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USS Enterprise (CVN 65)

The Shuttle Magazine Edition

“We are Legend”

VMFA 251: Guardians of the


September 9, 2012 Issue

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The Shuttle

Sunday, September 9 2012


The VMFA-251 Thunderbolts: Guardians of the Sky

Story by Cpl. Rubin Tan

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea – The Thunderbolts have been known by many names throughout their storied history. They were designated everything from Marine Observation Squadron to Marine Fighter Squadron to Marine Attack Squadron, before finally being assigned the designation of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251. VMFA-251 is currently assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, embarked aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), conducting support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), a fitting task considering the Thunderbolts were the first Marine squadron to take part in OEF flights approximately one decade ago. Two F/A-18C Hornets, assigned to the Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251, “The Marines of VMFAlaunch from the flight deck. (Photo by MC3 Jared King) 251 are honored to have the Beaufort, S.C. privilege of serving aboard Combat operations and missions may be the same for this great warship on its final combat deployment,” said both Navy and Marine Corps fighter squadrons aboard Lt. Col. Simon Doran, VMFA-251’s commanding officer Enterprise, but Marine life at sea is always different. and a native of Liverpool, England. “We proudly carry the “We learn a lot more than most land-based squadrons responsibility of representing the Marine Corps alongside do, based on high operational tempo and the nature of the our shipmates.” missions,” said Wilkes. VMFA-251 has a long history aboard ships, reaching High operational necessities are not a new experience back to February 1962 when they became the first Marine for the Thunderbolts, as proven by awards bestowed upon squadron to be deployed aboard an aircraft carrier. They the squadron in the past. were deployed aboard the USS Shangri-La, supporting The Thunderbolts were awarded their first Marine Cold War missions. Corps Aviation Association’s Robert M. Hanson Award as “It’s important for Sailors and Marines to work together fighter squadron of the year in 1969. During that year, the because we are all essentially a part of the Department of squadron surpassed 25,000 mishap-free flight hours. the Navy, and our main mission as a carrier is to support The Robert M. Hanson Award is given annually to the, our area of responsibility, including support of Operation “most outstanding Marine Fighter Attack Squadron of the Enduring Freedom,” said Sgt. Robert Wilkes, VMFA-251 Airframes division collateral duty inspector and a native of year,” based on a squadron’s performance; similar to the THUNDERBOLTS continued on page 8

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Shuttle

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Sunday Feature The Moustache: Military Tradition and the Upper Lip Story by Lt. Cmdr.J.W. “Vespa” Stigi

Col. Robin Olds

While popular culture has largely shunned the moustache in recent years, it remains a common practice for Sailors of all ranks and rates to grow facial hair during the course of deployment. Some moustaches are large and powerful, others are slender and subtle, while some barely qualify as “whiskers” by any Western definition of facial hair. Regardless of a man’s god-given talents, the shared experience of the moustache growing ritual continues to contribute to the esprit de corps and cohesion of Naval units as much as the “Shellback” ceremony or the promotional “wetting down.” What many Sailors may not realize, though, is that the tradition of the military moustache and, specifically those found in the Navy, extends far beyond the care-free facial hair days of Vietnam-era Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. Like many American military customs and traditions, the Naval moustache can be traced to the British military, where documented cases of British sailors strengthening the power of their upper lips are found as far back as the 1700s. The most prominent displays of panache on the upper lip were found by British officers in India, where local culture held the moustache as a symbol of virility. This tradition of warriors trimming, combing and sculpting facial hair into sleek, curved sabers of manliness soon carried over to the fledgling American military, as well. By the time of the Civil War, the highest echelons of command in both the Army and Navy were sporting gargantuan beards and moustaches. While there is limited empirical data to support the claim that the North was victorious based on the impressive facial hair of their senior officers, even a novice

historian can look at a picture of General Ulysses S. Grant or Adm. Stephen B. Luce (see photo) and find that claim becomes extremely difficult to deny. Simply put, this was intimidation on both a mental and physical level. As the military evolved, so too did the American military moustache. Although hard to fathom for many Naval aviators, Tom Selleck perhaps the most powerful and legendary military moustache came from the scarf-wearing, light blue clad “warriors” of the U.S. Air Force. While leading the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Col. Robin Olds took to the skies over North Vietnam sporting a Selleck-level moustache before the glory of Selleck even existed. With 16 confirmed aerial kills (12 in WWII and four in Vietnam), Colonel Olds is one of the most decorated combat aviators in American military history, but his iconic status was truly cemented by his trademark mustache (see photo). Again, while it becomes difficult to directly correlate combat victories in Operation Bolo to the sweeping wings of facial hair that were Col. Olds’s trademark, the raw power is still undeniable. Since the Vietnam era, our Navy has adapted and evolved to face all measure of emerging threats. Despite this progression, one thing remains constant: the Naval moustache is an integral part of our warrior ethos today, tomorrow and beyond. As the historic final deployment of the USS Enterprise rolls on, I would ask you to think of the “legendary” moustaches that have walked with purpose down these very same p-ways. Shipmates, as you head to the mirror this morning, razor in hand, I’d ask you to think of Admiral Luce, Colonel Olds and, of course, Tom Selleck. You don’t have to grow a battle moustache like the warriors described in this article … but those gentlemen helped make America great, and they surely didn’t do it with a bare upper lip. Adm. Stephen B. Luce

