin, the Soviet navy had completely remade itself into a sea denial force, built around a potent mix of submarines, surface vessels, and long-range bombers. Many were armed with new anti-ship cruise missiles, with warheads carrying up to a metric ton (2,200 pounds) of explosives. The expectation was that the Nimitz-class carriers might have to survive a number of hits from such weapons and still be able to conduct flight operations following damage control efforts. And while some contemporary observers may have called the Nimitz-class carriers “sitting ducks,” nobody could deny they were very tough ducks. By 1982, the first trio (Nimitz, USS Eisenhower [CVN 69], and USS Carl Vinson [CVN 70]) of the big battle carriers was in commission and making its presence known. Nimitz had been part of the Iranian hostage rescue mission in 1980, and her aircraft shot down a pair of Libyan Su22 “Fitter” fighter-bombers in 1981. A fourth Nimitz-class carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), was ordered in 1981. It was, however, the coming of President Ronald W. Reagan’s new Secretary of the Navy in 1981, the Honorable John Lehman, who changed the entire course of the U.S. Navy in general, and the Nimitz-class carriers in particular. Lehman had a mandate from the new president to build a “600-ship navy,” with 15 aircraft carriers as its centerpieces. This resulted in the extraordinary ordering of two pairs of Nimitz-class carriers in 1982 and 1983 from Newport News, which became USS George Washington (CVN 72), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 73), USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Along with the construction of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, these four carriers provided steady work for Newport News for the next 14 years, giving the Navy a chance to ask the question, “What do we want carriers in the 21st century to be like?” Even before the Truman was laid down in 1993, the Navy was working on answering this question, especially in light of the end of the Cold War. What the Navy came up with was a master plan that would order two additional units of the Nimitz class (CVN 76 and 77), with a new class tentatively known as “CVN 21” being planned as CVN 78. The final two units of the Nimitz class, which became Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and George H.W. Bush, were planned as “transition” carriers to try out new technologies and equipment prior to their installation on board CVN 78. Ronald Reagan was ordered in 1994, laid down in 1998, and spent the next five years being built at Newport News, with a number of the aforementioned improvements and additions being made. These included: • Flight deck – The flight deck of the Reagan was slightly enlarged and the angle of the landing deck altered to allow simultaneous launch and landing of aircraft. In addition, new jet blast deflectors, an improved threewire arresting gear system (versus the four-wire systems used previously),
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding photo by John Whalen
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Courtesy of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding
The bridge crane at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding lifts the upper bow section into place.
and extensions to the deck edges allow safer and more efficient flight operations. Finally, a new high-capacity weapons elevator system was installed, so that fully assembled weapons, including precision-guided munitions and missiles, can be delivered directly from the magazines below to the flight deck. • Island structure/masts – The island structure on the Reagan was reduced in size and height, providing better visibility for both the navigation bridge and primary flight control. In addition, the numerous antennas and masts of earlier Nimitz-class carriers were consolidated to just two mounted on the island. • Hull – For the first time on an American aircraft carrier, a bulbous bow was fitted to reduce drag and increase the efficiency of the entire hull. This has the effect of extending the life of the reactor cores, meaning they only need to be replaced twice during the Reagan’s planned 50-year service life. • ICAN – Reagan was built as the first American aircraft carrier to trade copper wire links for a computerized fiber-optic network system known as the Integrated Communications and Advanced Network (ICAN) system. ICAN can control almost every major function on board, from conning the ship and navigation, to controlling the communications suite and monitoring consumption of water and aviation fuel, managing
power consumption, and controlling the enhanced air-conditioning systems. • Weapons/combat systems – Reagan set a new standard for aircraft carrier defensive weaponry, deleting the Mk. 15 Phalanx close-in weapons system, and replacing it with a pair of 21-round Mk. 31 launchers for the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile. Along with a pair of Mk. 29 launchers for the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow/RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), these weapons are tied into the Cooperative Engagement Capability System, which networks all the sensors and weapons of a carrier strike group together. The numerous changes and additions to the Reagan provided a first step toward the planned transition to CVN 78, and rapidly validated many of the systems that would be needed to accomplish the move. The last of the Nimitz-class carriers, the George H.W. Bush, will take the final step.
NEW AND IMPROVED: USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH When the Navy ordered the Bush from NGSB in January 2001, it was both ending one of the most successful warship classes in the history of naval warfare, and taking the last major step toward CVN 78, now called Gerald R. Ford. It also is worth noting that the entire process of building
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One of Bush’s four giant propellers, of a new, more efficient design, is lifted into place.
the Bush is fundamentally different from when Nimitz was laid down four decades ago. Gone forever are the paper blueprints, replaced years ago by a centralized digital-design database containing every drawing, engineering change order, and materials list. Instead of halls full of draftsmen, there are design engineers working in a number of venues around the NGSB carrierdesign center, doing everything from virtual reality fit checks to sending revised numeric cutting instructions via network to computer-controlled machines on the other side of the yard. Even the waterfront, one of the last bastions of American heavy industry, has fundamentally been altered by the march of time. Mobile phones and personal data assistants provide instant communications between the design shops and assembly supervisors out in the yard. And instead of the “one-piece-at-a-time” construction method used in the 1960s, “modular” construction techniques reign supreme at NGSB. Modular construction, originally developed by NGSB’s Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., builds the ship in large sections in the open-air assembly area just east of
Dry Dock 12, and then lifts the parts into position with the 900-ton bridge crane. This vastly reduces the amount of work required later at pierside, and is much more economical. During the six years she has been under construction, Bush has taken all of the previously described improvements and additions of Reagan, and added a number of others. These include: • Island structure/masts – The reduced-sized island of Bush has been enhanced with larger armored window glass, and upgrades to the navigation and communications systems. In addition, Bush has a new radar tower that has been relocated from the flight deck to the island, and something new for American aircraft carriers: a mast fabricated from composite materials, reducing maintenance and virtually eliminating corrosion. • Flight deck/hull – The aircraft arresting gear has been improved, and a new JP-5 aviation fuel system has been installed. In addition, a new family of lightweight hull and deck coatings is being applied on board the Bush, which will reduce solar heat absorption and resist staining, and cut almost 100 tons of weight. Bush also is receiving a set of newly designed propellers that should be more efficient than those on the nine previous Nimitz-class carriers. • Technology embedding – A number of new technologies are being embedded into Bush, including an all-digital photographic lab (no chemical processing), a new onboard oxygen/nitrogen generation system, an improved medical and dental suite to provide more and better services for the crew, and integrated data screens in the central damage control spaces, tied to the ICAN system. The key to this connectivity is millions of feet of blown fiber-optic network cable, which will link more points and functions around Bush than any other warship in history. • Vacuum collection/marine sanitation system – One of the very real problems faced by the Navy is that an aircraft carrier produces a sizable amount of human waste products each day, all of which must be disposed of somehow. Until now, this has been accomplished by a collection holding tank system, which has had to be pumped off into a municipal sewage system at pierside, if available, or pumped overboard while at sea. This tends to limit the ports at which carriers can call, given the niceties of local regulations. Bush however, has a state-of-the-art vacuum collection and treatment system. Thanks to a system of bacterial/aeration/ultraviolet light treatment, human waste becomes a “green” effluent, which can be pumped overboard in any harbor in the world. Commenting on all these developments, Petters said, “What that means is, on the Bush, there are significant technological advances from the basic Nimitz design. The basic features are the same: It still has four catapults and the same 4.5-acre flight deck. But inside the platform, the subsystems that allow the ship to operate have changed across the board – changed dramatically, in fact. We do electrical power generation differently, and we do oxygen generation differently. The requirements of the computer systems and information technology systems have mandated that we make changes to the way we generate, distribute, and stabilize power on the ship. That’s a major difference that has been built in over the years. The arresting gear system is also different – the kinds of differences that you would expect from a ship we delivered in 1976. That said, the fact remains that nobody else on the planet knows how to build these platforms.” One more point about the updates, additions, and improvements that have gone into Reagan and Bush: Most can be retrofitted back into the rest of the ships of the Nimitz class, even back to the lead ship, because for all the digital and computerized features of these two transition warships, they are still Nimitz-class carriers at their core.
Northrop Grumman photo by John Whalen
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Following maritime tradition in the stepping of the mast, President George H.W. Bush and Capt. Kevin O’Flaherty place their wings beneath the island of USS George H.W. Bush for good luck before it is dropped into place.
