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Volume 11 Issue 11 Aug. 30, 2013


DT-II Wraps Up Successfully

Swim Call

Sailors Get Salty

Medevac Saving Lives

C M C ’ sand weeks C planning O RwhatNworkEwillRbe What Is Your Plan

FIRST CALL STAFF Commanding Officer Capt. Brian Teets

Executive Officer Capt. Kurt Kastner

Command Master Chief

CMDCM(SW/AW) Brian Schlicht

Operations Officer Cmdr. Rick Potter

VI Division Officer

Lt. Cmdr. Francis Carmody

VI Division LPO

MC1(SW/AW) Gretchen Albrecht

Production Supervisor MC1(AW) Erik Siegel

What is your plan for Labor Day weekend? What is your plan for your advancement exam? What is your plan for Thanksgiving? What is your plan for Christmas? What is your plan for the New Year? We have spent numerous hours, days

Farewell Chaplain William Holiman Fair Winds and Following Seas

Next Month’s Issue: An in depth look at


MC3 Caleb Cooper


Staff Writers

MC3 Markus Castaneda MC3 Kevin Johnson MC3(SW/AW) J. C. J. Stokes MCSN Michael Forbes

First Call is produced by the USS Wasp public affairs staff. The editorial content of this newspaper and any supplement is prepared, edited and provided by the public affairs office. First Call is an authorized publication for military members serving aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1) and the ships of Amphibious Squadron 6. Its contents do not necessarily reflect the official views of the U.S. government, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Marine Corps and do not imply endorsement thereof. Questions or comments can be directed to the public affairs officer or the editor. All news releases and submissions should be sent to


Aug 16, 2013

completed on the ship. Have you spent time planning what you’re going to do during this time frame; not only for the ship but for yourself and your family? Goals that are written down have a greater chance of being reached than goals that we just think about. Don’t forget that every plan we make needs to take into consideration safety for ourselves, and our families. Be safe, enjoy Labor Day; you’ve earned this time off. We are Wasp.

C O N T E N T S 3






On the cover: An F-35B Lightning II descends upon the flight deck of USS Wasp (LHD 1). (Photo by MC3 Caleb Cooper)

E V M E D A C Personnel on a rigid hull inflatable boat speed back from USNS Grasp with a medevac patient on board. (Photo by MC3 Caleb Cooper)

Story By: MC3 Markus Castañeda Staff Writer

The crew of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) flew into action in response to a distress call from the salvage ship USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51), Aug. 17 at approximately 6 p.m. off the coast of Virginia. “I was eating in the wardroom when we got the call,” said Cmdr. Nam T. Ly, the senior medical officer (SMO) aboard Wasp. “That’s when I found out about this patient on Grasp. I immediately went to CIC [Combat Information Center].” The SMO reports to combat, when there is a potential medical incident on another ship requesting for assistance from the nearest ship. Grasp sent a distress call after their corpsmen became concerned for the patient due to an alarming temperature and possible infection. After establishing communications with Grasp, SMO headed down to medical to brief his corpsman (HMs) about the situation. One obstacle immediately came up early in the evolution. “The patient was a civilian,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Cameron Moffatt, an independent duty corpsman and Medical department’s

leading chief petty officer. “We didn’t have any records of the patient to have some knowledge of what the problem may be. Grasp also had limited medical capabilities so the patient had to be transported to be further evaluated by our doctors.” Wasp also supplied transport Wasp’s Deck department sprung into action by utilizing a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) and a search and rescue swimmer to aid in transport. “I was asleep in my rack prior to my watch when they called ‘man the boat deck’,” said Quartermaster 3rd Class Alex Niederer, one of Wasp’s search and rescue swimmers. “It was exciting to finally be able to transport an actual person and put my training to use. To be a part of saving someone’s life, that’s a good feeling.” Within 30 minutes of receiving the distress call, the RHIB was on scene ready to transport the patient back to Wasp. “This is routine for us, we practice what we do,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class David Confessore, boat deck safety observer. “It’s what we prepare for when we run drills. Regardless of wherever the boat is going, the main concern is getting the RHIB in the water safely.” As soon as the RHIB arrived

back the patient was immediately transported to medical where the SMO and the HMs began performing physical examinations, blood work and issued intravenous antibiotics. “Medical department is substantially ready all the time,” said Moffatt. It’s an all hands evolution, we all have to be flexible, and everybody has to change what they’re doing because it is not listed in the plan of the day. I am thankful for every department on the ship for being so responsive.” After being stabilized and prepared by medical, the patient was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital via helicopter. “We have a greater medical capability than an aircraft carrier for our size,” said Ly. “Short of actual hospital ships, which we have one on each coast, we have the biggest medical capability as a warship in the U.S. Navy. Actually, we have the biggest medical capability as far as warships go in the world.” Following the medical evacuation, Wasp returned to her mission of F-35B Lightning II Developmental Testing II (DT-II). DT-II is a collaborative effort among the Navy, Marine Corps, and international coalition partners to validate operational conditions of the F-35B Lightning II aircraft for amphibious platforms (LHD, LHA).

