Page 1

r publicatio tte nsle Be st

newsletter

2011

pu bl ic a o ti

ide y-w av n

n

Chinfo Merit Award

-B

1

est navy-wide ne

st er

b pu

lic

n - Best n atio a vy -w id e

03.22.2013

t

n

ew

ws le t

USS blue ridge lcc 19

FAREWELL HSM-51 Black Beards Departing

SEAMAN TO ADMIRAL PROGRAM Ensign Veloria Shares Her Knowledge

HOME SWEET HOME

Filipino-American Re-enlistment

MANILA PRESS CONFERENCE FilAm Sailors Welcomed Home by the Media

WREATH-LAYING CEREMONY AND MUCH MORE INSIDE!


CONTENTS Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013

Features

PACIFIC On the Co OCEAN (A ver take cove ug. 29, 20 r after att 10)--Sailo aching ca Seahawk rs rg helicopte r during n o to a SH-60F U.S. Navy ig ht operati photo by ons. Mass Co Specialis mmunica t 2nd Cla tion ss Cynth ia Griggs

Budget

Back to Table of Contents

03 The American Manila Cemetery and Memorial Photos by MC3 Michael Hendricks

05 Manila Media Press Conference

“Our Navy remains committed to maintaining the funding for our Sailors and family readiness programs as much as possible, and our goal is to have no impact on those programs in the future.”

Click on a story you want to read. The interactive edition will only work if you download it from www.issuu.com/ussblueridge

Photos by MC2 Aaron Pineda

07 Li’l Einsteins’s Learning Institute Story by MC2 Alexandra Arroyo

09 Home Sweet Home Story by MC2 Mel Orr

11 Farewell HSM-51 Warlords Story by MC2 Alexandra Arroyo

15 Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial

-Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk Chief of Naval Personnel

Photos by MC1 Jay Chu, MC2 Mel Orr, MC3 Michael Hendricks and MCSN Jared Harral

17 Seaman to Admiral

Story by MC3 Michael Hendricks

19 News from around the Fleet

Tuition Assistance, Perform to Serve and Family Programs

DANTES & Naval Education & Training Command Public Affairs

Blue Ridge Magazine is an authorized publication for Sailors aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Contents herein are not the views of, or endorsed by the U.S. government, Department of Defense, Department of the Navy or the Commanding Officer of USS Blue Ridge. All news, photos and information for publication in Blue Ridge Magazine must be submitted to the Public Affairs Officer. Produced by Blue Ridge Media Services | Ext. 4154

Commanding Officer Capt. Will Pennington

Asst. Public Affairs Officer MC1(SW/AW) Heather Ewton

Photo Director MC2(SW) Mel Orr

Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Brian Ribota

Magazine Design & Art MC2(SW) Timmy Wakefield

Command Master Chief CMDCM(SW/AW/IDW) Mark Tomlinson

Editor-in-Chief MC1 Robert Northnagle

Public Affairs Officer Lt. Clinton Beaird

Editor MC2(SW) Jeff Troutman

Contributors MC1(SW) Jay Chu MC2(SW) Aaron Pineda MC2(SW) Alexandra Arroyo MC3(SW) James Norman MC3 Michael Hendricks MCSN Jared Harral MCSN Ben Larscheid

A view of the Hiroshima Castle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Hendricks

Story by Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

C

hief of Naval Personnel addressed Sailors during an all-hands call aboard Naval Station Norfolk, March 18. Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk took this opportunity to discuss issues affecting Sailors’ naval careers, their families and their futures. One of the big-ticket items in the news lately is tuition assistance. “Ninety percent of Sailors who use TA complete the courses they take and Navy leadership is actively working to keep TA in this tough economy,” said Van Buskirk. “The are looking at the structure to allow those Sailors who are eligible to continue to use it. He also discussed the continued impact Sailors have throughout the fleet from an operational standpoint. “The missions you are accomplishing are making a difference in the world because you are

