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Vol. 8 Issue 54




May 18, 2012

Kearsarge HTs: the go-to crew MC3 Corbin Shea

The 40,000-ton amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) doesn’t stay afloat by itself. It takes constant maintenance to keep the steel hull seaworthy and able to stay afloat. Performing repairs to Kearsarge is a complex task that requires a special set of skills to manipulate the ship’s structure. Fortunately, the hull technicians (HT) aboard have the right know-how, training and experience to do just that. “We do everything from pipe fitting, fabricating, metal working, habitability issues, heads and galley equipment,” said Hull Technician 1st Class Travis Hale, leading petty officer of repair division. “We’re directly responsible for helping Kearsarge complete its mission by always having maximum materiel condition readiness.” Kearsarge HTs are as integral to the ship’s operation as any piece of equipment or personnel.

“We play a vital part in the Kearsarge mission,” said Hale. “If there are any repairs that need to be done, we do them. Without welding and brazing repairs on critical equipment, we wouldn’t be able to carry on with the mission,” said Hale. “Our HTs are the best,” said Hale, “They’re very skilled and ready for any challenge they may have to face.” Hale referred to an instance during Exercise BOLD ALLIGATOR in February when a shaft on a Marine amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) broke, rendering the equipment inoperable. It was Kearsarge HTs that welded it back together and made the AAV operational again. If not for those repairs it would have stayed on the ship and not made the beach landing, weakening the landing forces. Even though they received no training on repairing an AAV, they still rose to the challenge, completed the job and the AAV was able to complete its mission. Now, with the Board of In-

In Brief...

U.S. in waiting game on Syria

Fifteen months into the crisis in Syria, and the Obama administration is, as one U.S. official describes it, in “a holding pattern,” waiting for Russia to abandon its support for President Bashar al-Assad, waiting for sanctions to topple the economy and waiting for an organized Syrian opposition to present a coherent vision for a post-Assad Syria. As the U.S. waits for what many be-

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Corbin Shea

Hull Technician Fireman Zachary Smith, from Dover, Del., repairs a door lock aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3).

spection and Survey (INSURV) right around the corner, they’re special skill-sets are more important than ever. And they’re not just taking on the big jobs. They also fix every day things that are essential to living comfortably aboard Kearsarge. “We deal with a lot of issues in the berthing like sinks and toilets,” said Hale. “Sometimes we’ll go in the berthing and the whole plumbing system will be

lieve is the inevitable failure of a United Nations-backed plan, American officials say they would rather U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan to pronounce his diplomatic efforts a failure himself.

Who is the ‘Butcher of Bosnia’? Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb army commander who went on trial Wednesday for crimes against humanity, is a notorious name synonymous with the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Balkan

down because of people misusing it and throwing stuff that doesn’t belong down the toilets.” Hale said the work is much more rewarding when surrounded by a good team. “This is the best group of guys and gals I’ve had the honor of serving with in my 12 years in the Navy,” said Hale.

See HTs, page 2

wars of the 1990s and the bloody assaults on Sarajevo and Srebrenica. During the five-day orgy of slaughter at Srebrenica, which Mladic is accused of being directly involved in, up to 8,000 Muslims were exterminated in what was described by the U.N. war crimes tribunal as “the triumph of evil.” A judge at The Hague tribunal described what happened there in July 1995 as “truly scenes from hell written on the darkest pages of human history.”

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May 18, 2012


George Washington kicks off Sea Trials Navy News Service

USS George Washington (CVN 73) departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, May 12 to conduct sea trials in preparation for the ship’s next patrol. George Washington sailed from its Truman Bay pier into open waters to begin a certification process that will ensure the ship, its equipment and crew are ready for extended periods at sea. “We’re ready to execute sea trials,” said Capt. David A. Lausman, George Washington’s commanding officer. “This is an all hands evolution and we have the most professional Sailors who thrive on ‘by the book with the book open’ operations. They will execute the mission meticulously.” After working alongside craftsmen from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Ship Repair Facility Yokosuka to complete routine maintenance to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, Sailors

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Kaitlyn R. Breitkreutz

Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) practice firefighting techniques during a general quarters drill. George Washington is in Yokosuka, Japan making preparations to return to sea.

will now put the ship through a series of tests before going underway. “This is an exciting day,” said Cmdr. Wes McCall, George Washington’s navigator. “It’s been six months since we were last underway so it’s great to be heading back out where we belong.”