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The Shuttle

Sunday, September 9, 2012


An F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the Thunderbolts of the Marine Fighter At Squadron (VMFA) 251, is pushed across the flight deck. (Photo by MC3 Brian G. Reynolds)

Sgt. Robert Wilkes, assigned to the Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251, wipes the rear landing gear of an F/A-18C Hornet in the hangar bay. (Photo by MC3 Scott Pittman)

A Marine, assigned to the Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (V sits on an F/A-18C Hornet. (Photo by MC3 Scott Pittman)

Lance Cpl. Daniel Miranda and Cpl. Sean Peavey practice Marine Corps martial arts in the hangar bay. (Photo by Cpl. Rubin Tan)

Cpl. Patrick Donohue, assigned to the Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251, adjusts the rear landing gear of an F/A-18C Hornet in the hangar bay. (Photo by MC3 Scott Pittman)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Shuttle

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s Aboard Big E


A Marine, assigned to the Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251, washes an F/A-18C Hornet on the flight deck. (Photo by MC3 Brian G. Reynolds)

An F/A-18C, assigned to the Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 launches from the flight deck. (Photo by Cpl. Rubin Tan)

VMFA) 251

Marines, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251, practice sword manuals in the hangar bay. (Photo by MC3 Gregory White)

Lt. Col. Simon Doran, commanding officer of the Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251, and Captain Arthur King Lotz, from Tampa, Fla., prepare for a flight. (Photo by MC3 Scott Pittman)

The Shuttle USS Enterprise (CVN 65)

The Shuttle is published and printed daily underway and bi-weekly in port by the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Media Department, FPO AE 09543-2810. This newspaper is an authorized publication for members of the Department of Defense. Please direct all story ideas, questions and comments to MC1 (SW) Steve Smith at smithsw@cvn65. Commanding Officer Capt. William C. Hamilton, Jr.

Executive Officer Capt. G. C. Huffman

Command Master Chief Public Affairs Officer CMDCM (AW/SW) Dwayne E. Huff Lt. Cmdr. Sarah T. Self-Kyler

Cpl. Rubin Tan takes photos of Lt. Col. Simon Doran in an F/A-18C Hornet on the flight deck. (Photo by MC3 Scott Pittman)

Editor MC3 Brian G. Reynolds

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The Shuttle

Sunday, September 8, 2012

800 Traps! VMFA 251 Commander Sets Marine Trap Record

Lt. Col. Simon Doran records his 800th arrested landing on the flight deck. (Photo by MC3 Randy J. Savarese)

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Scott Pittman USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea – Lt. Col. Simon Doran, commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251, reached a Marine Corps aviation milestone by completing the 800th arrested landing of his career, more than any aviator in Marine Corps history, aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) September 8. Originally from Liverpool, England, Doran has been flying as a Marine since 1994. He has flown in a variety of aircraft, including the T-34 Mentor, T-2 Buckeye, TA-4J Skyhawk, F/A-18 (A-D) Hornet and Super Hornets, and the F-16 Falcon. He has landed aboard aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). “It’s certainly humbling for me to be in a position where I can do this,” said Doran. “It’s not necessarily anything I thought I would be able to do, but if you hang around naval aviation long enough, and deploy enough, things like this will happen. I’m sure somebody will break this record soon.” VMFA-251 was the first Marine squadron to fly missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in 2001, and on September 8, a day he would make Thunderbolt and Marine Corps history, Doran found himself returning to the flight deck of

Enterprise for his 800th trap following yet another OEF mission. These missions would not be possible, however, without the attentive care of the Sailors and Marines that contribute to aviation ground support and flight operations. “It doesn’t really have a lot to do with me as (much as it does) the hard work of over 200 Marines and Sailors to get the aircraft airborne every single day,” said Doran. “I consider it more of a team (achievement) than just an (achievement) for me.” Having reached such a prestigious milestone for himself, Doran contends that his historic trap is not an accomplishment for himself, but for his entire squadron. “It’s a good thing for the Thunderbolts especially,” said Doran. “I’ve done four deployments as a Thunderbolt, and the squadron is near and dear to my heart, more-so because of the Marines I have met in this fabulous squadron.” VMFA-251 will return to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., following the completion of combat operations as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 during their 2012 deployment aboard Enterprise. “I can’t really express how proud I am of VMFA-251 and all of the Thunderbolts,” said Doran. “The amount of work, effort and time they are putting into this squadron on this deployment has been exemplary, and this is just another accomplishment for 251.”

