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SEPTEMBER 18, 2013


ACTing to Make a Difference

How IT

Anchored by Family

Works! Down to the Wire Calibration Lab



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t is said the measure of a life lies in the legacy left behind. Any time a death occurs in a community, the loss is deeply felt. The loss is felt even more so when a person takes their own life. For Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Nathan Rings, the command religious ministries department library petty officer, this unfortunate reality hit home when the father of his best friend committed suicide in 2003. “Growing up, our families were very close. I was always over at their house and it really felt like he was another father to me,” Rings said. “He was a very successful business owner and a prominent figure in our community. He was always trying new things and spending time with us. After a while, though, he just stopped.” Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, an online suicide awareness resource, lists withdrawing from the things you used to enjoy as one of the primary warning signs of suicidal behavior. “Often suicide seems like an option because a person feels isolated,” said Lt. j. g. Curt Dwyer, a Catholic priest in the command’s religious ministries

department. “When stress starts to build up, people can shut down, so it’s important to try and break down that barrier and just listen to them.” “I wish I had said something to him, just asked him if he wanted to talk, but he was always so upbeat and full of life before. It just didn’t make sense,” Rings said. “I miss him so much.” As so often is the case, the death affected more than just those that knew him intimately, Rings said. “There was a huge turnout for the funeral,” Rings said. “A lot of people genuinely liked him. He had a very big impact on the community and when he died, he left a huge hole. The impact on his family was saddening to watch. When he died, he left behind a lot of problems. He left his wife and three kids, and his wife spent a long time feeling extremely distraught. My friend ended up getting into a lot of trouble after his father’s death and had to be sent away to a boarding school.” Suicide is not a tragedy that only affects the civilian sector. It is a sobering fact that suicide rates in the military have been on the rise for the past decade, even surpassing civilian suicide rates, said Lt. Cmdr.

Robert Lippy, medical department’s mental health division officer. “A surprising number of people have suicidal thoughts every day,” Dwyer said. “It’s a common occurrence, especially in the Navy. People who are otherwise healthy, mentally or otherwise, can have these thoughts. The opportunities available to a Sailor who serves honorably in the Navy often come at a cost. Long hours coupled with prolonged periods of separation from those they love most are both factors that can add up to a lot of daily stress. If a Sailor becomes overwhelmed by this daily stress, they can become burned out, depressed, introverted, or feel like there is no way out of their situation. And if a Sailor feels like they have no other options available to them, they may turn to thoughts of suicide. But when it comes to taking care of Sailors, the Navy is there, lending a helping hand, and the focus starts with each and every Sailor walking the deckplates. Effective suicide prevention needs to happen on a personal level, and to that end the Navy is training Sailors to A.C.T., or ask, care and treat their shipmates. “The important thing to do is reach out and establish a connection with a person who is having thoughts of suicide,” Dwyer said, going on to explain that a personal connection helps a Sailor better control their thoughts of suicide and sometimes those thoughts will diminish all together. Establishing a personal connection with someone who is at risk for suicide requires that there be no room for miscommunication, Lippy added. If a Sailor thinks someone is having suicidal thoughts, they need to be direct with them. “You have to be specific,” he said. “Ask the specific questions. Ask them if they are thinking of killing themselves. You have to ask them these really pointed questions, because a

lot of times people are looking for a way out. You can’t be too embarrassed to ask, your Shipmate’s life may be hanging in the balance.” According to the A.C.T. program, once a Sailor has identified someone who is considering suicide, foremost they should listen to what that person has to say. Actively listening to a person who is considering suicide and actually caring about their problems can make a world of difference for a hurting Shipmate. “The last thing you want to do is argue with someone who has thoughts of suicide and try and tell them not to do it,” Lippy said. “That may be your first instinct, but just listening to them is far more effective. Be there for them and then after that get them some help. Whether it be through a chaplain, a physician, or taking them to see me in mental health – just get them help.” The cultural stigma surrounding suicide can often keep Sailors from seeking help, but someone who is thinking of suicide need not fear embarrassment or judgment. “Nothing is wrong with a person having thoughts of suicide,” Lippy said. “It’s not a disease or a character defect. It’s actually common for someone to have had suicidal thoughts in at least some point in their lives. It’s generally an indicator they are very overwhelmed, stressed, or have exhausted their coping mechanisms.” With programs like A.C.T., the Navy is taking steps to provide Sailors with a way out, in an effort to eventually end the trend of Sailor suicide. “Historically, suicide rates in the military have been lower than in civilian populations,” Lippy said. “But as of right now, they are still above the national averages. With the awareness training Sailors are receiving we hope to see those numbers dwindle back down to where they were 10 years ago.”

