USS Nitze arrives in Valletta, Malta
The USS Nitze (DDG 94) arrived inValletta,Malta,fora scheduled portvisit March 11,2023.Thevisitvisit allows the U.S.to build on its important relationshipwith Malta and affords the ship’s crewan opportunityto experience the ancient Maltese culture.PageA2
NAVSTA’s Commanding Officer recognized at MEAC’s Badge of Honor Night
NORFOLK,Va NavalStationNorfolk’s (NAVSTA)commandingofficerwasrecognizedbytheMid-EasternAthleticConference(MEAC)duringBadgeofHonornight atthe2023MEACBasketballTournament held at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va March9.
Badge of Honor Night is dedicated to salutingmilitary,police,andﬁrstresponders
“We think her story is amazing and she deserves to be recognized at our tournament,”saidOhinGaston,executiveassistant to the commissioner (MEAC) “We are a conference made up of Historically Black CollegesandUniversities.”
Capt.JanetDaysistheﬁrstBlack,female commanding officer of the world’s largest naval installation, NAVSTA Since becoming commanding officer of NAVSTA Norfolk in February 2023, Days has been thesubjectofmultiplenewssegmentsand public events to recognize and discuss her achievements “It is overwhelming and humbling,” said Days “The support and well wishes received have been amazing and the genuinecongratulatorynotesshowthatsomany have a tremendous amount of respect for thosewhowearthenation’scloth!”
DuringtheMEACevent,Dayswasseated with her husband on the guest of honor viewing stage. She was given the Badge of Honor award during half time followed by many guests waiting to meet her and congratulateher “Itisimportanttoneverlosesightofyour purpose; selﬂess service, caring for and advocatingforothers,”saidDays Days began her military career in the Army, later joining the Navy and commissioningthroughtheEnlistedCommissioning Program. Before reporting to Naval Station Norfolk, Days was the CommandingOfficerofUSSMcFaul(DDG74).
“WeweretrulyhonoredtohaveCaptain Days at the game, said Gaston. It was a realtreatforourfans,andstudentathletes.”
NORFOLK,Va (March 9,2023) Commissionerofthe Mid-EasternAthletic Conference (MEAC),Sonja Stills,presents Commanding Officer,Naval Station Norfolk,Capt.Janet Days,with the Badge ofHonorAward during the MEAC tournament quarterﬁnals at ScopeArena in Norfolk,Va March 9,2023.Badge ofHonorNight is held annuallyduring the MEAC tournament to salute military police,and ﬁrst responders.(PHOTOBYMC2
Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads participates in Read Across America Day
Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads
Public Affairs Office
Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads leadership and Sailors celebrated the joy of reading by participating in Read Across America Day at Grassﬁeld Elementary School and the installation’s child development centers on Mar 2.
Launchedin1998bytheNationalEducation Association, Read Across America is the nation’s largest celebration of reading and is a year-round program that focuses on motivating children and teens to read.
“This is the highlight of my day, the ability to come out here and read to these amazing kindergartners,” said Capt Matt Frauenzimmer, Commanding Officer of NSA Hampton Roads “We have a great partnership with Chesapeake Public Schoolssotohavetheopportunitytobring some excitement to the children and show them how important reading is made this day extra special.”
Frauenzimmer; Cmdr. William Snider, ExecutiveOfficerof NSAHampton Roads; and Lt Cmdr Roger Blake, Officer-inChargeofNSAHamptonRoads-Northwest Annex, all visited Grassﬁeld Elementary School for some reading fun.
“It’s always exciting to have our military memberscomeintotheschool.Itprovides otherrolemodelsforthestudentsandthey just get so excited to have someone else come and share stories with them,” said Kristen Anthony, Kindergarten Teacher at Grassﬁeld Elementary School. “My main goal for the students is to have a love for learning and a love for reading. Events like today will deﬁnitely help spark that and I know it will just build from there.
This is NSA Hampton Roads’ second
yearcollaboratingwithChesapeakePublic Schools to celebrate Read Across America Day.
“Asadultsweknowthatitisimportantfor childrentodevelopanappreciationforreading,whichsupportscognitivedevelopment in many ways,” said Dr Jeff McGee, School LiaisonOfficeratNSAHamptonRoads,who helped organized the event. “I am so grateful for the wonderful partnership we share with Chesapeake schools that enables our commandtocelebratereading.Sometimesa
To continue in the celebration, NSA Hampton Roads Sailors read to young children at the Sewells Point and Portsmouth ChildDevelopmentCenters
“I wanted to participate because I enjoy being around kids and it was great to see their smiling faces,” said Airman Drake Kurtz.“Beinginthemilitarymeansprotectingwhatwehavehereathomeandabigpart ofthatisthechildren.
The teachers and children were very thankful for the guest readers and even wrote them thank you cards to show their appreciation.
“Children deal with a lot of stressors and challenges that we may not recognize or even think about,” said Frauenzimmer “So for us to be able to come here and read to them and put a smile on their faces is so important,andithighlightsourmissionasa command and a Navy supporting the ﬂeet, theﬁghterandthefamily.
George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Returns to Souda Bay, Crete
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrierUSS George H.W.Bush (CVN 77),alongwith the embarked staffofCarrierStrike Group (CSG) 10,arrived in Souda Bay,Greece,fora scheduled portvisit March 10,2023. PageA3
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USS Nitze arrives in Valletta, Malta
Carrier Strike Group 10
VALLETTA,Malta TheArleighBurkeclass guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) arrived in Valletta, Malta, for a scheduledportvisit,March11,2023
The port visit marks the ship’s fourth in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations since departingNorfolk,July17,2022,forascheduled deployment as part of Carrier Strike Group(CSG)10
Nitze’s port visit allows the U.S. to build on its important relationship with Malta and affords the ship’s crew an opportunity toexperiencetheancientMalteseculture
“WearehonoredthatMaltahaswelcomed us to Valletta, said Cmdr Katie Jacobson, commanding officer of Nitze “This visit not only affords my crew time for rest and relaxation, but it expands their cultural horizons. We thank the Maltese for allowingustoexperiencetheirheritageandlook forward to building upon our longstanding friendship.”
Duringtheship’stimeinValletta,thecrew will explore the sights, history, cuisine, and cultureofMalta.
“I’mexcitedtoexplorethehistoricalsites relatedtothesuccessionofrulersincluding the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and British,” said Electronic Technician1stClassDevinLane “Iamintrigued and want to learn more about the diverse historyofMaltawhileinteractingwithlocals andenjoyingthelocaldining.”
Prior to this port visit, Nitze participated in Neptune Strike 23.1, a vigilance activity led by Striking and Support Forces NATO, and served as anti-submarine warfare commander during French-led exercise HEMEX-ORION a four-phase program designedtostrengthenthewarﬁghtingcapabilitiesofthemulti-nationalRapidReaction Corps-France
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is the ﬂagship of CSG-10, George H.W. Bush CSG CSG-10 is comprised of George H.W. Bush, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron
Valletta,Malta (March 11,2023) Sailors aboard anArleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyerUSS Nitze (DDG 94),man the rails as the ship arrives inValletta,Malta,March 11,2023.The George H.W.Bush
(DESRON) 26, the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55). TheshipsofDESRON-26withinCSG-10 are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers Nitze USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and USS Delbert D.Black(DDG119).
The squadrons of CVW-7 embarked aboard the George H.W. Bush are the “Sidewinders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86, the “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103,
the “Knighthawks” of VFA-136, the “Pukin Dogs”ofVFA-143,the“Bluetails”ofCarrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, andthe“Grandmasters”ofHelicopterMaritimeStrikeSquadron(HSM)46
For over 80 years, NAVEUR-NAVAF has forgedstrategicrelationshipswithalliesand partners, leveraging a foundation of shared valuestopreservesecurityandstability
NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Commandareasofresponsibility U.S.Sixth FleetispermanentlyassignedtoNAVEURNAVAF, and employs maritime forces throughthefullspectrumofjointandnaval operations
TheGeorgeH.W.BushCSGisonascheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europeareaofoperations,employedbyU.S. SixthFleettodefendU.S.,allied,andpartner interests.
USS Delbert D. Black arrives in Civitavecchia, Italy
Carrier Strike Group 10
CIVITAVECCHIA, Italy The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) arrived in Civitavecchia, Italy for a scheduled port visit, March11,2023.
Thisistheship’sﬁrstportvisitintheU.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations since enteringtheMediterraneanSeathroughtheSuez Canal in February 2023 The visit provides an opportunity to bolster the partnership between the U.S. and Italy and gives Sailors from Delbert D. Black a chance to explore theregion.
During their time in Civitavecchia, the crew will have opportunities to explore the local area, make trips to Rome and Vatican City, and take in the history, cuisine, and cultureofItaly.
“Afteroveramonthatsea,wearegrateful for the opportunity to visit Civitavecchia, Italy, to enjoy some regional liberty and explore the area,” said Cmdr Adam Stein, commanding officer of Delbert D. Black. “This visit is an incredible professional reward for our crew’s performance during the past seven months of deployment, and willsurelybeahighlightthatourSailorswill carrywiththemfortherestoftheirlives.”
The ship arrived in Civitavecchia following the successful completion of the NATO antisubmarine warfare exercise Dynamic Manta DelbertD.Black,homeportedinMayport, Florida, is part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (CSG) operating in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations for a scheduleddeployment.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is the ﬂagship of CSG-10, George H.W. Bush CSG CSG-10
is comprised of George H.W. Bush, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron(DESRON)26,theInformationWarfareCommander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS LeyteGulf(CG55)
The ships of DESRON26 within CSG-10 are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and Delbert D.Black.
The squadrons of CVW-7 embarkedaboardtheGeorge H.W. Bush are the “Sidewinders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86, the “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103, the “Knighthawks” of VFA-136, the “Pukin Dogs” of VFA-143, the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron(HSM)46
For over 80 years U.S. Naval Forces Europe U.S. NavalForcesAfrica(NAVEURNAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundationofsharedvaluestopreservesecurity andstability HeadquarteredinNaples,Italy,NAVEURNAVAFoperatesU.S.navalforcesintheU.S.
ADRIATIC SEA(Mar 11,2023) Gunners Mate 3rd ClassJoshua Lesnar(left) and Gunners Mate 3rd Class Jesse Deese (right) assigned to theArleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyerUSS Delbert D.Black(DDG 119) stand small caliberaction teamwatch during a sea and anchorin Civitavecchia,Italy Mar 11,2023.The George H.W.Bush CarrierStrike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S.Naval Forces Europe area of operations,employed byU.S.Sixth Fleet to defend U.S.,allied,and partnerinterests (U.S.NAVYPHOTOBYMASS COMMUNICATIONSPECIALIST3RDCLASSCHRISTOPHERSTACHYRA)
Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrumofjointandnavaloperations.
TheGeorgeH.W.BushCSGisonascheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europeareaofoperations,employedbyU.S. SixthFleettodefendU.S.,allied,andpartner interests.
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CSG is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S.Naval Forces Europe area of operations,employed byU.S.Sixth Fleet to defend U.S.,allied,and partnerinterests (U.S.NAVYPHOTOBYMASSCOMMUNICATIONSPECIALIST 2NDCLASSCRYTONVANDIESAL)
2 The Flagship | www ﬂagshipnews.com | Section 1 | Thursday, March 16 2023
George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group returns to Souda Bay, Crete
SOUDA BAY, Greece - The Nimitz-class aircraftcarrierUSSGeorgeH.W.Bush(CVN 77),alongwiththeembarkedstaffofCarrier StrikeGroup(CSG)10,arrivedinSoudaBay, Greece,forascheduledportvisitMarch10, 2023. This port visit to Souda Bay follows Neptune Strike (NEST) 23-1, a vigilance activity focused on increasing NATO interoperability for a stable, secure, and prosperousEurope
“Our sustained, integrated operations with our allies during deployment has been invaluable to strengthening our relationships and integrated deterrence in the region,” said Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander CarrierStrikeGroup(CSG)10 GeorgeH.W.BushCSG “Welookforwardto visitingSoudaBayafterabusyatseaperiod withourNATOallies.”
During NEST, George H.W. Bush completedmulticarrieroperationswiththe ItalianandSpanishNavies,sailedalongside andcompletedair-landintegrationexercises withallies
tiestodeepentheinteroperabilityandinterchangeability of the alliance and to further vital U.S. military and diplomatic strategy,” said Capt. Dave Pollard, commanding officer, George H.W. Bush. “Showcasing the strength of the alliance to regional adversariesprovidesopportunitiestodiplomatsto negotiatefromapositionofstrength.”
During their time in Souda Bay, Sailors fromtheshipwilltakemuchdeservedtime offtoexperienceGreekculture,explorethe region,andenjoylocalcuisine Pollard said that the CVN 77 crew, who collectively embrace the nickname “Team Avenger”, are looking forward to strengthening their partnership with Greece and takingsomewell-deservedtimeoff
“As ambassadors of our country we plan to only continue our outstanding reputation of being respectful guests in the beautifulregionaroundSoudaBay, saidPollard. “These warriors understand the importance of representing the United States in ouralliednations.”
TheSailorsofGeorgeH.W.Bushwillalso beapartofabeachclean-upoftheKladisos BeachnearthecityofChania.Theywillhave theopportunitytocarefortheenvironment
while also experiencing the local shore line ofCrete.
Strengthening partnerships during the port visit to Souda Bay builds enduring relationships and emphasizes our shared commitmenttopromotingsafetyandstability within the region, while seeking opportunities to enhance our interoperability as NATOallies.
CSG-10, George H.W. Bush CSG is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, employedbyU.S.SixthFleettodefendU.S., alliedandpartnerinterests
George H.W. Bush is the flagship of CSG-10, George H.W. Bush CSG George H.W.BushCSGiscomprisedofGeorgeH.W. Bush CarrierAirWing(CVW)7,Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf(CG55).
TheshipsofDESRON-26withinCSG-10 are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyersUSSNitze(DDG94),USSFarragut(DDG99),USSTruxtun(DDG103),and USSDelbertD.Black(DDG119)
The squadrons of CVW-7 embarked
aboard George H.W. Bush are the “Jolly Rogers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103,the“PukinDogs”ofVFA-143,the“Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5,the“Sidewinders”ofVFA-86,the“Nighthawks” of VFA-136 the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime StrikeSquadron(HSM)46
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S NavalForcesAfrica(NAVEURNAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundationofsharedvaluestopreservesecurity andstability
HeadquarteredinNaples Italy NAVEURNAVAFoperatesU.S.navalforcesintheU.S. EuropeanCommand(USEUCOM)andU.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrumofjointandnavaloperations.