Courtesy of Nortrop Grumman Shipbuilding
INTO THE FUTURE: USS GERALD R. FORD As Bush is being commissioned, steel plates and other materials are gathering near Dry Dock 12 at NGSB in Newport News for the final act of the great carrier transition: the construction of Gerald R. Ford. Technologically, Ford will make clean breaks with the past of American carrier and warship design, and provide a roadmap toward the Navy of the mid-21st century. “What the new Ford class allows us to do is decide on what we like about what we’re doing and things we would like even better,” said Petters. “So starting over when the Ford began with a three-dimensional computerized design effort allows us to do things like electromagnetic catapults, or distributive electrical power systems. The other part of it is that we were able to go and factor into the basic design process how we really want to build these ships, and that’s going to lead to some significant efficiencies as well. So, being able to start with a clean sheet – for all the past successes of the Nimitz-class – going forward on the Ford is a great opportunity for us. It allows us not only to re-engineer the platform, but to also re-engineer the shipyard and our workforce. It
allows us to take the best of what we do well and apply that to the ship and its construction.” Key to this, as described previously, will be the elimination of highpressure steam and hydraulic fluid wherever possible, and replacement with computerized and electro-mechanical systems. These include: • Catapults – The familiar steam catapults first seen on board Forrestal in 1955 are finally about to be replaced by Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch Systems (EMALS). Essentially contained electromagnetic railguns, the four EMALS planned for Ford will have fewer moving parts, require less maintenance, provide greater reliability and availability, and be safer than the steam catapults used for the past five decades. Each EMALS will be powered by a 100-megajoule electrical storage system, and can recharge/cycle every 45 seconds. • Flight/hangar deck – Ford will have only three elevators, as opposed to the four of the Nimitz-class carriers, but they will be larger. In addition, there will be an advanced arresting gear system, greater space on the flight deck including “pit stop” refueling/rearming points, and new outboard weapons elevators. The hangar deck itself will be a new two-bay
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Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding
Finishing touches. The big white “77” is painted on the island of the final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
configuration. One other new feature will be the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS), which should finally make fully automated landings possible. JPALS will be vital if the Navy is to make unmanned air combat vehicles a significant part of future carrier air wings. • Island/masts – The design of the Ford has the island much further aft than on previous carrier designs, providing improved visibility over the flight deck. Ford will also continue the trend toward putting all the masts on the island structure, and reducing the overall number of antennas. Key to this will be the new Multi-Function Radar/Volume Search Radar (MFR/ VSR), a phased array radar system that will be very similar to the AN/SPY3 system planned for installation on board the new Zumwalt-class (DDG 1000) destroyers. MFR/VSR will replace six separate radar systems on board the Nimitz-class carriers. • Propulsion/power plant – To power all the new electrically driven systems like the catapults and new sensor systems, the Ford will have a
power plant arrangement greatly modified from that of the Nimitz-class carriers. While the Ford will still have two large nuclear reactors, the new A1B units will be able to be operated by a smaller crew than the A4W units on board the Nimitz-class ships. In addition, more of the output of the reactors will be devoted to electrical power generation for the catapults and other new ship systems. When Gerald R. Ford is commissioned sometime in 2015, it will replace the most famous aircraft carrier in the Navy: Enterprise. It is appropriate that America’s first nuclear aircraft carrier be replaced by the first of a new class, the Ford-class carriers. It is likely that the sons, daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters of today’s NGSB shipbuilders will build Ford-class carriers well into the mid-21st century. Warship construction is a family affair in the United States, and it is a strength for the nation that the qualities and skills of one generation be passed to the next into such a critical American resource as aircraft carriers.
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12/10/08 10:49:12 AM
Information Technology and USS George H.W. Bush
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher Wilson
By J.R. Wilson
n a world of constant technological change, few things change more rapidly or significantly than the realm of information technology (IT). With computer hardware generations averaging about 18 months and software almost immediately taking advantage of those evolutions, the concept of open IT architecture is not merely a cost-saving convenience but a mandatory defense against rapid obsolescence. That approach has made USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) a showcase for advances in IT capabilities, versatility, interoperability, and upgradability. The result combines improved ship operations with space and weight savings as well as a vastly improved ergonomic environment in critical areas of the carrier. Upgrades to the Bush from its sister ship, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), include
navigation and communications systems and integrated display screens in Damage Control Central that have been modernized to improve data integration and display. At the same time, however, tight budgets today and unknown funding availability in the future mean looking hard at commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, which are continuously updated to meet the needs of a far more affluent civilian market, versus proprietary military specifications (MILSPEC) or even government off-theshelf (GOTS) technology. “Our first approach is to look at what we need as the warfighter in incorporating the latest technology,” Bush’s Combat Systems Officer Cmdr. Bob Sullivan said. “With networks, a tremendous effort is going into COTS products: How do we maintain those items and design, develop,
Sailors observe and track flight operations in the combat direction center (CDC) aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). One of the newer systems that will be installed on board the Bush is the Aviation Data Management and Control System (ADMACS), which will network multiple systems now employed for air tasking and flight operations.
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install COTS, and still provide a reliable, secure, robust, and battle-ready architecture that not only takes care of us in battle but also is scalable, with which we can continue to develop and integrate newer technology, backfit ourselves to legacy technology, and continue to integrate operations for the fleet? “We’re becoming smarter and smarter as our technology grows smaller and smaller. As we shrink computer size, we increase computer power, so we are making things more powerful, capable, and flexible, but also smaller and lighter, as we strive to make our open architecture scalable.” Other changes brought into the Bush include a greater use of fiberoptic cabling, which provides greater bandwidth at less weight than copper wiring; LCD screens versus hard plexiglass or glass displays; and digital instead of analog for a brighter display with greater color capability. “Being able to use my brain to process the colors to instantly give me the status of a system is a definite advance over older, light-driven analog technology,” Sullivan said. “And because we are using the same technology and display types in all systems, we reduce the number of stores required on board and the footprint, enabling greater configuration management.”
Meeting the IT requirements of the most advanced carrier in the fleet is the result of years of development and testing prior to construction to make sure that technology is properly geared to meet Bush’s mission and requirements. It also means taking a hard took at lessons learned from legacy platforms – including the 5-year-old Reagan – and making changes whenever a new approach offers a better solution. “Some of the things we have advanced on Bush include just the way we are processing navigation-critical data, damage control, monitoring systems – all part of integrated networking, with individualized systems developed to meet a particular need now brought into federated systems,” Sullivan explained. “So as we grew, what we originally thought [might work] may not provide the most robust and reliable path, so we have taken some networks and broken them away from consolidated and into federated networks. “We continue to work the integration of displays and situational awareness types of monitors and displays to make them more network centric. So instead of having a stand-alone system with its own wiring and maintenance, we now incorporate that into a network of applications. We also try to build in redundancy in the servers and network to provide some
Official U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Aaron Burden
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) crewmembers man Damage Control Central under the direction of the damage control assistant (DCA), center, during a ship-wide General Quarters drill May 30, 2005. USS George H.W. Bush will have integrated display screens in Damage Control Central that have been modernized to improve data integration and display.
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type of system availability during a power outage.” One newer system being utilized to that end on board the Bush is the Aviation Data Management and Control System (ADMACS), which networks multiple systems together. “You have classified and unclassified information riding on the ship’s network on what used to be stand-alone remote displays but now are available at an operator’s workstation. They can see how flight ops are going, our whole air tasking, both shipboard and off-ship, within the battle or strike group concept and possibly beyond that,” Sullivan said. “Wind data also is being incorporated into ADMACS and providing more information than was available before on an analog display that the individual had to go to rather than call it up on his own workstation.” A future system planned for installation on the Bush – at a date as yet to be determined – is the Consolidated Afloat and Networks Enterprise Services (CANES). “In our current configuration, we break information up into classified and unclassified networks. CANES is a CNO [Chief of Naval Operations]–directed approach to reducing the infrastructure and providing increased availability across the networked enclave,” he said. “That, then, is a mixture of classified and unclassified information broken down by network, but accessible. CANES takes it to a greater degree of public key infrastructure and down to the individual’s clearance and need-to-know, so if they are going to access something, they not only have to be able to do so but are only able to access the level they need and are authorized to see.” Another important IT development for the Bush is an evolving ability to be independent of land-based data systems that can only be accessed while the carrier is in port. “We’re developing more and more systems that are plug-and-play, where we have a LAN drop attached to a particular network, whether classified or unclassified, so we can plug-andplay that information via a carry-on system. That gives you the system you need when you need it and gets rid of huge equipment racks, instead using
carry-on capability that can break out classified and unclassified as needed,” Sullivan explained. “That gives me the flexible interoperability I need, whether it is networking with a coalition, other services, or U.S. Navy assets.” Plug-and-play also simplifies moving from an onboard box performing one function to performing a different function for which there is no dedicated box on board. “The old technology would require putting a new box in and tearing out the old cabling and power lines. The carryon technology has an equipment rack with connectors and LAN drops; what I need to operate in a particular part of the world and for a specific mission can be flown aboard and hooked into the rack,” he continued. “If we need something else the next day, we just unplug one and plug another in, which could be a different classified system going to a different classified LAN [local area network]. So I have increased capability and decreased need for equipment space and systems, because I’m operating off a common equipment rack and common connectors, with all plug-and-play equipment today made the same size. “Once space and rack design is developed, built, and installed, the equipment size becomes standard and flexible to meet changes to the ship’s tasking. The majority of space work is done only once and overall installation and maintenance costs are reduced,” Sullivan said. The Bush also has a far more flexible and ergonomic IT infrastructure that Sullivan said will only become more so with the introduction of the next level of technology evolution: wireless. “When we first began doing wireless surveys, people thought that meant connecting their laptops, but it’s more complicated than that. It means being able to access the classified LAN through wireless means by incorporating today’s wireless technology on board the ship,” he said. “That provides several advantages, including reduced infrastructure, so we can minimize wiring by not adding those LAN drops. “There also are ergonomic advantages. With LAN drops, if you
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put them in one corner, you have to put the desk there and no longer can rearrange the space to meet new and changing needs. With wireless, you are free from the need for more infrastructure, space, and weight to meet the operator’s requirements, including arranging desks and tables to their best use and advantage. “And you have a very secure network under NIPRNET [Navy Internet Protocol Router Network]. You will not be able to come on board with a personal laptop with wireless capability and access that network because of the security in place – not the security of the information, but the security of the access.” Although Sullivan said Bush and Reagan, the last of the Nimitz-class carriers are considered to be in a sub-class of their own, they are very similar in terms of IT, Bush nonetheless utilizes newer, faster, and more scalable technologies, including advanced IT servers. But any advances made on the Bush, such as wireless, will be retrofit onto all Nimitz-class carriers, providing substantial space and weight savings. “We’re always driving toward ensuring the strike group commander has the right command and control for his ship, whether older or newer Nimitz class, and can meet the tasking of the Navy and the nation in terms of IT,” he added. “As the systems improve and utilize more fiber and wireless, I think we will find ways to make those more flexible, with less infrastructure.” Due in part to their greater similarity, lessons learned from five years of at-sea operations by the Reagan have been especially important to the design and evolution of the Bush’s IT systems. “One thing we have done as part of our distributed data control network and machinery control management system is federate our voice network. With Reagan, the voice network was integrated with the core network; on the Bush, it is federated, having its own path so we are not riding the same information suite. We learned a lot about the need for dedicated devices and systems versus shared, which is probably the greatest advance in terms of lessons learned from the Reagan applied to the Bush,” Sullivan said. “We now have a federated voice communications and distributed data control network, with Navigation Critical and the Machinery Control and Monitoring System pieced together to provide a whole host of solutions to the ship on things as simple as checking the status of a fuel tank to running the ship’s control
A liquid crystal display (LCD) panel on board USS Virginia illustrates the advantages of the LCD screens that will be used on board Bush.