all tremendous ambassadors,” said Van Buskirk. “We have supported deployments on the ground and on ships and are fully engaged in supporting critical missions from the Horn of Africa to Afghanistan to the Western Pacific.” Van Buskirk said his number one priority is to man the fleet by ensuring Sailors are assignable, deployable and distributable. “In the last year, we have had 90 percent PTS approval and greater than 95 percent in the last four months,” said Van Buskirk. Van Buskirk said the Navy is continuing to make improvements to PTS, which increases Sailors’ ability to have a say in their career and improve the ability to distribute Sailors where we need them most. During a question and answer session, Van Buskirk took questions regarding the Navy’s current financial state since enacting sequestration

and what the future holds. “It feels good to know that the Navy leadership hears our concerns and for the CNP to come and let us know that he is on our side and doing everything for Sailors,” said Boatswains 2nd Class (SW/AW) Darius Branch. When asked about retirement pay, Van Buskirk said a commission will be stood up to look at retirement pay, but current active duty will be grandfathered into the current retirement pay. Much of the question and answer session focused on family-related programs, and Van Buskirk assured attendees the Navy is dedicated to helping Sailors and their families. “Our Navy remains committed to maintaining the funding for our Sailors and family readiness programs as much as possible, and our goal is to have no impact on those programs in the future,” said Van Buskirk.


Back to Table of Contents

I

“ “

Back to Table of Contents

t was a great experience because it opened my eyes to my Filipino heritage. I’m a U.S. citizen, but my family comes from the Philippines and it was interesting to learn about what my family had to go through during trying times.

17,201 AMERICAN & FILIPINO

| Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Justin Cayetano

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Justin Cayetano, stands at attention during the ceremony. The AMCM contains the largest number of military graves of WWII. Most of whom lost their lives in operations of New Guinea and the Philippines.

LAID TO REST AT THE AMERICAN MANILA CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL

TIME WILL NOT DIM THE GLORY OF THEIR DEEDS

Retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Maj. Bert Caloud shows the group attack paths of ships, planes and land vehicles during World War II. The Philippines government granted its free use as a permanent burial ground in perpetuity without charge or taxation.

I

t was an honor to officiate the ceremony for 17,201 American and Filipino warfighters that died during the battles of WWII. I don’t know which is more honorable: serving your country or making sure our heroes are not forgotten. | Blue Ridge Communications Officer Cmdr. George Davis III

Sailors from the Philippine navy observe “Taps” in respect to the troops that lost their lives.

The American Manila

Cemetery and Memorial Wreath-Laying Ceremony | 03.09.2013 Photos by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Hendricks

Pg. 03 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013

MANILA, Republic of the Philippines (March 9, 2013) -- Sailors from U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and sailors from the Republic of the Philippines navy listen to retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Maj. Bert Caloud, superintendent of the American Manila Cemetery and Memorial (AMCM), talk about the history and significance of the memorial in Manila, Republic of the Philippines.

Sailors from Blue Ridge and the Philippine navy pay homage to the fallen after participating in a wreath-laying ceremony. Along with 17,201 troops buried at the AMCM, approximately 20,000 American Prisoners of War who were detained in the Japanese Cabanatuan camp are memorialized as recognition of their sacrifice.

Pg. 04 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013


Manila

Back to Table of Contents MANILA, Republic of the Philippines (March 7, 2013) -- U.S. 7th Fleet flag ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Commanding Officer, Capt. Will Pennington fields questions from the Philippine media during a press conference to annouce the ship’s arrival. U.S. Navy port visits represent an important opportunity to promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, demonstrate commitment to regional partners and foster growing relationships.

Back to Table of Contents

Media Press Conference Photos by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Pineda

Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Paul Garilao talks with a reporter for the Philippine news agency, SOLARtv, during a press conference. Garilao talked about his job on the ship, return home and connecting with family and friends.

“ P

ort calls in Manila are a demonstration of the continuing friendship between our two nations.

F

or more than 30 years, Blue Ridge has maintained a presence in the Southeast Asia region strengthening allied ties through community service projects and conducting joint military exercises with regional nations, including the Republic of the Philippines. Approximately 14 percent (1 out of 7) of the crew is made up of Filipino-American Sailors. During the press conference, Filpino-American Sailors had the opportunity to express their homecoming feelings to local and national media. This outward expression brought a closer tie between the U.S. and the Republic of the Philippines.