FRCE marks 100th F-35 parachute milestone
Fleet Readiness Center East
Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) marked a milestone in its support of the F-35 Lightning II program when the depot recentlycompletedits100thF-35parachute repack.
According to Fleet Readiness Center East Commanding Officer Capt. James M. Belmont, the depot inducted its ﬁrst F-35 parachute in February 2022 and quickly establishedanefficientworkﬂow.
“We are extremely proud to reach this milestone less than one year after inductingourﬁrstparachute,”saidBelmont.“This achievement showcases the depot’s ability to support the needs of the warﬁghter and highlights the continuing expansion of our F-35capabilities.”
FRCEdeclaredcapabilityonitsﬁrstF-35 componentin2018 Bythecloseof2022,the depothaddeclaredcapabilityon32components, including the parachutes for the ﬁfth-generationﬁghter
“Our component workload plays a critical role in supporting ﬂeet requirements and mission readiness,” said Belmont. “It’s something we are very proud of Getting theseparachutesandothercomponentsout to the ﬂeet ensures that pilots can continue totrainandconductreal-worldoperations.”
Parachutes for the F-35 are ﬁrst assembled and installed by the manufacturer At scheduledintervals,theymustcomeoffthe aircraft for repacking. FRCE F-35 Components Program Manager Angie Lane said this process entails rigorous inspections andmaintenancebyateamofhighlytrained specialistsatthedepot
“OurOrdnanceShopworkstheF-35parachutes,” said Lane “Once ﬁnished, these parachutes can be used in all variants of theF-35 Theycouldgotoamilitaryservice depot,toasquadron,ortoaforeigncountry thatﬂiestheF-35.”
Standing up the capability to satisfy these requirements began long before the ﬁrst parachute arrived at FRCE. A team of experts drawn from throughout the depot had to consider factors such as current and future workloads, manpower requirements,facilityandtoolingneeds,andsupply support.Aprojectofthisscalealsorequires intensive collaboration not only within FRCE,butwithoutsideentitiesaswell
“This was a huge initiative,” said Lane “It encompasses the F-35 Joint Program Office the manufacturer and other partners as well as folks from throughout the depot. Our quality assurance inspectors, engineers,productioncontrollers,Examiner andEvaluatorteamsandtheartisansinside theOrdnanceShopallplaycrucialroles.”
Despite the number of collaborators and thecomplexitiesoftheproject,Lanesaidthe teammaderapidprogress Shesaidknowing theroleaparachuteplaysinmilitaryaviation providedtheteamwithasenseofurgency
“When you think about all the components on an aircraft, you might not think of the parachute ﬁrst,” said Lane “It’s not partoftheengineorthefuelsystem,butitis absolutelycrucial.”
Because they are life-saving pieces of equipment, great care is taken with each parachutethatisinductedatthedepot.
When a parachute arrives at FRCE for a repack, quality assurance inspectors at the depot review history sheets, which log any changes or repairs made to the parachute. Theyalsoverifythattheparachuteisscheduledforarepack.
The parachute then goes to the artisans in the Ordinance Shop who disassemble it Thisisperformedonatablemeasuringmore than50feetlongwheretheparachuteisput through a rigorous inspection process. The packerslookforimperfectionsanddamage, anything that might potentially hinder the parachute from deploying if engaged. This is often imperceptible to the untrained eye. Because of this, the artisans working the parachutes undergo highly specialized training
According to Andrew Altman, the overhaul and repair supervisor who oversees FRCE’sOrdnanceandCryogenicsshops,the artisans working the F-35 parachutes must graduatefromtheNavy’sAirCrewSurvival
“Our people train alongside military personnel, said Altman. “It’s parachute rigger school After that, we have to attend additional training speciﬁc to the aircraft type, model and series In this case, that means the F-35 We have had a few people come to us who already went through all the training but we had to send most of our peopleouttothis.”
If there is anything that needs to be replaced, the artisans order the parts and replace them. The parachute is then reassembled. Lane said the artisans log any changes made to the parachute as well as anything that was replaced These history sheets go back to quality assurance inspectorswhoverifyandvalidatetheinformation.
“This is important because the informationissharedwithourpartnersandputinto a database,” said Lane. “That way, when a customer receives that parachute, they can electronically obtain this data for their recordsoftheaircraft.”
Because they must ensure that each and everyparachutewillfunctionﬂawlesslyifit is ever used, Altman said that artisans must pay careful attention to every aspect of the process “You have to be very meticulous,” said Altman. “You are looking over every panel inch by inch You have to be just as meticulouswiththerecordkeepingtoo It’sallvery strict.”
The work might seem overwhelming to
those outside of the Ordnance Shop Lane describedtheparachutepackersassomeof themostdedicatedpeopleshe’severworked with “They have friends and family that are pilots,”saidLane “Manyservedinthemilitary.Theywanttoknowthatiftheparachute ever needs to be used, the pilot is going to comehomesafely.”
Despite the successful completion of the depot’s 100th parachute repack, Lane said the team isn’t slowing down to celebrate She said they’ve already set their sights on theF-35seatsurvivalkits,whichFRCEwill likely be declaring capability on in the very nearfuture.
“That’s going to be another huge initiativethatisgoingtotakeonthesamesenseof urgencyastheparachute,”saidLane “There are a lot of folks depending on this depot to givethemwhattheyneed Weallknowthat and we are successful because everyone involved takes this responsibility seriously andputsforthmaximumeffort.”
FRCE is North Carolina’s largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,000 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annualrevenueexceeds$1billion.Thedepot providesservicetotheﬂeetwhilefunctioning as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander,FleetReadinessCenters
Learn more at www.navair.navy.mil/frce or https://www.facebook.com/FleetReadinessCenterEast.
SOUDABAY,Crete (March 10,2023)The Nimitz-class aircraft carrierUSS George H.W.Bush (CVN 77),alongwith the embarked staffofCarrierStrike Group (CSG) 10,arrives in Souda Bay,Crete, fora scheduled portvisit March 10 2023.The George H.W.Bush CSG is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S.Naval Forces Europe area ofoperations,employed byU.S.Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied,and partnerinterests (U.S.NAVYPHOTOBYMASSCOMMUNICATIONSPECIALIST3RDCLASSNICHOLASAVIS)
www ﬂagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 1 | Thursday, March 16 2023 3
Fleet Readiness CenterEast’s (FRCE) Ordnance Shop poses fora photowith the 100th F-35 Lightning II parachute repacked at the depot. FRCE achieved this milestone less than oneyearafterinducting theirﬁrst F-35 parachute.Since 2018,the depot had declared capabilityon 32 components,including the parachutes forthe ﬁfth-generation ﬁghter (FLEETREADINESSCENTEREASTPHOTO)
Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. Raymond
Peoples was a Marine who struggled with drugs,violenceand“alotofdifferentthings” in the decades after his service in the early 1970s His wife died He suffered from depression.Athislowestpoint,heattempted suicide.Heisclearabout why he’s stillhere as in still alive. “I want to live because of the programs here, Peoples said. “I have hopetoday.TheVAsavedmylife.”
RobinBaylorliedsohecouldjointheNavy at 15 and served on destroyers, including in Vietnam After the war, he took a bus home and was spit on and called a “baby-killer” instead of welcomed. He hid his PTSD for decades,throughthreemarriages manyjobs and bankruptcy, and found himself homeless in 2022 when he lost the RV, he called home.“Ihadnoideatheseprogramsexisted; I didn’t even know about the VA,” Baylor said. “Now I don’t know what I would have donewithoutit.”
TeriScottjoinedtheArmyNationalGuard and mobilized for Iraqi Freedom She met her husband in the Army, and his physical and mental health challenges were the reasontheylefttheirhomeinLouisianaand movedtoGurnee,Ill.
“We found ourselves on the other side of the country with no jobs and two kids, our only income coming from the VA.” She had been “avoiding the VA,” but her family was living in a hotel with no hope of ﬁndingaplacetheycouldafford,soScott who startedoutasasocialworkmajorincollege called a number she knew would lead to resources She called the Veterans Crisis Line
The three veterans traveled very different roads but shared a destination last year that led to permanent housing Because of theunfailingeffortsofthesocialworkersin theCaptainJamesA.LovellFederalHealth Care Center Homeless Veterans Program, thethreearecountedinthe117“permanent housing placements” the program made in 2022 Itwasmorethan200percentoverthe target the team set as part of the VA secretary’s38,000PermanentHousingPlacement (PHP) National Challenge, and therefore the highest in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Permanenthousingplacementsprovided byLovellFHCCstaffandnonproﬁtcommunitypartnersincludedapartmentsorhouses veterans could rent or own, often with a subsidytohelpmakethehousingaffordable Lovell FHCC Homeless Program staff also helped some veterans end their homelessnessbyreunitingwithfamilyandfriends
The Lovell FHCC team’s achievement was announced Jan. 27 on a call with VA Secretary Denis McDonough, other VA leaders VA medical center directors, and homeless veterans program teams from across the nation. McDonough said the VA housed40,401veteransnationwide,meeting andexceedingitsnationalgoalbymorethan 6.3percentin2022.
Director Dr Robert Buckley said Lovell FHCC’sgoalwasachieved“throughthehard work and dedication of our Lovell FHCC homeless programs staff our grantees and contractors, and our valued community partners The progress we’re seeing with ending veteran homelessness in Northeast, Ill.,ourareaofresponsibility,showsthatwe havetherightsolutionstoendhomelessness forallveteranswecarefor.”
When asked what their secret to success was, the Lovell FHCC team on the VA secretary’s call credited their boss Delia De Avila, for her leadership De Avila, chief of the Lovell FHCC Outpatient Homeless Program, humbly deﬂected the praise and said it was the team members’ compassion thatmadethedifference
“This is not an easy task,” De Avila said
“I’m honored and proud to be part of such an incredible team. It truly is a privilege to workwiththem.
JenniferHammond,DepartmentofHousingandUrbanDevelopment-VASupportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program coordinator at Lovell FHCC, also credited De Avila, the wholehearted support of Lovell FHCC leaders and team cohesion. “We have an entire team that rose to the occasion and showedupeveryday, shesaid.“Theyserved in every capacity, through various stages of thehousingprocess.
HUD-VASH combines Housing Choice Voucher(HCV)rentalassistanceforhomeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by Lovell FHCC
It is one of four parts of the Lovell FHCC Homeless Veterans Program. The other three are Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) that runs the Walk-in Center for Homeless Veterans, the Grant and Per Diem(GPD)Program,andVeteransJustice Outreach(VJO),whichassistsveteransand militarymemberswhohavebeenarrestedor areotherwiseinvolvedinthejusticesystem. Ifahomelessveteran,orabout-to-behomeless veteran, doesn’t qualify for housing assistance through one program, he or she frequentlywillbeeligibleforanother
Hammond said the team built on what was already working weekly meetings to address barriers with minimal delays, daily “mini-huddles” so staff and resources were utilizedtofullpotential,streamliningofthe referral process, increased and improved communication with landlords, and showing up in person to check on housing applications
Catholic Charities, Veterans Path to Hope, Lake County Veteran Assistance Commission, Midwest Veteran’s Closet, Military Outreach USA, and Lake County Veteran and Family Services to name a few. Some provideemergencyandpermanenthousing. Others donate and even deliver the items that make the placements “home” beds and furniture, linens, dishes and housewares,andfoodandclothingifneeded.
Marshalling the resources available to veterans through programs such as HUD-VASHandShallowSubsidy,andcalling on their community partners, the social workers doggedly work every day until the veteranstheyservehaveaplacetocallhome
In the Scott’s case the effort was “all-hands-on-deck” to find the Army veteranandherfamilysuitablehousing Searchforwillinglandlordexhausting ScottenlistedintheArmyNationalGuard in 2005 and stayed for seven years She and her husband met in 2016 while serving together Scott was a water treatment specialist,butmainlypulledsecurityinIraq whenshewastherein2007-2008
WhenScottexplainedshewasfacingher husband’sproblemsandhousinginstability, the Crisis Line linked her to Lovell FHCC SocialWorkerEricaO’Neill.
One of the ﬁrst results was O’Neill called CatholicCharities,whichtookoverpayment of the family’s hotel bill. After that, O’Neill helped Scott enroll in the HUD-VASH program.
“I would call her up all the time just because I needed someone to talk to about what I was going through,” Scott said “I hadhealthissues.Myhusbandhadhisown issues OuronlyincomewasfromtheGIBill anddisability Andwewerelivinginahotel withtwoteenagersformonths Itwasalot.”
Scott, O’Neill, and other staff members from the FHCC Homeless Program and Catholic Charities, followed “any and all leads to ﬁnd the right place and a landlord willingtotakeachanceandrenttoaveteran intheHUD-VASHprogram.
In addition to a tight rental market in
Lake County Hammond explained that HUD-VASH restrictions also complicated the search. It can be difficult to ﬁnd landlordswhowillacceptthevouchers,andthe maximum rent allowed was limiting Additionally, the family wanted to be in a strong schooldistrict,andtheyneededaplacewith three bedrooms separate bedrooms for theirsonanddaughter
Helping veterans ﬁnd permanent housing means accommodating their families too, Hammond said Scott’s family “faced anextremenumberofbarriers,”Hammond said.IttookadedicatedFHCCandcommunityteamtoovercomethoseobstacles
They ﬁnally found a veteran landlord in Waukegan who liked the idea of renting to fellow veterans and was willing to rent through HUD-VASH with some handholding from Scott’s and her husband’s HUD-VASH case managers “Since we are both veterans, we each have our own case managers,” Scott said. “Yeah, the social workershadtoputupwithbothofus.”
Scottandherfamilymovedintotheirnew home after nearly eight months living out of suitcases, in one room, in three different hotels Today she is virtually studying computer science at Colorado Technical Universityandexpectstograduatenextyear andlookforacybersecurityjob.
Scott’s journey is even more unlikely considering she was “anti-VA” at all costs originally “FromthemomentIbecamea veteran, IknewIwasn’tcoming totheVA,” she said. “But I was told I had to sign up whenIgotout.”