system, autopilot, and displays. That also applies on lower-end technology, such as single halyard entanglement on radars, where flags might get entangled in the mechanics of a rotating radar. When the radar motors sense an increase in resistance during rotation, the motor stops turning, minimizing any damage to the gear.” Because the Navy’s legacy ships will be in operation for years to come, everything learned from the Bush will be incorporated into future changes for older carriers, just as lessons learned and improvements from installations in older ships also will be incorporated, as needed, across the fleet. But in a network-centric battlespace, the ability of the IT system to communicate with ships and aircraft from multiple allied or coalition nations is paramount. Joint interoperability is key to success. “We use the RF spectrum – line-of-sight or, mostly, satellite – for those communications. The good thing about the open architecture and construct we have is it provides us not just with the increased computing power we need, but is scalable as far as networks are concerned, based on adapting my technology – wireless, for example – so I can grow more systems riding a common network,” Sullivan said. “That goes across the command and control piece, weapons platforms, and distributed combat platforms, shore-, sea-, air-based, across both legacy systems on the older Nimitz
class and providing a working environment with other U.S. and coalition ships. That is a huge concern, piecing together many different types of networks and operating those with our newer gear.” The advances that make interoperability a concern today will only increase as technology continues to evolve and is applied, not only to the Bush, but across the fleet. “As we look to the future, we have to consider what of today’s technology is still applicable for tomorrow and how we will incorporate tomorrow’s technology. Working a smart-ship technology, we are leading edge today on digital monitoring and control of most systems on the ship,” Sullivan concluded. “We have to have tremendous mission flexibility, being able to cross multiple applications and domain solutions, seamless integration with CVN strike groups and in communicating with our allies and coalitions. We do this with these newer systems and must be able to work with both future and legacy technologies. “It’s all a matter of trying to ensure we meet mission tasking. We will be in a multiplemission mode, so we have to be flexible enough to meet each demand with the right amount of computing power, the right software, and the correct personnel trained to operate, administer, and maintain the systems in a Navy-only, joint, or coalition environment.”
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training and simulation
Training and Simulation Technology By J.R. Wilson
s the last of the Nimitz-class carriers, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is far more comparable to its immediate predecessor, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), than any of the earlier ships in its line. But even the brief gap between the July 2003 launch of Reagan and the early 2009 commissioning of Bush was more than enough to incorporate substantial lessons learned and technology upgrades. Among the most significant are those related to crew training and simulation. As has been the case with each new advance throughout the 33 years since USS Nimitz (CVN 68) first entered service, advances in Bush will be retrofit to the legacy fleet, to the extent possible, as each ship goes through its regular maintenance cycle. For now, however, Bush’s crew will enjoy the most portable and accessible in-port and at-sea training capabilities ever fielded by the U.S. Navy. “A lot of what we have on board is built from previous Nimitz-class carriers, so we’re using a lot of legacy training,” noted Bush’s training officer, Lt. Cmdr. Thaveephong Douangaphaivong. “There is a change in the training of our sailors going from schools ashore to more computer-based courses and online training, allowing our sailors to be more in charge of their training and what they need for the job they’re doing aboard our ship. A lot of the CBTs [computer-based trainings] will be online and available to the sailors, so there are some challenges, but the sailors control the speed at which they are learning and the information they are retaining. “We’re looking at the ability of the sailor to continue this under way, both near home port and on deployments, so our ship is getting the NIAPS [Naval Information Application Product Suite] server, which basically replicates what is available while we are connected to shore-based services so the sailors can continue their training at sea. While we are under way, the servers do periodic uploads to the land-based servers.” Among other advantages, onboard CBT means crewmembers will need to spend less time in school prior to reporting to the ship, “so we get
our sailors on board quicker with sufficient knowledge to perform their duties,” he added. “Throughout their tour aboard the ship, they can use CBT to refresh themselves or do advanced training not previously available. And they can convert to other ratings, using CBTs that support the desired rating so they can prepare themselves for that kind of transition.” With this form of self-paced training available to the entire ship’s crew, both enlisted ranks and officers, Bush will see an unprecedented level of demand for computers and system access. The response to that new requirement marks one of the major changes from previous carriers, including Reagan. “We’re making more computer technology available via our computerlearning centers and upgrading our training classrooms to smart classrooms,” Douangaphaivong said. “We are looking at the technology the students need, which is predominantly laptops, and the environment. They will need more multimedia training, so we also are bringing in projectors and linking the classrooms on board the ship so they can see more DVD-based information. We’re trying to make all four classrooms almost identical. I wish they were located together, but they are scattered throughout the ship. “We have found a donor who will help us with the realization of that concept – linking the classrooms with cameras so they can talk to each other. And we are working with the Navy League, which is talking to various sources [regarding future donations]. We have a total of four classrooms – two training rooms, the computer-learning center, and the indoctrination classroom. We’re looking at roughly 30 sailors apiece, so we could have a virtual classroom of about 120.” Bush will have 2,800 crew and 2,200 in the air wing, slightly fewer crew than other carriers as part of the Navy’s effort to determine the best transition from the Nimitz class to the next-generation Ford-class ship, which will have a significantly smaller complement. But with up to 5,000
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U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Kevin T. Murray Jr.
Cmdr. Carrier Strike Group 10 Rear Adm. William Gortney (right) tests one of many new computers installed in a distance-learning center during its grand opening aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) on Sept. 20, 2007. USS George H.W. Bush’s computerlearning center will be open around-the-clock.
personnel aboard, working in three shifts, and personal laptops unable to connect to the ship’s training system, classrooms and their laptops will be available whenever they are needed by anyone aboard. “We’re making some changes over previous carrier operations, where classrooms are only open during the day. The computer-learning center on the Bush will be open around-the-clock, which should improve their quality of life, solving a lot of their computing needs regardless of shift worked,” Douangaphaivong said. “Right now, we’re looking at trying to provide the computing power needed for each seat – roughly 100 or so computers – and also the audio/video equipment in each classroom, working with the combat systems folks to manage the servers in each classroom and allowing them to connect to one another. “The content is provided by the Navy education and training folks and will be about the same as other carriers, but how we present it to the students will be different, especially allowing them to interact across classrooms. While we are deployed, the Navy PACE [Program for Adult College Education] program will enable them to complete college credits while under way. If we have
enough enrolled, the instructor can teach from any of the four classrooms aboard the ship, with students in any or all of the four.” Even with larger and more frequent use of the four classrooms for group training, their primary application will be individual CBT sessions, with 30 or so sailors of all ranks sharing the room, but doing separate lessons simultaneously. Avoiding chaos and confusion in such an environment was another hurdle to overcome. “One of the areas of interest for me is how do you sanitize the training environment so they are not interrupted by the person next to them,” Douangaphaivong said. “We’re looking at different types of headsets and microphones so they can execute that CBT training in virtual silence.” While USS Gerald Ford (CVN 78) will feature a virtual training environment, where users don virtual-reality (VR) goggles and sensoryfeedback gloves, until the time comes to update the then-legacy Bush, CVN 77 also will incorporate a variety of on board and in-port systems beyond CBT.
