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www.flagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 1 | Thursday, March 25, 2021 1

IN THIS ISSUE Lasting legacy

Lt. Col. Sally Ann Falco ‘s time as an officer has been characterized by multiple, invaluable achievements. Page A7

VOL. 27, NO. 12, Norfolk, VA | flagshipnews.com

March 25-March 31, 2021

Meet JEB Little Creek-Fort Story’s new executive officer By Michelle Stewart

JEB Little Creek-Fort Story Public Affairs

the whole entire arrested landing gear system, just getting used to that stuff and relying on the engineers that do their job, which they have.” Ford’s combat systems department completed phase 2A of CSSQT, a Naval Sea Systems Command requirement for ships that are either new construction or have undergone a significant combat systems upgrade. During the qualification trials, the close-in weapons system (CIWS) fired 1,500 rounds of ammunition and successfully engaged a low-cost modular target. Combat systems department Sailors also conducted 349 hours of routine maintenance on seven defensive weapon systems, to groom them for CSSQT phase 2C. “Doing CSSQT allowed us to gauge our ability to defend the ship,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Tyler Westbrook, from Fort Huron, Michigan, assigned to Ford’s combat systems department. “We have our aircraft launch and

VIRGINIA BEACH — Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story recently welcomed its new executive officer Cmdr. Omar A. Hair to the JEBLCFS team. Hair relieved Cmdr. Brent Fulton who transferred to the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) where he will serve as the combat systems officer. The executive officer serves as the principal assistant to the commander and is tasked with the running of day-to-day operations freeing the commander to concentrate on strategy. He is responsible for establishing and enforcing staff procedures, ensuring the commander and the staff are informed on all matters affecting the command, ensures a coordinated and synchronized plan for the military decision making processes and ensures information flows between the staff and the commander. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Hair graduated from West Charlotte High School in 1990. Hair enlisted in the Navy in 1991 while attending Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2002 he was promoted to ensign under the Limited Duty Officer program. Hair has served in a number of operational assignments including: USS Hampton (SSN 767) leading yeoman; personnel officer and ship secretary, USS George Washington (CVN 73); and administrative officer, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). Hair’s staff assignments include service as the administrative officer in the Personnel Support Activity Pacific, Yokosuka Japan; officer-in-charge, Personnel Support Detachment Great Lakes; human resource program officer-in-charge, for U.S. Forces — Iraq; aide-de-camp to the Command General, Central Command Joint Theater Support Contracting Command Iraq/ Afghanistan; rating assignment officer, Enlisted Submarine & Nuclear Power Assignments; flag secretary, Commander, Navy Personnel Command; flag secretary / staff executive officer, Command Submarine Forces; commanding officer, Navy Element and chief, personnel services division at

Turn to Ford, Page 7

Turn to JEB, Page 7


Ford completes ISE 17: Closes gap toward Shock Trials By MC3 Zachary Melvin

USS Gerald R. Ford (Cvn 78) Public Affairs

NORFOLK — USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed its 17th Independent Steaming Event (ISE 17) after two weeks at sea in the Atlantic Ocean, March 21, 2021. During ISE 17, Ford accomplished carrier qualifications (CQ) for Fleet pilots and student naval aviators (SNAs), conducted Combat Systems Ship’s Qualification Trials (CSSQT) phase 2A, and integrated carrier strike group operations. Capt. Paul Lanzilotta, Ford’s commanding officer (CO), gave insight to his first underway as Ford’s CO. “This underway period has been fantastic for me and the crew,” said Lanzilotta. We really did the job with incredible precision and an extra level of complexity - the crew of Warship 78 managed multiple high priority events as a team and was able to meet our mission require-

ments every single day. It was a special honor to demonstrate the crew’s excellence for the Acting Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Thomas W. Walker, during his visit.” During the first portion of ISE 17, Ford contributed to fleet readiness by conducting CQ for 14 pilots assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122 and three pilots assigned to Carrier Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 124. The carrier landings, or “traps”, during ISE 17 CQ periods increased Ford’s current trap count to 7,879 utilizing the ship’s first-in-class advanced arresting gear. Lt. j.g. Kyle Briggs, from Omaha, Nebraska, a pilot assigned to VFA-122, explained that his CQ was partially completed with the use of an advanced landing mode. “We used precision landing mode for this FRS [fleet replacement squadron] CQ but not with the T-45’s. T-45s was all manual passes, so we are getting used to a different way of flying,” said Briggs. “What is different [about Ford] is

Winston S. Churchill returns to homeport after 9-month deployment From U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs NORFOLK— The guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) returned to homeport in Naval Station Norfolk, March 19, after nearly nine months deployed in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation. Winston S. Churchill participated in important training exercises with international partners to foster positive relationships while encouraging freedom of navigation and maritime security. “I’m so proud of the Churchill Team, the crew Turn to Churchill, Page 7

The guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) returns to Naval Station Norfolk, March 19, after nearly nine months deployed in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation. (MC2 KRIS R. LINDSTROM)

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Petty Officer First Class Elizabeth Little, a health services technician at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center (TRACEN) Cape M, N.J., was selected as the Enlisted Person of the Year for the training center PAGE A4

Maintaining operational readiness Jasmine Underwood is helping to maintain operational readiness of the Submarine Force while serving at Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic

NavalX Capt. Frank Futcher passed the literal torch to Capt. Ben Van Buskirk, as he became the new director of NavalX, in a non-traditional change of command PAGE A6


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The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 1 | Thursday, March 25, 2021

Three H-53 heavy-lift helicopters and several rotor heads are among the work in process in Fleet Readiness Center East’s Hangar 1, which houses the H-53 line. (HEATHER WILBURN)

After V-22 success, FRCE eyes reduced turnaround time for H-53 By Heather Wilburn

Fleet Readiness Center East Public Affairs

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — Following a string of success in reducing maintenance, repair and overhaul turnaround times on V-22 Osprey aircraft, Fleet Readiness Center East has set its sights on improving turnaround times for the H-53 heavy lift helicopter. On the heels of setting a new organizational record for a V-22 turnaround with a 297-day aircraft in January, on March 5 FRCE returned a completed V-22 to the fleet after just 220 days — clocking in at just over half the negotiated turnaround time of 420 days, and well under the goal of 250 days. That same day, FRCE beat the deadline with another completion of just 303 days. The V-22 team celebrated these milestones as Manny Naeem, the maintenance, repair and overhaul expert executive at Naval Air Systems Command and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, visited FRCE to meet with V-22 and H-53 leadership about plans for continued improvements in FRCE’s production processes. “I’m very, very proud of the achievement FRC East has accomplished with this V-22, and with the continuous improvement the facility is making in turnaround times,” said Naeem. “They’ve proven they can do it, and I think we’re hopeful that FRCE will not only sustain this performance with the V-22 line, but continue to make improvements there and in other areas, as well.” The reduction in service times comes, in part, as a result of changes brought about by the Naval Sustainment System, a series of initiatives implemented in mid-2019 that brought a

focus to people, parts and processes and providing FRCE’s aircraft maintenance professionals with the tools they need to get the job done. Leaders first applied NSS initiatives in FRCE’s component shops supporting the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, then began implementing them across all type/model/series component shops and aircraft lines serviced by the depot. FRCE has seen positives results across the board, most recently with the reduction in V-22 turnaround times. Andrew Rock, V-22 branch head at FRCE, said he attributes the improvements to three factors: a team concept for maintenance, where the same core group shepherds the aircraft through the entire process from induction to sale; strategic application of labor hours to the aircraft that will most benefit from the push; and the creation of a dedicated production control center, through which all maintenance activities flow. With these aspects in place, the new, reduced turnaround time seems realistic. “Everybody working together is what makes this happen,” Rock added. “The team includes everyone from our artisans to manufacturing, estimators and evaluators, quality assurance, engineering and our partners at Defense Logistics Agency and Naval Supply Systems Command. We were already on track to drastically beat 420 days; with the changes we’ve been able to implement while marching to a 250-day turnaround, I think 250 is now attainable on most aircraft.” What didn’t change, Rock noted, was the drive and dedication of the V-22 team. The reduced turnaround times came about partly through NSS, he said, but the potential for great performance always existed within the workforce.

Naeem said he agreed. “The artisans’ talent is there, the knowledge they already have, and the years of experience, but there were issues that were becoming roadblocks,” Naeem explained. “When you start to remove those roadblocks for them, things will happen. “When we understand the needs of a production team, remove the impediments they have and give them a chance to deliver, they will deliver,” he continued. “Nothing was miraculous; when people are given the tools they need, they get the job done.” Now, leaders plan to press for faster turnaround times on FRCE’s H-53 heavy-lift helicopter line. According to David Thorpe, H-53 branch head, FRCE began implementing the NSS tenets on the H-53 line some time ago and now the results are starting to show. The negotiated turnaround time for a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter currently sits at 271 days, Thorpe said, and FRCE is looking to reduce that to 250 days. With the MH-53, FRCE hopes to cut the turnaround time from the negotiated 300 days to 277 days. The depot can meet this goal, he said, if supply chains are healthy and coordination between partners runs smoothly — both issues NSS initiatives seek to address. “It’s very feasible,” Thorpe said. “For the CH-53, a turnaround time of 250 days is very realistic — but one of the biggest issues we have to correct is the supply posture. It’s an old airframe, so incoming condition plays a huge role, especially as of the past few years. We have what we call ‘tired iron,’ so improving the process in which we identify the need to manufacture a part that’s not on the shelf is going to be key, and that’s one of the Top 10 NSS initiatives to improve

H-53 turnaround time.” Naeem agreed that removing material inhibitors would play a huge role in reducing H-53 turnaround times. “We have certain parts issues, certain material condition issues, so we are removing those while we are improving the production planning processes,” he explained. “We just have to manage and prioritize. I think they are not too far from their goal now, and if they keep on pushing, they will start to deliver those aircraft in 250 days very soon.” In all cases, Naeem added, communication provides the key to success, and this includes virtual dashboards FRCE has brought into daily progress meetings with stakeholders and partners. The dashboards provide data visualizations that help bring attention to degraders and impediments in an easy-to-understand format that places emphasis on high-priority items. “These dashboards that FRCE has implemented, they’re a very good tool that brings everybody together on the same page — everything is right there, visible for any department or any pillar of production to see the same information,” Naeem said. “That includes NAVSUP, DLA, the Fleet Support Teams and MRO Engineering. It brings everybody together to focus on one dashboard, versus chasing each other for information that should be readily available at anyone’s fingertips. And that helps a lot.” With these tools at their disposal, the H-53 team is looking forward to the challenge, Thorpe said. Seeing early improvements helps set the tone and increase confidence that the new systems are working, and the production control center concept is already helping streamline the administrative functions on the line, with issuing work orders, validating work order completions, keeping track of milestones and helping production run smoothly. “Any time you change the way people have been doing things for years, for decades, there’s always some reservation,” he said. “But when you start seeing the benefits that come from the changes — there’s evidence in how it pays off.”