Today, Scott is thankful “Once we were signed up for HUD-VASH, everything started changing for the better,” she said. “We knew long-term housing was in our future. It wasn’t a theory It was becoming morereal.Wejusthadtowait.”
Walk-In Center for Homeless Veterans changedhislife BaylorspentmuchofhislifeinMontana. He actually joined the Navy twice the ﬁrst time in 1959 When he got out in 1962, the only job he could ﬁnd was one paying $1.10 an hour, not enough to live on. So, he reenlistedandendedupservinginVietnam,ona ship,asaradiooperatorwhotalkedto“spotters”onland.
After he got out for good in 1965, Baylor was a police officer and then operated an appliance business for 30 years His ﬁrst wife the mother of his three children, died after 21 years of marriage. He said he struggled with many things in his life for many years
In Vietnam, “I made some big mistakes,” said Baylor, who has a 80 percent service-connected disability rating “As a result,IhadPTSDanddidn’tknowit.Ikept all my troubles secret for 50 years I didn’t tellmyfamily.”
Afterhisthirdmarriageendedindivorce he lived in an RV for a short time until he was scammed out of a large sum of money andleftwithanemptybankaccountin2022.
“I found myself homeless,” Baylor said. “I lost the RV, my trucks,couldn’tafford three months’ rent up front, and I also couldn’t rentbecauseofthebankruptcy.”
He said he came to the Walk-in Center forHomelessVeteransatLovellFHCC,and O’NeillworkedwithVeteransPathtoHope toﬁndBayloranapartmentinFoxLake,Ill.
Baylor’s rental assistance came through the VA’s Shallow Subsidy initiative. Shallow Subsidy provides grants to nonproﬁt community organizations to then provide rentalassistancetoveteranhouseholdseligible under the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. Veterans may work and not lose the beneﬁt for two years, even if their incomes including disability payments increase Baylor said SSVF Case Manager Ryan Jacobson,fromVeteransPathtoHope,“has been a Godsend He got me into a two-year program so that I am comfortable, money-
Not only was Baylor homeless when he came to Lovell FHCC, but his son, also sufferingfromPTSD,was,too Todayhisson and granddaughter live with Baylor in the Fox Lake apartment Baylor said Jacobson andO’Neillalsohelpedhisfamilywithfood anditemsheneededfortheapartment.
“Ryan and Erica have helped me a lot,” Baylorsaid.“I’mveryfortunate.”
Trouble and struggle having a home equalspeace
“At 30, 35, in my 40s, I’ve struggled with life,”saidPeoples,whowasatankcrewman, driverandgunnerintheMarineCorps “And I’ve been around this VA (Lovell FHCC) all thattime.”
Peoples has volunteered off and on at Lovell FHCC since 2011. In recent years he’sworkedprimarilyinthegymatthemain hospital,whichhesaidimproveshis“whole stateofmind.
“Trouble” in his life included drugs, he said, and that led to him residing in Lovell FHCC’s homeless domiciliary in 2017 He’s alsolivedinarecoveryhouseoutofstateand became homeless again. He decided to ask for help at Lovell FHCC last year and today residesinhis“ownplace”inZion.
“Godblessedmewiththeabilitytoreceive helpthroughHUD-VASH,”Peoplessaid “I feelsafe,independent,andatpeace, Peoples said.“I’mabletopaymybillsandhavealittle extra.” The “great place” Peoples ﬁnds himself in today is due to the FHCC social workers, who he said are “kind people I got some greathelpfromallofthem,andIstilldo.”
Through the Lovell FHCC Homeless Veterans Program, Peoples received furniture, a phone and help with transportation. One of his housing requirements was to live close to a bus stop, so he can take the buswhereheneedstogo,whichincludesto LovellFHCC.
Hisapartmentishisrefugefromwhathe calls“triggers,”orthesituationsthatcontributed to problems for him over the years “I can go home and shut the door and ﬁnd peace, he said. “I’m not dealing with some ofthethingsthathappeninthestreet.”
Lovell FHCC social worker Greg Mavromatis,whohasknownPeoplesformorethan adecade,saidPeople’swillingnesstoaccept help and do what he needs todo to succeed iscrucial.
“Ourprogramscanhelppeoplewhohelp themselves,”Mavromatissaid.“Ialwayssay, theysavetheirownlives,evenifit’sastruggletomoveforward.”
Everyoneofthe117veteranswhoreceived help from Lovell FHCC and its community partners in 2022 has a compelling story to tell about resilience, hope and human compassion.LovellFHCC’sWalk-inCenter for Homeless Veterans can be reached by calling 224-610-1148. It is in Room 170 in Bldg 131 on Lovell FHCC’s main hospital campusinNorthChicago Afterhours,social workersareoncalltorespond.
If you are a Veteran who is experiencing homelessness or at risk for homelessness, call the National Call Center for Homeless Veteransat877-4AID-VET(877-424-3838). Visit the VA Homeless Programs website to learn about housing initiatives and other programsforVeteransexitinghomelessness.
About Lovell FHCC: Lovell FHCC is the nation’s only integrated medical facility between the VA and the Department of Defense It serves active duty military personnel, their families, military retirees andotherveterans,alongsideNavyMedicine Readiness and Training Command Great Lakes Lovell FHCC which is located in North Chicago, operates four Naval Station Great Lakes clinics and three community-basedoutpatientclinicsinMcHenryand Evanston,Ill.andKenosha,Wis.
The best acquisition you’ll make all year. Call 757.446.9000 to subscribe 4 The Flagship | www ﬂagshipnews.com | Section 1 | Thursday, March 16 2023
Lake County veterans among Lovell FHCC’s ‘permanent housing placements;’
over target in VA secretary’s 2022 challenge
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NAMRU-Dayton bids farewell to senior researcher after 30 years of service
Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton
Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton came together to bid farewell to a senior scientist with over 30 years of government service Feb. 23 in the Dibley Conference Room.
The Command recognized the achievement and service of Dr J. Lynn Caldwell duringaretirementceremonywherenumerous awards and certiﬁcates were presented in front of friends and colleagues Dr Caldwell served as the senior research psychologist with the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory (NAMRL), primarily workingwithintheﬁeldofsleepandfatigue studies.ShehasworkedatNAMRU-Dayton since2012.
“A few years ago when the admiral called me to say that I had been selected as the next Commanding Officer of Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton, one of the ﬁrst thoughts that entered my head was, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m going to be working with world-renowned sleep researcher, Dr Lynn Caldwell.’ This was followed very quickly by the realization of, ‘Oh my goodness,world-renownedsleepresearcher,Dr Caldwell is going to be working for me!’ ” said U.S. Navy Capt. Walter W. Dalitsch III, NAMRU-Dayton Commanding Officer “When I was fortunate enough to be assigned to one of my favorite jobs in my career,onstaffatourNavyandMarineCorps School of Aviation Safety, teaching the ﬂeet Aviation Safety Officers and prospective [commanding officers] and [executive officers] myseriesoffatiguelectureswasbased primarilyon[her]work…thematerialwasso riveting and impactful for my students that thenumberonerequestedtopicwhenIwas invited as a guest speaker for safety standdownswasthemitigationoffatigue.”
AccordingtoCapt Dalitsch,Dr Caldwell is a “legend in the aeromedical research community” and her research reﬂects the designation. Dr Caldwell was a lead author or contributor to nearly 50 peer-reviewed journals 10booksorbookchapters 34technical reports 32 published abstracts and over 100 conference presentations, poster presentationsandworkshopevents
“Lynn Caldwell arrived soon after NAMRL relocated from Pensacola in 2011, having lost the majority of its staff in the yearsleadinguptothemove,”saidDrRich-
ard Arnold, NAMRL Director “Her arrival infused the lab with instant credibility, and her work here over 11-plus years provided constantreinforcementthereof.”
Beyond the sheer numbers of published research and studies, her work in sleep studies and pharmaceutical treatments is regarded by NAMRL leadership as particularly signiﬁcant in understanding the role ofcountermeasurestowardﬁghtingfatigue
“Perhaps her most impactful work involved a couple of studies investigating the efficacy of modaﬁnil, Dr Arnold said “NavalAviationhadpreviouslyuseddextroamphetamineasitssolefatiguecountermeasureduringsustainedoperations Oneofthe problems with ‘dex’ is that as an amphetamine, there were undesirable side effects for some users such as jitteriness and anxiety-like experiences Modaﬁnil had similar alertness enhancing properties but generally without such side effects Due to Dr Caldwell’s research, and the work of some others, the Navy added modafinil to its approvedmedicationslistaround2014.”
“The U.S. surface ﬂeet, and submarines, have adopted many new crew rest policies over-turningliterallycenturiesofembedded Navy culture, he said. “And Dr Caldwell’s workisalsospreadingtointernationalmilitaries It is a long, slow process for such a paradigm shift, but know that [her] impact has not just been for the past three decades Iknowthatitwillcarryonformanymore decadesintothefuture.”
Dr CaldwellreceivedherPh D.inExperimental Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1988. She received a Master of Arts degree in Psychology from USM in 1983 and a Bachelor of Science in Social Welfare from the University of Alabama in 1980 Before her work with NAMRU-Dayton, Dr Caldwell served in a similar role with the Air Force Research LaboratoryinSanAntonio Texas,and,later, helped the lab’s Base Re-alignment and Closure directed move to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where she served from 2007-2012 Additionally,Dr Caldwellserved asadistinguishedvisitingscholartotheU.S. AirForceAcademyinColoradoSpringsand asaresearchpsychologistatTheU.S.Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Ft.
“This has been a great end of my career,”
Dr Caldwell said. “This has been a great placetowork,I’vewatchedthisplacegrow, I’vewatched[Dr.Arnold]makeitgrowand
it’s been very impressive to see what has happened to see it grow from 3-4 principal investigators to what it is today Thank you allverymuch.”
Capt. Joseph Darcy Relieves Capt. Dana Simon as NSWC Philadelphia Commanding Officer
Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division
Capt. Joseph Darcy relieved Capt Dana SimonastheNavalSurfaceWarfareCenter, Philadelphia Division’s Commanding OfficerduringNSWCPD’sChangeofCommand Ceremony in Philadelphia on March 10, 2023.
“It’s an honor to be here today in person withthesetwooutstandingnavalofficersas theyturnoverthewatch Inaddition,wewill wishCapt.Simonwellashebeginsthenext chapterofhislifefollowinghisretirement,” Naval Surface Warfare Center and Naval UnderseaWarfareCenterCommanderRear Adm. Byrne said while providing the ceremony’sguestremarks.
“I hope you’ve had a chance to review his biography because it’s a success story of someone who repeatedly achieved greatness throughout his career by committing himself to leadership, service, and dedicationtoduty,”Byrnecontinued Simon’scareerwasindeedasuccessstory. The United States Military Academy graduate received a direct commission to the NavyReserveasanengineeringdutyofficer in 1999 and would go on to climb the military ranks in recognition of his talent and workethic.
Some of his positions include Deputy ProjectSuperintendentatthePearlHarbor NavalShipyard;MaintenanceReadinessand Improvements Officer at the Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic (SUBLANT); Business & Strategic Planning Officer at Norfolk Naval Shipyard; and a tour in Iraq asanIndividualAugmentee(IA)in2009
SimonguidedNSWCPDthroughanother eraofgrowthandinnovationsincerelieving Capt. Francis Spencer as commanding officerinMay2019
Byrne highlighted some of Simon’s accomplishments and initiatives during his timeinleadershipwithNSWCPD
“To help create an inclusive environment that includes direct communication betweenleadershipandtheworkforce Dana championed the ‘Many Voices’ program, which kicked off in April 2021. The effort includes groups of Philadelphia employees meetingfor90minuteseachmonth,engaging in lively exchanges about often difficult subjects,”Byrnesaid
He added, “To help encourage collaboration with cutting-edge industry leaders, the Liberty Tech Bridge was established under Dana’s watch as the latest addition to NavalX’s Tech Bridge community - a programdesignedtobringtogetherregional government, industry, and academia to expand a regional ecosystem focused on innovation.”
Simon graciously gave his farewell message in front of the NSWCPD communityandothers
“DuringmyfouryearshereinPhilly we’ve done countless amazing things I’ll confess, I probably didn’t see or hear about a good portionofthegreatstuffwedo That’sreally atestamenttoyouringenuityandmotivation
tosupporttheFleet.Youjustmakeithappen. You’vebuiltareputationforexcellenceand the Fleet deﬁnitely understands the critical role you play…I’d love to stand here and describe the good things we’ve done over thepastfouryears,butwewouldbehereall day, Simonsaid Simon leaves NSWCPD in competent handswithDarcynowtakingthelead.
Darcy’s most recent position was the Technical Director for Surface Ship Design andSystemsEngineering,NavalSeaSystems CommandEngineeringandLogisticsDirectorate (SEA 05). The United States Naval Academy graduate’s resume includes First Lieutenant aboard USS Fitzgerald and Project Officer for Combatant Repair at SUPSHIP, Puget Sound Darcy also served asanIAinAfghanistan.
He gave his remarks during the cere-
mony with his family in attendance as they wereformallywelcomedintotheNSWCPD community
“It sometimes may seem like we here at NSWCPD are half a world away from protecting and defending our nation and the constitution. But my friends, we aren’t half a world away, not miles, not yards, not inchesaway,butratherthetabspaceonthe codethatwemaintain,thewidthofaperiod onthemanualswewrite,themillimeterthin distance of the labyrinth seals of the seam driven pumps that we oversee,” Darcy said. “That’showfarwefromthedefenseofallwe believe Defend that space, make it impenetrable.”
Byrne closed his speech with a vote of conﬁdenceforDarcy.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome you and your family to the Warfare Center family Our
success as an organization, from the ‘Big Navy’ on down, is strongly linked with the qualityofourleader,theircharacter,resolve, and wisdom. I am conﬁdent that you will continue the tradition of excellence you established throughout your career right hereinPhiladelphia, Byrnesaid.
NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery ship machinery systems and related equipment and materialforNavysurfaceshipsandsubmarines NSWCPDisalsotheleadorganization providingcybersecurityforallshipsystems.
