Volume 7, Issue 2
HOMETOWN NEWS LOVE &VOLLEYBALL
NEWS FROM AROUND THE FLEET
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
February 24, 2019
Table of Contents 3 News from around the Fleet
VOL.7 ISSUE 2
FEBRUARY 24, 2019
4 Hometown News: Brothers-in-Arms 5 Bataan’s Gold Anchors 6 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
COVER: Rev. Dr. Martin Lurther King Jr.
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THE BA T
8 Hometown News: Love & Volleyball
Commanding Officer Capt. Brad Busch Executive Officer Capt. Bryan Carmichael Command Master Chief CMDCM(SW/AW) Ryan Lamkin BATAAN PUBLIC AFFAIRS Public Affairs Officer
MCC(SW/AW) Stacee McCarroll
Editor, Layout & Design MC1(SW/AW) Jaq Renard MCSN Levi Decker
News Team 5
MC1 Kegan Kay MC2 Zachary Anderson MC3 Leonard Weston MC3 Danilo Reynoso MC3 Alan Robertson MCSN (SW) Zachariah Grabill 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. USS BATAAN (LHD 5) USS BATAAN
NEWS FROM AROUND THE FLEET DOD ANNOUNCES POST-9/11 GI BILL EDUCATION BENEFITS TRANSFER EXCEPTION Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs
The Department of Defense (DoD) has granted a temporary exception to policy to allow select service members to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to dependents until July 12, 2019.
Sailors Have New Leave Scheduling Tool Sea Warrior Program (PMW 240) Public Affairs, Cmdr. Erik Wells`
The Navy launched an “eLeave” self-service tool capability within MyNavy Portal (MNP) Jan. 17, which allows CONUS-based Sailors to manage their ordinary leave using MNP. “Allowing Sailors to easily manage their ordinary leave through MyNavy Portal’s eLeave self-service tool is the latest example of transforming how we deliver human resources – personnel, pay and training – services to Sailors,” said Vice Adm. Robert Burke, chief of naval personnel (CNP). The new MNP eLeave feature does not replace the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS) leave function, but provides Sailors another option to manage their ordinary leave. All other forms of leave must still be completed in NSIPS. Future updates of the eLeave self-service tool will incorporate OCONUS Sailors and provide additional leave options.
NAVADMIN 020/19, released Jan. 24, announces that for a limited time, Sailors with at least 10 years of service who are unable to serve four additional years, due to statute or standard policy, may transfer their education benefits to dependents if they agree to serve the maximum time authorized. For example, enlisted Sailors within four years of high year tenure or officers within four years of their statutory limit of service are eligible. The policy exception is retroactive to July 12, 2018 and ends July 11, 2019, after which Sailors will need to commit to the full four years of service to transfer their benefits. Sailors with at least 10 years of service whose transfer of education benefits applications were rejected due to the policy changes announced in NAVADMIN 170/18, and who are still serving on active duty or in the selected reserve (SELRES), must reapply for transfer of education benefits by following guidance in NAVADMIN 236/18.
“When it comes to managing their careers, Sailors are asking for more control and more simplicity,” said David Driegert, program manager for the Navy’s Sea Warrior Program (PMW 240). “The eLeave self-service tool does this by letting CONUS based Sailors route their ordinary leave through their chain of command, request an extension or cancel their leave through an interactive dashboard.” Sailors will also be able to check-in and check-out of leave, and view their leave balance. “We are keeping our promise to Sailors to continuously deliver more options within MyNavy Portal that are interactive and user-friendly,” said Burke. “When fully developed, MyNavy Portal will be the single point of entry for Sailors to manage their career using accurate data from a single, reliable source within an intuitive, self-service environment.