Information systems technician helps maintain Submarine Force operational readiness By MC2 Cameron Stoner

Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK — An information systems technician is helping to maintain operational readiness of the Submarine Force while serving at Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic (SUBLANT). Chief Information Systems Technician (Submarine) Jasmine Underwood began her Navy career in 2009 when she joined as an information systems technician for the surface fleet. After serving in the Navy, she quickly realized her desire to be part of the Submarine Force. “The diversification of having the opportunity to deploy on a submarine after already deploying on a surface ship was extremely appealing to me,” said Underwood. “The Submarine Force would provide a perfect opportunity for at-sea leadership experience. I thought to myself, Naples, Italy will always be there, but the opportunity to join the Submarine Force may not, so I chose submarines.” After successfully converting to the Submarine Force, Underwood is now part of SUBLANT’s command, control, communications and computers department as the command’s staff information systems leading

chief petty officer. “Currently, I’m responsible for the development, administration and execution of the plans and policies of the force information systems and for providing information systems and cyber security policy oversight to SUBLANT Afloat and Ashore installations and to the SUBLANT staff,” said Underwood. “Information systems are systems that use computer resources and include information systems, electronic mail, local area networks and other automation resources.” Growing up, Underwood looked to individuals such as Oprah Winfrey as role models. Years later, she is looking forward to leaving her own mark on the Navy and those she has mentored. “Oprah Winfrey has faced many difficult obstacles and challenges throughout her life,” said Underwood. “Despite the pain and suffering she endured, she overcame them by remaining resilient, and as a result she has opened thousands of doors for aspiring young women to walk through.” Underwood hopes that other Sailors and civilians follow her footsteps and experience the opportunities the Submarine Force has to offer. “To anyone out there seeking to accomplish their goals, don’t get discouraged when

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Chief Information Systems Technician (Submarine) Jasmine Underwood poses for a photo at Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic. (MC2 ALFRED COFFIELD)

someone tells you that you cannot accomplish something,” said Underwood. “Chances are it’s because they failed at it or don’t have the courage to try. Many people have a fear of failure, but failure is not fatal. I lost count of the number of times I was told that I would fail. Instead, use those discouraging words as motivation and the failed attempts as stepping stones to your path to greatness.”

Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic (CNRMA): Rear Adm Charles W.“Chip”Rock Regional program manager for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic (NRMA): Public Affairs Director | Beth Baker The Flagship® is published by Flagship, Inc., a private firm in no way connected with the Department of Defense (DOD) or the United States Navy, under exclusive written contract with Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. This civilian enterprise newspaper is an authorized publication for members of the military services. Contents of the paper, including advertisements, are not necessarily the official views of, nor endorsed by, the U.S. Government, DOD, or the Department of the Navy (DON). The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts and supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the DOD; DON; Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic or Flagship, Inc. of the products or services advertised. Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase,use, or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is edited, prepared and provided by the Public Affairs Department of Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. Stories may be submitted via email to news@flagshipnews.com. The Flagship® is published every Thursday by Flagship, Inc., whose offices are located at 150W. Brambleton Ave., Norfolk, Va. 23510. © 2021Flagship, Inc. All rights reserved

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Meeting Challenges: A Navy recruiter’s path to ensuring medical readiness By Mcc Joshua Wahl Navy Recruiting Command Public Affairs BOSTON — One of the overwhelming benefits of joining the U.S. Navy is the opportunity to build a better life. For Dagupan City, Philippines native, Chief Navy Counselor Michael Abrajano, joining the Navy was that ticket. Abrajano’s father enlisted in the U.S. Navy through the Philippine Enlistment Program in Subic Bay, Philippines, in the ‘60s. Through encouraging conversations with his dad, Abrajano could see himself one day wearing the Sailor’s uniform. “My father told me that joining the Navy will be the best decision I’m going to make in my life,” said Abrajano. “Back then, it was just a dream; looking back now, he was right all along.” In Nov. 2006, at age 22, Abrajano immigrated to the United States and found a home

in Long Beach, California. He worked as a janitor to get by while seeking and starting discussions with the local Navy recruiting office. “Without the recruiters, I would not be here,” said Abrajano. “They picked me up, sometimes feed me because I didn’t have money; without them, I would still be a janitor.” By April 2007, he enlisted in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman serving as a Fleet Marine Force corpsman providing medical care to forward-deployed Sailors and Marines. The experience took him on tours to the Middle East, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom on land and expeditionary medical facilities. “It wasn’t always easy, but the experience made me a better leader,” said Abrajano. “My mentors who guided me are who I thank.” After a few deployments, Abrajano’s career shifted to organizational operations, where he filled support roles in admin, security and logistics coordination for Naval Hospital Yoko-

suka, Japan. The experience gave him new perspectives working outside of his rate. “I was born Navy but raised by the Marine,” said Abrajano. “I was ready to go back to the green side in Okinawa, but a master chief opened my eyes to special programs.” Abrajano, always ready for new challenges, found he could redirect his passion for the Navy while providing opportunities for others in medical recruiting. “Recruiting is a way to share knowledge,” said Abrajano. “The Navy is more than a job; it’s an adventure I want to share with others.” Arriving in Navy Recruiting District (NRD) New England in 2018, Abrajano already set daily goals to master his job. “I have spent a lot of time thinking about developing as a recruiter,” said Abrajano. “It takes the dedication to self and team. That dedication is what our team brought and made our medical officer recruiting the number one in the nation.” Abrajano’s support did not go unnoticed.

While preparing for his return to the fleet in 2020, NRD New England’s commanding officer presented Abrajano with the Navy recruiting highest honor, the Master Chief Anthony George Bakarian Award and a unique opportunity to cross over Hospital Corpsman to a Navy Counselor billet. “I was ready to go, but I love this job,” said Abrajano. “This is a chance to continue building on the foundation we worked so hard for.” Abrajano was selected for a Career Recruiter Force Hometown Recruiter job and is now set to continue serving in New England’s high-demand environment of recruiting doctors and nurses through the next six years. “It takes consistency,” said Abrajano. That’s the story right there, you know, its humble beginnings and returning the favor to keep our Navy ready. NTAG New England covers over 93,500 square miles encompassing Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Eastern half of New York. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, the command has more than 35 recruiting stations, eight Navy Operation Support Centers, four Military Entrance Processing Stations, and two stations overseas at Kaiserslautern, Germany and Naples, Italy.

Training Center Cape May announces HS1 Elizabeth Little as 2020 Enlisted Person of the Year By PA2 Shannon Kearney

U.s. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May Public Affairs

CAPE MAY, N.J. — Petty Officer First Class Elizabeth Little, a health services technician at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center (TRACEN) Cape MAY, N.J., was selected as the Enlisted Person of the Year for the training center and received an achievement medal at an All-Hands event for the Health Safety and Work-Life personnel on base, March 1, 2021. Little was recognized for her superior performance of duty while assigned to TRACEN Cape May’s Health, Safety, and Work-Life Regional Practice center from January 2020 to December 2020. She demonstrated exceptional leadership as the supervisor for the clinic’s outpatient department, which required oversight, management, and scheduling for 10 public health officers, seven corpsmen, and six civilian employees and contractors. In addition, Little also comprehensively and skillfully handled the medical records for the training center, which required managing and organizing of over 3,505 patient folders.

As a secondary duty, Little was responsible for maintaining the clinic’s $495,000 annual budget and its property items. She tracked all of the clinic’s procurements, purchases, and property items, and ensured every item was accounted for and ready for inspection. During the COVID-19 response at Training Center Cape May, Little was an instrumental part of the response, as she assumed the responsibilities of leading the COVID-19 testing for both recruit and permanent party members, and also managed the COVID-19 personal protective equipment. Little was directly accountable for the administration of over 500 COVID-19 PCR and Antigen tests. Outside of her regular Coast Guard duties, Little volunteered her own time serving her community by holding several positions in different associations. Little served as the vice chairman of the Sea Service Family Foundation, she performed as the secretary of the Continental Commandery of the Naval Order, and participated as an active member in the Coast Guard Enlisted Association. “I am extremely honored by being selected as TRACEN Cape May’s 2020 Enlisted Person

Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Little, a health services technician at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., poses for a portrait in the Samuel J. Call Health Service Center. (PA2 SHANNON KEARNEY)

of the Year,” said Little. “Working in a clinic during a pandemic is and was a huge challenge, so being recognized for my efforts during that time made the announcement that much more rewarding. I definitely would

not have been able to accomplish what I have done without the support of my shipmates. I am so proud of what my shipmates and I have been able to accomplish and still accomplish every day!”



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Capt. Ben Van Buskirk relieves Capt. Frank Futcher as NavalX Director in a non-traditional“change of command”event at NavalX in Alexandria, Va. (JULIE LEMMON)

NavalX hosts change of command By Julie Lemmon

NavalX Public Affairs

ALEXANDRIA — Reflective of NavalX’ unique style, Capt. Frank Futcher passed the literal torch to Capt. Ben Van Buskirk, as he became the new director of NavalX, in a non-traditional change of command, featuring welding torches, March 19 in Alexandria, Va. Dressed in welding gear, Futcher and Van Buskirk addressed the 14 in-person attendees as well as the Zoom audience, with Futcher welding a line onto a metal plate, followed by Van Buskirk, signifying the continuation of leadership at NavalX.

Chief of Naval Research, Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, presided over the event via Zoom and highlighted how NavalX has removed barriers and influenced agility and speed by asking, ‘Where are you today? Where do you want to be tomorrow? How do you get there?’ “During this period of growth, NavalX has become a beacon for change that is inspiring others to connect with NavalX, be a part of the network, and work together to operationalize and institutionalize agile thinking, methods, and best practices,” Selby said. Following the turnover tradition, Futcher thanked the NavalX staff. “It has been an honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to be a part of NavalX,” Futcher said.

“The most rewarding part of my job was to witness the amazing passion, talent, energy, and creativity of the NavalX team and the DON workforce. It was inspiring.” NavalX has grown in the two years Futcher served as director. “The team took a vision and transformed it into a platform for agility that the entire Navy can connect to,” he said. Futcher will retire from the Navy after 30 years as a supply officer. He reflected on how quickly his career has gone by, stated that this last tour at NavalX has been immensely satisfying and relayed the utmost confidence in Van Buskirk as he takes the reins. Van Buskirk is a naval aviator and comes to NavalX from the Strategic Warfighting

Innovation Cell in Washington, D.C. He has also served as a Secretary of Defense Executive Fellow at VMware, Inc. in Palo Alto, Calif., where he worked with senior executives on business strategy and technology innovation. “Frank (Futcher) and his team have done an incredible job standing up NavalX and building a foundation for further success,” Van Buskirk said. Van Buskirk intends to collaborate with the Chief of Naval Operations’ staff and the fleet on their highest priority problems, and to work with the research, development and acquisition team to deliver capabilities to the warfighter. “NavalX is interested in exploring initiatives that further engage active duty Sailors and Marines. We are seeing high demand for our Center for Adaptive Warfighting course offerings, and we’ll expand this program to create an informal network of idea sharing between the fleet units, acquisition professionals, and NavalX.” NavalX serves as the Department of the Navy (DON) workforce “super-connector,” focused on scaling non-traditional agility methods across the DON workforce.