This port call is also a tremendous opportunity for the crew to experience the warm and friendly Filipino culture. Our partnership and alliance is long standing and mutually beneficial.

Pg. 05 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013

- capt. will pennington

blue ridge commanding officer

Combat Systems Officer Lt. Cmdr. Vic Naval answers questions from the Philippine media during a press conference after the arrival U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Manila

Pg. 06 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013


Back to Table of Contents

Back to Table of Contents

Blue Ridge Public Affairs Officer Lt. Clinton Beaird, left, Communications Officer Cmdr. George Davis, Damage Control Assistant Chief Warrant Officer John Mann and Supply Officer Lt. j.g. Wanda Colon watch children perform at Li’l Einstein’s Learning Institute.

Blue Ridge Communications Officer Cmdr. George Davis shows a picture to a child at Li’l Einstein’s Learning Institute.

Blue Ridge Mustang Officers visit

Li’l Einstein’s Learning Institute

The kids were climbing over me to catch a glimpse of the book I was reading: ‘The Little Ginger Bread Man.’

Story and photos by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexandra Arroyo

- Cmdr. George Davis III Blue Ridge Communications Officer

A

small, cluttered room echoes with the laughter of children, and in the midst of playful chaos is the sound of chalk scraping a wall to reveal a picture of a ship with LCC-19 written across the side. This was the scene when a group of four Blue Ridge Mustang Officers visited with children at the Li’l Einsteins learning institute preschool during a port visit in Manila, Republic of the Philippines. The school, which is named in honor of Albert Einstein, was the host of a community service project that allowed the Mustangs to interact with local students and make a few new friends. While there, the Mustangs observed the Li’l Einsteins sing songs, dance and play. “We were greeted very nicely by

““ ““ MANILA, Republic of the Philippines (Mar. 8, 2013) -- Sailors assigned to U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) visit Li’l Einstein’s Learning Institute during a community service event. Children perform a dance for the Sailors.

the teachers,” said Supply Division Officer Wanda Colon. “The children performed two songs and then we went into another room where Grandpa George did some reading.” The Mustangs gave Blue Ridge Communications Officer George Davis the nickname “Grandpa George” in reference to his own family life. “When my grandson saw the photos of me with the children, he said ‘I remember when Grandpa George used to read to me,’” Davis said. “The kids were climbing over

Pg. 07 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013

me to catch a glimpse of the book I was reading, the Little Ginger Bread Man.” Others were busy using their imaginations and face painting skills to become animals and monsters with Public Affairs Officer, Lt. Clint Beaird. For Beaird, who spearheaded the event, the day was about having fun and making good first impressions. “As Americans serving abroad, it’s great to visit local citizens and share some personal experiences while putting our best foot forward,”

said Beaird. “Sailors at a community service event are sometimes the only exposure local citizens have with Americans, and a positive experience shows the differences and similarities of our two countries.” The creativity didn’t end with the face painting. The children practiced their art skills while drawing with chalk. Afterwards, they proceeded to dance, the final activity of the day. “My favorite part was the dancing because I got to interact with the children and they taught me how to Cha Cha,” said Colon. Despite all the fun, the Mustangs didn’t lose sight of the importance of the community service project and what it is about. “I think of building partnerships. Once you get us more involved with the community, you boost that partnership, ” said Davis.

Cmdr. George Davis reads ‘The Little Gingerbread Man’ to children at the Li’l Einstein’s Learning Institute.

My favorite part was the dancing because the children taught me how to Cha Cha.

- Lt. j.g. Wanda Colon Blue Ridge Supply Officer

Lt. j.g. Wanda Colon finger-paints a flower on student’s cheek. Face-painting was one of the many activities Sailors participated in at Li’l Einstein’s Learning Institute.