First Call


Story By: MC3 Caleb Cooper Editor

During the last two weeks the Navy and Marine Corps Team aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1) and pilots from Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron (VMX) 22 continued to make naval aviation history during F-35B Lightning II performance testing on Wasp. The first F-35B night landing at-sea was one of the major milestone for DTII; additionally other tests evaluated the performance capability of the F-35B. This testing is a continuation of DT-I testing of the F-35B which began on Wasp a little under two years prior. “Since Wasp was involved in DT-I almost two years ago, we’ve been


Aug 16, 2013

looking forward to DT-II embarking aircraft once again,” said Capt. Brian Teets, commanding officer of Wasp. While underway, the F-35B members and Wasp crew met all of the requirements needed and performed additional testing. The two F-35s launched over 90 times and completed vertical landings and short take-offs with crosswinds of 10 to 15 knots. Testing also included take-offs in headwinds in excess of 35 knots. The testing is part of the developmental testing for the F-35B which started Aug. 13 and lasted 18 days. The tests collected data on the aircraft’s ability to perform short takeoffs and vertical landings on a ship at sea, as well as determined how the aircraft integrates with the ship’s

landing systems and deck and hangar bay operations. This test period, the second of three scheduled at-sea test periods over the course of the program, collected environmental data on the deck through added instrumentation to measure the F-35B’s impact to flight deck operations. “Obviously, on this program, we’re testing three variants all part of a family of aircraft, and for the F-35B, this represents the second time we’re going to sea, but really the first time we’re providing an envelope that will be utilized by Marine Corps and U.K. aviators when they go out and employ the aircraft in a real environment,” said Capt. Erik Etz, Director, Test and Evaluation F-35 Naval Variants. “So,

ABH3 Zachary Morgan stands as bow safety while an F-35B takes-off from the flight deck. (Photo by MC3 Caleb Cooper)

that’s the significance of what we’re doing here. And certainly, as we’ve seen in every operation we’ve done through joint forces, the ability to operate at night is critical and so certainly the testing we’re doing here will provide a significant amount of data so we can clear the envelope and clear the aircraft to operate daytime, nighttime, when the Marine Corps takes the F-35B to initial operating capability in 2015.” In addition to adding specialized instrumentation to measure deck environmental effects Wasp crewmembers participated in F-35B

specific training at Naval Air Station Patuxent River (Pax River). “We did specialized training in Patuxent River with the flight team that was a week long,” said Lt. Nick Zimmerman, Wasp mini boss. “It focused on crash and rescue procedures as well as aircraft handling, chock and chain and hand signals. I think the training in Patuxent River was extremely helpful for aircraft testing and flight deck ops. It was a team effort for the entire air department not just those who received specific training in Patuxent.”

The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter for the U.S. Marine Corps, capable of short take-offs and vertical landings for use on amphibious ships or expeditionary airfields to provide air power to the Marine AirGround Task Force. The F-35B will replace Marine AV-8B Harriers and is undergoing test and evaluation at Pax River prior to delivery to the fleet. In addition to being the first ship to successfully land the F-35B, Wasp was also the first ship to host the V-22 Osprey during shipboard trials in October 2007.

An F-35B moves up the flight deck during flight quarters. (Photo by MC3 Markus Castañeda)

First Call



Story By: MC3 (SW/AW) J. C. J. Stokes Staff Writer

Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) were given a break from a rigorous underway when granted a swim call in the ship’s well deck, Aug. 21. In an effort to give the crew a chance to unwind, Command Master Chief (CMC) Brian Schlicht announced to the crew over the 1MC, that they were allowed to take a dip in the well deck at 1900. “I knew the Sailors were going to have fun,” said Schlicht. “I have been on different types of ships and swim calls are a hit with the Sailors every time.” After the CMC made the announcement, Sailors rushed to the well deck in order to get in on the fun. “I have waited over five years for this moment to happen and I am glad I was able to experience this swim call before I leave,” said Quartermaster 2nd Class Krystal Jones. “At first, I was a little skeptical about going to the swim call, but you only live once. I can finally say I know what a swim call is like on an amphib.” When some seasoned Sailors heard Wasp was having a swim call they could not wait for the chance to get into the ocean water. “I liked hanging out with my fellow shipmates and I am glad I was able


Aug 16, 2013

Sailors aboard Wasp play volleyball in the well deck. (Photo by MC3 Kevin Johnson)

DC3 Dominique Kaniatobe throws a dodge ball while swimming the well deck. (Photo by MC3 Kevin Johnson)

to have a little fun before going on watch,” said Quartermaster 2nd Class Katrina Wright. “On other ships we just jumped into the ocean. That was all we

did.” Instead of swimming in the ocean like Sailors from other ships, Wasp did something a little different. Thanks

C a l l ATCS Chad Rickenberg floats in the well deck..(Photo by MC3 Kevin Johnson)

AO3 Stephanie Herrera floats with an inner tube in the well deck. (Photo by MC3 Kevin Johnson)

to the engineers and boatswain’s mates, the well deck was turned into a swimming pool, with some added features.

“There was a volleyball net set up for Sailors to play with, music playing and people getting sprayed by water hoses by Master Chief Bufkin and

Chief (sel) Edwards,” said Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class Leroy Smith. “The swim call was much appreciated and needed. It gave us a chance to unwind a little during this underway. Swimming in the well deck was a unique experience for me.” Normally, the well deck is used on amphibious assault ships like Wasp to hold small boats like Air-Cushioned Landing Crafts and Land Craft Utilities, which carry Marines and their equipment. However, on this specific night it belonged to the crew. “Sailors and Marines have been working long hours this underway. The command wanted to have some activities for them to unwind,” said Schlicht. “The swim call was just one of the tokens of appreciation the command had planned. Plus, I thought it would be pretty awesome to see what a swim call would be like in a well deck. It was a first for me.” Wasp is underway in support of F-35B Lightning II Developmental Testing II (DT-II). DT-II is a collaborative effort among the Navy, Marine Corps, and coalition partners to validate operational capabilities of the F-35B Lightning II aircraft for amphibious platforms (LHD, LHA). After DT-II, Wasp is scheduled for a maintenance period beginning in September.

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