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Lt. Col. Sally Ann Falco holds photos of two of her female Marine mentors, retired Sgt. Maj. Tammy Fodey and retired Sgt. Maj. Sarah Thornton, the first woman Marine to retire after 30 consecutive years of active service. (CPL. NAOMI MAY)

Woman Marine of 34 years leaves lasting legacy By Cpl. Naomi May

Marine Corps Recruiting Command Public Affairs

QUANTICO — In 1987, Lt. Col. Sally Ann Falco was just 17 years old. The Cold War was still hot. President Ronald Reagan had recently delivered his famous speech urging Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, but the wall would remain standing for two more years. Falco was still in high school in 1987, and she chose to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to get out of one of her classes. She was surprised when days later, a Marine Corps recruiter visited her at school. When he pulled her out of class, she said she saw his dress blue uniform and the blood stripe on his trousers, and the first words she said were, “I’m that good to get into the Marine Corps?” Falco was not old enough to sign her own enlistment papers, so her mother co-signed her six-year contract for the Marine Corps. She stepped on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island on November 2, 1987. At the time, recruit training lasted only 11 weeks for women, and they were not required or allowed to complete any warrior or combat training. “Coming in in the late ‘80’s, we ran a mile and a half on the [Physical Fitness Test], so the men already saw that we were doing half of what they were doing,” Falco said. “I found once the PFT was changed to three miles like the men, I could see things already balancing to where those

expectations weren’t really there anymore.” Today, women are required to participate in the same Marine Combat Training as male Marines. Women are also eligible for all occupational specialties, including combat arms specialties. Women recently arrived at MCRD San Diego for training for the first time in its 100-year history. “Nowadays, it’s amazing to see the changes as we’re integrating, having males and females in boot camp together,” Falco said. “I see females and males as equals, and I love all the male Marines like my brothers and the female Marines like my sisters. . . It’s so important to unite us.” After graduating recruit training, where she was meritoriously promoted, and field radio operator school, Falco was briefly stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, before moving to a new unit in Japan. At Camp Pendleton, she stayed in an all-women Marine barracks, which was the first permanent barracks ever established for women and also the last of its kind. Following her tour in Japan, Falco returned to Camp Pendleton. It was during this time that she married and gave birth to her two daughters, Lorretta and Gabriella, one and a half years apart. Unfortunately, her marriage was short-lived, and Falco soon became a single mother. “The one thing I wasn’t going to let myself do is, I wasn’t going to let myself stop being a Marine because I chose to be a mother, because you can do both,” Falco said. “I’m proof you can do both, and I’m proof you can do it when you’re

single.” Falco learned to balance her family life and her career. In fact, despite the challenges that came with single motherhood, she has served almost a third of her Marine Corps career, more than 10 years, outside of the United States. These 10 years are an accumulation of her time stationed in Japan, Bahrain, and Germany; her deployments to Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan; and her time spent on multiple overseas exercises. “As a single parent, it was extremely difficult, but it could have been more difficult,” Falco said. “I chose to be a mother, and I’m so grateful. It was very hard deploying unaccompanied, touring overseas, and leaving my daughters, but that is one of the many things I love about the Marine Corps, is the camaraderie. I could have never done it without my fellow Marines.” After 14 years of active, enlisted service, Falco’s determination and her dedication to the Marine Corps was evident to her command. She was a staff sergeant looking toward her next promotion when her command nominated her for the Meritorious Commissioning Program so she could become an officer. Falco attended Officer Candidates School and commissioned as a United States Marine Corps officer in August 2001, just a month before 9/11 and the beginning of the Global War on Terror. Falco’s time as an officer has been characterized by multiple, invaluable achievements. She graduated from Park University Magna Cum Laude, earning a Baccalaureate of Science degree in Social Psychology and a Baccalau-


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and their families are the most resilient people I have ever come across,” said Capt. Timothy F. Stanley, commanding officer of Winston S. Churchill. “Returning today is almost nine months since the crew was last with their friends and family.” Winston S. Churchill, along with the embarked Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70, traveled nearly 60,000 miles during the deployment and completed 26 strategic choke point transits, escorting a total of 23 vessels over 14 of those transits. She transited the Strait of Gibraltar twice, the Suez Canal twice, the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb 14 times (nine transits with escort duties), and the Strait of Hormuz 8 times (five transits with escort duties). “Churchill has nearly completed the equivalent of three laps around the Earth meeting important Fleet tasking, all the while consistently meeting mission requirements, and keeping sea lines of communication open through the majority of the world’s key straits,” Stanley said. Winston S. Churchill participated in a 14-Day Restriction of Movement on June 22, 2020, prior to getting underway for pre-deployment exercises and training in order to combat the effect of COVID-19 on the ship’s readiness. They officially deployed on Aug. 10, 2020. Winston S. Churchill conducted a landmark port visit in Port Sudan, Sudan, the first U.S. Navy warship to do so in over 30 years. The visit served to build a foundation of military cooperation between the U.S. and Sudan. Additionally, Winston S. Churchill visited Souda Bay, Djibouti, and Bahrain, where they restricted to the pier.


from Page 1 (Courtesy photo)


from Page 1

North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command. “I’m excited to serve here at JEB Little Creek-Fort Story. From the short time I’ve been here I’ve seen phenomenal work being accomplished from dedicated professionals. I’m honored to serve in support of our warfighters,” Hair said.

recovery as our offensive. CIWS, rolling airframe missiles and NATO sea sparrow allow us to see what it is like defending the ship.” SNAs assigned to Chief, Naval Air Training Command (TRACOM) also conducted CQ to complete required training to earn their “wings of gold”. Ford has qualified 167 SNAs since March 2020, including 28 during ISE 17. Lt. Christopher Jones, from Paintsville, Kentucky, Ford’s aircraft handling officer, said that Ford’s air department executed the TRACOM CQ mission well above standards. “The entire air department performed exceptionally well during TRACOM CQ. The ability of Ford to safely and efficiently

reate of Administration degree in Criminal Justice. She was the first ever Marine Corps Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of the Year. Combined with her enlisted time, Falco has been an honor graduate of seven Marine Corps technical schools and courses. She is also the recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, six Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and a host of other decorations. “I’ve been very, very blessed with the opportunities the Marine Corps gives,” Falco said. “The thing is, regardless of what [Military Occupational Specialty] we are, the Marine Corps has so many opportunities that you could step outside of those boundaries, and you could apply some of the skills of your MOS while learning others.” Despite the challenges she has faced in the Marine Corps, Falco said she always strives to think positively and to be a good person, mother and Marine. She said she has one main lesson that she hopes to leave the Marines around her. “It is so important to know the difference between judgement and character,” Falco said. “Many things can affect our judgement. To err is human. We learn from our mistakes. We pick up and we move on — resiliency and recovery; but to be who you are, that is your choice. Be known as someone of good character. That is something you own and others don’t forget.” Falco will soon retire after 34 fruitful years in the United States Marine Corps. “I’ve just been privileged to be allowed to be a Marine,” Falco said. “I still love it as much as the day I came in, and I would stay in forever, but I want to make room for others to climb the ladder and at the same time, contribute to society in another capacity, and spend time with my daughters.”

“Amongst a global pandemic, these sailors have met their personal and professional goals, making themselves and the Navy better,” Stanley said. “This team onboard has been galvanized through this deployment, and I’d argue is the best, most synergized, and resilient tactical-level force in the Navy.” Churchill conducted counter-smuggling operations with embarked Advanced Interdiction Team, comprised of U.S. Coast Guardsmen, U.S. Army Soldiers, and U.S. Navy Sailors. AIT boarded two stateless dhows flying no flags in international waters off the coast of Somalia in accordance with international law. A large cache of weapons was discovered while conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. The weapons disposed of included thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and crew-served weapons. Other weapon components disposed of include barrels, stocks, optical scopes, and weapon systems. The only U.S. warship named after a Brit, Winston S. Churchill worked with the Royal Navy HMS Trent in the Eastern Mediterranean. The cooperation demonstrates the long-standing high-end warfare capabilities of the Alliance, which will culminate in the deployment of the international Queen Elizabeth Strike Group this summer. While in the Mediterranean, Winston S. Churchill also sailed with the Tunisian Navy, reinforcing the commitment to African Maritime security. After disembarking HSM 70 to their homeport at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, Churchill will return to homeport in Naval Station Norfolk. For more news from C2F, visit http://www.facebook.com/ US2ndFleet or http://twitter.com/US2ndFleet conduct CQ operations has tremendously impacted the readiness of naval aviation.” Wrapping up ISE 17, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12 Commander, staff, and warfare commanders embarked aboard Ford to execute integrated carrier strike group operations. Over a one week period they conducted an encounter exercise with USS Stout (DDG 55), an expendable mobile anti-submarine warfare exercise with the “Spartans” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70, and an emissions control exercise lead by the Information Warfare Commander. Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is in port Naval Station Norfolk for a scheduled window of opportunity for maintenance as part of her post-delivery test and trials phase of operations, and is on schedule for full ship shock trials later this year. For more news from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit www. dvidshub.net/unit/CVN78.

8 The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 1 | Thursday, March 25, 2021


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www.flagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 2 | Thursday, March 25, 2021 1


Silent Service Spending hours months submerged beneath the ocean’s surface is not what most people want to do. But for one Commander Submarine Group Seven Sailor, that’s all she’s ever dreamt of. Page B4

Group Arabian Sea Warfare Exercise (GASWEX) brings together American, Belgian, French and Japanese naval assets, in a combined, multilateral surface, air and sub-surface training. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Group Arabian Sea Warfare Exercise 21 underway in U.S. 5th Fleet From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs ARABIAN SEA — France, Belgium, Japan and the U.S. are participating in Group Arabian Sea Warfare Exercise (GASWEX) 21, a multilateral maritime exercise in the Arabian Sea and Gulf

of Oman. This exercise provides a unique opportunity for participating forces to enhance mutual interoperability and capabilities in maritime security, anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare operations. Participants include ships and aircraft from the French Charles

De Gaulle carrier strike group, auxiliary ship FS Var (A 608), frigates FS Provence (D 652) and FS Chevalier Paul (D 621), Belgian frigate BNS Leopold I (F 930), and Japanese destroyer JS Ariake (DD 109). U.S. forces include the Makin Island amphibious ready group (ARG) with embarked 15th

Marine Expeditionar y Unit (MEU), guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) and various aircraft including F-35, P-8, MH-60, Air Force F-16s, E-3 and tankers. By cooperatively training together, exercises like this allow participating naval forces to effectively develop the necessary skills

to address threats to regional security, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce. This is one of many exercises in which the U.S. military participates with partner nations in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility each year intended to enhance partnerships and interoperability.