Pg. 08 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013


Back to Table of Contents

Back to Table of Contents

It’s amazing to have this opportunity. I can’t think of a better place to reenlist than to do it here, in the Philippines. - Chief Boatswain’s Mate Bryan Barcena

HOME

SWEET

HOME

SWEET

Chief Boatswain’s Mate Bryan Barcena, left, Ship’s Serviceman 1st Class Michel Tolentino, and Chief Personnel Specialist Achilles Amante were reenlisted by Blue Ridge Administration Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Wilfredo Eslao, on the flight deck aboard U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Manila. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mel Orr)

HOME

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mel Orr

5

Filipino-American Sailors assigned to U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) took advantage of a port visit in Manila, Republic of the Philippines to reenlist in their country of birth.

rora Caasi, who also serves aboard Blue Ridge. “I’m very honored to reenlist in the Navy, and I can’t believe that I was able to do it here in the Philippines,” said Amante. “I’ve always been very proud of my Philippine The Sailors who reenlisted include Chief Personnel Specialist Achilles heritage, and it’s a great honor to be here today.” Amante, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Bryan Barcena, Ship’s Serviceman 1st Jefferson and Jerickson Angcanan are originally from Cavit, Philippines. Class Michel Tolentino, and brothers, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Jefferson They went to basic training together and have been stationed at the same first Angcanan and Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Jerickson Angcanan. two commands. The Angcanan brothers reenlisted “I’m proud to serve in the U.S. Navy March 8, while Amante, Barcena and Toand I know my brother is, too,” said lentino reenlisted March 10. Both ceremoJerickson Angcanan. “My family appreI’ve never experienced a reenlistment nies took place on the flight deck aboard ciates us for serving in the Navy and that like this in my career. These Sailors were helps make it all worth it.” Blue Ridge accompanied by their familiy, friends and colleagues. The reenlisting officer for Amante, able to have their ceremony with their Barcena, originally from Davao City, Barcena, and Tolentino was Blue Ridge friends and loved ones in a country they Administration Officer Lt. Cmdr. WilfreRepublic of the Philippines, joined the Navy 16 years ago. He reenlisted for his do Eslao. Eslao is also Filipino-Amercalled home and left behind so many final six years. ican and spent 14 years as an enlisted “It’s amazing to have this opportunity,” Sailor before becoming an officer. years ago. said Barcena. “I can’t think of a better “I’ve never experienced a reenlistplace to reenlist do it than to do it here, in ment like this in my career. These Sailors the Philippines.” were able to have their ceremony with -Lt. Cmdr. Wilfredo Eslao Amante, originally from Tondo, a distheir friends and loved ones in a country trict in Manila, Republic of the Philippines, they called home and left behind so reenlisted on the 15th anniversary he joined the Navy. He was accompanied many years ago,” said Eslao. “I’m deeply honored to have been asked to by his father, Achilles Amante, and his sister, Chief Personnel Specialist Auadminister the Oath of Reenlistment to these Filipino-American Sailors.” Pg. 09 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013

Twin brothers originating from the Philippines, Culinary Specialist 3rd Classes Jefferson Angcanan, left, and Jerickson Angcanan were reenlisted by Blue Ridge Food Service Officer, Chief Warrant Officer Francisco Marigundon, on the flight deck aboard U.S. 7th Fleet flag ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during the ship’s visit in Manila. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Norman)

Pg. 10 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013


Back to Table of Contents

Back to Table of Contents

Farewell HSM-51

Black Beards

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexandra Arroyo

PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 20, 2009)--Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Alan Tenbroeck, assigned to Light Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron HSM-51, waits as corpsman from the amphibious carry a stretcher to a SH-60F helicopter while training for medical evacuations underway. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cynthia Griggs /Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 29, 2010)--Sailors attach cargo to a SH-60F Seahawk helicopter aboard 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Blue Ridge conducted flight operations to train on vertical replenishment maneuvers. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cynthia Griggs /Released)

Pg. 11 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013

Pg. 12 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013


Back to Table of Contents

Back to Table of Contents

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mel Orr

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mel Orr

U.S. Navy photo by Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Fidel Hart