POC: PSC Tanedo J-Dial: 7374 firstname.lastname@example.org MC1 Renard J-Dial: 7274 email@example.com
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BROTHERS-IN-ARMS Story by MCSN Levi Decker
t’s kind of cool being a twin,” said Operations Specialist Seaman Christopher Itrube, a Cape Coral, Florida native, “Sometimes we say the same thing at the same time or even wear the same clothes on occasion without ever planning it.” Itrube is a Sailor in the Navy and a Soldier in the Army. Brothers, Christopher and Christian Itrube joined the services together. “Both of us went in at the same time, just different paths,” explained Itrube. “We wanted to make a difference and serve our country. At the same time, we wanted to make a name for ourselves, him [Christian] in the Army and me in the Navy.” Both brothers are stationed in Virginia, Christian is an infantryman at Camp Allen. Even if they are in different branches of the Armed Forces, it seems not even that can stop sibling rivalry. “We definitely always compete when it comes to physical things like working out,” Itrube explained. “We love to push each other beyond our limits and be able to call our 4 | We Are The Battling Bastards of Bataan
self the better Sailor or the better Soldier. The inter-branch rivalry just makes it more fun.” Christopher was inspired to join the service because of his oldest brother Julio who is a Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling). “Growing up, I saw how independent and responsible he was as a result of being a Sailor. It was amazing,” Itrube said. “Seeing how being a Sailor in the Navy makes you a role model for those around you, it was just astounding.” Christopher expressed his thoughts on being a Sailor with pride. “I just flat out love the fact I am able to become a better Sailor each and every day,” stated Itrube, “I want to be a role model for friends and family.” Even with him a Sailor and his brother being a Soldier, they still talk about the same passions they have since they were little. “It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we have been together, or if we just talked about it,” said Itrube, “The Continues on page... 11
GOLDEN ANCHOR AWARD
Bataan Retains Retention Excellence Award Story by MC3 Danilo Reynoso
The amphibous assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) earned the Retention Excellence Award for fiscal year 2018 for the fourth year in a row. This sought-after award is bestowed to commands annually that have demonstrated the ability to keep Sailors pro Navy. To achieve this accomplishment, commands must reach a number of benhmarks emphasizing career readiness standards, sustain superior percentages of retention for each reenlistment zone and maintain an attrition rate for first-term Sailors below five percent. The Retention Excellence award also known as the Golden Anchor distinguishes commands meeting or going above and beyond retention goals for that year. As a benefit of achieving the Retention Excellence Award, commands are authorized to paint their anchors gold as a symbol of merit and fly the Retention Excellence Pennant.
This year’s goals were passing the annual career information program review with a score of 90 points or better; Bataan earned a score of 95 and met all combined benchmarks of 35 percent for zone A (Sailors that have been in for 0 to 6 years), 54 percent for zone B (Sailors that have been in for 6 plus to 10 years), 64 percent for zone C (Sailors that have been in for 10 to 14 years), and a total of five percent or less total attrition for fiscal year 2018 (FY-18). Bataan’s Career Counselor team scorched reenlistment benchmarks with 65 percent for Zone A, 81 percent for Zone B, 100 percent for Zone C, and 2.5 percent aggregate attrition for FY-18. “The Retention Excellence Award is significant to Bataan because it shows our Sailors and the fleet we take care of you and we genuinely care for you,” said Navy Counselor First Class Jose Plamarrero. “We want nothing but the best for our Sailors and we are here to help them be successful in future endeavors”
“These gold anchors show everyone on the waterfront, Big 5’s Sailors are being educated on the benefits of staying in the Navy,” said Senior Chief Navy Counselor Laura Rudy, Bataan’s leading career counselor. “The Navy Bataan was 1of 54 commands bestowed the honor of has so many great opportunities for Sailors that coincide receiving this award. with their desires and needs. It’s all thanks to our great team of command career counselors as well as department and division career counselors.”
The USS Bataan triad paints the anchor gold in honor of the ship’s retention award. Photos courtesy of` BMC Lopez
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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Photos by MCSN Levi Decker
HM3 Dan Campoblanco reads the opening remarks during a Dr. King birthday celebration held on the mess decks. LS3 Tajana Brown embraces each word of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech during his birthday celebration held aboard Bataan’s mess deck.
YN3 Jerry Caldwell recites the “I have a Dream” speech to the crew of Bataan on the mess decks.
January 29, 2019 “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valleys of segregation to the sunlit path to racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 6 | We Are The Battling Bastards of Bataan
Capt. Brad Busch gives his closing remarks at Dr. King’s birthday celebration held on the mess decks. LS2 Aetsia Jean-Paul passionately performs “I Have A Dream” speech during Dr. King’s birthday celebration on the mess deck.
ABF1 Christopher Hunter regales the “I Have a Dream” speech during Dr. King’s birthday celebration.
Have A Dream
Capt. Brad Busch watches ABFCS Hawa Riley cut the cake during Dr. King’s birthday celebration
Top: Back row: YN3 Jerry Caldwell, LSSN Torrique Boles, LSSN Davin Gonsalves, LS3 Justin Bailey, LS2 Atesia JeanPaul, OS3 Katherine Thomas, (CO) Capt. Brad Busch, MA2 Trayvon Strickland, HM3 Dan Campoblanco. Middle Row: YN3 Deidra Pedley, GM3 Johnny Castro, LS3 Tajana Brown, OSSN Andrea Medina, OS3 Lisa King, OS2 Thomas. Front Row: ABF1 Christopher Hunter, GMC Ronald King, (XO) Capt. Greg Leland, BM3 Anthony Hyland. Bottom Right: BM3 Anthony Hyland delivers an inspirational performance as he recites Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech on the mess deck aboard Bataan.