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training and simulation
Out U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James E. Foehl
Lt. j.g. Jenna Rauning, assigned to Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific (ATG MIDPAC), acts as the conning officer of a bridge watch team while simulating an approach for underway replenishment during an unveiling and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Navigation, Seamanship and Shiphandling Trainer (NSST) at ATG MIDPAC. NSST is a new state-of-the-art bridge team trainer designed to replicate the environment found on the bridge of a U.S. Navy ship and utilizes life-like scenarios with visual simulations to train Navy bridge teams.
“Another enhancement to individual and ship’s readiness is something the big Navy is doing to heighten readiness of the individual and watch team, leading to the readiness of the ship, to the mission at hand,” he said. “In that regard, we are looking at the CV-SHARP [Carrier Sierra Hotel Aviation Readiness Program], which looks on an almost daily basis at the individuals, who log in the events they completed while standing watch; it also will tell them a projected readiness posture so they will know what they need to train to while they are on watch. This system will make watch-standing more focused on what they need to do in terms of mission readiness.” CV-SHARP reports individual and shiplevel training readiness to the Defense Readiness Reporting System-Navy and
eventually is expected to replace the Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS) as the readiness reporting tool for all carriers, possibly by January 2010. “It ties training to people, unlike the legacy systems that associated training with the hull of the ship,” explained Capt. Rinda Ranch, Naval Air Forces assistant chief of staff/training. “The application uses the training information recorded for personnel to assess operational training readiness at the unit level. It does this by running a roll-up calculation that builds qualified teams from the trained personnel on board.” Ranch also said CV-SHARP ultimately may be expanded to standardize operations across all classes of Navy ships using a watch team structure.
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training and simulation
“All training should be tracked at the person level. Ships don’t train, people do,” she said. “Training is something we do from boot camp to retirement and everything in between. The goal of CV-SHARP is to make the documentation of that training more accurate, effective, and efficient while maintaining a user-friendly interface.” Another innovation for Bush is an afloat version of the Navy Information Application Product Suite (NIAPS). “The nice thing about NIAPS is it provides Navy Knowledge Online, but instead of using the ship’s broadband to continually pull data from an onshore server, it brings speed, availability, and decreased use of ship bandwidth by having all that on board,” noted Cmdr. Bob Sullivan, Bush’s combat systems officer. “That’s probably the largest limiting factor on board the ship for anything off-board – what kind of bandwidth we have and for what service.” Bush’s combat watchstanders also will utilize a pier-side simulator – the Battleforce Tactical Trainer (BFTT) system – that will be installed in the ship’s combat systems watch spaces during its first scheduled maintenance period in 2009. BFTT is not a shore-based, stand-alone simulator, but uses actual ship’s systems and displays, with plug-in data simulating radar contacts and procedures to prosecute, detect, and engage. “The BFTT is a very good trainer in that I can vary the level of difficulty from basic to advanced, determine the type of tracks going in, and have an opportunity to grow the watch teams. When we are in port for a month or two, you can really have a lot of training atrophy because skills decrease when not constantly used. BFTT helps meet that need with as realistic a situation as possible,” Sullivan said. “The operators are sitting at their consoles as they would while under way and they practice their rules of engagement and all the pieces that make up being at sea and the multiple variables they will deal with each and every day. And no two days are the same. “I look forward to seeing how we incorporate BFTT and grow the watch teams. When we deploy on a mission, we must have the best qualified and most capable teams to handle all tasking we are given by our country.” In addition, Bush’s bridge team will use the recently upgraded Navigation, Seamanship and Shiphandling Trainer (NSST), a full bridge simulator on which they
can do navigation training, take bearings from navigation aids in practicing transits, perform maneuvers for a man overboard situation, and generally drive the ship in a virtual environment, performing maneuvers they will do at sea or even some they would never do at sea. “The simulations can set up a set of virtual cones we can drive the carrier through, doing high [speed] turns, for example. We wouldn’t actually do that at sea, because we will have planes and personnel on board that would not allow it,” Douangaphaivong said. While Bush’s systems provide the capability to convert actual systems to a training environment at any time, he said considerable reluctance to do that while under way remains, making pier-side the safest and most logical place to utilize the BFTT and NSST. Onboard training is an important part of carrier life, especially as enhanced by Bush’s classroom and individual learning opportunities, which greatly improve the ability of sailors to continue educations otherwise interrupted by months at sea. “Every day we are working our sailors, training in multiple paths as technicians, as watchstanders – and not just for the combat systems environment but for the total shipboard environment. We can’t call 911 at sea; we are the fire department, the medical department, the everything department, which means we have to have cross-trained sailors in multiple disciplines. So they have to know how to be everything from a weapons system supervisor to the combat systems officer of the watch, who is the primary watchstander and responsible for the status of combat systems, reconfiguring, initial casualty response, etc.,” Sullivan said. “Everyone from the basic operator to the combat systems officer of the watch must have confidence in their own abilities to reconfigure combat systems to meet the ship’s mission. There is a huge amount of responsibility on their shoulders and we are trying to grow each sailor to stand his watch with the confidence and ability to succeed – and that is what is needed for the ship to succeed.” Shipboard training did not need to wait for Bush’s official launch, however – nor even the end of construction. Douangaphaivong said the crew were able to go aboard even during final construction and keep their training up-to-date.
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training and simulation
“To see the level of involvement our sailors have, reinforcing their experience and training, while going through this PCU [Precommissioning Unit] experience is an eyeopener,” he said. “The contracted training piece for our ship involved 96 curricula provided by the shipyard. The sailors were actually injected into the development of that curricula early enough to have a hand in what information was gathered to be presented to them. “The innovation and integration with the shipbuilders is helping our sailors learn the systems and spaces bolt-by-bolt and plateby-plate as the ship is coming together and preparing for commissioning. I would say that is unique to this ship – and the shipyard folks
say this is the most proactive crew they have seen, doing things seldom seen before during new construction. Even though development was pretty much finalized, once we got here, we still were able to affect some of the content. Once the CBTs are in our hands, we can further update that content.” The ship’s training officer said there really is not a great deal of new technology specifically focused on training and the assimilation of the training materials on Bush, but just presenting a lot of legacy systems in a new fashion and introducing more multimedia into the sailors’ routine, along with the ability to further enhance both content and presentation, has made Bush the most advanced and unique training environment in the Navy.
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tom Robson is the officer in charge of the landing signal officer (LSO) school based at NAS Oceana, Va. The 36-year-old F-18 pilot from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is responsible for teaching Navy officers the procedures as LSO aboard aircraft carriers. Students learn through the aid of a virtual reality (VR) trainer that simulates an aircraft carrier at sea in a variety of weather and lighting conditions. LSOs help guide aircraft on board by using visual and audible systems. The two-week course qualifies approximately 140 students a year; the VR trainer also is used for refresher training classes that occur over three days.
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USS George H.W. Bush: Hometown FPO AE 09513-2803 By John D. Gresham with Susan Kerr
or more than two years, the pre-commissioning crew of USS George H.W. Bush has been working toward the impressive goal of making her a ship of war that a crew of proud Americans can call a home away from home and serve aboard to protect their own homes and their nation. At the same time, however, they also have been helping finish the construction of a moving metal mountain that is becoming an amalgam of their efforts and their spirit, along with that of the man she is named for: George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States of America.
PLANKOWNERS: THE FIRST CREW Normally when sailors arrive at a ship for assignment, they are joining a commissioned warship as part of an established crew. There is the security of knowing that someone before them has done their job, slept in their bunk, and that they should be able to do the job, too. Such securities, however, are not the lot of crewmembers of a new warship under construction. The early arrivals usually turn up to a rusty pile of metal, swarming with shipbuilders and showing little resemblance to the sleek warship that will emerge in a year or two. They initially have to live in nearby apartments and barracks for months at a time, in a decidedly vagabond lifestyle. Although the Navy technically calls them the “pre-commissioning crew,” there is a better-known name for such first-time crewmembers: plankowners. Plankowners are a unique brand of sailor – part adventurer and part “do-ityourselfer.” They have to be willing to step over cables and packing boxes on the way to the mess area, and live with the smells of carbide cutting tools, lubricants, and drying paint for months at a time. In short, they themselves join the shipbuilders to finish the ship and make their second home away from their home on shore. Most likely it will be the toughest shipboard assignment they will ever have in the U.S. Navy, and for many, the most fulfilling. To meet some of Bush’s plankowners is to begin to understand the growing persona of this new warship, which will be in service until somewhere around 2060. These are men and women who have taken a floating hulk of steel and turned it into America’s newest hometown.