Dr J.Lynn Caldwell receives a service award during a Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton ceremonyto recognized herachievement and service ofover30years Feb.23 at NAMRUDayton.Dr Caldwell served as the seniorresearch psychologistwith the NavalAerospace Medical Research Laboratory primarilyworkingwithin the ﬁeld ofsleep and fatigue studies. She hasworked at NAMRU-Dayton since 2012 (PHOTOBYOLIVIATITER)
Naval SurfaceWarfare Center Philadelphia Division
6 The Flagship | www ﬂagshipnews.com | Section 1 | Thursday, March 16 2023
hosts a Change
Darcy(left) relieves Capt.Dana
(right) as Commanding OfficerofNSWCPD on March 10 2023.Commander Naval SurfaceWarfare Centerand Naval UnderseaWarfare CenterRearAdm.Kevin P.Byrne (center) serves as presiding officer,providing guest remarks.Change ofCommand Ceremonies are part ofthe U.S.Navy’s rich heritage and traditions.(U.S.NAVYPHOTOBYGARYELL/RELEASED)
www ﬂagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 1 | Thursday, March 16 2023 7
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USNS Trenton assists Venice organization Trenton crewmembersvolunteered at Emporio Della Solidarieta an organization that provides local low-income families with bare-necessityitems,while in port Venice,Italy PageB6
Sailors recognized for assembling the ﬁrst En-Route Care Systems
Naval Medical Forces Atlantic
WILLIAMSBURG, Va Biomedical technicians, logistics and retail service specialists from across the Navy Medicine enterprisehavebeenattheforefrontforthe assembly of the U.S. Navy’s ﬁrst En-Route Care System (ERCS) and Expeditionary Resuscitative Surgical System (ERSS) designs at Naval Medical Readiness Logistics Command (NMRLC) Williamsburg on board Naval Weapons Station Yorktown-Cheatham Annex, March 3.
Sailors from Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bethesda, Bremerton, Pensacola, Portsmouth,SanDiego,CampLejeuneandExpeditionaryMedicalFacility(EMF)Julietwere on temporary additional duty to perform critical functions including disposition of obsolete material inventory maintenance andreassignmentofmedicalequipment
“Yourjobhereissoimportant,”saidRear Adm. Matthew Case commander Naval Medical Forces Atlantic (NMFL) and director, Tidewater Market. “We have the equipment ready, on the books and on the shelves in the warehouse to support our operational mission.”
The team’s efforts provided an accelerated production timeline that will play an important role in providing prepositioned medical assets to combatant commanders andtheatrecommandersaroundtheworld in support of service members and allies, and to also provide humanitarian efforts and disaster relief
“Weneedtobepreparedtomovepatients with smaller, portable units,” explained NMFL Deputy Commander Capt. Carolyn Rice “And in having these kits ready, getting them to the places that they need to go is going to be crucial.”
The team completed maintenance actions and certiﬁed for use 233 lifesav-
ing pieces of equipment dispositioned 30,185items with2,480itemshavingbeen redistributed to other platform builds and 40,209 items have been spot-inventoried.
NFMLleadershipparticipatedinaquestion-and-answersession,metwithpersonnel during a warehouse tour, took group photos and presented coins to recognize top performing Sailors “What you all have done here is exciting to see,” concluded Case “I just wanted to come out and say thank you.
NMRLC, headquartered in Williamsburg,managesthewarehouseandproduction facilities that procures, produces, manages, prepositions, and deploys expeditionary medical systems and EMFs in support of operational plans, exercise support, and real-world operations These deployable systems provide combatant commanders’ desired capabilities regardingstandardized,modular scalablecombat service support and medical/dental capa-
bilities to an advanced-base environment across the entire range of joint military operations NMFL, headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, delivers operationally focused medical expertise and capabilities to meet Fleet,MarineandJointForcerequirements by providing equipment, sustainment and maintenance of medical forces during combatoperationsandpublichealthcrisis NMFLprovidesoversightfor21NMRTCs logistics and public health and dental services throughout the U.S. East Coast, U.S.GulfCoast,Cuba,Hawaii,Europe,and the Middle East.
Navy Medicine represented by more than 44,000 highly-trained military and civilian health care professionals provides enduring expeditionary medical support to the warﬁghter on, below, and above the sea, and ashore.
NAVCENT hosts Ukraine delegation for tour of unmanned and AI Task Force
MANAMA, Bahrain Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, welcomed a Ukrainian delegation to the U.S. Navy’sregionalheadquartersinBahrain,March13
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Arab Emirates Dmytro Senik joined six members of the Ukrainian Parliament for a NAVCENT brieﬁng on regional maritime security cooperation and unmanned technology integration.
The delegation learned about NAVCENT’s latest efforts in integrating advanced unmanned systems and artiﬁcialintelligenceintoregionalmaritimeoperations
An unmanned and artiﬁcial intelligence task force NAVCENT established in 2021, called Task Force 59, is currentlyspearheadinganefforttoformamultinational ﬂeetof100unmannedsurfacevesselsbasedintheMiddle East by end of the summer U.S. 5th Fleet announced in February the task force and regional partners have approachedthehalfwaypointtowardthatgoal.
NAVCENTiscurrentlyleadingthelargestnavalexercise in the Middle East, called International Maritime Exercise2023 Thetrainingeventincludes7,000personnel from over 50 countries and organizations, 35 ships and more than 30 unmanned and artiﬁcial intelligence systemsoperatingintheArabianGulf,ArabianSea,Gulf ofOman,RedSea,IndianOceanandEastAfricancoastal regions
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses approximately2.5millionsquaremilesofwaterareaand includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts oftheIndianOceanandthreecriticalchokepointsatthe StraitofHormuz,SuezCanalandStraitofBabal-Mandeb
MANAMA,Bahrain (March 13,2023) Members ofa Ukrainian delegation,includingAmbassadorofUkraine to the UnitedArab Emirates Dmytro Senik,centerright listens to a brieﬁng byU.S.5th Fleet’sTaskForce 59 during avisit to the Robotics Operations Centerin Manama,Bahrain,March 13,2023.(U.S.NAVYPHOTOBYMASSCOMMUNICATIONSPECIALIST1STCLASSMARKTHOMAS MAHMOD)
WILLIAMSBURG,Va (March 3,2023) RearAdm.MatthewCase,Naval Medical ForcesAtlantic (NMFL) commanderand director,TidewaterMarket and Capt.Carolyn Rice,NMFLdeputy commander take a group photographwith biomedical equipment technicians,logistics and retail service specialists from across the NavyMedicine enterprisewho assembled the U.S.Navy’s ﬁrst En-Route Care System (ERCS) and the ExpeditionaryResuscitative Surgical System (ERSS) designs at Naval Medical Readiness Logistics Command (NMRLC)Williamsburg onboard Naval Weapons StationYorktown-CheathamAnnex.(U.S.NAVYPHOTOBYBOBBIEA.CAMP) www ﬂagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 2 | Thursday, March 16 2023 1
Marine Corps launches Software Factory
Deputy Commandant for Information
TheMarineCorpsestablishedtheMarine Corps Software Factory (MCSWF) to create a world-class Marine-led software developmentcapabilitytoday,March10,2023
The future operating environment will require Marines to scope and implement software-based solutions at the edges of the battleﬁeldwithoutconnectivityorassistance fromcentralizedorcontractedsupport
The MCSWF enhances Marine Corps modernization efforts by empowering Marines to develop applications for commandersatthespeedofrelevance
“Our Marines have an amazing capacity for understanding complex technologies We must empower our Marines to use that technological know-how to create a more lethal force,” stated Gen. David H. Berger, 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps “TheMarineCorpsisﬁeldingmorecomplex systemsandplatformsrightnow,andwemust invest in our Marines’ and Civilian Marines’ capacitytoadvanceinparallel.”
TheMCSWFwillleveragerecentendeavorsintalentmanagement,partnershipswith industry and innovations in cloud technology The MCSWF will work closely with Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA) to ensure ease of career implications for programparticipantsandtoensuresoftware factory outcomes are optimized across the modernizationenterprise
As the Marine Corps’ Chief Information
Officer Lt Gen. Matthew Glavy Deputy Commandant for Information (DC I), will serve as the executive sponsor for the MCSWF
“The Marine Corps Software Factory is about outcomes, creating advantage for Marines at the tactical edge, today”, stated Glavy “TheMCSWFwillprovideviablecapabilitiestoenhancemissionreadinessthrough thepowerofinformation.”
MCSWF is a three-year pilot to demonstrate a scalable, Marine-led software development capability The three-year pilot will evaluate the demand from the ﬂeet to better understandoverallrequirements.
March 25, 2021, MARADMIN 164⁄21 was releasedviaInformation,Command,Control, Communications,andComputers(IC4)division soliciting participation in the inaugural Marine Corps Micro-Application Development Innovation Challenge The Innovation Challenge yielded promising results and proved that given the right resources, talented Marines across the MOS spectrum can design and deliver software capabilities from the tactical to strategic levels Subsequent micro-application innovation challenges consistently revealed untapped technical talent and a demand signal for organically developed software solutions withintheMarineCorps.
The initial MCSWF cohort was sourced from the Communications Occupational Field. Future candidates will be solicited acrosstheservicefromanyMOS
Marines selected to attend the MCSWF
will undergo a three-year program consisting of three phases: a technical accelerator, one-to-onepairingenablement,andemployment utilization For the ﬁrst three months, Marines will attend a technical accelerator toestablishabaselineskillset.Then,Marines willworkone-to-onewithtechnicalexperts fromindustrywhilesolvingrealMarineproblemsets
Marines who successfully complete the enablement phase will receive the 0673 Necessary MOS (Application Developer). Marines will spend the ﬁnal 24 months in a utilization tour building Marine Corps software solutions while continuing to advance theirskillsets
The MCSWF is co-located with the Army Software Factory (ASWF) in Austin, Texas. TheMCSWFhasestablishedaformalagreement with the ASWF showcasing the ﬁrst collaborative software development effort in the DoD Partnering with ASWF will accelerate Marine Corps software developmentmodernizationeffortsatasigniﬁcantly reducedcost.
The software factory is for Marines, poweredbyMarines IfanyoneontheMarine Corpsteamisinterestedinjoiningthefactory orhasanideaofhowasoftwaresolutioncan better the Corps they are encouraged to reach out directly to the factory via email at firstname.lastname@example.org TolearnmoreabouttheMCSWForhowto getinvolvedthefollowinglinktotheMCSWF website is provided: https://www.hqmc.
NSA Naples celebrates man’s best friend in a K9 Veterans Day 5K
U.S. Naval Support Activity Naples
NAPLES, Italy Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples celebrated K9 Veterans Day with a 5k run onboard NSA Naples’ Support Site Saturday March11,2023
NSA Naples’ Morale Welfare and Recreation(MWR)Fitness MilitaryWorkingDog (MWD)Team,VeterinaryClinic,NaplesArea SecurityAssociation(NASA),andUSOjoined together to recognize service dogs around theworld.
“We want to increase awareness and celebratethoseK-9swhohavebeenlostintheline ofduty […]Hopefullytheygainknowledgeof theworktheK9teamdoes,”saideventplannerandMWRFitness’sCapodichinoFitZone ManagerKatelynPaloma.
“Our outstanding Military Working Dog teamsandSecurityDepartmenthereatNSA Naples work tirelessly to keep our community safe and secure,” Capt. James Stewart, Commanding Officer of NSA Naples “We hope that through events like these our communitycaninteractwithourNavalSecurityForcesinamorecasualsettingandgetto knowthepeoplebehindtheuniform.”
Participants were able to watch a live demonstrationbytheMWDteamconducted bytwoK-9teams Adetectiondemonstrationwascompleted by Los Lunas, New Mexico native, Masterat-Arms Seaman Zion Gonzales and MWD Szana. During the exercise Szana sniffed through suitcases to show how MWDs are trainedtolocateimprovisedexplosivedevice (IEDs).
When asked to describe Szana, Gonzales’ faceﬁlledwithadmirationashesaid,“Sheis very loving She is hard working—honestly shemakesmelookgood.Ijustholdherleash and she does everything herself I love that dog Sheisperfect.”
A patrol demonstration was completed by Fairfax,Virginianative,Master-at-Arms2nd Class Abbie Cabrera and MWD Reno Reno showcased his ability to assist with a vehicle extractiononastagednon-compliantsuspect duringafelonystop
“My favorite part of working with MWDs is being able to teach my dog a new skill and applying it to daily tasks. Reno is intelligent, caring clumsy hardworking and a fast learner He is always eager to work and his positive attitude makes every day worthwhile,”saidCabrera.
Although only two MWDs participated in the demonstration, the department is made up of three different, specialized types of detectiondogs Reno Szana MWDGero,andMWDQqonnorarepatrolexplosivedogs.
MWD Debi, MWD Toto and MWD Toni areexplosivedetectordogs MWDBoyisadrugdetectiondog
This team of eight makes its mark beyond NSANaplesbyparticipatinginsecurityoperationsthatsupportU.S.governmentofficials, U.S.Navyshipsandmore.
Most recently, on Feb. 23, 2023, Debi workedalongsideKennelSupervisorMasterat-Arms 1st Class Amber Ortiz and Dog Handler Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Kashira Collins to provide security to First Lady of theUnitedStates,Dr JillBiden
In November 2022, MWD teams Cabrera and Reno, Gonzales and Szana, and Master-
at-Arms2ndClassXavierEscalanteandToni conductedportoperationsatPortoNapoliin supportoftheUSSGeorgeH.W.Bush(CVN77). The team conducted security sweeps of 10 small boats, 4 barges, and more than 175 buses
From November 2021 to October 2022, Cabrera and Reno deployed to Djibouti, AfricaandBaledogleMilitaryAirﬁeld(BMA) SomaliasupportingatotalofthreeIndividual Augmentees(IA).
The skills used in these operations were showcased during the K9 Veteran’s Day 5K event. The team hopes the NSA Naples community gained a better understanding oftheirefforts.
National K9 Veterans Day, March 13 is a day set aside to honor commemorate the service and sacriﬁces of American military andworkingdogsthroughouthistory.
The K-9 Corps were ﬁrst established on March 13, 1942 when the Army began trainingforitsnewWarDogProgram,markingthe ﬁrsttimethatdogswereofficiallypartofthe U.S.ArmedForces Officiallypartoftheserviceornot,MWDs havealonghistoryintheU.S.ArmedForces This includes canine heroes such as Sgt. Stubby,theoriginalwardog;Chips,themost decorated dog in World War II; Lex, who retired with his fallen owners family; and Cairo, the Navy SEAL working dog on the binLadenraid
NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when theyareneededtoensuresecurityandstability in the European, African and Central Commandareasofresponsibility For more news on NSA Naples, please follow us on Instagram @NSANaples and Facebookatfacebook.com/NSANaples/.