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Love & Volleyball Story and Photo by MC3 Lenny Weston
he crowd is cheering, the court is riddled with sounds of shoes squeaking and the thud of balls hitting the court. This is how Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Johnny Castro, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) spends his free time. When life becomes stressful nothing is more appealing to Castro then to getting on a volleyball court with his team. A New York native, Castro migrated from Bogotá, Columbia as a young adult. As a child, Castro’s up bringing kept him moving around a lot, so he quickly learned how to make new friends, which he applies to his life in many ways especially when making friendships through his volleyball career. Volleyball means the world to Castro. He sees himself as being free of burdens when he steps foot on the court. “When I play, there is no better feeling in the world to me. All the stress that I had is thrown away as soon as my feet hit the court,” Castro said. “I could be worn out and tired, but when I play volleyball that doesn’t matter, I get energy to do it because of the love that I get from being on that court with my team.” Throughout all his accomplishments from playing volleyball, he actually started off despising the game and not wanting to go near a volleyball let alone a court. His first experience on the court wasn’t a fond memory of 8 | We Are The Battling Bastards of Bataan
the sport as a seasoned and skilled player embarrassed a novice Castro early on. “The first time I played volleyball I was in gym class during high school. I never saw the game before, it was all new to me,” said Castro. “The minute I got my chance to return the serve, it unfortunately was to someone who knew how to play. This player had spiked it with such force that when it hit my arms all I felt was immediate pain. At that moment I gave up on volleyball and said I would never play again.” Little did Castro know, his failed attempt to return a serve, would propel him to a greater love for a sport he once disdained. At first, Castro would sit patiently on the gym sideline bleachers and study how the game was played. He learned the rules of the game and how to strategizes against an opposing team. Then a fondness of the game developed and replaced a bitterness spawned from a bruised ego. Castro began to have a change of heart for the game after seeing how much fun his classmates were having in gym class. “One day, my friends were sick of me watching all the time and forced me to play. At first, I was being difficult. But when I actually got out there and started playing, the ball hit me again,” exclaimed Castro. “The one thing I was scared of, but after that [sensation of being hit], I found out it wasn’t so bad after all, that’s when I first realized, I
would be playing the sport a whole lot more.”
semesters playing with the team I decided to quit.”
Despite Castro’s physical statue at five feet six inches, he is a natural when he steps onto the court. His vertical leap is okay, but his dexterity and speed allow him to cover ground deceptively quick, earning him applauding cheers from his teammates.
Castro stepped away from the game only this time to assist his ailing mother who was diagnosed with cancer in New York. He packed up and relocated from Bogotá to New York City. He found a series of odd-and-in jobs, but those stints of employments prove futile against mounting expenses and the daily grind of living in New York City. He decided to make another life changing decision by joining the military.
One day, a friend of Castro invited him to play volleyball in city park in Bogotá, Columbia. That’s when he was approached by a spectator who was impressed with his talents. “The man asked me to play on his youth volleyball team as part of the City League of Bogotá. For me this was a great honor, so naturally I said yes,” expressed Castro. Playing in a youth league with other skilled players, allowed Castro to gain more experience. He later tried out with an adult league, but the man who first approached him at the Bogotá city park a few years earlier, said that he would not be able to compete in the adult league due to his height. The man offered to continue coaching Castro, however that news broke Castro’s heart and he decided to step away from his beloved sport of volleyball. “I left the league after that and decided to go to college. I ended up trying out for the college volleyball team and making varsity as a freshman,” Castro explained. “Making the team as a freshman and taking up room on the court for the other players didn’t make for a great team environment. The other players resented me being there, so after two
“I wanted more for myself and something that was going to be stable, so I started doing some research and found the military to be my best option,” Castro expressed. “ I wanted to join the Navy originally to be a pilot. It was a childhood dream, but upon doing the medical screenings I found out I was unable to because of an eye problem that couldn’t be corrected.” Although Castro’s hope of becoming a pilot fell short, he still enlisted in the Navy as a Gunner’s Mate. Stationed aboard the Bataan, Castro brought his passion of volleyball along for the voyage as he began looking for places to play and leagues to join. He ended up making the command’s team while the ship was competing during the 2018 Naval Surface Forces Atlantic Surface Line Week, which brought in a first place trophy. “When our team won it was one of the most proudest moments of my life. I never thought we were going to win, I thought we would just go out and have fun,” Castro explained. “When we got there we showed up as a team who wanted to win and I knew we wouldn’t settle for anything less. I am so proud of the Bataan team and what we accomplished together!” Participating in the Surface Line Week volleyball tournament, reinvigorate Castro’s desire to compete competitively in a sport that once embarrassed, shunned and ostracized him. He now challenges the nay-sayers through a series of vollies and slamming spikes. His love for the sport carried him through the jeers, sweat and tears to a roaring ovation of applauds, but he wants more. In January, Castro was selected to the All Navy Volleyball Team and has
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A AN BAT
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BATAAN’S BATTLING BASTARDS PHOTOS
Top Left: BM1 John Howard takes the CPO Exam. Photo by MCSN Decker Top Center: Lt. Joshua Holland takes down MA2 Gabriel Madrigal during an OC Course. Below: Capt. Brad Busch conducts a FOD walkdown with Sailors. Photos by MCSN Decker
Capt. Brad Busch, CMC Ryan Lamkin, QMC Robert Papili and Capt. Bryan MCPON Smith psoes with Master Chief Carmichael forbyaMCC photo. Photo by Ryan Lamkin.pose Photo McCarroll MC1 Kay
MCPON Smith poses with CMC Lamkin for a photo. Photo by MCC McCarroll
Capt. Brad Busch addresses Marines during The Basic School tour. Photo by MCSN Decker
CNSL CSCM Nate Jiggets, right, speaks to culinary specalists during a galley inspection. Photo by MCSN Decker.