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All photos by John D. Gresham
COMMAND: THE GREAT RESPONSIBILITY
Capt. Kevin E. O’Flaherty
The captain of a modern warship of the U.S. Navy is perhaps one of the last authoritarian monarchs left in the world. While the captain’s powers of life and death, along with those of pain and punishment, have been reduced since “The Age of Fighting Sail,” the responsibilities have grown exponentially, as have the skills required. In a day when the captain of an Aegis destroyer with a crew of perhaps 300 has almost a hundred surface-to-air and cruise missiles, two helicopters, and a rapid-fire 5-inch gun, the responsibilities of the commanding officer of a Nimitzclass nuclear aircraft carrier are almost impossible to comprehend. Carrier captains have to be able to maneuver a vessel the size of the Empire State Building powered by two nuclear reactors and operate up to 80 stateof-the-art warplanes and helicopters. The ship is filled with upward of 5,000 personnel (with the air wing embarked), most of them young men and women with an average age of 19 or 20. Mix this with millions of gallons of flammable jet fuel and hydraulic fluid and several thousand tons of highexplosive ordnance and you have the potential for disaster and havoc. Now add the fact that the ship in question is a combat vessel of the U.S. Navy, almost guaranteed to see action sometime during a command tour, and you begin to get some idea of what is required of this most powerful of U.S. warship commanders. Add to this the “unusual” additional duties of being a pre-commissioning unit (PCU) captain, and you can see why the U.S. Navy is so picky about the person to whom it hands over the keys. For the job of making PCU George H.W. Bush into USS George H.W. Bush, the man chosen was Capt. Kevin E. O’Flaherty, USN. A native of Los Angeles, Calif., O’Flaherty is a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Upon graduation, O’Flaherty was commissioned as an ensign, entered flight training, and was designated a naval aviator in 1983. Over the next 16 years, O’Flaherty flew the T-2 Buckeye trainer as an instructor (with Training Squadron 23, “The Professionals”), along with the A6E Intruder (with Attack Squadrons 115, the “Eagles” and 194, the “Milestones”), and the FA-18C Hornet as a combat aviator. This last aviation assignment included tours as both executive officer (XO) and commanding officer (CO) of Strike Fighter Squadron 94 (the “Mighty Shrikes”), where he flew combat missions during Operation Southern Watch. At the completion of his aviation command tour, O’Flaherty had more than 4,000 flight hours and had made more than 600 arrested carrier landings, or “traps.” O’Flaherty’s decision to take the carrier command career track (there also is a path to command an embarked air wing) came following his squadron
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Executive Officer Capt. S. Robert Roth
Command Master Chief Jon D. Port
CO/XO tour, and he completed Naval Nuclear Propulsion training in 2001. From there, he served as executive officer of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and then served a deep draft command tour as CO of the amphibious dock USS Juneau (LPD 10). During this part of his career, O’Flaherty participated in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. O’Flaherty arrived to take command of PCU Bush in July 2006, and has been in the midst of the most unique experience any warship CO can have: being a ship’s first captain. Consider this point: O’Flaherty is not taking over the ship from anyone else, and when the Bush goes to the breakers yard sometime around the year 2060, it is his name that will be on the ship’s commissioning plaque. To provide some perspective on that earlier point, consider that the last captain of the Bush has not been born yet, the father of the last pilot to fly off her decks has not yet been born, nor has the grandfather of the youngest sailor to leave the ship before decommissioning. O’Flaherty, who was able to place his own wings next to the president’s when the carrier’s island was landed on the flight deck, has his own views on his place in the history of the Bush. “It’s an honor to be a part of the legacy with the ship’s namesake, George H.W. Bush,” O’Flaherty said. “He’s a man of character, a very visible kind of person out there today. He’s served his country as a president and statesman. He was also a naval aviator. … Putting that package all together, building this crew to try to emulate his service and his character, has been one of the more interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding parts of this job.” But what is life like for O’Flaherty and his PCU crew as they prepare for the commissioning of Bush in early 2009? As this article was being written in the fall of 2008, PCU George H.W. Bush was tied to the outfitting pier at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding’s facility in Newport News, and was each day feeling the footsteps of thousands of shipbuilders and sailors. Every day, O’Flaherty and his crew were working hard to make their massive metal hulk into a ship of war. One measure of their progress was the steady process of “accepting” compartments from the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding workers who have labored since 2003 to build the Bush. To “accept” a compartment means that the Navy has agreed to take delivery of that space on board PCU Bush, and take responsibility for its operation and upkeep. When the last such acceptance takes place, the ship is prepared for sea trials off the Virginia Capes, and commissioning in early 2009. As talented an officer as O’Flaherty is, he cannot possibly perform every leadership task required aboard a warship the size and complexity of the Bush. O’Flaherty cannot even hope to learn the names of more than a fraction of the crew that he commands. Happily, the Navy has given him two very skilled leaders to take a share of the day-to-day responsibilities: XO Capt. S. Robert Roth, and Command Master Chief (CMDCM) Jon D. Port. More than once, naval analysts have compared Nimitzclass carriers to small cities, which makes O’Flaherty the
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mayor of PCU Bush. That same analogy would make Roth the city manager. A native of Mandham, N.J., Roth is a graduate of Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., who later earned a master’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology. Roth entered the Navy in 1986 with a commission from the Aviation Officer Candidate School, and spent two years with Navy Training Squadron 25 (the “Cougars”) as an instructor. Roth is a career FA-18 Hornet pilot, having served in Naval Strike Fighter Squadrons 132 (the “Privateers”), 87 (the “Golden Warriors”), and 136 (the “Nighthawks”). Along the way, Roth managed to attend the Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, and received a follow-on assignment as an ordnance test pilot. He later was XO and CO of Naval Strike Fighter Squadron 34 (the “Blue Blasters”), assigned to USS George Washington (CVN 73) during Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan. Like his CO, Roth has made the career choice to take the professional track that can lead to command of a carrier, and is well on the way to his goal. As Bush’s PCU XO, Roth has become immersed in the numerous new systems of the ship while dealing with everything from menu approval to deciding which personnel infractions will be referred to Captain’s Mast. His view is that the progress Bush and her crew have made is quite obvious. “We’ve been taking small steps each week and month toward becoming a fully operational deployable aircraft carrier,” Roth said. “On Aug. 11, 2008, we moved aboard with the crew and the mess, and that was very exciting. We had a special meal that day. We had steak and shrimp. The captain and the CMC and I stood behind the serving line and served the sailors their very first meal aboard. … We were moving 500 or 600 sailors on board the ship that week and it was a big day for us.” Most of the crewmembers aboard Bush are extremely young (think very early 20s) and of these, most are enlisted personnel. Many have joined to leave the places and circumstances in which they have been, and are looking for a professional situation that can provide them with personal opportunity and structure. Others seek the adventure and travel aspects of a naval career, and others the chance to serve the nation. Leading and providing a cohesive environment for all these young hopes and dreams is the job of one very special group of Navy professionals: chiefs. Or, more specifically, chief petty officers (CPOs), who provide the institutional link between COs and XOs like O’Flaherty and Roth. To provide a direct conduit to his CPOs and all of those sailors aboard his ship, O’Flaherty was given the chance to pick Bush’s first command master chief, Jon D. Port. Port is a living embodiment of everything that makes the U.S. Navy the best in the world, and is as much a portal to its future as to its present. Calling Scranton, Pa., his hometown, Port is one of the youngest CMCs in the Navy, advancing to E-9 in an astounding 16 years from his enlistment in 1986. An expert in the Russian language with extensive experience in intelligence operations, Port spent much of his career as
Postal Clerk First Class Leigh Ann Vaughan
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a “Raven” doing real-time translation of voice communications while flying in the back of EP-3s and ES-3s. Along the way, Port has been part of Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Provide Hope, and Continue Hope, with more than 600 combat flight hours, an Air Medal, and service with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in his resume. Port’s time with DTRA included more than 1,500 flight hours in support of the Open Skies program aboard OC-135Bs and as the first American aboard Russian Il-38s. Add to this amazing professional journey a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s in management, and a Navy “Master Linguist” designation, and it is easy to see why Port has moved up so fast. It also explains his first CMC appointment to Navy Helicopter Mine Warfare Squadron 15 (the “Blackhawks”), the Atlantic Fleet’s largest deployable aviation unit. His appointment as the first CMC of USS George H.W. Bush came after an intense round of interviews with a number of candidates by O’Flaherty. O’Flaherty said he chose Port “because he really played to the basic sailor, this process of ‘Sailorization.’ He knew exactly what we needed to have on a brand-new ship with a brand-new crew. …” Port’s thoughts echo those of O’Flaherty, especially on the notion of Sailorization, the Navy’s process of taking young people who only recently were civilians, and turning them into sailors, shipmates, and crewmen upon whom it can depend. “Capt. O’Flaherty and I have very similar views on putting a crew together,” Port said. “Probably my focus on Sailorization and the foundation of being a sailor is what drew me to him or drew him to me more than anything … he and I have very similar views on putting a crew together. …” Presently, the greatest leadership challenges to Port, O’Flaherty, and Roth involve molding 2,800 young sailors into a crew and helping turn a floating mass of steel into a ship of war.
