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December 6, 2013 Volume: 1 Issue: 15

Bataan ARG Begins Composite Training Unit Exercise By MC1 Gary Prill Sailors from the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and Marines from 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed Naval Station Norfolk for a two-week underway in order to complete Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the East Coast of the United States. COMPTUEX affords the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group the ability to interact with other ships including the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group and smaller ships like the guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Truxtun (DDG 103) and the guidedmissile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), among others. During the exercise each ship will be assessed on command and control techniques, situational response, and a series of scenario-driven exercises including antisubmarine warfare, electronic warfare and maritime interdiction operations aimed at integrating the ships with the rest of the

Photo by MCSA Michael J. Lieberknecht

strike group. Each scenario tests a different aspect of each ships ability to face the possible challenges the strike group and the support ships might face while operating in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet area of responsibilities. Sailors will be testing nearly every action involved in the normal operation of a navy vessel at sea, to include intelligence

collections and response, visit board search and seizure, along with air and surface defense. This exercise will test nearly every Sailor aboard the ship in one method or another. And testing will be the last step to fully certify and prepare Bataan for its upcoming deployment scheduled for early 2014. “These exercises are extremely important COMPTUEX story cont. on page 2

Bataan Sailors Participate in College Programs By MC3 Mark Hays Sailors aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5) will soon start working towards college degrees through Bataan University, the ship’s Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE), which started course assessments Nov. 20. NCPACE offers participating Sailors learning opportunities and experiences from secondary institutions recognized by an accrediting body approved by the Department of Education. NCPACE provides Sailors with educational

opportunities comparable to those available to shore duty personnel. Although students must pay for books, tuition is covered 100 percent by the Navy. “NCPACE courses are offered to all Sailors on board whether officer or enlisted,” said Chief Operations Specialist Laquinta Dover, a native of Meridian, Miss. “Prior to deployment, a class schedule will be made and courses will be available in two hour blocks.” The Center for Personal and Professional NCPACE story cont. on page 2

Look Inside! Affordable Care Act, Pages 3 | Painting Around Bataan, Page 6 | Comic, Page 7

COMPTUEX cont. from Front page

Photos by MC1 RJ Stratchko

for our Sailors and the ship while preparing for deployment; we need to knock this out of the park” said Bataan Command Master Chief, Kevin M. Goodrich. “The evolutions we will see during the exercise are the same scenarios currently deployed ships are seeing in their normal operations. ” This exercise is scheduled as the last underway for Bataan’s Amphibious Ready Group prior to her deployment and the last opportunity for the ships in her group to interact in a training environment prior to be tested by actual foreign interactions throughout the world.

NCPACE cont. from Front page

Development (CPPD) is responsible for executing and administering NCPACE. Working closely with Bataan’s training department, CPPD ensures the right instructors are embarked to provide the courses that are in the highest demand aboard. NCPACE offers academic skills such as undergraduate and graduate courses. NCPACE instructor-led courses are taught by instructors who live aboard the ship during long underway periods or deployments. NCPACE distance-learning

courses are provided to commands through CD-ROM and other digital media. All undergraduate courses are from institutions with Service Members Opportunity Colleges- Navy (SOCNAV) affiliation, ensuring Sailors the opportunity to transfer credits and complete degrees. To enroll in NCPACE Sailors must have met eligibility requirements such as be a part of ship’s company or embarked with sufficient time to complete the course. Courses taken by Sailors will depend on scores made during the test for assessment.

“Now that the assessment period is over, Sailors will now be counseled on which courses they will be able to take.” said Dover. For many Sailors this will be their first time to take college courses aboard a ship during deployment. “I’m excited, this gives me an opportunity to get some electives out of the way,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Shannon Beatty, a native of Virginia Beach, Va. “Also this will keep me busy and take my mind off being away from my kids.”

The editorial content of this newspaper is prepared, edited and provided by Bataan’s Public Affairs Office. This newspaper is an authorized publication for members of military services at sea. Its contents do not necessarily reflect the official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Navy and do not imply endorsement thereof.

Commanding Officer

Command Master Chief

Executive Officer

Public Affairs Officer

Captain George J. Vassilakis

Captain John “J.C.” Carter


CMDCM(SW/AW) Kevin M. Goodrich MCC(SW/SCW) Dennis Herring

Editor MC1(AW/SW) RJ Stratchko Layout and Design MCSN Nicholas Frank Cottone

News Team 5

MC1(SW/AW) John Belanger MC1(AW/SW) RJ Stratchko MC1(SW/AW) Gary Prill MC3 Erik Foster

MC3 Mark Hays MCSN Nicholas Frank Cottone MCSN Chase Hawley MCSA Michael Lieberknecht





































Affordable Care Act

Known as Obamacare, the new law aims to make medical care more accessible to all Americans. Here are five things that Sailors should know about the new law. By MC2 Amara Timberlake


All Americans are required by law to have minimum essential coverage. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, everyone (with a few exemptions) will be required to have some type of health insurance or face a 1 percent tax (of total household income) that could go up to 2.5 percent by 2016. For anyone who is not currently insured through their employer, the new Health Insurance Marketplace allows people to comparison shop for a plan that best meets their needs.