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How IT


Calibration Lab by MC2(SW/AW) Timothy Hazel


he Carl Vinson mission depends on precision. When a jet launches from the flight deck, a myriad of factors – each requiring perfect accuracy – play critical roles in getting it airborne. The aircraft has specific requirements for the torque of each nut and bolt and the state-of-the-art avionics that demand certain voltages. A specific quantity of steam is needed for the catapult-based aircraft weight and wind speed. If any of these, or other equally important variables are providing inaccurate readings, even by the smallest margin, the plane could crash. To ensure mechanics are using the correct amount of torque, and gauges are reading accurate steam pressure, work center 670 known as the calibration lab, measures the tools that do the measuring. “We track every item that can be calibrated on board this ship, anything that takes a quantitative measurement,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW) Anthony Buttaci, work center 670 assistant leading petty officer. “That includes small items like pressure gauges, torque wrenches and voltage

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meters, all the way up to highly complex systems like the jet shop test cell.” Stepping inside the Calibration Lab (Cal Lab) is reminiscent of an ITT Tech commercial. Workbenches house what looks like early computer prototypes. Digital readouts display the wavelike parabolic lines of electrical frequencies. The equipment entrusted to the layman to ensure the ship runs like a Swiss watch looks more like what Steve Jobs might have had in his garage when he built the first Macintosh computer. But looks can be deceiving because, as Buttaci explains, even though it looks like it was built in the era of hair bands and acid wash jeans, it houses some of the most sophisticated technology made and can calibrate equipment within a miniscule margin of error. “The concept of calibration in the Navy is fairly simple,” Buttaci said. “When we test a piece of equipment, or what we refer to as a test item, we will compare it to what is described as a standard. A standard is a machine that is a known quantity and is many times more accurate than a standard

gauge.” In a similar manner, over time a scale might read a pound more or less than what it should, and a car’s speedometer could read a mile or two over the actual speed. A standard is the type of equipment that establishes true weight, true speed, and so on. It knows how much a pound is, how fast a mile per hour is. Based on the Navy’s technical manuals, Sailors in the cal lab can determine what degree of error is allowed, generally around 1%, Buttaci explained. If an item is outside that margin of error, the technician will make adjustments accordingly. To verify the accuracy of the shipboard standards, known as calibration equipment, there is an extensive chain of even more precise standards. “We are a type four shop,” Buttaci said. “This is the lowest level cal lab in the Navy. We have equipment on site set at an even higher standard than our everyday calibration gear to calibrate the baseline equipment. That equipment gets sent off to a depot level cal lab where they use an even higher standard. From there it goes

higher and higher up the chain until eventually the equipment is set by an office of weights and measures.” The shop is broken up into three parts: alpha, bravo and charlie. The alpha section covers administration. The charlie side is devoted to gauge calibration and, in large part, manned by temporary assigned personnel from departments who supply the bulk of the ship’s calibration needs. The bravo side is home to electronic equipment calibration. At face value, the job is virtually the same as the responsibilities done by the charlie section – checking readings against a standard. However, it soon becomes clear it is exponentially more complex. Reading “pressure and mechanical equipment is simple – it’s vacuums and length, things like that…in electronics is where it gets more complicated,” said Buttaci. “There is a lot more math and test equipment. We have 580 standards for electronics in this shop.” “On the electronics side, we calibrate anything from something that goes through a coax cable to voltage meters,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jacob Pagone, a work center 670 technician. “Something as basic as a volt meter has ten different selections that each needs individual calibration.” While testing electrical equipment is more complex and intricate, it’s only when test equipment is out of standards and requires adjustment or repair that it becomes clear these Sailors are masters of their craft. “Say an electronic test piece is out of standards,” Pagone said. “In order to fix it, I need to take it down to the component level and isolate the problem. When it comes to troubleshooting, that is where our knowledge comes in. Books won’t always tell you what you need to know. We need to not only be able to read the schematics, but understand the theory of operation.” “Step one is as simple as pushing buttons, checking settings and getting as much information as I can before I open the equipment up,” Buttaci said. “Say the failure is more complex and I need to get inside. That’s when I open up a publication and get my schematics with hundreds or even thousands of pages for even the most basic items.

Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Paris Ingram calibrates gear in the calibration laboratory. Photo by MC2(SW/AW) John P. Wagner

Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Michael Doyle calibrates an oscilloscope in the calibration laboratory. Photo by MC2(SW/AW) John P. Wagner

At that point, you just start tracing out your current flow until you come across the problem. The basic rule for trouble shooting is the good, the bad and the ugly. You have your good input, your bad output, and in-between is where you find the ugly.” Finding “the ugly” can be an even uglier task as pathways can quickly turn into intricate mazes. “It gets confusing,” said Buttaci. “We get a lot of high dollar items in here and we have to be very sure we are being accurate and using proper

electronic theory to figure these things out.” “What makes this more of an art than anything else is that the books can tell you how to test the equipment and it is all fine and dandy until something is wrong,” Buttaci said. “At that point you have to employ all your training to figure out the problem. The only thing between equipment being sent out the door or not, are the technicians working on it. It is as simple as that. There is no margin for error, so we don’t fail.”

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Anchored by Family by MCSA Matthew A. Carlyle


n the morning of Friday, Sept. 13, Carl Vinson’s 31 chief petty officer (CPO) selectees filed into hangar bay two for a significant turning point in their Naval careers: to receive their gold-fouled anchors and enter the ranks of the Chief ’s Mess. Of those 31, only one amongst them would have the privilege of being pinned by a family member. When Chief Electronics Technician (SW) Scott Shaw, combat systems department’s C-9 division leading chief petty officer (LCPO), learned that his brother, Ens. Justin Shaw, stationed at Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Monterey, Calif., would be coming aboard Carl Vinson during the same underway he would receive his anchors, he couldn’t think of any word to describe it beside “perfect”. “It started out as one of those ‘What if?’ circumstances,” Scott said. “I thought to myself, ‘Well, I have a brother in the Navy,’ so I pitched it to him, he brought it to his chain of command and they were all for it. I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting pinning.”

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The opportunity proved to be beneficial for both brothers, giving Justin the chance to complete needed training and achieve qualifications necessary for a junior officer. “It was definitely a win-win situation,” said Justin, temporarily assigned duty (TAD) to Carrier Strike Group One’s (CSG 1) meteorology and oceanography (METOC) department during the underway. “It was one of those right place, right time kinds of things where I get to pin my brother, train the METOC department on global positioning systems and receive some information dominance officer and division officer afloat training.” The brothers’ reunion was even more befitting for those who know Scott gave Justin his first salute as a commissioned officer on Oct. 19, 2012, at a ceremony on Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island. “The proudest moment in my Navy career, even more so than making chief, was finding out Justin was selected for officer candidate school (OCS),” Scott said. “When he asked me to be his first salute, I felt so honored to partake in that tradition. I mean, how could you not feel proud of

Chief Electronics Technician (SW) Scott Shaw poses with Senior Chief Electronics Technician (SW/AW) Michael Martin, left, and Ensign Justin Shaw, right, during the chief pinning ceremony. Photo by MC2(SW/AW) Nicolas Lopez

Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW) Scott Shaw, right, attended Ens. Justin Shaw’s commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of ETC(SW) Scott Shaw

your brother for that? Even as an E-6 saluting my little brother, it was a phenomenal feeling.” Despite all they’ve achieved in their careers in the Navy and milestones they’ve shared, the brothers’ relationship started, as they put it, “just like any other pair of brothers.” “It was a love/hate relationship; I couldn’t stand being with him and couldn’t stand being without him,” Justin said with a laugh. The only children in a family that moved often, Scott and Justin grew up mostly near Denver. Scott, three years Justin’s senior, said they spent much of their free time as kids adventuring in the Colorado wilderness. “Growing up near the mountains, we’d often go off exploring and getting into trouble,” Scott remembered. “But my fondest memories from our childhood are of us just hanging out and playing baseball.” The brothers started playing baseball from an early age and developed their strongest bond through a shared passion for the game, carrying their love of baseball through high school and into their Navy careers. “Our relationship thrived through baseball. It kept us sane, kept us busy and kept us out of trouble for the most part,” Justin said. “Probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing the game was when we were in a summer league together for one season in San Diego at the start of our Naval careers. It was a blast to play with someone so similar in how I approach the game.” Just as their approach to baseball was similar, so was their timing on enlisting in the Navy. Though Justin made the first move, entering the delayed entry program in November 1999, he had to wait to finish his senior year of high school before heading to boot camp in Great Lakes, Ill., in June 2000. Scott went to the recruiting office in March 2000 and was sent to basic training the same month. Despite getting the head start on Justin, Scott admitted