Mass Communications Specialist Third Class Kyle Patrick Malloy
Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Apprentice Michael Woodward
DECKPLATE SAILORS: THE CREW OF USS George H.W. BUSH It is with a cadre of newly minted sailors, along with a solid core of sea-service veterans, that USS George H.W. Bush will be finished and commissioned in early 2009, and their collective stories are both insightful and inspiring. A surprising number either already have or are working toward college degrees, and many have ambitions of eventually being commissioned as officers. They come from around the globe, and your own backyard. Some of the first sailors who reported for duty aboard PCU Bush had the job of setting up critical functions needed to sustain day-to-day life on the new vessel. One of these is Postal Clerk First Class Leigh Ann Vaughan, who set up the post office on board PCU Bush when she reported aboard in 2006. Born in Gallipolis, Ohio, Vaughan grew up in West Virginia prior to joining the Navy in 1999. Since that time, she has worked at the Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., along with serving aboard the hospital ship USS Comfort (T-AH-20) and the destroyer USS Hayler (DD 997). Vaughan said she wanted to come to PCU Bush both
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Yeoman Seaman Jacqueline Borunda
Hull Maintenance Technician First Class Nicholas M. Brunney
for career advancement and the ambition to finish her bachelor’s degree in business administration. She has managed both, being named Bush’s “Junior Sailor of the Year” in 2007. With the ship’s post office up and running, Vaughan has moved over to the training department, tracking personnel training for the entire crew. Like many of the early arrivals aboard PCU Bush, she is ready to get out of the yard and Newport News and take the ship to sea. “I’m looking forward to getting out of the shipyard, taking her over to Norfolk and the commissioning party!” she said. Another early arrival aboard PCU Bush is Mass Communications Specialist Third Class Kyle Patrick Malloy, who works in the ship’s media department. A native of Lisle, Ill., Malloy came into the Navy after attending the University of Iowa and realizing that he did not just want a job, but to get some real-world media experience and more training. PCU Bush is Malloy’s first assignment after “A” School at Fort Meade, Md. His most memorable event aboard came in January 2008, when former president George H.W. Bush came to help with the deadweight tests of the catapults. “That was great,” Malloy remembered. “There were 50 sailors and 50 shipyard workers who got picked to be up there with him. As part of the media department, I got to work it and then later got to meet him. I didn’t realize how funny he was. He had me rolling!” Other first-term sailors are everywhere aboard PCU Bush, experiencing the many challenges and discomforts of the “Yard Navy” before their days at sea begin. For Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Apprentice Michael Woodward, who was born in New Jersey and grew up in Puerto Rico, the Navy was a chance to better himself and to make his family proud. A 2007 recruit, he arrived aboard PCU Bush in March 2008 and was assigned to the deck department. In describing his job aboard Bush, Woodward said, “I do real seamanship. We’ll be the ones doing UNREPs [under way replenishments] … and that takes a lot of training … to get ready for the real deal when that happens. …” Another first-term sailor who helps keep things aboard PCU Bush moving is Yeoman Seaman Jacqueline Borunda from El Paso, Texas. Borunda joined in November 2007 hoping to eventually go to nursing school, and PCU Bush is her first assignment. While her days are mostly spent in an office space processing security paperwork and Plans of the Day, Borunda has a positive attitude about her circumstances. “What I like best is the way the people are, how they’re so willing to help me,” Borunda said. “I’m new, and instead of getting frustrated and mad at me, they’re all willing to help and show me something new.” Somewhere between the CPOs, who represent the middle management of the Navy, and the fresh rookies right out of Naval Station Great Lakes are the experienced sailors who have become seasoned professionals and make ships like Bush work day-to-day. One of these is Hull Maintenance Technician First Class Nicholas M. Brunney,
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Religious Program Specialist First Class Jason Bocchino
who was a baker in his hometown of Lancaster, Ohio, prior to enlisting in the Navy in 1998. Brunney has spent much of his time in the Navy as a pipe fitter and inspector, serving aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), along with shore duty in Italy and Pearl Harbor. Needless to say, his particular skills are treasured aboard PCU Bush, where the need for pipe fitters and inspectors is acute. Much of his work is in the area of quality assurance, and Brunney has become a key part of getting compartments turned over from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding to the Navy. The Navy has been key to Brunney’s life as well. “It’s been fantastic to me,” Brunney said. “It’s given me everything I ever expected that it would. It gave me the travel I wanted. It’s given me the educational opportunities I wanted. It’s given me the trade skills I’ve wanted. I have zero complaints about the Navy!” Perhaps the most surprising sailor we met from PCU Bush was Religious Program Specialist First Class Jason Bocchino, a burly and tattooed native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who was a beer truck driver before enlisting in 1993. Built like a bulldozer and
looking tough as a bar fight, Bocchino is actually PCU Bush’s primary religious program assistant working in the Chaplain’s Office. Notwithstanding his powerful appearance, Bocchino is a gentle and focused sailor who has served with several Marine ground units, and most recently in Djibouti with Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. While there, Bocchino helped set up a program to teach reading and writing in English at a nearby girls’ orphanage. Today he is helping the Chaplain’s Office put together a robust religious program for the crew of PCU Bush. “I work with three chaplains and the chief,” Bocchino said, “and I’ve got a lot of sailors learning everything they can … I’m trying to teach them the best I can. We’re taking everything I’ve learned over the years about developing and running [religious] programs, and everything I’ve known about the sailors, and mentoring the sailors, and teaching the sailors, and getting them all the needs that they have – bringing it all together, this is perfect.” The U.S. Navy offers opportunities that draw sailors from around the world into its ranks. One of them aboard PCU Bush is Personnel Specialist Second Class Ilpa Patel, who came to the United States in
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Personnel Specialist Second Class Ilpa Patel
1999 from her home in Gujarat state, India. A payroll specialist who met her husband when she was living in Atlanta, Patel was not a citizen when she joined the Navy in 2004. Nevertheless, with the support of her family in India and husband here in the United States, she has prospered in the Navy. With a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and working on a master’s in health services administration, Patel has plans to become an officer soon, and wants to stay in the Navy. She believes that the best thing to do for the nation is to serve. Raised in a very conservative society in India, Patel’s dream has always been to be part of the Navy, having watched the television show JAG, and said of her assignment to PCU Bush, “Bringing a ship to life is a once-in-a-lifetime honor.” Another PCU Bush sailor who brings a foreign perspective is Machinist’s Mate Second Class Babajide Olowu, who, while born in Springfield, Ill., grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. Following his return stateside, he enlisted in the Navy and went to submarine school, serving aboard USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) for more than four years. Wanting to know what life was like on a carrier or surface ship, Olowu quickly found a slot on PCU Bush, and joined her in Newport News. Despite the hard work of putting Bush into commission, Olowu said, “After growing up in Lagos, this is easy … my plans are actually to go to school and then hopefully be commissioned someday. …”
THE OTHER CREWMAN: “41”
Machinist’s Mate Second Class Babajide Olowu
This account of the PCU crew of CVN 77 would be unfinished if the one crewman who has influenced it most were not mentioned: President George H.W. Bush. Ever since the announcement in December 2002 that CVN 77 would be named after the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush and his family have been passionately and regularly involved in her construction and fitting out. “41,” as the crew respectfully refers to him, has visited Newport News regularly since the announcement, something the crew and shipyard personnel have embraced and of which they are deeply proud. Along with the ceremonial events like the keel laying in 2003 and christening in 2006, Bush has been present for a number of significant construction milestones. When the island superlift was laid onto the deck in July 2006, Bush and O’Flaherty both placed their naval aviator “wings of gold” under the 700-ton structure just before it was dropped into place. Called “stepping the mast,” it is a nautical construction custom going back to antiquity. This was, however, the first time in anyone’s memory that an aircraft carrier’s namesake had participated in such an event. More recently, in January 2008, 41 came to Newport News to assist shipbuilders and PCU Bush sailors as they conducted catapult testing. Signing his name to one of the “deadload” trolleys, the former president gave the signal for the catapult to be fired, and the wheeled load was launched into the James River. Have no doubt 41 is as proud of the ship that bears his name, and the crew that man her, as America is of him.
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Making Life Aboard Better: USS George H.W. Bush Quality-of-Life Improvements By John D. Gresham
“No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned ... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company.” – Samuel Johnson
hile one might disagree with Samuel Johnson’s assessment of sailors and their character, his point about conditions aboard ship have not completely changed since the 19th century. Conditions aboard U.S. Navy warships have always been among the best of any sea service in the world, and remain so today. However, this does not change the reality that nobody aboard any Navy ship of war is sleeping in a king-size bed, or getting made-to-order gourmet dinners in their private stateroom. From the admiral’s cabin down to the berthing for newly minted seaman’s apprentices, life aboard a warship is hard and Spartan, and likely always will be. Interestingly, most other U.S. Navy surface warships like cruisers and destroyers actually are less crowded and more comfortable overall than aircraft carriers; carriers like those of the Nimitz-class are large and have more and different facilities that contribute to crew comfort and morale, but more personnel must share and often stand in line to use those facilities. Add to this the need to provide separate berthing, bathing, and sanitary facilities for female crew personnel, and one quickly finds life aboard an aircraft carrier a little like a crowded college dormitory. That said, the Navy recognizes that improving quality of life while deployed can have an extremely positive effect on sailors in the fleet. Young flight deck crewmen, who may spend up to 16 hours a day among the howling noise and oppressive heat and wind topside, will keep doing it for months at a time for the promise of a hot shower and a cup of “auto dog” soft-serve chocolate ice cream at the end of a long day. Good food, regular mail service, and shipboard movies have been staples of the Navy’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) programs since before World War II, and continue to be to this day.