Q: Whattypesoffamily housingareavailable?
A: There are three types of housing available to families:
Housing is also referred to as privatized housing in the Navy
The Navy partnered with different private management companies to provide housing to Service Members. These companies are responsible forthe construction, renovation,maintenance and day-to-day management ofthe housing PPVhousing may be located on oroffgovernment property and in most cases will be formermilitary housing GovernmentOwned (also known as Military Housing orNavy Managed Housing is what was formerly called on-base housing While only available in limited quantities CONUS,Government Owned Housing is still widely available OCONUS. CommunityHousing is any housing that a Service Member may choose that is not PPVor government operated This is housing outside ofthe base that is privately owned and operated NAVY HOUSING Norfolk: 757.445.2832
Oceana/DamNeck: 757.433.3268 Yorktown: 757.847.7806
Mid-Atlantic Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSC) programs and services are designed to help you make the most of your military experience, and they’re all available to you at no cost.
ClinicalCounseling – Individual, Couplesand ChildCounseling
Personal Financial Management
Information & Referral
Deployment and Mobilization Support
The Marine Corps established the Marine Corps Software Factory(MCSWF) pilot program to create aworld-class Marine-led software development capabilityMarch 10 2023.The future operating environmentwill require Marines to scope and implement software-based solutions at the edges ofthe battleﬁeldwithout connectivityorassistance from centralized orcontracted support.The MCSWFenhances Marine Corps modernization efforts byempowering Marines to develop applications forcommanders at the speed ofrelevance.(PHOTOBYMAJ.GREGORY CARROLL)
2 The Flagship | www ﬂagshipnews.com | Section 2 | Thursday, March 16 2023
(March 6,2023) –
Ghana native serves aboard USS Milius while conducting operations in the Philippine Sea
Commander Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15
A Kumasi, Ghana, native and 2000 graduate of Garden City Secondary School is servingaboardtheArleighBurke-classguided-missiledestroyerUSSMilius(DDG69).
Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Abdul
Razak Mohammed joined the Navy in 2018 andisnowforward-deployedaboardMilius to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.
“I originally wanted to join the Army and was actually set to go to boot camp, but I changed my mind,” said Mohammed. “I wasworkingandgoingtoschoolforawhile, butImadeapledgetoservemycountry,soI
Originally serving as an undesignated seaman, Mohammed qualiﬁed to convert to a wide range of other jobs He eventually chosepersonnelspecialist,adecisionhesaid hedoesnotregret.Heisnowresponsiblefor theadministrativesupportofmorethan300 MiliusSailors
“The fact that everybody passes through theAdministrativeDivisionisunique,”said Mohammed “Nomatterwhatrate everyone has to get paid, take leave, transfer, retire. Everyone gets served by the PSs at some point, that’s what makes it unique and I’m happytoservethem.”
Mohammedsaidheﬁrmlybelievesinthe ideaofcitizensgivingbacktotheircountry “Asacitizen,youshoulddosomethingfor
othersinthenameofyourcountry whether theyareinyourpresenceorinyourabsence,” said Mohammed. “Everyone should try to ﬁndawaytodosomethingtobeneﬁtothers, whether it’s military service, community serviceorotherwise.”
AccordingtoMohammed,oneofthegreat rewards of service is the public respect for thatservice
“Whenpeopleseeyou,thekindofrespect theygiveyou,howitfeelstocomebackafter a long deployment where you leave everythingbehind, saidMohammed.“Youserve your country and you come back and the way people treat you with the highest level ofrespect that’sunique.”
Mohammed offered a word of advice for those who are thinking about military
“It’s one of the best decisions you can make, said Mohammed “To be among the threepercent,amongthefewtostepupand serve you can look back and feel proud everydayofyourlife Nothingcancompare to being able to look back someday and be abletosay‘Ionceserved.’”
Milius is assigned to Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surfaceforce
7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with Allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Paciﬁcregion
A clash of doctrine: VBSS in the western Indian Ocean
CameronEdy U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S Sixth Fleet
WithintheBandariMaritimeAcademyof Mombasa, Kenya, participants in exercise CutlassExpress2023,hailingfromDjibouti, Georgia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique,Seychelles,UnitedKingdom, and the United States, gathered to address a common challenge Visit, Board, Search andSeizure
Thegameisinthename operatorsvisit suspectvessels;boardthem,sometimeswith crewsbrandishingguns;searchthem lookingforsmuggledgoodsorpeople;andseize them,returningsuspectstopoliceforcesfor furtherevidencecollection
Often,whenmilitarieslookathowtotrain VBSS capabilities, they focus on the VB ‘how do we best arm and train our people to board non-compliant vessels.’ It’s a lot of gun,boat,hand-to-hand,androomclearing training and aligns with the foundations of theirmilitarytraining What’smoredifficult isthecriminalinvestigationpiece,ortheSS in VBSS Militaries, and navy’s especially, aren’tgreatatcivilian-stylelawenforcement they’renottrainedforit,they’renotpracticed in it, and it’s not a part of the mission set Exceptwhenitis
“It’s a clash of doctrine,” said Felipe Ramos an International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) criminal intelligence officer “In the navy you clear the scene,soyougoeverywhere,yousearchthe whole vessel. In crime scene preservation, wesay‘touchtheminimumyoucan.’Ourjob as instructors, and their job as military ﬁrst responders, is to reach a balance between what is doable and be realistic about what you can do But it can be hard to ﬁnd that balance because the training many navies receive is military training It’s about stoppingthethreatandtakingcontrolofthesituation. For law enforcement, it’s more about minimizing the threat, and minimizing the damagetothescene.”
RamosisaformercaptainofRiodeJaneiro’s state police department, and currently works as part of INTERPOL’s Project Compass an International Narcotics and LawEnforcementAffairsfunded collaborativeprojectthatlinksregionalgovernments and international organizations in combating illicit maritime activity In his role, he’s seenwhathappenswhenthebalanceshifts awayfromlawenforcement.
“[For some crimes] like trafficking in human beings, or international drug trafﬁcking, the national navies are often the ﬁrst responders They are the police officers especially when the country doesn’t have a coast guard,” Ramos said. “But without the necessary skills to handle evidence and interview witnesses, a lot of evidence can be lost Then, if it becomes an investigation afterwards, and eventually a case to
be tried, it’s hard to convict if the evidence wasn’tmeticulouslyhandledfromthestart Sotheideahereistokeepthatlaw-enforcement perspective when they are intervening.”
That’s the challenge most navies face the balance between military and law enforcement perspectives in an intervention. What’s interesting about this year’s VBSS training is how the law enforcement perspectiveisbakedintoeveryengagement
TheVBSSportionofCutlassExpress2023 comprisesmultiplescenarios,executedwith nuance The Georgian and the U.K. Royal Navy gave academic training on the techniques tools and trade skills they use to board a vessel while the U.S. Coast Guard briefed participants on how to operate a MaritimeOperationsCenter.Onemoment, theRoyalNavyinstructorwouldbegivinga detailedexplanationonhowtorespectfully search a female suspect, and in the next, go over how to search a bandaged suspect by offering them clean wrappings applied by a medical professional. More often-thannot, the academic ﬂoor is yielded to the participants, where service members from Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius,andMozambiquediscussthereal world situations they’ve experienced, and howthey’veresponded
Then the classroom is vacated, and the teams split into different groups to tackle challenge areas Some go to what’s colloquially called the Ship in a Box, a simulated vessel,whereTunisianmarinecommandos teach room clearing techniques and climbing procedures for boarding a non-compliant vessel Some will go to the pool, where U.S. Marines take them through an intensive survival swim course, culminating in a grappling-hook ladder climb and swiftly followedbya15-footjumpbackintothepool infulluniform.OtherswillgotoINTERPOL’s course, where Ramos along with the Project Compass team and an instructor from the U.S. Navy’s Naval Criminal Investigative Service, provide hands-on training of ﬁrst response, technical crime-scene management,andinvestigationmentorship
They also introduce training on INTERPOL’s resources methodologies and intelligence analysis to expand the operation from actors at-sea to organizers and ﬁnanciersonland This ﬁrst group should come out of this trainingwiththenecessaryskillstorespond withtheconsiderationthatthey’reresponding to a crime scene,” Ramos emphasized. “They won’t be crime scene experts, but they’ll have the skills to process a crime scene and preserve as much as possible as ﬁrstresponders.”
That’s the first week of INTERPOL’s training Thesecondpullsselectcandidates from each course, and gives them a breakneck, in-depth instruction on crime-scene management, witness interviewing, and
utilizing modern and international investigative standards to preserve and document a crime scene Essentially, these service members will be the ﬁrst line of defense, and the test case for the validity of crime scene management in the region’s military services.
“Theendgoalistheincorporationofthese techniques in basic curriculum,” Ramos emphasized “Use this as a pilot to bring thesametrainingto,andintegrateitwithin, the standing military curriculum. Everyone getting training in these navies should have a basic module in crime scene preservation.Otherwise it’sjustsomeonecoming intellingthemtodosomething Butthere’sa differencebetweenthat,andinvitingacrime scene investigation unit in their own police force to deliver a training We’ve had great successwhenweseethat.”
But the knowledge wasn’t a one-way street - a Mauritius Coast Guardsmen, specializing in boarding and noncompliant suspect evolutions beamed when talking about the different ways he could prove drugs are in a barrel of gasoline his favorite is rolling it and listening for clanks or sloshes A Georgian Coast Guardsman and a Mozambique Navy sailor discussed the differences in boarding techniques on differentstylesofboatsthroughatranslator speakingEnglishandPortugueserespectively and both their second languages Across the room, a U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Operations Center instructor listened to a translator, as a French-speaking Madagascar Navy sailor broke down the practicalities of operating in East African waters the Coast Guardsmen empathized, and gave equally practical advice on how he’d tackledthoseissuesinhisownbranch AU.S. NavycorpsmanandGeorgianmedicdebated the tactics of retrieving a wounded service member during a ﬁreﬁght, both agreeing it dependedonthesituation
That corpsman was attached to U.S. Marines from Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, Central Command (FASTCENT).
The lead for that team, Capt. Tyler Carpenter, was an integral piece to the success of this year’s VBSS training His Marines offered insight, but didn’t dominate the ﬁeld whenitcametoamphibiouswarfare they’reexperts andtaughtaccordingly But they deferred to Tunisia special forces on room clearing, to INTERPOL on crime scene management, and to the Royal Navy onmodernpracticesinsearchingandapprehending suspects for detainment. Equally important, when one of the participants spoke about the real-world engagements theyexperienced,theylistenedandlearned.
“It’s really a forum to discuss VBSS and to learn from another,” Carpenter said.
“This is an incredibly unique opportunity on the table All of the organizations and national militaries in that room (gesturing to the conference center, where the bulk of
discussion was taking place) it’s incredibly rare that we get to be in the same place at the same time. It’s a unique opportunity to exchange real-world experience on a very expansive level, across government, non-government,regionalandinternational organizations.”
The lessons were practical, but the trust was built behind-the-scenes. On the ﬁrst day, while a Tunisian marine commando strappedaharnessacrossaDjiboutianNavy sailor, another Djiboutian started arguing with a Kenyan Army ranger It was friendly theFrench-speakingDjiboutianwaschallenging the English-speaking Kenyan to a pushupcontest Hisfriendsegginghimon, theDjiboutiandropped SodidtheKenyan, toothpick still in his mouth, ﬁrst onto his knuckles, and then ﬂat-palmed. Their pace wasfrantic,andsoonacrowdofDjiboutian, Tunisian, and Kenyan service members, alongside a smattering of U.S. Marines, stopped, watched and cheered at the two. TheKenyanbeathim thebatteredDjiboutian needled his friend into it, and after another loss, they started gesturing at the U.S. Marine. With a laughing shake of his head,heshutitdown.
Hoursearlierandonlyafew100feetaway, Mauritius Coast Guard Police Constable Elise Pascal, a boarding party member for noncompliantandopposedboarding,looked around,reﬂectingonthespectacleofitall.
“For me, it’s meeting everyone that has enhanced this experience, Pascal said. “All the knowledge sharing, and learning about the difficulties others face, what we can upgrade in our own search and interventions, from both a safety and legal aspect it’sauniqueexperience.”
Theend-goalistocreateastandardinthe region whether you’re a Mauritius Coast Guardsman, or a Djiboutian Navy Sailor you board with the same expert precision, preserve the crime scene meticulously, and turnovertheevidenceandsuspectssuccessfullyforfurtherprosecution.Butthere’salso anulteriormotive twoactually.Thisexercise, and the VBSS portion isn’t about small scale education It’s about bringing people together,andtrainingthetrainers
“I have nearly 30 years of service but at very different stations mostly ships or the land and beach police force VBSS at the level that he does it, is rare for me,” said Mauritius Navy Corp. Ramdhun Dharamraj, gesturing across the table to Pascal. “At thepostlevel,it’srare,butwhatI’mgaining here,Iwillsharewithmyfriendsbackhome, withthepeopleIworkwith Iamenhancing my experience after this, I’m going to all the younger ones and we’ll do the same as I learned here Apply the same lessons, and learnfromittobebetteroverall.”
Ramos, sleep soundly The exercise or atleasttheVBSSportion wasasuccess
Personnel Specialist 3rd ClassAbdul Mohammed,from NewYork,mans a mooring line aboard theArleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyerUSS Milius (DDG 69) as the ship conducts routine operations,March
is assigned to Commander,TaskForce 71/DestroyerSquadron (DESRON) 15,the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S.7th Fleet’s principal surface force.(U.S.NAVYPHOTOBYMASSCOMMUNICATIONSPECIALIST1STCLASSGREGJOHNSON)
www ﬂagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 2 | Thursday, March 16 2023 3
4 The Flagship |www ﬂagshipnews.com|Section 2| Thursday, March 16,2023
Sailor on the Street
1st Class Christina Allen
As a woman in the Navy, how do you hope to inspire future generations? I hope to inspire future generations to be brave and conﬁdent in theirownindividualjourney
What message would you give a little girl who wants to join theNavy?