Ships of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group enter the Black Sea From U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.s. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Benfold (DDG 65), left, and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), right, sail during a live-fire exercise with USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115). (MC3 ARON MONTANO)

Sea Shore Flow Replacement Survey looks for your opinion on sea duty By MC1 Mark D. Faram,

Chief Of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — An overhaul to the Navy’s Sea Shore Flow policy is in the works and the Navy wants Sailors’ opinions. Sound off starting March 17th — your response just might impact the rest of your career and those coming up the ranks behind you. The Navy is overhauling its Sea Shore Flow policy and wants Sailors’ opinions on what might entice them into taking and staying in critical sea duty billets. Balancing the needs of the Navy with the desires of Sailors has long been the goal but was always difficult to achieve due to more gaps at sea than Sailors available to fill them. The result has been multiple overhauls and sea tour length updates over the last three decades, all in attempt to better man the Fleet and provide Sailors a reasonable work/life balance.

The Navy needs to give commands higher manning levels maintained throughout the entire Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) cycle, including the maintenance and training phases, while also rewarding Sailors for assignment to high-value jobs at sea. Your input will help the Navy identify new opportunities and incentives Sailors value most. Options such as increased advancement opportunities, as well as monetary and non-monetary incentives, are all being considered. These could end up as packages of perks offered Sailors during the detailing process. If you have an idea or an opinion, now’s your chance to make a difference. The survey takes roughly 30 minutes and is available at https:// go.max.gov/dod/seashore. Some Sailors, such as those in the 22 most sea intensive ratings, will also get an email request to take the survey. This will come from Max.gov and is

not a phishing attempt. The link in the email will take you to the same survey site. The survey is only open to active-duty Sailors. To access the site, they must enter their Department of Defense ID number located on the back of their ID card to prove their active component status. Once in the survey, all responses are confidential. Leadership wants candid responses, so none will tracked back to individual Sailors. Only aggregated responses from Sailor opinions and ideas will be in the final report. The survey results are expected to be released later this fiscal year and the Navy hopes to field its new policy as soon thereafter. For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/usnpeople, Twitter at https://twitter.com/usnpeople or visit https://www.navy.mil/cnp.

U.S. 6TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY — The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) entered the Black Sea on March 20, 2021 and was joined today by the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) on a routine patrol to maintain maritime security alongside other NATO Allies and partners. Upon entering the Black Sea, Monterey conducted multi-domain air and surface warfare integration operations with F/A-18 Super Hornets from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group’s Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, Turkish and U.S. Air Forces Europe and Africa KC-135s, a Navy P-8A from Commander, Task Force 67, and NATO aircraft. These operations are part of a continual integration of air and maritime units operating across the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. “Monterey’s presence in the Black Sea reinforces our continued commitment to operate with our NATO Allies,” said Capt. Joseph A. Baggett, Commanding Officer, USS Monterey (CG 61). “Together, we enhance security and stability in the region through cooperation, understanding, and collaboration. These efforts and our cooperative relationships are key in safeguarding the region’s vital links to the global economy.” The surface ships entered the Black Sea to participate in the

Romania-led exercise Sea Shield. “This is a great opportunity for our ship to operate with our NATO Allies and partners in the Black Sea region,” said Cmdr. Bo Mancuso, commanding officer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116). “We are committed to security and stability in the region and are excited to enhance our combined readiness and naval capabilities.” The ultimate goal of these operations is to refine joint air defense procedures to better defend U.S. Navy ships and establish air and maritime superiority to enable freedom of navigation in all international waters and airspace. USS Monterey and USS Thomas Hudner are deployed as part of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG), supporting national security interests in Europe and increasing theater cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) area of operations. Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is a multiplatform team of ships, aircraft and more than 5,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe. The Navy provides a ready, flexible force capable of responding to a broad range of contingencies. Deploying ships and aircraft of the strike group, commanded by Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, include flagship USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61); Destroyer Squadron 22 ships include Arleigh Turn to Eisenhower, Page 7


The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 2 | Thursday, March 25, 2021

Heroes at Home

Q: What is RPP Housing? A: The RPP is designed to provide military personnel, enlisted and officers, with affordable off-base housing. This program is governed by an agreement between Landlords and the local Installation Commanding Officer (CO) or Housing Installation Program Manager (HIPM).

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Not-so-smoothie operator By Lisa Smith Molinari My husband has been working from home since the pandemic began over a year ago. Francis took his cyber security job in 2017 after retiring from the Navy, and initially commuted to New York City weekly. For those years, his neglected home office on the third floor of our house was more of shrine than anything else. He would take friends up there on weekends to show off his military coins, plaques, and photos. I called it his “Yay me!” room. Now Francis uses his home office for work. He’s there from sun up to sun down, in virtual meetings and on phone calls, every weekday. A creature of habit, Francis takes short breaks I can set my clock by, to hit the head, refill his coffee, grab lunch or make a smoothie. During his breaks, Francis, an admitted narcissist, rattles off his work schedule to anyone within earshot. He’s very important, after all. “I had three meetings this morning, I’ve got to interview a candidate for that open position, then I’ll check the mail,” he’ll say regardless of who’s listening. When his break is over, he starts back up the stairs to his office, but not before calling out, “Back to the salt mines!” We giggle at Francis’ inflated sense of self-importance, but we keep the house quiet so as to not interrupt his work because we respect him as our hard-working, dedicated, primary bread-

winner. As a military spouse, I’ve worked from home for two decades. My writing, military nonprofit work, and Zoom meetings all take place at our kitchen island. After a year of creeping around in hushed tones so as to not disturb Francis, one would think he would extend me the same courtesy. One would think. Last week, the house was empty. The girls were out, and Francis was at the VA Hospital getting his first COVID-19 vaccination. All was quiet — the perfect time for a work-related Zoom call. My other meeting participant was running late, so I sat at our kitchen island, waiting for her to click in. Suddenly, the front door opened, and I heard Francis rattling off his schedule. “The shot went quick, so I stopped and got a haircut, but I’m gonna try to make my two-thirty meeting,” he announced as he clopped into the kitchen. I put a finger to my lips, “Shh, Zoom meeting.” But Francis had more important matters to tend to. He scanned the kitchen counter, then opened the fridge. “Where’s the smoothie cup?” he blared, then clopped off to find it. I extended a let and kicked the fridge door closed, just as my meeting participant appeared on my laptop screen. “Hi! Thanks so much for taking the time to—” I began, as Francis appeared, swung the fridge doors open again, and put ice into his cup with

a “CLUNKCLUNKCLUNK!” “I’m sorry, my husband is making a smoo—” Before I could explain, the Nutribullet’s jet engines squealed, “WHRRRRRRRR!” I held a finger up to my laptop, the universal sign for, “Just gimme a minute.” But Francis prefers his smoothies thick, so he took his sweet time blending while we waited. Finally, the whirring stopped, and I dared, “So, about the military scholarship program—“ “Did anyone feed the dog?” I shook my head, and Francis tsked his disapproval, clopping off to the dog’s bowls. Once again, I extended a leg, and kicked the fridge doors closed. “So, scholarship funding,” I re-started, but heard a loud crash. Francis’s smoothie cup spun wildly on our tile floor, splattering to a rest against the dog’s bed in the kitchen corner. “Oops, I dropped it!” Francis blurted, relieved that only a little spilled where the cap had popped off. He set the cup on the island beside my laptop, and pounded the cap back on with his fist, “THUMPTHUMPTHUMP!” “Honey, can’t you fix that later?” I said through gritted teeth. Sucking on his straw, Francis finally climbed the stairs back to his office — now able to finish his very important work, thanks to the life-giving sustenance of an extra-thick strawberry smoothie — but not before stopping to reassure us, “Back to the salt mines!”

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From Military Onesource Sure Start is a Department of Defense Education Activity program for command-sponsored children in military families stationed at overseas installations. If your family qualifies, it could be a great fit for your child. The program provides: Full-day preschool program for eligible dependents Health and nutrition services that include medical, dental and developmental screenings as well as nutritious snacks and lunch at no charge Social services that provide for close cooperation with existing community resources for Sure Start families Parent-involvement services that provide for two-way communication between parents and teachers, opportunities for parents to participate in their child’s learning experiences as well as participation in two home visit and school conferences Sure Start: Is your child eligible? Sure Start assists qualified preschool-age military children living overseas. To qualify, your child needs to turn 4 years old by Sept. 1 of the enrolling school year and be a command-sponsored dependent. Ranks between E-1 and E-4 or rates the civilian equivalent have first priority. Additional selection criteria may apply: Lives in a single-parent household Had a low birth weight Has an older sibling with severe disabilities Lives in a home with three or more kids close in age Has a parent who did not graduate from high school Has a parent who was a teenager when the first child was born Has a parent whose primary language is not English Has a parent who is on a remote assignment or temporary duty for at least three months What’s the difference between Sure Start and Head Start?

(Courtesy Photo)

Sure Start is built on the same foundation as Head Start but fits better into the Department of Defense Education Activity culture and regulations. Both Sure Start and Head Start: Use a four-tiered delivery system: education, health and nutrition, social services and mandatory parent involvement Run medical, dental and developmental screenings for students and provide follow-up assessments if needed Provide no-cost, nutritious lunches and snacks Encourage family involvement Cater to students’ ages, individual needs and cultures in environment, curriculum, materials, routines and daily activities Follow a full-day program How is Sure Start different from Head Start? The Department of Defense Education Activity oversees the Sure Start program. Sure Start considers a military sponsor’s rank its first priority for enrollment. Head Start uses income to determine eligibility. Sure Start does not use a child’s disability status to determine eligibility. Head Start reserves at least 10% of slots in each classroom for children with disabilities. Parent involvement in Sure Start is mandatory. Sure Start staffs two adults for every 18 to 20 students. Local or state licensing boards determine Head Start’s staff-to-child ratios. Sure Start staff works with Department of Defense Education Activity special education staff to determine the best placement and services for a child. Sure Start programs follow the Department of

Defense Education Activity’s College and Career Ready Standards and adopted curriculum. Head Start chooses curriculum at the local level. If you think your preschooler may be a good fit for the Sure Start program, contact your local school liaison, your installation’s elementary school or your Military and Family Support Center. You can look up contact information at MilitaryINSTALLATIONS. Or visit the Department of Defense Education Activity’s Early Learning page to see if your child is eligible to apply for Sure Start. In addition to the Sure Start resources, families with exceptional family members should check out the EFMP & Me online tool. You’ll find a wealth of information covering your needs, including planning and task checklists. A short information video gets you started! While your child is getting started on the right foot, Penn State’s Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness and the Department of Defense’s Office of Military Community and Family Policy have partnered together to provide comprehensive, on-demand parenting programs to assist you in handling parenting challenges at any age. Learn more about Thrive, the free, online parenting education program that includes positive parenting practices, parent and child stress management and physical health promotion. Children and Youth Benefits sums up, by service branch, a number of options for child care, before- and after-school services and developmental classes. And if you find yourself needing an extra set of hands as you juggle your busy family schedule, check out the Expanded Hourly Child Care Options available on Military OneSource. Solving your child care needs is now at the tips of your fingers!