If you have Tricare, you’re good. Active duty service members need not worry. Military personnel, veterans, civilians and their families covered under Tricare will not see a change in their care or tax status. No additional action is required. Additionally, if you’re enrolled in (or are a beneficiary of) Veterans health care program, VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) or Spina bifida health care benefits program, you’re considered to have minimum essential coverage under the health care law and are not required to get additional coverage. Civilians that are satisfied with their current policy won’t need to make any changes either.


If you’re separating, you need to act quickly if you want to avoid a fee. Limited service members are eligible for 180 days of Tricare for free, after they separate. You can also purchase the Continued Health Care Benefit Program for an additional 18 months of minimum essential coverage. Once that runs out, it’s important that the minimum essential coverage is obtained through other means to avoid the fee.


...And you don’t want to pay the fee. Starting January 1, 2014, if someone doesn’t have a health plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage, they may have to pay a fee that increases every year: from 1 percent of household income (or $95 per adult, whichever is higher) in 2014 to 2.5% of income (or $695 per adult) in 2016. The fee for children is half the adult amount. The fee is paid on the 2014 federal income tax form, which is completed in 2015. And if you don’t fork over the cash, the IRS will just deduct it from a future tax refund.


There are some important milestones: The Health Insurance Marketplace opened Oct. 1. If you or someone you know is not insured, visit to get started. Jan. 1, 2014 is the deadline to have the minimum essential coverage. March 31, 2014 is when open enrollment ends. After that, you can get new private health insurance for 2014 only through a special enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event like a job loss, birth, or divorce. To see the list of exempted groups, visit and for more information on the new healthcare laws visit


Bataan family and friends, I would like to take a few minutes of your time during this Thanksgiving to express my sincere appreciation to each of you. With your support, our Sailors and Marines are able to make a difficult job easier. When I say support, it doesn’t just mean you are someone back home who takes care of the rent or babysits the kids. I also mean the support you give that we all need during long times underway and even longer deployments. You’ve been there for us when we need someone to listen, when we’ve had a rough day and just need that email from home. You give us the support and encouragement to keep moving forward. I am thankful for what you contribute to Team Bataan. Sailors and Marines of Bataan, I offer my gratitude for your hard work each and every day in making this a successful command. During the past year, we’ve approached every milestone with a “can do” attitude. In the tradition of Bataan crews of the past, you’ve continued to maintain a level of excellence second to none. Like Bataan crews in the past, we’ll soon answer our nation’s call. The crews of our namesake, CVL 29, answered the call in two wars. And you, like them, will continue to make our nation proud with your unselfish service. Capt. George Vassilakis Commanding Officer, USS Bataan (LHD 5)

Deck Dept. Sailor Puts Talent to Work Around Bataan

By MCSN Nicholas Frank Cottone During deployments and underway times, Sailors have always found ways to relax and blow off steam. Everything from video games to physical training helps to keep sailors sane and focused while they are away from home and their families. Seaman Michelle Taylor, from Fountain Inn, S.C., spends her free time doing something just a little bit different. Instead of going to the gym or sitting in front of a computer she paints murals around Bataan. She has painted detailed Navy and Boatswain’s Mate-pride murals all around the ship that range in size from 24 inches to a few feet across. Her paintings can be seen everywhere from the ship’s forecastle to hardhats Sailors wear in the well deck and hangar bay. Taylor has helped paint crossed anchors with Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Michael Bousson and the Navy Jack (“Don’t Tread on Me” flag) in the forecastle and has painted murals at Mooring Station 9 and 10 and at mooring stations 5 and 6. “It started one day when I was on duty after the workday was over and I was sketching the Boatswain’s Mate crossed anchors on a piece of paper when my Chief walked in,” said Taylor. “I was

surprised when he and other people commented on how good they thought the sketches were and when he asked me if I would be interested in painting them on the bulkhead.” After seeing the new mural on the bulkhead, she said people started asking who painted it. Once they found out who had painted it, people started to come up to her and ask if she could paint different things in their work spaces. Since painting has always been a passion for Taylor, she was more than happy to agree to paint what they wanted. “I was blown away when I found out that I could do one of my favorite hobbies because I never thought I would be painting for the Navy,” said Taylor. “My latest mural that I finished has the “Lone Sailor” standing on the end of a pier overlooking the water with a sunset in the background,” said Taylor.

Photo by MC1 RJ Stratchko


Photo by MC1 Gary Prill

Before she starts any mural, the space where the mural will be depicted has to undergo preservation. As soon as the new paint has dried Taylor goes in with different paints she checks out from the ship’s hazardous materials office and paints the new mural. “If I could paint any space in the ship it would be in the well deck control office where there is a huge blank space on the bulkhead,” said Taylor. “I would love to paint a giant alligator in there.” Taylor has been participating in art classes since high school and continued to follow her interest in art when she went to college. Joining the military was always something she wanted to do and after participating in Naval JROTC in high school; she decided to enlist in the Navy after college. When Taylor isn’t doing her daily tasks in Deck Department or painting she spends her time sketching and drawing tattoos for friends and recently submitted a poster for the Sexual Assault Prevention poster contest. Taylor’s murals not only add to the character of the ship but also help preserve the metal and guarantee that the Bataan will be ready for any mission.

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SAPR Poster Contest Winners


Illustration by SN Michelle Taylor

Illustration by IS3 Joshua Adams

Illustration by ABF3 Mitchell Karl

Illustration by AZAN Lisa Myers


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