It may be tough to commit to untraditional change, but don’t be afraid to create your own traditions to meet your goals. Have fun in being creative in meeting those goals, and see the opportunity in those upcoming inevitable obstacles You can do all things, all thingswhileservingandprotectingourfamilies,ourcommunities, and our country Remember your “why,” and give yourself grace andreachbacktohelpthosediscoveringtheirjourneyaswell.
If you’renoticing changes, it could be Alzheimer’s. Talk about visiting adoctor together.
“Early detection gaveusmoretime to ﬁnd informationand support together.”
www ﬂagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 2 | Thursday, March 16 2023 5
USNSTrenton (T-EPF5),MilitarySealift Command’s expeditionaryfast transport ship participated in a communityrelations projectwhile the shipwas in portVenice,Italy March 7.Trenton crewmembersvolunteered at Emporio Della Solidarieta an organization established in 2008with the goal to provide local low-income familieswith bare-necessityitems,including food and personal products byoperating a store,a school and offering housing foradults requiring extra assistance.From the left MasterChiefIntelligence Specialist Shannon Naranjo Trenton’s senior enlisted leader; Intelligence Specialist Second ClassAnthonyKonrad; CryptologicTechnicians Collection First Class Kevin Serpa; Lt Cmdr Matt DeBaun,Trenton’s assistant officerin charge and Cmdr Tim Rustico,Trenton’s officerin charge (PHOTOBYCHRISTINAJOHNSON,MILITARYSEALIFTCOMMAND EUROPEANDAFRICA)
USNS Trenton assists Venice organization
Military Sealift Command, Europe and Africa
VENICE, Italy USNS Trenton (T-EPF 5), Military Sealift Command’s expeditionary fast transport ship, participated in a communityrelationsprojectwhiletheship wasinportVenice,Italy,March7.
Trenton crewmembers volunteered at Emporio Della Solidarieta, an organization establishedin2008withthegoaltoprovide local low-income families with bare-necessity items, including food and personal products, by operating a store, a school and offering housing for adults requiring extra assistance
“It was really great to learn about the mission of the Emporio and all that they do for the local community,” said Lt Cmdr Matt DeBaun Trenton’s assistant officer in charge “Weweregladtoassistandhopeour efforts will help their operations moving forward.”
The Trenton team was asked to organize the pasta supplies located in the organization’s warehouse that stores donated items for distribution. The ship’s volunteers sorted through more than 50 boxes of
pasta, veriﬁed the expiration dates on the boxes, repackaged and arranged the boxes by date. This assistance will help Emporio staffmembersalignproductdatestoprevent expirationwasteandtocontinuallyprovide currentitemstothoseinneed
“ThiswasagreatopportunityforourSailors to give back to the Venice community,” said Cmdr Tim Rustico Trenton’s officer incharge “Emporioisdoingsomeamazing work, and it was an honor to assist them in theirmission.
Military Sealift Command operates approximately 125 naval auxiliary civilian-crewed ships, replenishes U.S. Navy ships, strategically prepositions combat cargo at sea and moves military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalitionpartnersaroundtheworld.
Trenton is currently deployed in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations. Sixth Fleet, headquarteredinNaples,Italy,conductsthe full spectrum of joint and naval operations, ofteninconcertwithalliedandinteragency partners, in order to advance U.S. national security interests and security and stability inEuropeandAfrica.
USS Cooperstown rescues mariner
Commander Littoral Combat Ship Squadron Two
ATLANTICOCEAN Whileconductingroutineoperations,theFreedom-variantlittoralcombatshipUSSCooperstown (LCS 23) provided emergency assistance to a sailing vesselindistress,March11,2023
Cooperstown received notiﬁcation that a sailing vessel was in distress and required rescuing Diverting course to aidthevessel CooperstownthendeployedtheirSearchand Rescue(SAR)Swimmertorecovertheindividualindistress Cooperstown safely recovered the stranded mariner and transferredthemtotheStationCharleston45-footResponse Boat-Mediumcrew
“I’m grateful for the training the Navy provided me to be able to respond and rescue the Mariner in distress, and thankfulwewereabletohelp,”saidtheship’sprimarySearch and Rescue Swimmer, Gunner’s Mate Chief Petty Officer JustinOlson.
Cooperstown is the ﬁrst naval ship named after Cooperstown, New York and honors the 70 Hall of Famers who served the United States during wartime in a range of conﬂicts that spanned the Civil War, World War I, World WarII,andtheKoreanWar.
“Weare,America’sAwayTeam,andwearealwaysready torespondtoaction,”saidCmdr.DaxtonMoore,commandingofficerofCooperstown.“I’mincrediblyproudoftheSailorsaboardCooperstownwhorespondedinthemiddleofthe nighttoaidaMarinerindistress Icontinuetobeimpressed bytheCrew’sselﬂessactions
TheLittoralCombatShipisafast,agile,mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats The LCS is capableofsupportingforwardpresence,maritimesecurity, seacontrol,anddeterrence.
ATLANTIC OCEAN The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Cooperstown rescued a civillian marineroffthe coast ofSouth Carolinawhile conducting routine operations 11,Mar 2023.USS Cooperstown is assigned to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 2.(PHOTOBYLT ANTHONYJUNCO) Trenton crewmembersvolunteered at Emporio Della Solidarieta andwere asked to organize the pasta supplies located in the organization’swarehouse that stores donated items for distribution.The ship’svolunteers sorted through more than 50 boxes ofpasta,veriﬁed the expiration dates on the boxes,repackaged and arranged the boxes bydate This assistancewill help Emporio staffmembers align product dates to prevent expirationwaste and to continually provide current items to those in need (PHOTOBYCHRISTINAJOHNSON,MILITARYSEALIFT COMMAND,EUROPEANDAFRICA) 6 The Flagship | www ﬂagshipnews.com | Section 2 | Thursday, March 16 2023
Finish your high school diploma, foryou andfor them. Find free,ﬂexibleand supportive adult education centersnearyou at FinishYourDiploma.org. When you graduate, they graduate. www ﬂagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 2 | Thursday, March 16 2023 7
RISK OF PREDIABETES: 1IN3 ADULTS LIFE DOESN’T ALWAYS GIVE YOUTIME TO CHANGE THE OUTCOME. PREDIABETES DOES. RISK OF SHARK ATTACK: 1IN11.5 MILLION TAKE THE RISK TEST TODAYAT DoIHavePrediabetes.org 8 The Flagship | www ﬂagshipnews.com | Section 2 | Thursday, March 16 2023
The world renown Champions of Magic show is at the Roper
Performing Arts Center through Sunday March 19th, Magicians
Hollie England and Alex McAleer talk about the show
They have sold out shows throughout the world, they have been the feature act on every major US TV network and have over50,000,000viewsonline Theyarethe worldfamousChampionsofMagicandthey havebeensellingoutshowshereattheTCC
Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts CenterinNorfolk,Virginianightafternight, after night With only a few shows left up until this Sunday March 19th, you can not afford to miss these spectacular illusions thatafteryouseethem,youstillcan’tbelieve youreyes NBCcallstheChampionsofMagic,“The most incredible show” with Access Hollywood Live declaring, “You have to check them out. FOX has praised them as “A one of a kind show” and Broadway World said the Champions of Magic are, “5 of the world’sﬁnestmagicians.”
We, in the Hampton Roads area, are very fortunate indeed because Champions of Magic have brought to the Roper, their
arenascalespectacleofashow.Sitbackand be enchanted with an evening of impossible illusions and spectacular special effects such as Houdini’s water torture cell, levitation high above the stage and a mind-blowingpredictionthatwillleaveyouspeechless andwantingmorejusttomentionafew.
For tickets, remaining dates and times and more, go to https://tickets.championsofmagic.co.uk/
Yiorgo:With us today are Alex McAleer, Mind Reader and Mentalist extraordinaire and Hollie England whose artistic style of magichasbeensettingtheworldonﬁre.Can you tell us why people should come to the Champions of Magic show? What will they see and experience live, that’s not the same asonTV?
Hollie England: It is a magic show that you can bring everyone to There are ﬁve different illusionists: two of them are a doubleactbuteachoftheactsdoesadifferentstyleofmagic.ThereisFernandowhois an escapologist, he does the escapes Then wehaveAlexwhoisamindreader,amental-
ist.Idoanartisticstyleofmagicandwehave Young and Strange who do a comedy style, grand illusions Also along with performing our individual acts and what is different perhaps from some other magic shows is that we also perform magic acts together asagroup.That’showwegotthenickname as the Avengers of Magic I think Working together on some acts but also showcasing eachindividuallytoo.
Alex McAleer: Most people have seen magiconTVorYouTubeandyoudon’treally knowifthereissometypeofasetuporaﬁx or clever camera tricks But when you see magiclive,youknowit’shappeninginfront ofyouintheveryroom,soseeingmagiclive isthebestwaytoseemagicperformed.
Y: How did Champions of Magic originate,howdiditallcometogether?
AM: It all got started in 2013 and I along with Youngand Strange who are also in the show this week, we three were there from the beginning Back home in England, I got an email out of the blue about putting together an ensemble magic show, because
beforethat,theproducerwasdoingcomedy shows, basically having a group of comedians putting on a show. So he took the same concept only now with magicians We started small, the next year we did 10 shows,theyearafterthatwedidevenmore shows In 2017, we came over to the US and westartedtouringhereaswellasinCanada and back home in the UK And now we are thishugebehemothshowthattoursallover theplace Youknow,thisisthelongestshow I’veeverhad.
HE: I have been involved with different magic shows, not as the magician but in other various roles. I had seen Champions of Magic when I lived in LA Magician Fay Presto was in the show then and funny enough Kayla Drescher who kind of took over from Fay was in the audience with me at the time In that particular show there were three magicians who wound up being intheshoweventually,allthoughwedidnot know that at the time I had contacted Alex
Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience opens at Virginia Beach Convention Center on July 6
VIRGINIABEACH,Va Imaginebeing completely immersed in more than 300 of the greatest works of post-Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh. Now imagine experiencing all of this art liberated from its two-dimensional limitations into a three-dimensional experience that exhilarates every sense and brings to life one of the most inﬂuential artists the world has known It’s all part of Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, produced by Paquin Entertainment Group, which has sold over 5 million tickets globally making it one of the most popular current traveling exhibitions The sensory extravaganza will open in Virginia Beach at Virginia BeachConventionCenter(ExhibitHallA) presentedinpartnershipwithVirginiaArts Festival on July 6.
While journeying through Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience guests witnessmorethan300iconicmasterpieces, including such instantly recognizable classics as “The Starry Night,” “Sunﬂowers,” and“CaféTerraceatNight,”aswellasmany revealingself-portraits.Pricesstartat$33.99 foradultsand$23.99forchildren(ages5-15), plus ticketing fees Tickets which will sell out quickly will be on-sale to the general public beginning Thursday, March 9th at www.vangoghvirginiabeach.com
“This distinctive and unique multimedia artistic adventure is deeply resonating with audiences. Encompassing a refreshing new twist unlike art lovers have seen before, Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experiencegivesanewappreciationofthis tortured artist’s stunning work Unsurprisingly millions of people all over the world
credit Van Gogh with enhancing their relationship with art. Beyond Van Gogh: The ImmersiveExperiencewillonlystrengthen that connection, says Justin Paquin, producer,PaquinEntertainmentGroup
The Education Room leads into the Immersive Experience Room. Freed from their frames, Van Gogh’s spectacular paintings appear on projection-swathed walls invitinggueststofullyimmersethemselves intotheincredibledetailofhisworkandbe enveloped in his ever-shifting swirling and colorful ﬂowers, cafes and stunning landscapes And the audience is able to hear the artist’s own dreams, thoughts and words set to a symphonic score that drives an unmatchednarrativeexperience.
Cinematic Van Gogh exhibitions have crossed the ocean from European cities to NorthAmericainrecentyearsandmetwith great critical acclaim with sold-out audiencesineverymarket
WHEN July6th,2023 September2nd,2023
Friday&Saturday:10:00am-9:00pm (LastEntry:8:00PM) Sunday:10:00am-7:00pm (LastEntry:6:00PM)
WHERE VirginiaBeachConventionCenter (ExhibitHallA) 100019thSt.,VirginiaBeach,VA23451
PerformerFernandoVelasco (Photo courtesyofChampions ofMagic)
(PHOTOSBYTIMOTHYNORRIS) INSIDE: Check out Flagship Values, your source for automobiles, employment, real estate and more! Pages C6-7
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spring meals with a powerful salad Bright
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Virginia Aquarium’s Membership Madness, full of perks and discounts happening this month
We in the Hampton Roads area are so fortunate to have the Virginia Aquarium andMarineScienceCenter,thejewelofthe sealocatedhereinVirginiaBeach,Virginia. There is so much to see and do there that theonlywaytoexperienceitallistobecome amember,comeasoftenasyoulikeandtake itallin,onedayatatime
Thereisthe70,000USgallonChesapeake Light Tower Aquarium that replicates the underwater environment of about 15 miles off the coast of Virginia and is the home to the green sea turtle, loggerhead and many ﬁsh One can also ﬁnd the Norfolk Canyon Aquarium, that replicates the underwater environmentofasthenamesays,theNorfolk Canyon,thatisabout70milesoffthecoastof Virginiaandhometothesandbar,nurseand sandtigersharkaswellasmanyﬁsh.
Thesearejustasmallfractionofthetreasure that is the Virginia Aquarium As for me I along with my eight year old grandson Johnny, we love the Virginia Aquarium and are there most of the week, every week. There is just so much to see and do Allofthestaffattheaquariumaretopnotch, veryknowledgeable,verylovingandgiving, and because they see Johnny there almost everyday,helpingout,“volunteering”atthe photos inthegiftshop atthevirtualreality andmore,theyhave“adopted”himasoneof theirown.Johnny’sconﬁdence,willingness tohelpouteverywhereandleadershipskills havebeennurturedbythecaringstaffthere. For so many reasons, I can not recommend theaquariumandthestaffhighlyenough.
Formuchmoreinfo,becomingamember, tickets and more, go to https://www.virginiaaquarium.com/
Theaquariumshouldbeoneveryone’sgo todestinationandthemonthofMarchisthe perfect time to become a member or renew amembership Heretotellus allaboutwhy people should join is Madeline Bishop, Membership Coordinator at the Virginia AquariumandMarineScienceCenter
Yiorgo:WhatisMemberMadnessatthe Aquarium and why should visitors join or renew their membership? What are some oftheperks?