“The program is going to save the Navy money. Less helicopters means less parts and less schools. The green color of the SH-60F helicopters stands for executive transport. When we fly in, they know it’s someone important. The new helicopters are grey, which makes them more interchangeable. If one breaks down, it will be easier to replace,” said Kotra. “Our detachment has to leave because we are not trained to work on or fly the new helicopters that are coming on board.” HSM- 51’s time on board the ship will come to a close after the MH-60S make an appearance on the flight deck. “There isn’t going to be a billet open for our detachment anymore,” said Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Megan Walters. “A lot of us are going to be sent to different squadrons. Some of them will be stateside and others will be in Japan.” USS Blue Ridge visits more ports than any other ship in the Pacific Fleet. The departure of HSM-51 marks the end of their opportunity to participate in For 20 years, forward-deployed Sailors from HSM-51 have been the unique mission that comes with traveling on a flagship. executing helicopter operations on U.S 7th Fleet flag ship USS Blue Ridge, “Our current primary mission is to but recent upgrades in technology have transport the Admiral and our secondary made the SH-60F helicopter a thing of missions are to help with search and rescue, the past. perform vertical replenishments, provide “The ship is getting birds humanitarian assistance and transfer personnel (helicopters) that are newer and better,” on and off the ship,” said Kotra. “ The new said Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd MH-60S is geared more towards transport of Class Amos Albert. “Our helicopters have personnel.” different missions. When you change While transportation of the 7th Fleet the helicopter, you change the group of Admiral is the number one priority for the people who work on them.” detachment, being attached to Blue Ridge also The change in helicopters and gives the pilots the ability to go above and detachments came as no surprise to the HSM-51 community. In 2002, the Chief -Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Megan Walters beyond that of a routine flight. “There aren’t any detachments in the of Naval Operations announced the Navy like ours. We fly into places where implementation of the Navy’s Helicopter other people never get to go,” said Kotra. “We were able to fly out the Joint Master Plan Program (NHMP). Scheduled for completion in 2012, the Prisoners of War Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) when they NHMP is the first step into streamlining training, maintenance and logistics. were looking for soldiers’ bodies in Cambodia. We helped them search for “The NHMP is streamlining flight operation efficiency. There are more any survival gear that might have been left behind. That’s something most missions that involve flight operations and introducing helicopters that carry squadrons don’t get to do in locations like that.” out multiple missions,” said HSM-51 Operations Officer Lt. David Kotra. The air detachment also had the opportunity to help support our Japanese There are currently six different types of rotary aircraft in the Navy. The allies after the March 2011 tsunami. implementation of the NHMP will downsize the number of helicopters to the “During Operation Tomodachi, we did vertical replenishments to get two newest models: the Multi-Mission Helicopters MH-60 “Sierra” and the supplies to USS Essex; That was a prideful moment,” said Walters. “We MH-60 “Romeo.”

“Flight Quarters , Flight Quarters, All Hands Man Your Flight Quarters Stations!”. The message travels over the 1MC and echoes throughout the ship. The Sailors in Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Five One “Black Beards” (HSM-51) rush to the main deck to prepare the Sea Hawk60 Foxtrot helicopter (SH-60F) for take off. Upon success, the sound of propellers roar in the distance and fade away.

We felt really essential. It wasn’t just coming to work and flying. We worked hard, got together and we got the mission accomplished.

Pg. 13 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mel Orr

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mel Orr

felt really essential. It wasn’t just coming to work and flying. We worked hard and we got the mission accomplished. There aren’t many Navy detachments that can say they are 100 percent mission-ready when something like that happens.” As the arrival of the new detachment approaches, the memories of the deployments onboard have left a lasting impression on the detachment that currently maintains the aircraft. “It’s bittersweet,” said Kotra. “I am ready to move on but I like the people in my detachment. It’s hard to find a group of people that work together so well like this. Wherever I go, I have to start over and it’s hard to find an

air detachment that gets along this well.” “My favorite thing about our detachment is that everyone helps each other out,” said Walters. Everyone wants to see each other succeed. We’re a team and I am going to miss that about our detachment.” “We’re the new Black Beards. I know it’s going to be tough but I feel like I’ve received a good turn over. The other pilots have really helped out a lot,” said prospective Operations Officer Kathleen Pauls. “I am excited to see some of the interesting places we are going to go to and I want to help out my new team as much as possible.”