Center: Seaman Connor Amon shouts instructions while CS2 Virginia Giles, left, and CS2 Trenton Powell, right, provide simulated treatment to a patient during a mass casualty drill held aboard Bataan’s upper vehicle storage. Photo by MCSN Grabill.
MCPON Smith speaks to the Chief’s mess during his visit aboard Bataan. Photo by MCC McCarroll Bottom right: Doctors and Sailors from Fleet Surgical Team Six simulate treating a victim during a mass casualty drill held in Bataan’s operating room. Photo by MCSN Grabill
10 | We Are The Battling Bastards of Bataan
LOVE & VOLLEYBALL continued...
one thing we always go back to is soccer. We talk a lot about soccer, tons. We share the same fiery passion for the sport and we are both very competitive with each other about it. Whether it’s a big game or a small one, the team we love or not, we always come back to soccer. That has been one constant since we both joined the service.”
USS Bataan Valleyball team recieved a first place award from Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, Rear Adm. Jesse Wilson. Photo by MC3 Reynoso
another opportunity to compete with top players around the country. “When I found out that I made the team I was ecstatic,” said Castro. “I saw the email and a sense of nervousness came over me and when my eyes came over the words congratulations and I screamed at the top of my lungs YEEEEAAAAAHHHH and banged the desks with two fists!” Castro will join his new team in Jacksonville, Florida and eventually be heading to North Carolina for a tournament in a few months. If he does well with the All Navy team he has a chance to be selected to be part of the U.S. Olympic volleyball team. “When I get there the first thing I will do is make sure everyone knows who I am, not as a volleyball player, but as a person,” Castro explained. “I believe this to be the best way to bring a team together, not only be a team, but become friends that you can rely on.” This is the moment Castro has been working hard for ever since being a young teenager. From being scared of a volleyball, to getting a chance to represent the Navy, and maybe someday the entire United States in China for the Olympics.
Despite his brother being in another branch of service and the rivalry that comes with it, Christopher is hopeful for his twin. “I feel very excited for Christian because he is definitely happy and I know he’s working hard as he can. The funny thing is that he actually plans on finishing his contract and switching to the Navy. We’ll have all three Itrube brothers under one banner, Julio as a Chief and me and Christian wherever we are on that ladder at the time.” As most twins are; they stay very close to this day. Growing up with my brother was interesting, said Itrube. We did everything together. We had the same friends, played the same sports and even had the same part-time job. We were definitely close as kids and still are. With him being stationed here with me, we live together and that lets us spend a lot of time together. The brothers retain a strong bond despite that which separates them showing no matter the distance; their bond keeps them close.
wa n t e d CLEAN -OR- DIRTY
WELCOME ABOARD TO BATAAN’S NEW FUN BOSS “I hope to expand the MWR program from where it’s at and get it to where the whole crew wants it, to boost morale and give help towards Bataan’s mission.”
- Brian Morgan, Fun Boss
the mess deck gang
IF YOU ARE HARBORING ANY MEMBERS OF THE MESS DECK GANG (CUPS, SPOONS, FORKS, KNIVES, BOWLS, PLATES, ETC..) YOU CAN TURN THEM IN TO ANY SCULLERY WITH NO PENALTY TO YOU. PLEASE KEEP A VIGILANT EYE AROUND YOUR OFFICE SPACES, BERTHINGS OR STATEROOMS FOR THESE WANTED PIECES OF KITCHENWARE AND TURN THEM IN IF FOUND.
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In this issue of the Gator Growl, USS Bataan (LHD 5) celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day, receives Gold Anchor Award and highlights a Sail...
Published on Feb 28, 2019
In this issue of the Gator Growl, USS Bataan (LHD 5) celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day, receives Gold Anchor Award and highlights a Sail...