Madeline Bishop: It is a special time of the year when we at the Virginia Aquarium provideanextratwomonthsfreeforanyone who renews or purchases a new membership Other perks for joining in March are: that you can bring in an extra friend in for free, get an additional 10% off at the Aquarium store, get an extra $10 of the admission at the Adventure Park and photogenic is running15%offtheirpackages.
And to clarify, our existing members can also bring in an extra friend for free and we offer a 10% military discount on membershipforthosewhoserveourcountry
Y:Forsomeonecominginfortheﬁrsttime and the only thing they know is that it is an aquarium and it has to do with sea life, can youdescribewhat theywill seeandexperienceoncetheyarethere?
MB: First I recommend that they get their ticket online and our staff will gladly help Upon arriving at the Aquarium, the ﬁrst thing they will see, located outside, are theseals.Theyareamazingcreatures,playful and full of life Their names are Hector, Rudder, Monty and Javier I love them so much I try to make a point and hang out with them. It’s funny seeing them growing up together interacting with guests and I likethepeoplewatchingaspectofit Youcan really see the impact they have on people watchingthem.
Once inside the main lobby, we have admissionsinthecenter,toonesidearethe VirtualPodswithavarietyofvirtualundersea adventures. Looking down the hallway from there we see the changing exhibit which is now Steampunk We have a cafeteria and next to it are classrooms and the naturetrail.Ontheothersideisthegiftshop and across from admissions they enter and get the full experience of our wonderful aquariumexperience
Y:Thereissomuchforvisitors/members toseeanddo Whataresomeoftheexhibits at the aquarium that you want to highlight here?Doyouhaveanypersonalfavorites?
MB: As a member my favorite is sitting in front of the sea turtle exhibit, and seeing Greenie the green sea turtle Just sitting there is such a majestic experience I also enjoy taking a stroll on the nature trail, hanging out with the seals outside or even goingoutonaboattrip Wehaveachanging exhibit every few and right now it’s Steampunk,whichIenjoyverymuch.Thesensory friendlymorningsarealsooneofmyparticularfavoriteevents
MB:Sensoryfriendlymorningsarefreeto members It’s every second Saturday from 7:30AM-9:00AM.Wedonotdoanyloading and we adjust the lighting during that time. It really is a great experience to be able to enjoythatmorequiet,peacefultime.
Y:MygrandsonJohnny andIloveeverythingattheaquariumandlatelywearereally enjoying the stingray exhibit that recently openedup MB: Yes indeed. They are so much fun Theybringoutyourinnerchild.Youareable to interact and touch them and the stingrays can and do splash people. Now that’s an interactive experience They are funny towatchandtheyallhavepersonalitiesthat sometimescomewithasplash.
For those not as fortunate as Johnny to comehereandseeourexhibits,wealsohave our outreach programs that are part of our educational programs We do outreach as well as virtual, so for those that can’t come
in to experience the aquarium, we bring it toyou.
Y: Can you tell us about the Adventure Park?
MB: It is a separate entity from us but it isonourgroundsandwearepartnerswith them. They have a great program for ﬁve years and older to go out on their courses and it goes all the way up to experienced adults It is basically an obstacle course with trees, climbing and ziplining. They are open year round but hours and dates change seasonally Youalsohavebehindthescenestours Can youtellusaboutthem?
MB:Forthosethatwanttogetevencloser views,thenthebehindthescenetoursisthe waytogo Rightnowweofferfourdifferent ones. You must be eight years old and over 48 inches tall because we are going behind the scenes, on some catwalks so we want to be very safe We have the Komodo Dragons Tour,theSharkTour,wehavetheseaturtles andwehavetheHowthingsWorktours
There is an extra fee to participate and members get a discount. You do have to register show up at a designated time and thereisalimitofhowmanycanattend You donotneedtobeamembertodothesetours. It is well worth the price for the opportunity to see behind the scenes, up close and personal.
MB: Our whale watching boat trips have justconcludedfortheseasonbutthedolphin discovery boat trips will start this Saturday March 18th. We have two different boats that go out dolphin watching: the Atlantic Explorer that goes out ﬁrst and the AtlanticScoutthatstartsApril29th TheAtlantic Scout only runs through the summer It is justfordolphinsanditismoreofanimmersiveexperienceandmustbesixandolderto enjoythatandbeabletomaneuverstairsto get up But you are lower to the water, you gettoyourlocationquickerthantheAtlantic Explorersothereissomethingforeveryone toenjoy.
MB: Thank God for our Stranding Response Team. As the name states, they respond to any marine mammals that peopleﬁndstranded.Wehaveahotlineand respondtoallcoastalVirginia.Justrecently, we actually had three whales that were beachedandwewereabletosavethem.
Yiorgo is an arts, entertainment and sports writer A stage, TV and movie actor, he is also a sports entertainer, educator, motivational speaker, writer, storyteller and columnist
Membership Coordinator Madeline Bishop (COURTESYPHOTO)
2 The Flagship | www ﬂagshipnews.com | Section 3 | Thursday, March 16 2023
ThewriterYiorgo and his grandsonJohnny,having the time oftheirlives atTheVirginiaAquarium.(PHOTOCOURTESYOF YIORGO)
Championship Wrestling returns to Hampton High School This Saturday with Magnum TA
Virginia Championship Wrestling returns to Hampton HighSchoolthisSaturdaynightMarch18thfortheﬁrsttime since before the start of the global pandemic! This event is broughttoyoubyPriorityAutomotivewithaportionofthe proceeds beneﬁting the Hampton Crabbers Doors open at 6:30PMwithbelltimeat7:30PM.Ticketscanbepurchased onlineinadvanceatvcwprowrestling.com.
Not only is this the ﬁrst VCW event at Hampton High in four years, but it’s also the ﬁrst Hampton Roads appearance of the legendary Magnum TA in nearly two decades! Magnum TA was one of the brightest stars of Jim Crockett promotionsinthe1980’s Althoughatragiccaraccidentcut hiscareershort,theimpressionheleftonthesportisstillfelt today Born in Norfolk and raised in Chesapeake, Magnum is a true hometown sports hero. After listening to a recent interview with the legend, it’s clear he can’t wait to come back home to see his fans, friends, and family again! Fans willhaveanopportunitytogetanautographandhavetheir picture taken with Magnum TA both prior to bell time and duringintermission.
This event looks to be one of the strongest cards in VCW history! In the main event Logan Easton Laroux puts the Virginia Heavyweight Championship on the line against TheBoar.CommissionerGeorgePantasrevealedatVCW’s lasteventthatTheBoarwasalsoraisedinHamptonRoads, muchlikeguestofhonorMagnumTA Alsoliketheguestof honor,Boar’spopularityhasliterallyshakenbuildingssince his debut. Can Boar use that momentum to gore his way to theVirginiaHeavyweightChampionship?Notifthe“Champions of the 1%” has anything to say about it! Logan Easton Laroux may not be the most popular wrestler to compete in a VCW ring, but no one can deny he’s one of the most successful. Laroux has bested challenger after challenger since winning the richest prize in Virginia back in July of 2022. He’s indicated he has no intention of slowing down either SomethingisgoingtohavetogiveonSaturdaynight whenthesetwoﬁnallycollidewiththegoldontheline!
Speaking of gold on the line, VCW Liberty Champion DirtyMoneyputshistitleupforgrabsinatriplethreatmatch withHamptonnative“ThePlatinumIcon”PhilBrownand “Greek God” Papadon These three men have quite a bit of history with one another. Brown and Money have been bothpartnersandrivalsoffandonfornearlytwentyyearsin VCW. “Greek God” Papadon won the VCW Liberty Championship from Phil Brown, and eventually lost it to Dirty Money Triplethreatmatchesarechaotic,astheﬁrstathlete tosecureafallwillbedeclaredthechampion Anythingcan happeninthisone VCWfansarecertainlyinforawildride!
VCW Tag Team Champions the Golden Pinky Society have found themselves in the cross hairs of The Reason and “The Director” Jerry Stephanitsis for quite some time However,nomatterwhatisthrownatthem,BenjaminBanks and“Diamond”VictorGriffhavemanagedtoremainchampions Last month in Norfolk, the GPS were assaulted once againwithasteelchairbyTheReason,astheywerewithin aneyelashofvictoryinaboutwithTheBatiri.Toaddinsult toinjury,TheBatiriandTheReasonheldabarelyconscious Benjamin Banks in place so that Stephanitsis could spear him ThisSaturdaynight,TheReason(with“TheDirector” inhiscorner)willgoone-on-onewithBenjaminBanks(with “Diamond” Victor Griff in his corner). This one has all the makings of a volatile situation It will be interesting to see whathappensnextbetweenallfouroftheseindividuals Women’sprofessionalwrestlingcontinuestohavearesurgenceinVirginia,asSavannahEvansandEricaLeighlockup inarematchfromthe2022LibertyLottery Evans,amember of the IMPACT Wrestling roster, has become a regular at VCW in recent months Leigh who is from Richmond, is thusfarundefeatedinaVCWring whichincludesavictory over Evans in their previous bout. These two are certain to have a competitive contest, as they look to wow the crowd onceagain.
Alsoonthecard,GinoMedinalocksupwithCalebKonley in a match that would very well steal the show on Saturday night. Medina is looking to regain some momentum after being defeated by Logan Easton Laroux in December Konley another IMPACT Wrestling star is going to wanttomakeastatementinhisﬁrstVCWmatchsince2018.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion Tim Spriggs takes on DKVandu.SpriggsandVanduarebothmulti-sportathletes who spent some time training together Alex Divine steps in the ring with Saul Esparza. Divine and Esparza are two youngrisktakersthatarelikelytoleavefanswiththeirjaws on the ﬂoor Plus, more action and surprises as only VCW candeliver!
Virginia Championship Wrestling returns to Hampton High School this Saturday night March 18th with special guestMagnumTA!ThiseventisbroughttoyoubyPriority Automotive with a portion of the proceeds beneﬁting the Hampton Crabbers Doors open at 6:30 PM with bell time at 7:30 PM. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at vcwprowrestling.com It’s going to be an electric night! I’ll seeyouatthematches!
ABOVE:The Reasonversus “Diamond” VictorGriff
superkicks LoganWait (PHOTOSBY
Virginia ChampionshipWrestling CommissionerGeorge Pantas greeting the tremendous crowd at a past Hampton high schoolVCWwrestling event (PHOTOBYJONATHANMCLARTY)
LEFT: GreekGod,Papadon addresses the crowd.(PHOTOBY JONATHANMCLARTY).
www ﬂagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 3 | Thursday, March 16 2023 3
Supercharge spring meals with apowerful salad
Sweet Potato PowerSalad
Bright,beautifulspringdaysoftencallfor fresh, delicious meals that giveyou energy toenjoythegreatoutdoors.Whetheryou’re hittingthepavementforarun,poweringup for an afternoon at the office or picnicking withlovedones,nutritionandﬂavorcango hand in hand with an easy-to-makesalad.
Foryour next springtime meal, leanona versatile ingredient likesweet potatoesas akeyingredientinthisSweetPotatoPower Salad, alight yetﬁlling solutionthat can feedthewholefamily.Easytoaddtoavariety of recipes to enhance ﬂavorand nutrition content, sweet potatoes can be used in sweet,savory, simpleorelevatedrecipes.Plus,theycanbepreparedonthestove, baked,microwaved,grilledorslowcooked toﬁtyourfavoritedishesasanaturalsweetener without addedsugar
According to the American Diabetes Association, sweet potatoes area “diabetessuperfood”becausethey’rerichinvitamins,minerals,antioxidants and ﬁber,all
of whichare goodfor overall health. Due totheirhighcarbohydratecontent,they’re anidealoptionforathletesbeforeandafter exercising with complexcarbohydrates that provide sustained energy.Additionally,the antioxidants help reduce inﬂammation and aid in muscle repair,meaning sweet potatoes can help both your endurance and recovery
Another fun fact: the North Carolina Sweetpotato Commissiondeliberately spells“sweetpotato”asoneword,aspelling officiallyadoptedbytheNationalSweetpotato Collaboratorsin1989 to avoid confusion with the white potato or yamamong shippers,distributors,warehouse workers and consumers.However, this spelling isn’tuniversal; youcan help teach others and update dictionary entries by signing the change.org petition to givethis superfood itsdue
Find moreinformation and springtime recipeinspirationatncsweetpotatoes.com. The following recipe is courtesy of Carol Brownonbehalf of the NorthCarolina Sweetpotato Commission
Asweet shakefor St.Patty’s Day
St.Patrick’sDaymaycalltomindheartymealsandpotso’ gold,butthatdoesn’tmeansweetscan’tbepartoftheequation, too.Add dessert to your celebration with this green Minty Shake, acold, refreshing waytohonor the colorful tradition.FindmoreseasonaldessertrecipesatCulinary.net
Usingmixer,whiskwhippingcreamuntilsoftpeaksform. Addpeppermintextractandpowderedsugar;mixuntilwell blended.Setaside
Inblender,blendmilk,liqueurandicecreamuntilsmooth. Drizzlechocolatesyrupinsidesodaglass.Pouricecream mixture intoglass. Topwith whipped cream and garnish withcookies,pistachiosandmintchocolatecandy,ifdesired.
Place sweet potatoes in large bowl. In small bowl, lightly whisk 2teaspoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper.Toss on sweetpotatoes and place potatoes on large sheetpan.Bake35-40minutesuntiltender, ﬂippingonceduringbaking
Placechoppedkaleinlargebowl.Insmall bowl, lightly whisk remaining oliveoil, remainingsaltand lemonjuice. Pour over kale and massage with handsuntil mixed, about1minute
To makedressing:Inbowl, whisk syrup oliveoilandvinegar.
In bowl with kale,add garbanzo beans, avocado, cranberries,almonds, redonion, sweetpotatoes and cheese.Tosswithsalad dressingandserve.