Sunday, September 9, 2012

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Sailors of the Day

Sailors of the Day Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 3rd Class Veronica R. Nutt

Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Clas Ahmed Amaoui

AZ3 Veronica R. Nutt, from Wichita, Kan., joined the Navy three years ago to see the world. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poems and reading. In the future, she plans to complete her college degree and become debt free.

AT3 Ahmed Amaoui, from Frankfurt, Germany, joined the Navy three years ago to be a part of something larger than himself. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and listening to music. In the future, he plans to advance in rank and pursue a college degree.

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels

Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Jonathan DeMarco

ABFAN Yasmin Fernandez, from Hollywood, Fla., joined the Navy one year ago to travel and earn money for college. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music and going to the beach. In the future, she plans to earn a college degree and start a family.

ATAN Jonathan DeMarco, from Philadelphia, joined the Navy one year ago to continue a family tradition. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his fiance and family. In the future, he plans to make a career in the Navy.

The Shuttle

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Big E Entertainment

ACROSS 1. Employed 6. Cry 10. Smudge 14. Love intensely 15. Church alcove 16. Don 17. Gain knowledge 18. A region of SE Pakistan 19. Not difficult

20. Presbyopic 22. Auspices 23. Netting 24. Most recent 26. Couch 30. French for “Summer” 31. Before, poetically 32. Garments of goat hair 33. Satisfy 35. Hair net

THUNDERBOLTS continued from page 2 Navy’s Battle Efficiency Award. In 2002, the squadron once again received the award. “Standardized training, similar capabilities, and identical mission roles, allow us to work together as an air wing in order to best accomplish our mission,” said Maj. Cedar Hinton, VMFA-251 maintenance officer and former air officer for the 6th Marine Infantry Regiment. “While the Navy Super Hornet typically carries a larger payload, the Marine Legacy Hornet is often piloted by an officer who has served in a ground unit.” The ability of the Thunderbolts to carry out the mission is dependent upon communication within the squadron. The pilots rely on the airframe technicians to fix and maintain the aircraft, while the “framers” rely on the pilots to report issues with the aircraft mid-flight. “The Aircraft Maintenance Officer (AMO) comes down to the hangar bay and he’ll ask questions about phase inspections,” said Gunnery Sgt. Danny Bumgarner, a powerline staff noncommissioned officer in charge and

39. Dampen 41. Spire 43. Creepy 44. Cut into cubes 46. Train track 47. Adult male 49. Indian bread 50. Blackthorn 51. Yearn 54. Run away 56. Respiratory organ of aquatic animals 57. Excessively dramatic 63. District 64. Sourish 65. Redress 66. Food from animals 67. Connects two points 68. Goat antelope 69. Initial wager 70. God of love 71. Make improvements DOWN 1. 50% 2. Bright thought 3. Lion sound 4. Makes a mistake 5. Jeans material 6. A bathroom sink

7. An abusive word or phrase 8. Feudal worker 9. Sell 10. Enticements 11. Wampum 12. Fertile area in a desert 13. Secret meeting 21. Ganders 25. Backside 26. Identical 27. Double-reed woodwind 28. Reasonable 29. Acculturate 34. Intensifies 36. Iridescent gem 37. Hodgepodge 38. Expunge 40. Rip 42. Basic belief 45. Conflagration 48. Urticate 51. Small terrestrial lizard 52. Femme fatale 53. Skirt fold 55. Delete 58. Found on most heads 59. Bit of gossip 60. Center 61. Nameless 62. Bawdy

a native of Jacksonville, Fla. The Marines of VMFA-251 make up a very small fraction of the number of personnel aboard Enterprise. There are only about 250 Marines aboard and, as a result, the squadron is a close-knit unit. “I would say that we are more of a family, we’re a lot closer of a command,” said Bumgarner. “Our pilots interact a lot with our junior Marines. Our junior Marines work a lot harder because the pilots that they see every day are the ones putting their lives on the line every day flying six or seven-hour missions.” Overall, the Marines of VMFA-251 have been supporting various missions across the globe, lending their capabilities to various carrier strike groups and supplementary combat air units. The Thunderbolts will continue on with Enterprise until the end of her 25th and final combat deployment, and, upon returning to Beaufort, S.C., will continue to support missions put forth by Navy and Marine Corps senior leadership, embodying “esprit de corps” through their operations.

VMFA 251: Guardians of the SKY  

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea – The Thunderbolts have been known by many names throughout their storied history. They were designated everything fr...

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