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mel Orr

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cynthia Griggs


Back to Table of Contents

The Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhition Hall was renamed the A-Bomb Dome because the structure remained intact.

Back to Table of Contents

A diagram of the blast radius over Hiroshima.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

At 0815, Aug. 6, 1945, the city of Hiroshima fell victim to the world’s first atomic bombing. The entire city was virtually leveled. The Peace Memorial Museum was built in an effort for the world to be completely nuke free. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared Harral)

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared Harral

Logistics Specialist First Class Vanessa Garciavargas reads an infographic about the Children’s Peace Monument. The monument is dedicated to Sadako Sasaki who was exposed to radiation when she was two years old. Ten years later she was diagnosed with leukemia. She began folding paper cranes in hope for a cure. These cranes inspired the Japanese to fold cranes to inspire peace. The picture below is an art piece created by thousands of folded, paper cranes. (U.S. Navy photo, above, by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Hendricks, below, by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jay Chu)

A-bomb hypocenter. Detonated 1,968 feet midair. The bombs energy consisted of approximately 50 percent of shockwaves, 35 percent heat rays and 15 percent in other forms of radiation. The intense heat rays and blast crushed and burned nearly all building within a 1.25 mile radius. By the end of December 1945, the acute effects of radiation subsided. (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared Harral) Sailors aboard U.S. 7th Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) experienced a port visit in Kure. Many Sailors visited the historical site in Hiroshima. Sailors gained further knowledge of the events that took place Aug. 6, 1945 by visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park during the port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Hendricks)

Japanese nationals visit the memorial. The memorial’s purpose is to remind the world of what nuclear weapons can do while promoting a peaceful international community. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mel Orr)

Pg. 15 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013

Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Ben Larscheid visits the A-Bomb Dome. The bomb detonated 1,968 feet almost directly above the building Aug. 6, 1945. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared Harral)

Pg. 16 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013


Back to Table of Contents

The hardest part was putting together the package. Coordinating the boards and getting in contact with all the right people was difficult because I was stationed on a destroyer, and we were busy all the time, so budgeting my time wisely was a huge factor in completing the package. -Ensign Maria Veloria Deck Division Officer U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexandra Arroyo

SEAMAN TO

ADMIRAL College Degree, Commissioning and A Great Opportunity Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Hendricks

PRT scores, evaluations, and service records are other factors that are taken into consideration with the STA-21 package.

E

nlisted Sailors can apply for the Seaman to Admiral-21 (STA-21) program and go to any college in the United States at any point while on active duty service to become a commissioned officer in the United States Navy. STA-21 allows any enlisted service member, regardless of rank or time in service, the option to go to any college in the United States as long as the college supports a Navy Recruit Officer Training Corps (ROTC). “I was a Store Keeper 2nd Class when I was enlisted,’ said Ensign Maria Veloria, USS Blue Ridge Deck Division Officer. “I went with this option because I already had my Associate’s Degree and wanted to finish my college while I still had the motiviation.” The STA-21 program offers $10,000 a year for three years to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in any field of choice. You must be able to be commissioned by your 27th birthday; some of the other STA-21 program options will vary the maximum age limit. “This program is very beneficial for individuals

Pg. 17 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Hendricks

that have some college already,” said Veloria. “It is a little harder if you are starting with no college because you only have three years to complete your degree.” To be selected for the STA-21 program, a package must be submitted to your chain of command. This lets them know of your intentions to make the transition. The process is very long and has a lot of steps to pay attention to. Part of the process is standing to different review boards, each consisting of three lieutenants and a captain. Each board represents two different chains of command. “The hardest part was putting together the package,” said Veloria. “Coordinating the boards and getting in contact with all the right people was difficult because I was stationed on a destroyer, and we were busy all the time, so budgeting my time wisely was a huge factor in completing the package.” After the package is complete and has been submitted, the individual must wait to be accepted.