Note: Sweet potatoes can be baked and refrigerated1dayinadvance
4 The Flagship |www ﬂagshipnews.com|Section 3| Thursday, March 16,2023
Need dental coverage? TRICARE Dental Program may be right for you
Are you an active duty family member without dental coverage? Or a National Guard or Reserve member? If yes, the TRICAREDental Program(TDP)provides dental coverage around the world Andyou maybeeligibleforTDPbeneﬁts
TDP is a voluntary dental plan If you’re eligible, you can enroll in TDP at any time Theimportantthingtorememberisthatyou mustenrollinTDPfordentalcoverage
“Enrolling in a TRICARE health plan doesn’tmeanyou’reautomaticallyenrolled inadentalplan, saidDougElsesser,program analyst with TDP. “TRICARE medical and dentalplansrequireseparateenrollment.If youwantdentalcoverageandyou’reeligible fortheTRICAREDentalProgram,youmust enrollseparately.”
The TDP covers a wide variety of dental services including two routine exams and two routine cleanings in a consecutive 12-month period. Check out the TDP websitetolearnaboutotherdentalservices coveredundertheprogram. Readontolearnifyou’reeligibleforTDP and how you can enroll and maintain your coverage
As outlined in the TRICARE Dental Program Brochure you can enroll in TDP ifyou’re:
A National Guard or Reserve member familymember
If you’re a National Guard or Reserve member,youcanenrollinTDPunlessyou’re onactivedutyoryou’recoveredbytheTransitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP).(Yougetactivedutydentalbeneﬁts ifyou’reonactivedutyordersformorethan 30daysorcoveredbyTAMP.)
If you aren’t one of these individuals, go to Dental Plans to learn about your dental coverageoptions
How To Enroll
There are three ways to enroll in TDP Sponsors can enroll themselves or family members online through Beneﬁciary Web Enrollment. Once you’re logged in, choose the “Dental” tab This option isn’t available overseas
CONUS (inside continental U.S.): 844-653-4061 OCONUS (outside continental U.S.): 717-888-7400 (toll) or 844-653-4060 (toll-free)
To enroll by mail, visit the TDP website, scroll to “How to Enroll in the TRICARE Dental Program,” and download the TRICARE Dental Program Enrollment/ Change Authorization Form. Fill out the form and mail it with your ﬁrst monthly premium to United Concordia, the TDP dentalcontractorat: UnitedConcordia TRICAREDentalProgram P.O.Box645547 Pittsburgh,PA15264-5253
The start of your TDP coverage depends onthedateUnitedConcordiareceivesyour request. If United Concordia receives your TDP enrollment by the 20th of the month your coverage starts on the ﬁrst day of the nextmonth.Iftheyreceiveyourenrollment after the 20th of the month, your coverage startsontheﬁrstdayofthesecondmonth.
Once enrolled, you’re committed to 12 months of coverage unless you qualify for an exception. After you have been enrolled for12continuousmonths,youcancontinue on a month-to-month basis You must pay monthlydentalpremiumsuntilyourcoverageends Yourcoveragewillendifyoufailto pay your premiums In this case, you won’t beabletoreenrollforoneyear
You can use the Find a Dentist Tool to locateaTDPnetworkdentistintheCONUS servicearea.Asimilartoolisavailabletoﬁnd adentistintheTDPOCONUSservicearea. Remember that not all dental services are covered by TDP It’s always a good idea to checkyourcoveragebeforegettingcarewith yourdentist.
Want to learn more about TDP beneﬁts? Check out What’s Covered and the TRICAREDentalProgramHandbook
WouldyoulikethelatestTRICAREnews sent to you by email? Visit the TRICARE Subscriptions page today, and create your personalized proﬁle to get beneﬁt updates, news,andmore.
U.S. Military Blood Programs deliver lifesaving support
Whilecollectingbloodisavitalpartofthe ArmedServicesBloodProgram,deliveringit totheﬁeldensuresthatmedicalprofessionals have the supply they need to save lives. TheASBP,alongwithbloodprogramsfrom each military service, supports combatant commandsbytransportinglife-savingblood tothebattleﬁeld
“The ASBP works closely with the combatant commands to ensure that blood products are available and delivered to the locations where they are needed,” U.S. Army Col. (P) Christopher Lee Evans, director of the Army Blood Program at Joint Base San Antonio “The service components’ blood programs play avitalroleinensuringthatmilitaryservice members and their families receive the care and treatment they need to survive on the battleﬁeld and helps save lives in times of emergency.” The ASBP gets blood donations through the blood drives they hold around the world at their collection
centers or through their mobile blood drives
“Thebloodourpatientsneedistheblood we have on the shelf right now We need people to get out, donate blood, and make a habitofit.TheASBPisdedicatedtosupportingourwarﬁghters,theirfamilies,veterans, andretirees,”saidU.S.NavyLt Cmdr Jeffrey Hebert,headoftheU.S.Navybloodprogram.
Having an excess of blood supply “comes downtoreadiness,”accordingtoHebert.
“Blood is one of those things where you don’tknowyouneedituntilyoudo Having bloodontheshelfensuresmedicalproviders have the tools they need to save lives when theyneedit,”hesaid.
Getting Blood to Where it is Needed
After receiving the donated blood, the ASBPthenneedstogetthebloodtocombatant commands The ASBP ﬁrst processes, tests,andstorestheblood.
“The collected blood is then packaged and shipped to military hospitals and clinics, forward-deployed locations, and other locations as needed. Once shipped, the blood is then stored in a blood bank until it isneededforasurgicalprocedureoremergencytransfusion.Then,thebloodisdelivered to the ﬁeld/surgical unit, where it is administered to the patient by a medical professional,” said Evans
What Happens if There is a Shortage in the Field
“Ifthereisashortageofbloodintheﬁeld, theASBPmayincreasethenumberofblood drives, or collect blood from other sources such as other blood banks or use commercial ﬂights to transport the blood from one locationtoanother,”saidEvans The ASBP coordinates with military hospitalsorclinics,forward-deployedlocations, and other organizations to ensure a steady supply of blood is available to meet
The ASBP may also hold blood drives in the ﬁeld to support military operations worldwide, or mobile blood drives from donorsatforward-deployedlocations,militarybases,andotherlocations.
“Thesemobileblooddrivesareusuallyset up in temporary locations, such as tents or trailers and are essential to meet the needs ofthemilitaryintheﬁeld,”saidEvans ASBP’sprimaryfocusistogetthedonated blood to the warﬁghter or family member whoneedit.
“We enable survival,” Hebert said. “War isnotpretty,butbloodhelpsbringourwarfighters back home By having blood available at our military hospitals and clinics, it brings a feeling of security to our warﬁghters because they know their families and loved ones will have the blood they need at homewhensomethinghappens.”
For more information on The Armed ServicesBloodProgramvisit https://health mil/Military-Health-Topics/Health-Readiness/ASBP
U.S.NavyHospital CorpsmanJohn Slackwith 2nd Battalion,4th Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division,receives aValkyrie blood transfusion at the BattalionAid Station during an Expeditionary Medical Integration Course at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton,California,May6,2022 ExpeditionaryOperationsTraining Group conducted EMIC to laya foundation ofskills and knowledge required forMarine ExpeditionaryUnit medical personnel to provide the highest levels ofhealth service support capabilityin anyoperational environment (U.S.MARINECORPSPHOTOBYSGT.
www ﬂagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 3 | Thursday, March 16 2023 5
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Champions of Magic
from Page 1
JarretttheproducerbeforeIbecameamusician basically asking if there was room for a director role At the time, he did not have anything for me but later on he was looking for a replacement for another female magician who had decided to leave and put a casting notice on the Backstage website I emailed him, told him I’m currently doing somemagicandIgotthejob
Iactuallyhadajobduringthepandemic. We were the only magic show on the road during the pandemic. Of course there was no guarantee of how many shows we woulddobecauseeverythingwasupinthe air But I have been here ever since I call it the Never Ending Tour
Y: From the show this week and in regards to your own personal act, what is your favorite part of your act that you can’t wait to perform and hear that reaction from the crowd?
AM: My favorite is my ﬁrst set in the show. At the beginning of the show there is a part where anyone in the audience can become involved in the act of mind reading I like that as a performer because I’m sort of improvising with the audience There is that excitement and thrill that anyone in the audience can become part of the show and that can be quite exhilarating
HE: It’s probably the last thing that I do in the show, because it kind of brings together a lot of the other lives that I have lived: dancer, performer, actor because I do a dark and twisted version of the needle swallow with an Alice in Wonderland theme Everything is choreographed to music. It’s like a musical, I don’t speak at all and I do my magic.
Y: When you are not on the stage for this show, whose act or a portion of an act do you enjoy watching?
HE: When Fernando does his escape from the Jaws of Death, there is literally a moment at the end where he looks and feels likea rock star Sometimes it happens with the pyro with the music and it’s like pure magic. Fernando is only 23 years old and always has a smile on his face, always singing and he brings that much needed energy backstage He is a good person to have around.
AM:I’mactuallyonthesidelines We do a couple of things all together and one of them involves money from the audience I start the trick at the beginning then I’m done and get to watch the others do their parts
Y: The beauty of live entertainment is just that, live, and anything can happen. Can you share any funny anecdotes that have transpired with this show?
AM:Yesit’salwaysfunwhensomething is done slightly wrong and how we improvise to get out of the situation. Like Young will change his lines slightly or add a new joke, that’s mostly just to amuse us and it can be so much fun.
Fernando does the water torture cell by Hudini and there have been a few occasions where the water has been very cold but there was one time where the water was very hot and he basically got broiled.
HE: Fernando looked like a lobster And as for me I do wear heels in the show so I have had some not so graceful falls when the stairs are different, or slip on water It’s funny afterwards when it doesn’t hurt.
Y: Now a little about each one of you. Hollie, where were you born and what made you fall in love with being an entertainer?
HE: I was born in Kent, England. I was three years old when I heard Michael Jackson’s Bad album that my parents played on their LP record player. I would go crazy with it and my mom decided that Ineededtogetridofsomeofthisenergyso theysentmetoballetclassandgymnastics
As I got older, I chose to focus on dancing So I became a dancer ﬁrst and then I
got into musical theatre. I got into magic because right after college I auditioned as a dancer for a three month European tour with Hans Klok, who I found out later was a famous Dutch Illusionist and I learned a lot about magic. Immediately after that, I did a UK tour with a show called Spirit of the Dance as a dancer The company had shows in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Branson, Missouri. I was offered ayear’scontractandthat’showIﬁrstcame to America in 2009 and never went back.
I’ve done a lot of multi magician shows, I’ve assisted magicians been a producer director and last summer when we had a little break from Champions of Magic, I was the Associate Creative Director for the new Cirque Du Soleil show Mad Apple in Las Vegas I just want to be a part of creating amazing shows and love doing a bit of everything I love jumping from one thing to another It keeps you inspired and creative.
Y: What advice would you give to aspiring entertainers?
HE: It is very important to work hard and have good relationships with people A lot of the time, I’ve ended up with jobs becausethey heard from other people that I am good to work with and even though
they were going to work with someone else, they chose me instead. Alex and I were actually talking about this last night. Talent and opportunity can only take you so far One you have to deliver when you get the job and two, you have to get along with people and they need to like working with you.
Y: Alex, how about you? Where were you born and what made you fall in love with mind reading?
AM: I was born and raised in an area of the UK called East Anglia. I was born in Essex, grew up in an area called Suffolk andInowliveinthecountycalledNorfolk. And I am now performing in Norfolk, Virginia. I was an only child and had many things to keep me occupied. When I was young,Iwantedtobeaspecialeffectsman, a ventriloquist, a puppeteer, a magician, and got into amateur dramatics, so I really enjoyed performing and being an entertainer Everything changed when I was 14 My mother passed away and I got really into psychology and memory tricks My father bought me a memory book and I went online looking for more books and really became obsessed with it. Then I started trying the tricks, doing stage shows, mix
and mingle events, corporation shows, variety, cabaret shows and people really liked them and I liked that feeling of how entertained they were And it just grew from there really. I think the producer for Champions of Magic saw me at one of thosevarietyshows,rememberedme,both of our ﬁrst names are Alex, I go byAlex the Mind Reader He invited me to be on the show and here we are 10 years later doing mostly this
Y: How about a pinch me moment in your careers?
AM: There are a few moments On the UK run last year we performed at the Apollo Theatre in London. It is a very well known theatre and it is a huge deal to perform there When Alex, the producer and I walked on to the stage the ﬁrst time as the stage hands were setting things up, we looked at each other, our hands going upinajoyousdance,saying,it’stheApollo, it’s pretty fantastic.
Another wow moment for me was that there was a children’s show on UK TV called Blue Peter It’s the longest running children’s TV show in the world. When you appear on the show, you get a Blue Peter badge and at the age of 34, I got my Blue Peter badge I started watching the show when I was 10 years old.
Also other mind reading mentalists in the industry have seen my work and complemented me That always feels very good. When you admire them, you grew up watching their work and now they are watching you and liking what they are seeing you do I remember an American born magician, John Lenahan now living in the UK said to me, “How did you get so good?” That was a great moment.
HE: I have a few as well. When I ﬁrst performed in the West End in London, it was a dream come true for me In London, you know you made it if you performed there. And from the time I was little and even during college, I would go to see shows there So being on that stage for a while with the Illusionists was pretty special.
Another wow moment was meeting Rosario Dawson because one of my favorite movies growing up was Josie and the Pussycats and she was in it. I was obsessed with this movie and all the stars that were in it. I got to perform in the Go-Big Show andRosariowasoneofthejudges.Shewas also a musical theatre star On the show, I was a cross bow assistant to Ben Blaque, holding whatever target he was shooting at. Rosario became part of the act and told me “Oh my God, you’re an obsolete rock star.” And I was like, Rosario called me a rock star That was cool.
Another one and keep in mind I am new to the magician world and being recognized as a magician is kind of crazy to me, so when other magicians see my work when they come to see the show and they comment with, “That’s the best version of that (particular trick) I have ever seen.” or they comment with, “That was so creative, you performed it so well. Those are really the moments that keep me going on the right path but also they are definitely pinch me moments Oh myGod, am I actually doing this?
Yiorgo is an arts, entertainment and sports writer A stage TV and movie actor he is also a sports entertainer educator motivational speaker writer storyteller and columnist.
Young and Strange (PHOTOCOURTESYOFCHAMPIONSOFMAGIC)
8 The Flagship | www ﬂagshipnews.com | Section 3 | Thursday, March 16 2023
Hollie England (PHOTOCOURTESYOFCHAMPIONSOFMAGIC)