www.flagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 2 | Thursday, March 25, 2021 3





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4 The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 2 | Thursday, March 25, 2021

Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Morgan Marsh, a native of Sparks, Nevada, receives her frocking letter during her pinning ceremony held at Commander, Submarine Group 7. (MC2 ADAM THOMAS)

Dreaming of the Silent Service By MC2 Adam Thomas

Commander, Submarine Group Seven Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan — Spending hours, days or even months submerged beneath the ocean’s surface is not how most people would imagine spending their lives. But for one Commander Submarine Group Seven (CSG7) Sailor, that’s all she’s ever dreamt of. Information Systems Technician (IT) 2nd Class Morgan Marsh, a native of Sparks, Nev., began her Navy career with the goal of accomplish something not many before her had. She would serve aboard submarines. A target she’d set her mind to from an early age as she and her family were watching old submarine movies. “My brother-in-law, a former member of the Navy and now a current member of the Coast Guard always told me, ‘try to do something no one else has done’ and that’s stuck with me,” said Marsh. “There’s a very small number of women serving aboard subs, so knowing that, and remembering my brother’s words, has really influenced me to become a submariner.” Marsh joined the Navy in 2018 and upon arriving at boot camp she thought she’d joined as an Information Systems Technician (Submarine), a title given to those ITs who’ve qualified

to serve aboard submarines, but later found out she had in fact joined as a regular IT without the designation of Submariner. However, that didn’t discourage her. In fact, it seemed to her as if she’d been chosen by a high power as signs pointing her toward submarine service “just kept appearing.” “I don’t know, maybe I was chosen,” said Marsh. “The signs just kept popping up everywhere. Almost all of my IT school instructors at A-school were Radiomen and then when I got my orders, I found out I’d been assigned to a submarine command; CSG7. I don’t know, it just seemed like the stars were aligning.” Upon her arrival at CSG7 Marsh immediately began asking what steps were required to become a submariner. She didn’t want to enter into the process lightly and was set on following the proper path to her dreams. The first step she took was to speak with everyone she could that was able to advise her on the process. One of those advisors was Command Master Chief Brett Jackson, CSG7’s command master chief. “Marsh was extremely excited about the opportunity and idea of becoming a submariner,” said Jackson. “She told me that after learning what she had from members of the watch

floor, she knew becoming a submariner was what she wanted to do with her career.” Marsh also spoke with Lt. Jacqueline Penichet, a mentor and qualified female submariner who’d served deployments on both USS Ohio (SSGN 726) and USS Michigan (SSGN 727). Penichet pulled no punches. She told Marsh that it would be no walk in the park. “To be honest, she said the process would be really difficult,” said Marsh. “But she also pointed me toward the references and instructions I needed to build my package and that helped a lot.” Marsh spent the next two months doing more research, gathering documentation and preparing the items she’d be required to submit. She even received a letter of recommendation from Capt. Jeffery Bierley, CSG7 chief of staff. “We at Submarine Group 7 are thrilled to have had a positive impact on IT2 Marsh’s decision to transition to our community,” said Bierley. “We pride ourselves as submariners on being exemplary leaders, detail-oriented trainers and fierce protectors of our own. I knew from my personal observations and Marsh’s reputation on the watch floor that she was just the kind of Sailor who would continue to be an asset to the submarine warfighting team.”

Once Marsh had collected all the needed items, she was ready to submit her package and once she had, it didn’t take long for her to hear back. However the waiting around to find out if she’d been accepted was almost more than she could bear. “I must have gone into the admin office five or six times asking if there had been a response,” said Marsh. “I was so excited when it finally arrived. I was notified via email that said “welcome to the submarine community” and a short letter telling me my report date was set for Dec 13th.” Currently, Marsh isn’t sure where she’ll be stationed after attending basic submarine training but says she’d really like to go to Bangor, Washington where she will work to earn her enlisted submarine warfare qualification pin. “I really want to thank everyone at CSG7 that helped me,” said Marsh. “Now, I just want to learn everything I can about submarines, get to a boat, work hard and earn my fish.” Commander, Submarine Group 7 will advance the interests of the United States and the security of prosperity of the region by effectively employing forward deployed, combat capable forces across the full spectrum of undersea warfare. We will endeavor to prevent conflict but remain prepared to win decisively. For more please visit: https://www.facebook. com/submarinegroup7, https://www.dvidshub. net/unit/SG-7, https://www.csp.navy.mil/csg7/

CTF 73, JMSDF work together to strengthen logistics interchangeability in Indo-Pacific From Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific Public Affairs SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy routinely conducts cooperative underway replenishments with partner nations throughout the 7th Fleet area of operations and one of the closest of those partners is the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). When it comes to planning and executing combined replenishment operations in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S. and JMSDF have a unique advantage. Since September, JMSDF Lt. Cmdr. Shuzo Homma has been filling the newly created position of liaison officer (LNO) at Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC) / Task Force 73 (CTF 73), working directly with the staff ’s replenishment officer to help enhance interchangeability and combined logistics operations. Since Homma’s arrival, he and the replenishment officer have coordinated with Military Sealift Command Far East to execute seven underway replenishments involving approximately fifteen Military Sealift Command and JMSDF ships. According to Homma, the presence of a JMSDF LNO at CTF 73 benefits both navies. “If we can achieve more-advanced and interchangeable logistics in the areas where both the U.S. Navy and JMSDF operate, we can achieve better efficiencies in the use of our CLF [combat logistics force] assets and extend our ability to support units further from logistics hubs,” said Homma. Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander of COMLOG WESTPAC/CTF 73, said the LNO program was so successful because it built on a long-standing partnership. “This program reflects the trust we place in partners at every level,” said Tynch. “It was only a short time ago, on board JS Kaga, we talked about the LNO program with Admiral Yamamura. Lt. Cmdr. Homma and our JMSDF partners turned this idea into a reality. The day Shuzo Homma joined our team, we all grew stronger.” Capt. Chuck Dwy, assistant chief of staff for logistics at COMLOG WESTPAC, was instru-

Lt. Cmdr. Cory Eggers, left, replenishment officer with Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Lt. Cmdr. Shuzo Homma discuss naval ships in the COMLOG WESTPAC conference room. (LT. TEDDY HAGHVERDI)

mental in developing the LNO program. “Logistics win wars,” said Dwy. “Interoperable and interchangeable logistics require trust — We can move fuel and parts with speed, but only as far and fast as our network can take us. This partnership builds the collective strength, speed and operational reach of our supply chains. Ensuring both Fleets are Sustained and Ready to Fight!” Replenishment operations involve refueling at sea and the delivery of provisions via connected or vertical replenishments. According to Homma, a replenishment-at-sea (RAS) between the JMSDF Masyuu-class supply ship JS Oumi (AOE 426) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) stands out as an example of what the two navies have been able to accomplish during his time at CTF 73. “That was the first RAS that delivered cargo and fuel to a U.S. ship that was engaged in operations from a JMSDF oiler,” said Homma. “In order to accomplish this event, we needed to work on both operational and legal issues related to ACSA (Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement),” said Homma. “We were able to load U.S. supply parts and U.S. subsistence on a JMSDF logistics ship and deliver them during a RAS event. This

is a process that could take weeks and we did it in days.” Dwy and Homma agree the event could not have been arranged so quickly and efficiently without the support of an LNO. The positioning of a JMSDF LNO at CTF 73 is a combined U.S. Pacific Fleet/JMSDF effort developed by the JMSDF/U.S. Navy Logistics Interoperability and Integration Strategic Framework. The goal is to build better interoperability and interchangeable logistics between JMSDF and U.S. Navy forces in the 7th Fleet area of operations. “Our combined logistics capabilities play a big role in our navies’ abilities to operate effectively, efficiently and interchangeably in the Indo-Pacific,” said Lt. Cmdr. Cory Eggers, CTF 73’s fleet replenishment officer. “Having a JMSDF LNO here in Singapore and being able to work together, in person, to put the pieces together and overcome logistical challenges has absolutely enhanced our efforts.” Homma has been personally involved with the COMLOG WESTPAC LNO initiative since planning began. “I have been working on this for almost two years by removing obstacles interfering with the project,” said Homma. “During that time, I came to recognize the importance and

potential of this position for both the U.S. Navy and the JMSDF. I then volunteered to be the first long-term LNO to complete the start-up phase of the program.” Homma said the future LNOs have a great opportunity to look forward to. “It’s been a rewarding experience for me, having spent so much time with the program,” said Homma. “I’m pleased we were able to get things up and running and to do it with the success we have had. I look forward to seeing how the program advances in the future and the positive impact it will have on our partnership.” Dwy said Homma has been a valuable member of the team and an outstanding representative of his nation’s service. “Lt. Cmdr. Homma has met and exceeded any expectations we could set for an LNO,” said Dwy. “His expert knowledge and can-do attitude have benefited everyone who has had the chance to work with him.” COMLOG WESTPAC is the U.S. 7th Fleet’s provider of combat-ready logistics, operating government-owned and contracted ships to keep units throughout 7th Fleet armed, fueled and fed. For more news from Commander, Task Force 73, visit www.clwp.navy.mil/

www.flagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 2 | Thursday, March 25, 2021 5

The Unmanned Campaign Plan represents the Navy and Marine Corps’ strategy for making unmanned systems a trusted and integral part of warfighting. (COURTESY GRAPHIC)

Navy, Marine Corps release Unmanned Campaign Plan From Department of the Navy Public Affairs WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps released the Unmanned Campaign framework today. The Unmanned Campaign Plan represents the Navy and Marine Corps’ strategy for making unmanned systems a trusted and integral part of warfighting. Through a capabilities-based approach we can build a future where unmanned systems are at the front lines of our competitive advantage. The framework has five goals: Advance manned-unmanned teaming effects within the full range of naval and joint operations. Build a digital infrastructure that integrates and adopts unmanned capabilities at speed and scale. Incentivize rapid incremental development and testing cycles for unmanned systems. Disaggregate common problems, solve once, and scale solutions across platforms and domains. Create a capability-centric approach for unmanned contributions (platforms, systems, subsystems) to the force.