The program is competitive and Sailors are not always picked up the first time around. “The program is extremely competitive,” said Veloria. “It took two years and two separate submissions for my package to get picked up.” PRT scores, evaluations, and service records are other factors that are taken into consideration with the STA-21 package. If the package is not picked up the first time, keep re-submitting it to show your chain of command that your are committed to the decision to make the transition between enlisted and officer, Veloria said. After the package is accepted and a college has been decided on, service members will go to college as part of the ROTC program and muster each week. While in school, the service member gets active duty pay and base allowance for housing accommodations. “The biggest reward for me is being in a position to help my junior Sailors,” said Veloria. “I know what they are going through because I was in their shoes and went through similar situations. For more information about the STA-21 program please visit: http://www.sta-21.navy.mil/ index.ap Pg. 18 | Blue Ridge Magazine | 03.22.2013


NEWS from around the

Back to Table of Contents

FLEET

Joint Service Transcript Replaces SMART From DANTES & Naval Education & Training Command Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) – The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) announced March 20 that the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard are moving to one standard academic transcript to reflect military academic credit recommendations. The Sailor Marice Corps American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART), the Army American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS) and the Coast Guard Institute (CGI), were aligned to implement one collaborative transcript program, now called the Joint Services Transcript (JST). With this collaboration, service members and veterans have one officially recognized military transcript. The JST is now the official transcript tool for Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard personnel that validates and documents the recommended college credits for professional military education, training courses and occupational experience of service members and veterans. The unified and standardized document makes it easier for institutions to review and articulate these credits as appropriate to service members and veterans degree programs. “Having a single officially-recognized military transcript makes it significantly easier for colleges and universities to assess potential credits for service members,” said DANTES Director Dr. Carol Berry. “This official transcript system is a huge development in the military higher education arena and will most certainly enhance the educational experience for service members and veterans as they pursue their college education.” The JST document will contain the following information for individual service members: *Military branch-specific seal (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) Note: The Air Force utilizes the Community College of the Air Force for their transcripts.

*Service member data *Course Completions *Occupational affiliations *Credentialing (certifications and or licenses) *Military experience *Summary page *Academic course page (Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy only) *College Degrees (Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy only)

“The JST was officially announced at the recent Council of College and Military Educators conference,” added Berry. “The merger of AARTS, SMART, and CGI to a ‘purple’ or ‘joint’ transcript under a single name and program is a major accomplishment for the Military Voluntary Education Program and was enthusiastically supported by institutions, conference attendees and other stakeholders. The Navy, Marine Corps, and Army JST are currently available at: http://jst.doded.mil “While the official transition date for Coast Guard is yet to be determined, we are confident that Coast Guardsmen will soon be able to order their JST too,” said Berry. Under contract with the DANTES, the American Council on Education (ACE) conducts and facilitates the rigorous academic review of military courses and occupations. These credit recommendations for the academic basis for colleges and universities to consider toward degree requirements, with more than 2,300 colleges and universities recognizing the JST as official documentation of military training and experiences with applicable ACE credit recommendations. ACE, along with JST Operations representatives from the participating Services and DANTES, recently began the JST webinar series entitled: “Using the Joint Service Transcript (JST) to Help Build a Bridge to Success.” Interested service members who would like to join upcoming webinar sessions can register at https:// acenetevents.webex.com/ .

DANTES TA Strategy From DANTES & Naval Education & Training Command Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) – In response to the recent suspension of some service Tuition Assistance (TA) programs, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) announced Maarch 20 their new Web page highlighting a number of TA alternatives to help service members weather this fiscal storm. “While budget cuts and the impact swirl in the news, service members want help finding alternative funding sources, alternate sources of college credits, who to talk to, and answers to the question ‘What can I do to keep my education goals on track?’” said Dr. Carol Berry, DANTES director. That help is available at the DANTES Web site at http://www. dantes.doded.mil . DANTES also created a Blog – DANTES Pulse – which will provide instant, up-to-date information and avenues for conversion between service members / education centers / insitutions and the experts at DANTES. “While the TA issue has challenged our service members to think out of the box and approach their educational goals with some creativity, the information resources assembled on the DANTES website provide them with answers and solutions to help them continue their progress toward their degree,” said Berry.

Blue Ridge Magazine 03.22.2013  

HSM-51 Departing Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial FilAm Sailors Reenlist in the Philippines Seaman to Admiral News from around the Fleet Li'l E...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you