Before leaving port, crew members participated in two simulated days at sea to begin the testing period and to get in the right mind set for the anticipated patrol. In 2011, George Washington safely navigated 55,000 nautical miles across the western Pacific. Sea trials will test every sys-

tem, every procedure and every piece of equipment. Tests will include opening and closing hangar bay doors, raising and lowering aircraft elevators, testing internal and external communication systems, as well completing each department’s unique check-off list to ensure mission readiness. “This is an important time for us,” said Chief Warrant Officer Chris Sullivan. “It’s our time to prepare and make sure all our equipment is 100% ready to support the ship’s mission.” George Washington’s permanently-forward presence and mission enhances security and stability throughout the Western Pacific by working with our allies and regional partners on a wide range of issues and responding to any tasking across the operational spectrum as directed. George Washington is the flagship of the George Washington Strike Group.

Essex returns to San Diego after 12 Years Navy News Service

Commanding Officer Capt. Dorian F. Jones Executive Officer Capt. Fredrick J. Nielsen Command Master Chief CMDCM(SW/AW) David Randall Public Affairs Officer MCC(SW/AW) Hendrick Dickson Editor MC1(SW/FMF) Chad V. Pritt Photojournalist Staff MC1(SW/AW) Tommy Lamkin MC2(SW/AW) Tom Henderson MC3 Corbin Shea MC3 Jonathan Vargas MC3(AW) Tamara Vaughn MCSA Tyler Hurley

USS Essex (LHD 2) is returning to San Diego May 17, after 12 years as the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed amphibious assault ship in Sasebo, Japan. The crew of USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) took over for Essex April 23. “Essex departed San Diego in 2000, to serve as a forward-deployed asset to 7th Fleet,” said Capt. Chuck Litchfield, USS Essex commanding officer. “I know there are a lot of former crew members and fans of the ship still in the area, so it is going to be a real pleasure to re-introduce ‘The Iron Gator’ to San Diego. Essex is scheduled to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in and around

the Hawaiian Islands this summer, and will undergo an extensive maintenance availability period at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego after its

return. Essex will be assigned to Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3 within U.S. Third Fleet and homeported in San Diego.

HTs, from page 1 Hull Technician 2nd Class Michael Bewak echoed that feeling. “Just like any other the job, it has its ups and downs,” said Bewak. “But my job is much more enjoyable with the help of my shipmates. With a little help from the crew, the HTs are able to concentrate their efforts on the work that keeps Kearsarge in the fight. “The better Sailors take care of the ship the more can focus on more serious jobs,” said Bewak. “This ship is our home away from home and we should treat it as such,” Hale agreed.

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May 18, 2012



Ombudsman’s Corner

“I am a Navy Family Ombudsman and I am of service to you, the Navy Family,” Gayle Brinkley. Sailors and Families: Welcome to this week’s Ombudsman’s corner. This week, we would like to share with you useful information that will help you to get prepared for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is officially from June 1st to November 30th. There is nothing magical in these dates and hurricanes have occurred outside of these six months. These dates do, however, encompass over 97% of tropical activity. June 1st has been the traditional start of the Atlantic hurricane season for decades. However, the end date has been slowly shifted later — from October 31st to November 15th to its current date of November 30th. The National Weather Service is responsible for protecting life and property through issuance of timely watches and warnings, but it is essential that your family be ready before a storm approaches. We only have two short weeks to educate and prepare ourselves for the next 5 months.

Here are some things to keep in mind: -Be informed, make a plan, and build a kit. You can use the American Red Cross check list available on line or the National Weather Service: http:// Hurricane.pdf. and http://www.nws. -Update your information in the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) at https:// -Often times when a hurricane is predicted to make land fall near our coast some Navy Ships are directed to go out to sea (ships sortie). This action is taken to protect the ships, allowing the Navy

to be capable to assist if needed in the aftermath. -Navy and Marine Relief Society provides loans to families in the event of evacuation. norva-area.html. NMCRS Norfolk, FSO Phone: (757) 322-3134/1171. -Norfolk Naval Station and the Hampton Roads cities prepare local shelters. Bldg. O-26 is the primary hurricane shelter on NAVSTA Norfolk and can be used for up to 400 personnel. Alpha (Essential) Personnel only! BRAVO (Non-essential) personnel should use local hurricane shelters.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week: May 27th to June 2nd, 2012. Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. From Friday, May 25, through Thursday, May 31, purchases of certain supplies and equipment needed for hurricane preparedness will be exempt from sales tax. Retailers may also choose to absorb the tax on other items during the holiday period. There are several resources available to Navy Families in case of emergencies including hurricanes: Fleet & Family Service Center, American Red Cross, Navy & Marine Relief Society, etc. And we, your Ombudsman, are able to provide you their phone numbers. Please keep in mind that a Sailor is the only one who can request to add family members to our Ombudsman contact roster. Please send us an e-mail to

be able to share information with your loved ones.