The framework provides a strategy for integrating these systems to provide lethal, survivable, and scalable effects supporting the future maritime mission. The Navy and Marine Corps are developing detailed technology maturation and acquisition roadmaps within a separate classified plan of action and milestones. The objective is to innovate quickly to provide solutions for complex problems of current and future conflicts. The path forward requires a holistic approach to developing and deploying unmanned systems, ensuring that individual technologies can operate within a broader architecture of networked warfighting systems, supported by the right people, policies, operational concepts, and other enablers. The campaign framework focuses on how the Navy and Marine Corps will reduce risk and identify performance requirements. Utilizing dedicated prototypes for each unmanned system and developing capability in this manner standardizes autonomy, command and control, payload interfaces, and networks. “The Navy and Marine Corps unmanned campaign plan serves as a roadmap for how we will realize a future where unmanned systems

serve as an integral part of the Navy’s warfighting team in support of distributed maritime operations,” said Vice Adm. Jim Kilby, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Requirements and Capabilities. “The plan lays out how we will scale tested and proven systems as well as develop the core technologies required to successfully integrate unmanned systems into the fleet.” The framework provides guidance for the Services to pursue an agile and aggressive approach to develop the core technologies required to successfully integrate unmanned systems into the Navy’s future force structure. The Services must invest in the networks, control systems, infrastructure, interfaces, artificial intelligence, and data required to support unmanned systems to succeed. “The Navy and Marine Corps unmanned campaign plan will guide our naval research and development investments, and through the acquisition process, we will collaborate with our industry partners to design, build, field and sustain manned and unmanned teaming throughout the fleet,” said Frederick J. Stefany Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. “It also

sets the framework to enable the Department of the Navy to accelerate, deliver and scale valuable manned and unmanned capabilities.” Today’s global security environment has seen a return to Great Power Competition. This shift has placed the Department of the Navy at an inflection point where a traditional force structure will not be enough in the face of new warfighting demands. Autonomous systems are not a replacement; they provide additional capacity and capability to our combatant force and allows commanders the ability to accept risk where they couldn’t before. “A family of unmanned systems is critical to the employment of our force during Distributed Maritime Operations. The goal is for us to be able to persist inside the weapons engagement zone of any adversary, to create problems and challenges, to make that adversary change their behavior or course of action they intend to pursue. These systems will be prevalent in all mediums: surface, sub-surface, ground and air. Manned/Unmanned teaming increases our lethality while allowing us to accept less risk in certain situations. Coordinating our efforts as a naval force will expedite the concept development and material solutions for our Marines and Sailors,” said Lt. Gen Eric Smith, commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command and deputy commandant for Combat Development and Integration. The Unmanned Campaign Plan comprised of the Unmanned Campaign Framework and a classified Unmanned Plan of Actions and Milestones.

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe - Africa visits Accra for Obangame Express 2021 Opening Ceremony By MC1 Fred Gray IV

U.S. Naval Forces Europe - Africa Public Affairs

ACCRA, Ghana — Adm. Robert P. Burke, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Commander, Allied Joint Force Command, Naples, delivered remarks during the opening ceremony for Obangame Express 2021 in Accra, Ghana, March 19, 2021. “Maritime security is a team sport. Working together, we’re creating a safer and more secure maritime environment,” Burke said. “That ultimately means greater economic prosperity for African nations and the global community.” Additional speakers included Chief of Defense Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, Vice Adm. Seth Amoama, Ghana Chief of Navy Staff, Rear Adm. Issah Yakubu, and the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Ms. Stephanie S. Sullivan. “It’s truly impressive to see what has been accomplished, despite so much adversity. I think that’s a real testament to the innovation and dedication of the team, and the strength of our partnerships,” Burke said. “What Obangame Express is really about though, is learning from each other and working together. It is a necessary step to ensure interoperability between maritime partners.” Amoama said the Gulf of Guinea has reported 18 maritime incidents since the beginning of the year. “These challenges threaten not only the

Civilian and military leaders pose for a group photo during the opening ceremony for Exercise Obangame Express, March 19, 2021. (MC1 FRED GRAY IV)

economies of the countries in the Gulf of Guinea but also global trade and economic security,” Amoama said. “The exercise continues to grow [which] has been demonstrated over the past years. I am therefore hopeful that the 2021 edition will be even more successful.” Burke’s visit to Ghana follows on U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command’s two-day visit to Ghana, Feb. 23-24. Townsend met with several Ghanaian leaders, including President Nana Akufo-

Addo; Chief of Defense Staff, including both current and immediate past Chiefs of Defense Staff Rear Admiral Seth Amoama and Lieutenant General Obed Akwa, respectively; Minister of Defense, the Honorable Dominic Nitiwul; and other senior members of the Ghana Armed Forces. Obangame Express 2021 takes place from March 14-27, 2021. The 32 nations participating this year include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote

d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, and the United States. Also participating will be the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

6 The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 2 | Thursday, March 25, 2021







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www.flagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 2 | Thursday, March 25, 2021 7

Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Seaman Park Collie (right) receives a personal coin from Cmdr. Josie Moore, commanding officer of Information Warfare Training Command Monterey, for his exceptional performance upon completion of the Chinese-Mandarin Basic course at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. (COURTESY PHOTO)

IWTC Monterey forges Navy linguists to fight, win in great power competition By Ctic Amos Hoover

Information Warfare Training Command Monterey Public Affairs

MONTEREY, Calif. — While Navy students attached to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey are still learning how to be great Sailors, they are attending one of the longest and most arduous “A” schools the Navy has to offer varying between 36 weeks and 64 weeks depending on language difficulty. Tucked away on the central California coastline overlooking the scenic Monterey Bay sits the premiere school for language learning in the United States, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC). Since 1963 Sailors have attended DLIFLC to gain critical language skills and cultural understanding in order to augment our ships, submarines, aircraft, and ground stations so that they can maintain maritime superiority both during peacetime and war. With continuing threats from global terrorism and new potential threats in this era of Great Power Competition, the language, regional

expertise, and cultural skills these Sailors will bring to the fight are more important than ever to ensure our continued success. Languages currently offered include Arabic, Chinese-Mandarin, Korean, Russian, PersianFarsi, and Spanish. Upon completion of their course of instruction, with the completion of some additional education requirements, Sailors are eligible to earn an associate degree in their language. Some recent graduates of the Russian and Chinese courses shared their experiences in completing this program. “When I first arrived at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, I thought that it was this magical place where everybody learns a language in a short period of time without very much work,” said Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Seaman Jaie Arais. “I was very mistaken. But now that I have completed my final goal (of graduating), I realize it was more of a first step to a much larger career”. When asked how to be successful at DLIFLC, Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Seaman Eldon Porter added, “The key to success at

Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center is not unlike any other military training or school. That is, focus on instruction, do what is asked of you, try your best, and most important have the confidence to know you can succeed!” “The students who pass through these doors are exceptional,” said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Sarah Sperling when discussing student performance. “I am impressed by all of our students, but especially our recent graduates and the levels of proficiency they are achieving is something you would normally only see occasionally from individuals. The leadership, cooperation, and professionalism of the Sailors makes me more confident than ever that we are providing the fleet with outstanding talent that’s ready to enter the fight.” One of the recent graduates, Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Seaman Park Collie, received the Command Sergeant Major Award for foreign language excellence and military leadership. Seaman Collie was also one of the students to achieve the highest scores possible on the Defense Language

Proficiency Test (DLPT) that he took at the end of the course. “When I heard the news that I had scored a 3⁄3 on my DLPT, I was ecstatic,” said Collie. “Knowing that I reached my goal, which I had worked toward for 18 months, made me feel that every late night of studying was worth it. Every Sailor has the ability to reach their goal, and Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center will appropriately reward you based on your efforts.” IWTC Monterey, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), provides a continuum of foreign language and cryptologic technical training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations. With four schoolhouse commands, a detachment, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 22,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community. For more on Information Warfare Training Command Monterey, visit https://www. public.navy.mil/netc/centers/ciwt/IWTCmonterey/ and http://www.monterey.army. mil/Service_Units/IWTC_Monterey.html, or find them on Facebook. For more news from Center for Information Warfare Training domain, visit https:// www.public.navy.mil/netc/centers/ciwt/, www.facebook.com/NavyCIWT, or www. twitter.com/NavyCIWT.

Eisenhower from Page 1

Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mahan, and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116). Squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, embarked on Eisenhower include the “Fighting Swordsmen” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, “Wildcats” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, “Rampagers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83; “Dusty Dogs” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7; “Swamp Foxes” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74; “Screwtops” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 123; “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130, and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 “Rawhides.” U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) sails alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), in the Atlantic Ocean. (MCSN TRENT P. HAWKINS)

8 The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 2 | Thursday, March 25, 2021

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www.flagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 3 | Thursday, March 25, 2021 1

Carrot Cake Carrot cake has been an Easter staple for years, so why not serve some fun takes on this popular dessert for your celebration? PAGE C4

(Courtesy Photo)

Virginia Arts Festival BANK STREET STAGE Opens April 12 with Oliver Wood From The Virginia Arts Festival NORFOLK — Virginia Arts Festival has announced the launch of its 2021 Bank Street Stage season of performances, including concerts, live theatre, and opera. Developed to safely welcome patrons back to live performances, the Festival’s Bank Street Stage is located at the corner of Bank Street and East Charlotte Street in Norfolk; the outdoor venue meets COVID-19 restrictions including socially-distanced seating. Tickets are available online at vafest.org or by calling the VAF Box Office at 757-282-2822. “We continue to innovate in the age of COVID-19,” said the Festival’s Perry Artistic Director Robert W. Cross. “Audiences are hungry for live performances, and we are committed to creating spaces where they can enjoy them safely.” Located across from Chrysler Hall and Scope Arena, in the heart of Norfolk’s arts district, the Bank Street Stage is adjacent to the Charlotte Street Garage (Bank Street entrance) and steps away from Norfolk’s bustling restaurant district along and around Granby Street, making it the perfect destination for entertainment lovers. Upcoming Performances Opening the new performance venue April 12 will be Americana/roots music favorite Oliver Wood, familiar to many Virginia Arts Festival fans through his performances with The Wood Brothers, who performed at the Festival’s Funhouse Fest in 2018. His style has been described as a mix of folk, blues, gospel and jazz; what fans know is that his songs speak directly to their souls, with a sound that’s “truly timeless…comforting us and propelling us toward some deeper understanding” (popmat-

ters.com). April 13, Zakir Hussain and the Masters of Percussion take the stage, filling the air with sounds of the drums of India, Persia, Uzbekistan and American jazz. Hussain, “a magician in his own right over a spectrum of percussive sounds” (Denver Post) will be joined by Pezhham Akhavass (tombak), Marcus Gilmore (drum set), and Abbos Kosimov (doyra). April 14-25, the Festival joins with Virginia Stage Company and Norfolk State University Theatre Company to present a staged reading of August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned. Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson’s autobiographical play chronicles the hardships of growing up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District and how that shaped him as a writer. Best known for his series of ten plays chronicling the experiences and heritage of the Black community in the 20th century (Including Fences, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson and more), this tough and funny one-man show reveals “through Wilson’s own eyes how the neighborhood and the history deeply embedded in it, shaped his worldview, alternately toughened and tried his spirit, and ultimately inspired his majestic investigation of Black experience” (The New York Times). Playing the role of Wilson will be Anthony Stockard, NSU Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director. May 7-8, the Festival joins with Virginia Opera to present Leonard Bernstein’s wry and witty one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti. Set in 1950s suburbia, the opera focuses on a day in the life of a married couple surrounded by the troubles and temptations of American life in the era of Mad Men. A signature accomplishment of the prolific composer Bernstein, it’s “an exuberant,