Justin’s always been one step ahead of him when it comes to their Naval careers. Scott decided to remain within his rate and wait to pursue his aspirations to become an officer until making chief. However, Justin has taken a different path, enlisting as a quartermaster and then cross-rating to aerographer’s mate (AG) in 2004. He was then selected, while an AG1, for OCS in 2012. “He’s been a step ahead of me rank-wise for pretty much our whole time in the Navy,” Scott said. “If he wasn’t a pay-grade ahead of me, he always made it before I did. Even with first class, he made it a cycle before me. But we’ve had very different goals in our careers and we’re both happy for each other’s success.” It’s that care for each other which stems from a lifetime of brotherhood that has made both brothers happy to know the other has been successful in the Navy, which has only brought them closer, Justin said. “You know, when it comes to our relationship, rank has never meant anything to us,” Justin said. “As the little brother, I’ve always looked up to him. I look up to him now more than ever even. He’s given me guidance and my leadership comes from emulating his leadership with his Sailors. I’ve always strived to be just like him.” Mutual admiration, a deep bond and the shared history that has shaped both into who they are today made both Justin’s commissioning and the pinning ceremony more special than they already were, Scott said. “Very few times in your life can you remember the amount of pride you had at any given moment,” Scott said. “I was proud walking up on that stage with the whole command watching, but seeing my brother walk up to me from the other side of the stage - that gave me goosebumps. It was such an honor to be his first salute and it was very special to have him put my anchors on me. I couldn’t have been more proud.”

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A T-45C Goshawk from Training Wing 2 lands on the flight deck. Photo by MC2(SW/AW) John P. Wagner

Photo by MC2(SW) Benjamin Stevens

around the

A MH-60S Seahawk helicopter from the Red Lions of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 launches from the flight deck. Photo by MC2(SW/AW) John P. Wagner

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Aviation Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Lonnie Maynard conducts rotor maintenance on an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the Red Lions of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15, on the flight deck. Photo by MC3 Scott Fenaroli

Sailors steady themselves on monkey lines as a rigid-hull inflatable boat is lowered into the water during a man-overboard drill. Photo by MCSA James P. Bleyle

Electronics Technician 3rd Class (SW) Shane Phillip repairs a circuit board in the micro-miniature shop. Photo by MC3 Scott Fenaroli

CMC’s Corner September is Suicide Prevention Month. CMDCM(AW/SW) Pickering shares his hope for Carl Vinson Sailors to look out for each other and be honest about their struggles.


ne of the things we have as Sailors is the bond of friendship. We are friends who just laugh, share common ideas. We build friendships and those friendships support us. What we don’t need is negativity. I always tell our Shipmates, look for that one thing that brightens your day. Is it a sunrise? Is it a bird just flying around in the hangar bay? Just find one thing that makes you happy. Look at a picture of your family. Just find something that makes you happy and focus on it. The new trend out there is LOL. It means a lot. Laugh out loud. Run with it! Laugh more. Laugh your butt off. Laugh a lot. I think we frown too much. Sometimes we just need to share a laugh. I always ask Sailors – ‘how are you?’ Try it! Say “Hey! How are you? You good? Things okay? Keep your head up! What’s wrong? Why is your head down? Oh, come on! Let go of whatever it is. Talk about it.” It encourages others. You never know, someone might be having a day worse than you. So keep your head up! Laugh out loud.

Laugh a lot. Share a smile. It’s easier to smile than wear a frown. I’ve never lost a family member to suicide, but family is most important to everyone. So you should know what is going on in the daily lives of your loved ones, especially those closest to you. Unfortunately I have dealt with suicide, and I always ask, why didn’t they say something? Because to me, whatever the problem was, as to why they might have hurt themselves, it was fixable. If that person would have said something we could have worked it out. For some people when their pride is shattered, they don’t deal with it well. They feel they can’t face the world. Its like ‘I failed you; I let you down. How am I to say I’m sorry?’ So they feel the easiest way out is to hurt themselves. But I would rather you say I am sorry than to hurt yourself so I could have you with me to laugh with another day. You should never cheat life. You should never take it for granted. Everyday is a good day, so you look forward to tomorrow.