Aboard the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Les Sheffield, from Sweetwater, Texas, reads a novel while he relaxes in between two racks after a long day of work on Oct. 18, 2005. While conditions aboard today’s nuclear-powered carriers are often cramped, the U.S. Navy is dedicated to improving sailors’ living conditions through a host of facilities and activities.
U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Konstandinos Goumenidis
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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lawrence M. Shannon
Capt. Kevin E. O’Flaherty, commanding officer of the Pre-Commissioning Unit George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), addresses the crew during a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the ship’s galley and crew’s mess. Good food is a very basic and necessary support to crew morale. Beginning in the 1970s, with the coming of the all-volunteer U.S. Navy, ship designers and shipbuilders were taking the need to improve creature comforts afloat into consideration to help with retention and crew morale. Fold-down berthing went the way of the hammock, and improvements in MWR facilities and equipment became standard. This was first reflected in the design of the Spruance-class (DD 963) destroyers and Tarawa-class (LHA 1) large-deck amphibious dock ships. Similar improvements were added in the designs of other Navy ships, including the massive Nimitzclass nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Since the 1970s, shipboard MWR facilities and programs have steadily improved, and nowhere has this been more obvious than aboard aircraft carriers. One of the first areas, with the coming of the fitness revolution in the 1980s, was the setting aside of space in the hangar bays for ad hoc gym facilities with workout equipment. On board cable television systems, which have been installed in aircraft carriers since the 1960s, were expanded so that movies and other media could be broadcast throughout the ship. The coming of the Internet in the 1990s, along with the first broadband satellite communications links, revolutionized shipboard life with the addition of e-mail, ship phones, and satellite television. The ability to send daily e-mails with photographs and other attachments has changed the solitary nature of a sailor’s life forever, and created a new dynamic for what is expected in a day at sea. Aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), quite a lot is being done to make life better for the crew. Some of them are a side effect of a number of shipboard improvements originally intended to increase the ability of the Bush to plan and execute information-intensive operations, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, precision strikes, and enforcing no-fly/naval quarantine zones. Millions of feet of new fiberoptic cable are being added to the Bush, for example, with plans to install network access points in virtually every space on the ship. This will allow crewmembers with laptops to plug in almost anywhere, and be able to send and receive e-mail, along with accessing Plans of the Day, training and
qualification materials, technical publications, and other useful data. This will eliminate the need for sailors to wait for computers to send and receive e-mail to and from home. This enhanced and expanded data network will also allow vastly expanded television programming, including live remote feeds from around the ship, along with more satellite television channels of live news and events. One other shipboard network innovation planned for installation on the Bush in 2009 was described by Pre-Commissioning Unit George H.W. Bush’s Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin E. O’Flaherty. “We may be the first ship to have a large-scale wireless LAN [local area network]. It won’t be going in until we come back from shakedown. They’ll build it in the middle of next year,” he said. “That should also be a large benefit professionally as well as in many other ways as far as enhancing the quality of life for the crew … especially in the library, lounge, and chapel areas of the ship.” While many of us take for granted wireless broadband in our homes, offices, and coffee shops, a shipboard wireless LAN will be a real improvement for sailors aboard the Bush. The Navy’s plans for new upright berthing spaces will not be implemented until the new class of carriers, led by USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), is commissioned around 2015. This means that sailors will still need to find other places to take their laptops aboard the Bush, and the wireless LAN goes a long way toward making that easier. Another MWR improvement will be the enhanced gymnasium spaces, which no longer are confined to the hangar bays. The need to keep a carrier crew physically fit is not in dispute, and gyms often represent a necessary resource in maintaining the combat readiness of those with critical skill jobs like aircrews and deck personnel. Consider also the number of officers and sailors who need to maintain their weight, rehabilitate orthopedic injuries, or just relieve stress, and the need for good workout facilities as a critical MWR resource is obvious. While the open-air gyms are still there and favored by some crewmen, the regular deployments to hot and humid climates like the Persian Gulf
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U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Milosz Reterski
Lt. Joel Rolley lifts weights in the main gym aboard the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) as part of “maintain a healthy lifestyle month,” on Dec. 4, 2007. Gym facilities have become a “must-have” aboard carriers.
and the Far East have prompted most carriers to carve out gym areas inside the air-conditioned sections of the ship, although finding space for the gyms in older ships of the Nimitz class has been difficult at times. On the Bush, however, the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB) engineers at Newport News, Va., have made room specifically for this purpose. And, with the assistance of the Navy League’s shipboard enhancements program, these facilities will be stocked with a state-of-the-art array of weights, machines, and other exercise equipment. Now the problem will be trying to share and schedule all of the benches, treadmills, elliptical machines, and other equipment among the 6,000 members of the Bush’s future crews. What other MWR improvements might the Bush and her crewmembers receive in the next few years? That likely will depend upon the march of technology, operational security requirements, and the need to maintain shipboard discipline. One obvious desire by young sailors is for live instant messaging with friends and loved ones back home, and perhaps some type of live, two-way video teleconferencing. This may be an “innovation too far” for now, however, as the bandwidth required and questions of operational security are likely to make the Navy and the Department of Defense think twice before such services are offered to sailors and Marines at sea. For all the technological and other physical improvements that NGSB, the Navy League, and the Navy have put into the Bush, there still
is the need to maintain the MWR basics that go back decades. Keeping good Navy chow on the mess trays has never been more important, and with the growing ethnic diversity of U.S. Navy personnel, menu selections will need to be more varied. Religious diversity also is demanding more of chaplains and their support staffs to keep up with the growing numbers of Muslims, Hindus, and other religious groups in service. There also are the normal emotional needs of young sailors, often away from home for the first time, with personal problems that await them ashore, and the needs of family and friends in mind. Those parts of the MWR equation date back to the time of Odysseus, and will never change. The need to take care of our sailors and Marines afloat has never been more imperative, especially as the United States heads into the eighth year of the Global War on Terrorism, and the need for carriers and their aircraft will never be greater. Given the desire to keep the sea services an all-volunteer force, and the need to retain seasoned sailors and Marines in active service, services and spaces dedicated to MWR aboard ship are only going to be more essential. Recognizing the importance of taking care of the sailors and Marines on every carrier commissioned, Navy League Hampton Roads also makes a major contribution by using commissioning funds to provide many additional upgrades that add to the quality of life for all those serving aboard.
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The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) leads ships from its strike group into the Indian Ocean Sept. 5, 2008. The group was on a scheduled deployment in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans.
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Fighting Flattops U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups By John D. Gresham
hen a crisis erupts somewhere in the world, carrier strike groups (CSGs) are the way the United States Navy (USN) sends carriers into harm’s way, surrounded by a collection of warships designed to protect and support America’s invaluable flattops.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans
AIRCRAFT CARRIER BATTLE GROUP DEVELOPMENT Back in the late 1920s and 1930s, when America had only a few aircraft carriers, the U.S. Navy spent a great deal of effort during its annual “Fleet Problem” exercises to find out the best way to operate carriers. Over the course of several Fleet Problems, the Navy established that flattops were best used with the fast scouting forces rather than being tied to the powerful, but slow, battleships. When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor sank or badly damaged the Pacific Fleet’s battleships, the only credible combat groups left in the U.S. Pacific were, in fact, “task forces” of one or two carriers with an escort of cruisers and destroyers. Later in World War II, “task groups” were composed of up to four aircraft carriers, several fast battleships, several cruisers, and up to 16 destroyers. The coming of supercarriers in the 1950s saw the development of the modern CSG, returning to a single-carrier configuration. These were regularly assigned nuclear strike missions against targets on the periphery of the Communist bloc, along with operating as mobile airfields during strikes against targets in Korea, Vietnam, and Libya, among others. The development of ship-based surface-to-
air missiles (SAMs) added a new layer of protection for the CSGs, which had mainly depended upon carrier-borne fighters for protection since the appearance of Japanese kamikaze suicide planes at the end of World War II. These hinted at the potential future threat of anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), which, along with nuclear submarines, would become the major threat to CSGs in the decades ahead. The five decades of the Cold War were a back-and-forth race between the USSR and the United States over which side could put the most firepower into the fight between the Soviet navy and CSGs. By the late 1980s, the Soviets had built up a huge force of long-range bombers armed with large ASCMs (with warheads up to 2,200 pounds/1,000 kilograms in size), along with strong surface and submarine forces with similar weapons. The USSR hoped that the CSG defenses would be overwhelmed, and the carriers either sunk or disabled on the first day of the conflict. The American response was the progressive hardening of the CSG’s defenses, including the development of the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet, the AIM-54 Phoenix missile and AIM120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), and the Aegis combat system and SM-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM). Following the Cold War, CSGs have spent the past two decades supporting U.S. operations ashore in places like Iraq, the Balkans, and Afghanistan. Today’s Navy CSGs reflect the realities of the post-Cold War world, with a U.S. Navy only half the size of its
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1980s peak, and only 10 to 11 carriers to build groups around, only two to three of which are operational at any one time.