eclectic embrace of America’s colorful vernacular music: jazz, blues, scat singing, the Broadway movie/musical, advertising jingles, pop ballads” and classical music (BachTrack.com). The cast features some of the best rising talent in the opera world today, and live orchestra with members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. May 10, the Festival will co-present, with the Feldman Chamber Music Society, the famed Brentano Quartet. “Passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding” (London Independent), this brilliant ensemble has drawn praise around the world for more than 25 years. May 13, guitarist Manuel Barrueco will take the Bank Street Stage. Hailed as “the greatest living guitarist on the world stage today” by Fanfare Magazine, Barrueco has performed in the great concert halls around the world and in such popular media as CBS Sunday Morning and a PBS bio-documentary—even a Lexus commercial. A Note About Patron Safety, Seating and Ticketing The Bank Street Stage will observe CDC Covid-19 protocols including social-distanced seating, mask requirements, temperature checks and hand sanitizer stations. For the safety of patrons, tickets to Bank Street Stage performances will be sold in socially-distanced “pods;” pods will be assigned based on best availability for the size of the patron party. For safe, touchless entry, rather than distributing physical tickets, patrons will receive email confirmations to be printed or displayed on a device. The Box Office will also have a complete list of ticketholders at the point of entry. Bank Street Stage Performance Calendar (as of March 17, 2021) Tickets available online at vafest.org or by

phone at 757-282-2822. Oliver Wood, singer-songwriter Monday, April 12, 7:30pm Zakir Hussain and the Masters of Percussion Tuesday, April 13, 7:30pm August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned Co-produced with Virginia Stage Company and Norfolk State University Theatre Company Wednesday, April 14, 7:30pm Thursday, April 15, 7:30pm Friday, April 16, 7:30pm Saturday, April 17, 2pm Saturday, April 17, 7:30pm Sunday, April 18, 7:30pm Tuesday, April 20, 7:30pm Wednesday, April 21, 7:30pm Friday, April 23, 7:30pm Saturday, April 24, 2pm Saturday, April 24, 7:30pm Sunday, April 25, 7:30pm Trouble in Tahiti Co-presented with Virginia Opera Friday, May 7, 6pm Friday, May 7, 8:30pm Saturday, May 8, 4pm Saturday, May 8, 7pm Brentano Quartet Co-presented with the Feldman Chamber Society Monday, May 10, 7:30pm Manuel Barrueco, guitar Co-presented with Tidewater Classical Guitar Society Thursday, May 13, 7:30pm Additional performances will be announced soon. Watch the Festival’s website vafest.org for more information and keep up with VAF on social media @VaArtsFest.

Virginia Opera announces 2021 Spring season From The Virginia Opera HAMPTON ROADS, RICHMOND, VA — Virginia Opera, The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, shares their performance calendar by announcing the 2021 Spring Season, a thoroughly entertaining and easily accessible program with numerous virtual and in-person Features to be presented throughout the coming months. General Director and CEO Peggy Kriha Dye: “Making music is our passion and we are thrilled to announce our Spring Season. We are excited about new collaborations, bold plans, and to welcome talented singers to our communities. As always, all of this activity will happen with the safety of our artists and patrons at the forefront of our planning.” Spearheading the new season is an eightweek long Masterclass Series featuring mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. Digital episodes premiere each Wednesday through March 17, 2021 as an exclusive benefit to Virginia Opera subscribers and donors. The masterclass aims to equip patrons with an-insider view of the art of opera through the teachings of the accomplished Ms. Graves. Another digital event included in the

Spring Season will be a classic experience with a virtual twist. Patrons are invited to Cabaret with Us, an evening of music with Virginia Opera’s Emerging Artists, who will transport viewers to an evening on the town. This bring-your-own-cocktail event promises to be a night to remember — cocktail recipes included! Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, a one-act opera set in 1950s suburbia, follows a young married couple struggling to prioritize their relationship amidst the laundry list of demands in their daily lives. Audiences will love this infectiously jazzy 45-minute portrait of “domestic bliss” and find a glimmer of hope in its candid conclusion. Limited live performances will be presented in Norfolk, co-presented with the Virginia Arts Festival, at the VAF Bank Street Stage on May 7 and 8, 2021 and in Richmond at Dogwood Dell on May 1, 2021. The Virginia Opera 2021 Spring Season cast features members of the company’s Emerging Artists Program. Returning from the Fall 2020 Stayin’ Alive initiative are soprano Symone Harcum who will sing the soprano role in the trio of Trouble in Tahiti; baritone Nicholas Martorano will join her in the trio;

(Courtesy Photo)

and bass-baritone Eric McConnell in the role of Sam. Making their Virginia Opera debut are mezzo-soprano Marissa Simmons in the role of Dinah and tenor Andrew Turner who will round out the trio. The final Feature of Virginia Opera’s 2021 Spring Season will be a magnificent Spring Gala, a fully digital fundraising event for the benefit of Virginia Opera. Virtually Amazing Opera, Virginia Opera’s new digital learning platform launches with The Princess and the Pea, written by Dr. Glenn Winters. A fully-staged production, The Princess and the Pea is the adventure of a young woman who, while lost on her way to a costume party, battles against the

Queen’s clever quest for the ultimate prize — a happily-ever-after with the handsome prince. Virtually Amazing Opera, Virginia Opera’s initiative to enrich local school curriculum, acts to present arts-based educational content through easily accessible venues, free of charge. Educators are encouraged to opt-in at vaopera.org/learn to receive supplementary content over the year. Future features in the educational program include a full staged digital production of John Davies’ Pinocchio as well as bite sized Brain Breaks! All available online. More information regarding Virginia Opera’s 2021 Spring Season can be found by visiting the company’s website, vaopera.org.

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The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 3 | Thursday, March 25, 2021

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The Flagship welcomes submissions from our readers online. Please submit events here: www.militarynews.com/users/admin/calendar/event/ Please submit news and photos here: www.militarynews.com/norfolk-navy-flagship/submit_news/

(Courtesy Photo)

Nauticus’ Women’s History Month Programming

From Nauticus

NORFOLK, Va.—Nauticus reflects and celebrates the often overlooked contributions of women with a special event this month, “Who Run the World? Women in STEM”, on Saturday, March 20. Visitors are invited to enjoy programs highlighting the amazing women creators, scientists, artists and innovators who have played a role in inspiring women of all backgrounds to be bold and brave. Featured STEM programs include “Women of the WisKy” depicting women who played a vital role in building the Battleship Wisconsin, and a virtual trip to Bermuda with Nauticus! Learn from BIOS Director of Education and Community Engagement, Kaitlin Noyes, and Nauticus Educator, Susie Hill, who have spent time with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) to mitigate marine debris. Admission for all visitors on Saturday, March 20 from 10 A.M. — 5 P.M. is discounted to $7.57 (plus tax). Nauticus members receive free admission. Admission

includes all special programming, access to Nauticus exhibits including National Geographic’s, Planet or Plastic? exhibition and the Battleship Wisconsin. In addition to the event day, Nauticus will host a virtual program with an all-female panel: Wednesday, March 24 | 2 P.M.: “Law & Order: Save the Planet” (Virtual - FREE) • Join Nauticus for an insightful discussion on the environmental laws impacting Virginia. Panelists will explore current legislation from the recent ban on balloon releases, to the future of plastic bag tax. Learn how you can get involved in the critical legislative decisions made locally and statewide regarding the future of our environment. • Nauticus Facebook page or Zoom Webinar. • Local panelists include: • Esi Langston, Environmental Sustainability Manager, City of Norfolk • Christina Trapani, Researcher and Owner, Eco-Maniac For more information, visit Nauticus.org.

(Courtesy Photo)

“THE 757” EXHIBITION From The Virginia Beach Art Center VIRGINIA BEACH – In and about our area code are so many subjects artists can present. All of Hampton Roads – and more – provide inspiration for wide-ranging interpretations. Come see your home through entirely new perspectives. Opening day is Friday, April 2nd. A video tour of the exhibition and presentation of awards will be posted by Facebook Live at 7 p.m., April 2nd. on the Virginia Beach Art Center, Home of The Artists Gallery page. THE 757 will be on view through May 2nd, 2021. THE VIRGINIA BEACH ART CENTER is a non-profit organization offering art exhibitions, art classes and pottery classes in a fully equipped center located at 532 Virginia Beach Boulevard. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The ARTISTS GALLERY is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, managed entirely by its artist members. The gallery provides space for working, exhibiting and showcasing original fine art by local and regional artists.

“Two Barns – Windsor Castle Park”by Linda Gerek

www.flagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 3 | Thursday, March 25, 2021 3

(Courtesy Photo)

Norfolk Resident on front lines of U.S. Military fight against COVID By Rick Burke,

Navy Office Of Community Outreach

JACKSONVILLE — Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Fite, a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, is playing a critical role in the U.S. Navy’s efforts to maintain a healthy and ready fighting force in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. As a masterat-arms serving with Transient Personnel Unit (TPU) at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, Fite is one of the 139 service members assigned to Task Force Southeast - Jacksonville, the primary Department of Defense (DoD) support organization

for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) response to COVID-19. “I provide administrative and logistical support in providing the COVID vaccine to all members of our community, to ensure that essential medical care is available for both them and their families,” said Fite. The DOD remains committed to breaking the cycle of transmission as it provides support to approved FEMA requests. Task Force Southeast - Jacksonville protects against COVID-19 outbreak and conducts response operations within FEMA regions III & IV. “All of our Navy personnel here at the

Jacksonville Community Vaccination Center are uniquely capable of providing immediate medical expertise and training to help counter the threat of the pandemic to our Nation,” said Capt. David Barrows, medical officer-in-charge of Task Force Southeast - Jacksonville and executive officer, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Jacksonville. “We are proud and privileged to serve our country and community in time of need, right here at home.” According to Fite, a 2000 graduate of Glencliff Comprehensive High School in Nashville, Tennessee, the values required

to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Nashville. “I have learned that care and patience goes a long way towards helping people navigate through any situation,” said Fite. “This pandemic has been a great example of how important it is to show patience and care to people when they are experiencing hardships. I am thankful for the values that I have learned from my hometown.” As a member of the U.S. Navy, Fite, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition that dates back centuries. Their efforts, especially during this time of challenge brought on by the Coronavirus, will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who provide the Navy the nation needs. “It means that I get to represent my hometown, home state, family and friends in the response to meeting the threat of Coronavirus,” added Fite. “The Navy provides my team and I the necessary resources to meet the challenge that our country faces. I am humbled by this opportunity and look forward to ensuring my actions will always be something that my hometown, family and friends will be proud of.”