Tune in


to Ch annel 4

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Down to the Wire by MC3 Hansel D. Pintos

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A T-45C Goshawk from Training Wing (TW) 1 taxies to the bow catapults on the flight deck. Photo by MC3 Scott Fenaroli

he awesome responsibility and privilege given to Navy and Marine Corps pilots is earned through a demanding and extensive training pipeline. The multimillion dollar fighter jets capable of reaching speeds in excess of 1000 miles per hour and delivering armament with devastating precision are piloted by Naval aviators and require absolute proficiency and understanding to operate safely and effectively. To that necessary end, the Navy rigorously trains its newest pilots in all aspects of combat flight operations. Hundreds of hours are spent in the classroom, in simulators and, eventually, the sky. These new pilots learn how to take off from, and touch down on, multiple airstrips. The most unique airstrip in their training is the one aboard an aircraft carrier. “Landing on a ship on the angled deck with a limited landing strip and having the ship moving away from you is a completely different scenario,” said 1st Lt. Tyson “Freak” Adams, student naval aviator (SNA) from the Fighting Redhawks of Flight Training Squadron (VT) 21. “We can’t simulate these things out on the field.” For Adams, that first landing on an aircraft carrier has been a long time coming and something he anticipated for more than three years. He first started flying in high school, eventually earning his pilot’s license with approximately 45 hours of flight time during his senior year of college. Upon entering the Marines in the summer of 2010, Adams jumped at the opportunity of becoming a Naval aviator. “The Marines gave me the choice of going ground, legal or aviation,” Adams said. “So I went with aviation because I’ve always loved flying.” After six months of infantry and Marine leadership training at The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Va., Adams reported to Aviation Pre-Flight Indoctrination (API) training at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Fla. For roughly six weeks, he attended classes in aerodynamics, air navigation, engineering and others. He also completed approximately two weeks of water survival training. With the basics of aviation training completed, Adams then reported to NAS Corpus Christi for 22 weeks of primary SNA training. The primary SNA training included classroom instruction, simulator training and the beginning stages of actual flight time in a Beechcraft T-34 Mentor, a propeller-driven

aircraft used for military training. In the T-34, Adams trained in formation flying, landing the aircraft and then landing on different types of airstrips. Adams completed primary SNA training successfully and his high scores afforded him the opportunity to move on to Intermediate Jet SNA training, an opportunity exclusive to pilots whose scores are within a set percentile. During Intermediate Jet SNA training, he continued to learn and hone his skills for another 17 weeks. He practiced taking off and landing from the runway, only this time piloting a jet. He improved his formation flying and navigating through clouds on a McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk, a modified version of the BAE System Hawk used for aircraft carrier landing training. With more than 180 hours of flight time completed under the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), months of schooling, and evolutions that tested his physical and mental capacities throughout every stage, Adams was finally ready to begin advanced SNA where, according to him, “all the fun happens”. Currently stationed at NAS Kingsville, Texas, Adams continues his training on the T-45 in a 27-week program to learn strike tactics, weapons delivery and air combat maneuvering, where his notorious use of the word “freak” during flight evolutions prompted his colleagues to baptize him with the call sign. On September 16, with nearly 260 hours of flight time completed over the entire course of his SNA training, Adams finally completed his first successful ‘trap’, landing aircraft 284 on Carl Vinson’s flight deck. His first aircraft carrier landing, perhaps the most significant milestone in a new Naval pilot’s development, is a key component in earning his carrier landing qualifications and pivotal to keeping him on track to earn his Gold Wings. “I heard them tell me ‘Freak 284 hook down this pass’,” Adams said. “So I threw my hook down and uh… its crazy, I was ‘wiggin’ out a little bit. I don’t know the training took over – I tried not to think about it too much because I’d heard a lot of different things from other pilots; I just concentrated. Then all of a sudden, I hit my straps and I had landed,” Adams said. “I said, ‘Freak, that was crazy!’” Now with his first set of traps completed, Adams is looking forward to completing the more carrier qualifications and the rest of his advanced SNA to become a fully-qualified Naval aviator.

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“I think about my family or I read the Bible.”

“I write poetry and read. I also play chess.”

CS2 (SW) Leonardo Coca

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Dickerson

“I hit the gym and send a lot of emails.”

“I go to the gym or listen to some old Jay-Z.”

DC3 Brandon Hunter

MM2 (SW) Brian Grindle

“I share stories with my friends and co-workers.”

“I have a good structure of friends. Trust me…they help.”

AO2 (AW) Valerie Castrellon

IS3 (SW) Elizabeth Morris

“I run because it makes me too exhausted to think.”

“Sometimes I take a break and walk through the ship to relax.”

SH3 (SW) Lessi Millard

ITC (SW/AW) Shantae Clark

LTJG TREVOR DAVIDS Assistant Public Affairs Officer





What do you do to keep your stress levels out of the red zone?

LCDR KYLE RAINES Public Affairs Officer




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CAPT. KENT WHALEN Commanding Officer




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Media Operations Leading Chief Petty Officer





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