Upcoming local events: -“What Can the Military Do for You” ASVAB Preparation Workshop: May 24, 2012 4:00pm-6:00pm Youth Career Café Patrick Henry Mall located near Macys. to attend this workshop please RSVP no later than 7pm on May 23rd by calling (757) 249-2104 Monday- Friday 10am -7pm and Saturday 12pm-4:30pm -The WOASF Annual Golf Tournament is May 25, 2012 at NAS Oceana Aeropines Golf Course. -Finale Fridays!: Join us for Norfolk’s largest outdoor waterfront party in TowneBank Fountain Park at Town Point Park with food, fun & LIVE entertainment on the last Friday of the month! Free and Open to the public, from May to August starting on May 25, 5:00-9:00pm. -Big Bands on the Bay: This event ends the weekend with a sunset celebration on the Chesapeake Bay. Welcome the stars every Sunday night from 7pm to 9pm beginning May 27 and running through September 2, 2012. Guests are invited down to the Gazebo at Ocean View Beach Park for live Big Band music and dancing. -29th Annual Pungo Strawberry Festival: May 26th & 27th, 2012, 9 am to 7 pm each day $5 per vehicle parking fee Admission Free 1776 Princess Anne Road, VB 23456. For any questions, comments, concerns or information on hurricane preparedness call your Ombudsman at 757-375-2801 or 757-375-2800 or email us at Sincerely your Ombudsmen, Crystal, Lori, and Lucia

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May 18, 2012


Mary Kennedy, wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., dies CNN

Mary Kennedy, from whom Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed for divorce in 2010, is dead, an employee of the Westchester County, New York, medical examiner’s office said Wednesday. The employee, who declined to give his name, told CNN he would provide no further details about the manner and cause of death. Kennedy was 52. The family released a statement saying, “We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her. Our heart goes out to her children who she loved.” The Bedford Police Department earlier confirmed they were investigating a possible unattended death at an address owned by Robert F.

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Corbin Shea

Kennedy Jr. Regarding her marital status at the time of her death, Mary Kennedy wasn’t divorced from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., her family attorney, Kerry A. Lawrence, told CNN. Mary Richardson Kennedy was “a tremendously gifted architect and a pioneer and relentless advocate of green design who enhanced her cutting edge, energy efficient creations with exquisite taste and style,” Robert F. Kennedy’s family said in a statement. She advocated finding a cure for food allergies and asthma and was a co-founder of the Food Allergy Initiative, which is the world’s largest private source of funding for food allergy research, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s family said. “It is with deep sadness that the family of Rob-

ert F. Kennedy, Jr. mourns the loss of Mary Richardson Kennedy, wife and mother of their four beloved children,” the husband’s family’s statement said. The couple married in civil ceremony in 1994 when Mary Richardson, a designer, was six months pregnant, according to the Westchester County Journal. One month prior to the wedding, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. divorced his first wife, Emily Black, the mother of his two oldest children, the newspaper reported. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent environmental lawyer who’s a professor at Pace Law School in White Plains, New York, is the third of 11 children born to Ethel and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated when campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968.

What is your rank and name? ICFN Justin Decosta. What is your hometown? Idabel, Okla. How long have you been in the Navy? Four years and five months. Why did you join the Navy? To have a chance at a college education. What is your job? Interior communications electrician. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Still serving in the Navy. What has been your greatest achievement since joining the Navy? Earning the rate of IC.

What has been your most rewarding/exciting experience since joining the Navy? Being able to see many different countries and making several friends. What are some of your personal goals? To be an IC2 and dual qualified by the end of deployment. Who is your hero? Mark Hamill. What are your favorite hobbies? Pool, movies, and video games. What is your favorite quote? Live life to the fullest so there are no regrets. What is your favorite sports team? Texas Rangers.


Today's issue gives kudos to the HTs!!!