AIRCRAFT CARRIERS: QUEENs OF THE STRIKE GROUPs Today when you think of American aircraft carriers, there are a couple of very safe assumptions. First, the carrier will be nuclear powered, and second, the carrier in a particular CSG is probably one of the 10 Nimitzclass carriers that will be in service following the commissioning of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The sole exception to this until the middle of the next decade is the venerable USS Enterprise (CVN 65). The carrier is the reason for the CSG’s existence, with the 40-plus fighter-bombers of its embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) able to fly more than 100 strike sorties a day. These aircraft can deliver a truly amazing amount of damage to an enemy, whether at sea or ashore. Down in the carriers’ magazines are thousands of tons of ordnance, ranging from AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship and standoff land-attack missiles (SLAMs)
to unguided “iron” bomb bodies, which can be configured in a variety of different ways including as precision munitions. This gives the carrier group an impressive offensive punch that can be sustained almost indefinitely with under way replenishment. In addition to its offensive qualities, the CVW also is an impressive defensive asset for the CSG, with all the fighter-bombers able to carry a full array of AIM-120 AMRAAMs, along with the new AIM-9X Sidewinder dogfight missile. The new C7 and D model AMRAAMs have excellent capabilities against both aircraft and cruise missiles, forming the outer layer of defense for the CSG. Backed by the CVW’s small force of E-2 Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning (AEW) and EA-6B Prowler/EA-18G Growler Electronic Warfare (EW) aircraft, the entire CSG has an impressive level of situational awareness for hundred of miles in every direction, both in the air and on the sea. Defensively, the carrier itself is modestly armed with SAMs, usually with a pair of eight-cell Mk 29 launchers for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow/RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs), and another pair of 21-cell Mk
U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Adam R. Cole
The guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) steams toward the British ship HMS Ark Royal (R-07) in the Atlantic Ocean on April 14, 2008, during a maneuvering event as part of Constant Alliance 08, a U.S.-United Kingdom exercise that builds on existing defense partnerships. Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruisers are the key air defense element of a carrier strike group, but also have considerable anti-surface, anti-submarine, and land attack capabilities.
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31 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers. Combined with the carrier’s own onboard EW systems, the SAMs provide a “last chance” shield against any “leaker” enemy cruise missiles or aircraft that make it past the CSG escorts. That task is tougher than it sounds, however, as all the SAMs in the CSG, including those of the escorts, are linked via a computerized data link called Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). CEC takes the radar contact data from all the ships in the CSG, fuses it into a single combined situational picture, then provides firing cues to the ship best positioned or equipped to stop a particular threat against the CSG. This means that an Aegis cruiser might actually provide firing data for a Mk 29 launcher on a carrier to destroy an incoming missile targeted against one of the destroyers of the CSG.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Grant P. Ammon
AEGIS CRUISERS: SHIELDs OF THE FLEET While the aircraft carrier of a CSG does not have a particularly impressive defensive capability outside of its embarked CVW, the USN makes sure that there are strong defenses organic to every such group. The most capable of these are on board one or two Ticonderogaclass guided missile cruisers, each of which carries the latest version of the USN’s Aegis combat system. Aegis, which came into the fleet in 1983, is a computerized active phased array radar system, able to monitor targets within a vast “bubble” of airspace around the ship, along with objects in low-Earth orbit. The key to its extraordinary sensory prowess is the AN/SPY-1 radar system, which consists of four large phased radar arrays, backed up by the computers of the Aegis system. While built on the same hull and power plant as the earlier Spruance-class destroyers, the 22 remaining “Ticos” can punch well above their weight. Each Tico has a pair of 61-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLSs), able to carry and launch SM-2/SM-3/ESSM SAMs, BGM-109 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (TLAMs), and RUM-139 Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rockets (VL-ASROCs) armed with lightweight anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedoes. In addition, each Tico has a pair of 5-inch guns, RGM-84 Harpoon ASCMs, ASW torpedoes, two Mk 15 Phalanx 20 mm Close-in-Weapon Systems (CIWSs), a pair of M2 .50-caliber machine guns, and up to two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters. Tonfor-ton, the Ticos are the most heavily armed warships in the world today. The Aegis system has proven extremely adaptable, being upgraded over the past two
decades with new software, computers, and lightweight SPY-1 radars, which allow it to shoot down not only ASCMs and manned aircraft, but also incoming ballistic missiles. Early in 2008, the Aegis cruiser USS Erie (CG 70) used a modified SM-3 SAM with new software to shoot down an errant U.S. reconnaissance satellite over the Pacific. So capable are the Aegis-equipped cruisers that most of the USN fleet air defense duties have been shifted away from manned fighter-bombers so that their sorties can be reserved for strike operations.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), assigned to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, patrols the Persian Gulf on Feb. 11, 2008. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are tough, heavily armed ships, capable of air defense, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, and land attack.
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DESTROYERS: GREYHOUNDS OF THE FLEET For over a century, the Navy’s destroyers have been the general-purpose escorts for the fleet. However, the end of the Cold War has seen a significant drawdown in the USN destroyer force over the past two decades, with the legacy Spruance- and Kidd-class ships retired, laid up, transferred to foreign navies, or scrapped. This means that every American destroyer you are likely to encounter on the high seas these days is a unit of the Arleigh Burke class. Like the Ticonderogaclass cruisers, the Burkes are equipped with a lightweight version of the Aegis combat system, along with SM-2/SM-3/ESSM SAMs, TLAMs, and VL-ASROCs nested in a pair of Mk 41 VLSs, each with 96 launch cells. Each Burke also has a 5-inch gun, Mk 15 CIWS, ASW torpedoes, and M2 machine guns. Later units also have hangars for a pair of SH-60 helicopters, without the Mk. 15 CIWS. They also are built to take punishment – built out of steel, with Kevlar® armor, and advanced damage control features. First commissioned in 1990, the Burkeclass destroyers have been in production at two U.S. shipyards for more than 20 years, and continue to be produced today. A total of 62 Burkes have been contracted and have become the standard escort for the USN. Thanks to the application of shaping and other “stealth” technologies, the Burkes have an extremely low radar, infrared, and acoustic signature, and are often used for work inshore. Their hull form, wider than traditional destroyer lines, also provides better seakeeping and sustained speeds in heavier seas. Along with their “big brother” Ticos, the Burkes have regularly launched land-attack strikes with TLAMs, and provide the fleet with its best defense against air and cruise/ ballistic missile attack, as well as providing ASW protection against submarines.
FRIGATES: THE VANISHING BREED Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. Navy had a robust force of small, general-purpose escorts called frigates that were the most numerous combat vessels in the fleet. In fact, at one point, more than 100 frigates were in USN service, doing everything from escorting Kuwaiti tankers in the Persian Gulf to conducting boarding operations searching for terrorists and contraband cargo. Today, fewer than 30 surviving Oliver Hazard Perry
(FFG 7) frigates are in service with the USN, with one usually attached to each CSG when deployed. Each Perry-class frigate is armed with a 76 mm automatic cannon, ASW torpedoes, Mk 15 CIWS, M2 machine guns, and a pair of SH-60 helicopters, and while nimble and well-equipped for ASW, quarantine, and boarding operations, the removal of the frigates’ Mk 13 SAM/Harpoon launchers a few years back has limited their utility. Eventually, their in-shore duties will be taken over by the new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), when it becomes operational sometime in the next decade. The USN plans to buy more than 60 LCSs, though financial limitations may reduce that number. Also, the LCS is not really intended to operate with the CSGs, though the need for more escorts may change those plans.
STEEL SHARKS: SUBMARINES AND THE STRIKE GROUP One might logically ask what good a couple of nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) would do for a CSG operating on the other side of the world, and the answer would be “quite a lot.” America’s force of SSNs is perhaps the most versatile and capable in the world, and has evolved a great deal over the past four decades. What was once a force that was focused on hunting other submarines is now also able to provide direct support for CSGs with intelligence gathering, land-attack strikes with TLAMs, and anti-ship operations with torpedoes and RGM-84 Harpoon missiles. It is in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) collection that the SSN has become particularly adept, especially when used as bases for special operations forces (SOF). Most of the SSNs that work with the CSGs are Improved-Los Angeles-class (SSN 688 – also known as “I688”) boats, with four 21-inch torpedo tubes, and a dozen VLS tubes in the bow for launching TLAMs. The I688s are being augmented by the new Virginia-class attack boats, which are specifically designed for inshore tasks such as conducting ISR and supporting SOF missions. Among the quietest and most capable nuclear submarines in the world today, the Virginias will gradually replace the I688s as the older boats come to the end of their reactor core lives.
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