4 The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 3 | Thursday, March 25, 2021


Delicious and Delightful Carrot Cake Twists for Easter From StatePoint

Carrot cake has been an Easter staple for years, so why not serve some fun takes on this popular dessert for your celebration? With Easter landing on International Carrot Day, April 4, John Kanell, culinary expert and founder of Preppy Kitchen, partnered with McCormick spices to create exclusive Easter dessert recipes that put a delightful twist on the classic carrot cake. “Growing up, desserts were always the highlight of Easter, with my mother and grandmother making wonderful carrot cakes from scratch,” says John Kanell. Because carrot cake brings back great memories, Kanell wanted to channel that nostalgia, while adding whimsical touches. His resulting creations are fun, family-friendly and beyond-delicious. As darling as they are tasty, Carrot Cake Cookies bring all the flavors of carrot cake in a fun, handheld way that allows the whole family to get involved in the kitchen. Big and little kids alike can help frost and decorate! Make room at the dessert table for Carrot Cake Roll with Lemon Cream Cheese Filling — a fluffy spiced cake loaded with carrots and the warm flavor of McCormick spices. Rolled up with a light and airy lemon and cream cheese filling, it’s a sweet way to celebrate the season. “As a nod to my Greek heritage, my family always incorporated lemon into our dessert recipes. Adding it to the cream cheese filling provides a bright complement to my slightly sweet and tender Carrot Cake Roll recipe,” says Kanell. Kanell is also sharing his top baking tips for success.

• Feature carrots front-and-center in desserts. Beyond their beautiful orange color, they add moisture to baked goods. • Too much flour makes for dense, gummy baked goods. Always measure your flour correctly by using a scale or fluffing the flour and sprinkling it into your measuring cup before leveling off. • Don’t over-mix your batter. It will activate the gluten in the flour and cause your baked goods to go from tender and airy to tough and overly chewy. Mix your dry and wet ingredients until just combined. • Use room temperature butter and cream cheese — left out of the refrigerator for about 30 to 60 minutes. They should show a slight indent when pressed, yet still hold shape. Remember that consistency is important when creaming butter with sugar and it should be visibly fluffy and not cling to the side of your mixing bowl. • Stock your spice rack with McCormick pure vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg so it is ready for all your baking needs. Spring is all about nature waking up after a long slumber and these essential spices brighten and add warmth to seasonal dishes. • Even if your little ones are too young to make a recipe, they can still help measure, mix and combine ingredients, and of course decorate cakes, cupcakes and cookies. For these exclusive Easter carrot cake-inspired recipes, crafting ideas for kids and kids-at-heart, and everything else you need to complete your Easter celebration, visit mccormick.com/easter. With delicious takes on the classic carrot cake, your family can hit the sweet spot between nostalgia and whimsical fun this Easter.

(John Kanell)

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www.flagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 3 | Thursday, March 25, 2021 5


Members of the initial group of RCA W3 course developers. Back row, from left: Robin Francis, Army Col. (Dr.) Timothy Switaj, Schandra Carr, Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Alan Bartholomew, and Sylvia Ringmacher; front row, from left: Chad McGrath, Lori Barteau, Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Amy Jiang, Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Renée Matos, Army Maj. (Dr.) Matthew Kemm, and Ashley Parham ( Renée Matos).

Course improves patient care by identifying cause of errors By Military Health System Communications Office How do we make — and keep — our military medical treatment facilities safer? Facilitated by Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Renée Matos, assistant dean of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, the RCA W3 course was developed to ensure and improve quality care and reduce negative outcomes at MTFs. COVID-19 pandemic restrictions led to an expanded virtual format this year with an unexpected, positive outcome - even greater participation. “Medical errors impact healthcare safety, quality, costs and the overall well-being of our healthcare team members. When patient safety events occur, all of those things are affected, including how team members feel about that event,” said Matos. “The idea is to give the medical system an objective way to look at those events so that they can prevent them from happening in the future.” Borrowing lessons from other industries, a root cause analysis (RCA) is considered the health care industry’s best method to move away from focusing on human error (often termed “blame and shame”) and move toward focusing on systemic issues or oversights that can lead to error, Matos explained. The latter approach also results in creating a more transparent environment across the organization in which individuals feel safer to participate in the identification of potential sources of error.

At its base, an RCA is taking a patient safety event or mishap, looking at it from all angles and figuring out the root, or main, cause of the event or where it originated. ‘The W3’ in the course title stands for: What happened? Why did it happen? What are you going to do about it? The general idea, Matos said, is to avoid the tendency to blame individuals. While instances of overt negligence do occur and should be appropriately addressed, they are rare. The vast majority of medical errors are due to systemic problems. For health care workers, placing blame on individuals can lead to burnout, low morale, less transparency, and the potential for more errors in the future. “We understand that humans are fallible, and we make mistakes. We can’t expect humans to be perfect, but what we can do is generate a list of recommended actions which are not targeted at the one person who made a mistake,” said Matos. “The idea is to address the system and make the system stronger.” Matos explained that the idea behind an RCA is to develop strong corrective action plans. “How do you get to the root cause, where you’re not saying a person failed to do something but asking why they failed to do it,” she said. For recipients of military healthcare, this ultimately results in making MTFs safer by preventing further adverse events. The RCA W3 course, now in its third iteration, was developed with

health care workers often-busy schedule in mind. “Most root cause analysis courses last a full week and are less likely to be attended by those who need them most, the busy clinicians.” said Matos. “To do the job right, an RCA team needs knowledgeable clinicians on board and ready.” The goal of the one-day RCA course, said Matos, is to instill knowledge and confidence about patient safety and the RCA process to this audience. “Its format is more conducive to graduate medical education physician trainees and faculty, and also our nurses, allied health, and support staff who don’t typically have the ability to take a full week off,” said Matos. Beginning in December 2018, San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, located at Brooke Army Medical Center, offered its first RCA W3 course using a flipped classroom approach, which is a method that allows students to complete readings at home and use class time to work on live problem solving. The courses are comprised of voluntary civilian and active-duty participants from throughout military medicine with an interest in patient safety, including graduate medical education residents and faculty, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and administrators. “In December of 2018, we began with 75 participants and by January 2020 we had 95 participants,” said Matos. “There’s a lot of administrative work that goes into putting

something like that together, but they were wildly successful.” Those first two courses, she said, created the demand for more. For this year’s course, the COVID-19 pandemic created a unique problem — the inability to put over 100 people in room together - which required a unique solution. “We had over 150 people interested in attending the course,” said Matos. “We established a virtual platform and created three smaller courses, capping it at around 50 students per course. We completed a course in January, another in March and we have our last course for this year scheduled for May.” An added benefit of these courses being conducted virtually is that it has opened participation from outside of the San Antonio area, including attendees from California and Germany. Matos said that the feedback so far has been extremely positive, and the courses seem to be doing exactly what they were intended to do. “People have felt that their confidence in participating in, interviewing people, and actually leading people in an RCA has all improved as a result of this course,” said Matos. A better understanding of the process, she said, leads to these individuals becoming RCA team members at their facilities with the requisite tools and knowledge at their disposal. This, in turn, leads to stronger corrective action plans and greater prevention of future patient safety issues. “We know trainees practice what they learn, and those practices persist years after they graduate, said Matos. “In the military, we hire 100% of our graduates into our own system, the MHS, so I feel we have a moral obligation to train them and teach them about patient safety and why it matters.”

Army Wounded Warrior perseveres despite COVID-19 By: Robert Whetstone

Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced changes and challenges that continue to affect the way of life for everyone. Through perseverance, the Army is using innovative ways to deal with the “new normal.” One group in particular that are making the adjustment are wounded, ill, and injured service members in Soldier Recovery Units across the Army. The month of March typically finds some of them preparing to gather at Fort Bliss, Texas, to participate in the Army Trials. However, this year the Army Recovery Care Program, keeping safety paramount for participants and staff, executed the Trials virtually. For soldiers like Army Staff Sgt. Gene Calantoc, the pandemic added an extra challenge to an already daunting one. Calantoc, assigned to the Brooke Army Medical Center SRU, is approaching the one-year anniversary of an accident that changed his life. One of his hobbies is riding a motorcycle. “My accident happened on March 29, 2020 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri,” said Calantoc. “I set up a group ride that day with my motorcycle organization.’ Six of us went for a ride that day. I was the road captain and leading our group when we approached a route that had a very steep hill where I got hit by a truck.” This led to an above-the-knee amputation of his left leg. Born in the Philippines, his family moved to Hawaii and then to San Diego when he was

13 years old. Joining the Army was a life-long dream of his because of the influence of his uncle who served in the Philippine military. “I’ve been in the Army for nine years as a 12N (Horizontal Heavy Equipment Operator),” said Calantoc. “I chose to be an engineer because that MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) interested me.” Calantoc said he likes staying busy, and he has proved that by participating in every event the Trials have to offer. “I heard about the Warrior Games at the CFI (Center for the Intrepid),” he explained. The CFI is where Calantoc was fitted for his prosthetic and is currently undergoing rehab. “I have always been an active person and I love to compete. My motivation to participate (in the Army Trials) was knowing that this is a good opportunity to get my foot in the competition.” Competing in the Army Trials is tough enough, but when you have to do it virtually, it adds a new dimension of change. Athletes do not physically meet with the other competitors and develop a “team camaraderie,” which is an extreme motivating factor they use to push themselves to their limits. For Calantoc, a first time Trials competitor, his focus has been on something different; something soldiers, particularly noncommissioned officers are used to. “The challenging aspect competing virtually is not receiving enough training before the trials,” he explained. The ARCP looks at their overall mission to help those assigned in SRUs to recover and overcome barriers, and aids them either back

Army Staff Sgt. Gene Calantoc, a member of the Soldier Recovery Unit at Brooke Army Medical Center, prepares to loose an arrow during the Virtual Army Trials archery event held at Buck and Doe’s Mercantile in San Antonio, Texas, March 10, 2021. Calantoc is one of several Soldiers at the SRU competing to be selected to represent Team Army in the 2021 DoD Warrior Games (Daniel J. Calderón).

to their unit, or to transition into civilian life. “Adaptive reconditioning and sports has helped me with overall rehab by physically and mentally keeping myself busy to prevent myself from feeling any pain,” added Calantoc. “Participating in the Virtual Trials helps me overcome some of my pains during the day. My goal is to make it to the Army team.” There are countless examples of wounded, ill, and injured soldiers and veterans who have

participated in the Army Trials who found themselves in a more positive place. Adaptive reconditioning and sports, to include these types of events, can be life changing. This can be priceless in times of an ongoing pandemic. “What I would say to the person who might be considering adaptive reconditioning or participating in the Army Trials is to have fun and enjoy the opportunity to participate in the trials,” he said.

6 The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 3 | Thursday, March 25, 2021

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www.flagshipnews.com | The Flagship | Section 3 | Thursday, March 25, 2021 7 Room For Rent NORFOLK NSU Area Room For Rent All Utils $160 wk + deposit. Call: 757-284-6249

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8 The Flagship | www.flagshipnews.com | Section 3 | Thursday, March 25, 2021

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Flagship 03.25.2021