MAY 9, 2013
USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) VOL 4 ISSUE 04
CVN 70 & CVW17
COUNTS CAPTAIN SELECTS: READY FOR
WINGS HAND SALUTE: A Grandson’s Honor SEA BURIAL
CNAF Visits Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 17 Team
by MC3 Alex King
ircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) welcomed aboard Vice Adm. David H. Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces, for an overnight visit May 7-8, 2013. “The reason I am out here is to watch and listen and observe this carrier hitting on all cylinders, and listen a little bit more,” Buss said to the crew. Buss met with Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 Rear Adm. David F. Steindl, Commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 Capt. Rick LaBranche and Carl Vinson’s Commanding Officer Capt. Kent Whalen. Buss also addressed air wing, ship’s company and staff officers and met with all chief petty officers (CPO) in the Chiefs’ Mess. During his meeting with the CPOs, Buss talked candidly about current manning policies like enlisted retention boards (ERB) and the perform-to-serve (PTS) program, and the impact to families of short-notice “rip-and-fill” assignments that place Sailors with deploying assets with little advance warning. “The important thing I want you all to know, my main mission when I took over last October was people, and making people number one,” said Buss. Buss described the figurative bank of goodwill through which Navy programs make deposits or withdrawals from
personnel, and the importance of investing in Sailors and their families while simultaneously meeting mission requirements. “You put the rudder in yesterday for where you want to be tomorrow. On the people side, we needed to do something different; we had to change our manning policies and how we fill gaps at sea,” Buss said. “I have made people the number one priority during my tenure as the air boss. In the not too distant future, this strike group will start to see some of the benefits. The bow is starting to change direction.” Buss’ manning policies will put Sailors into the right positions at the right time to improve Sailor and family readiness and support the training cycle of a deploying command. Showing his enthusiasm for Sailors on the deck plates, Buss toured the ship, engaging in one-on-one conversations with CSG-1, CVW-17 and Carl Vinson Sailors. “Being in front of the admiral was kind of intimidating at first,” said Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Daniel Hagaman, who deployed with Carl Vinson from a sea operational detachment out of Lemoore, Calif. “He was very proud of everyone. He told me to keep on doing what I’m doing, to focus on bettering myself, and to make sure these engines in the jet shop are ready to go.” Carl Vinson is conducting carrier qualifications (CQ) with CVW-17 off the coast of Southern California.
Commander, Naval Air Forces, Vice Adm. David H. Buss speaks to aviation boatswain’s mates. Photo by MC3(SW) George M. Bell
Capt. Kent Whalen, commanding officer of Carl Vinson gives a tour for Commander, Naval Air Forces, Vice Adm. David H. Buss. Photo by MC2(SW/AW) Nicolas C. Lopez
Commander, Naval Air Forces, Vice Adm. David H. Buss addresses the chief petty officers in the Chiefs’ Mess. Photo by MC2(SW/AW) Nicolas C. Lopez
or Personnel Specialist Seaman Joseph Heller, April 18 was just a normal work day at sea. His division’s morning muster was complete and the ship’s executive officer had just picked up the 1MC to announce the start of cleaning stations. Heller was prepared to gather his cleaning gear and head forward to his cleaning station, but as he listened to what Capt. Paul C. Spedero was saying that particular morning, he immediately forgot all about cleaning stations. “The XO said we were having a burial at sea so he wasn’t going to announce the end of cleaning stations,” Heller said. It immediately piqued his curiosity; he just had to know. “My grandmother had told me she dropped the ashes off. I asked PS1 Sarvis if she knew who was being buried that morning because my grandfather was supposed to be buried at sea sometime soon. She didn’t know but she told me I could go ask,” Heller said. He rushed upstairs to the ship’s command religious ministries department (CRMD) and asked. Sure enough, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Kenneth E. Blutt was one of 20 people Carl Vinson Sailors were scheduled to bury at sea that day. Burials at sea are a time-honored tradition given to active-duty service members, honorably discharged veterans and their families. They also provide active duty Sailors the opportunity to bid farewell to their dependents and to those who have stood the watch. “One reason why I joined the United States military was because I wanted to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and keep the tradition alive,” said Heller. Heller and his grandfather are the only two family members who have served in any of the armed services. Blutt served in the Vietnam War as a medical evacuation helicopter pilot; Heller raised his right
Photos courtesy of PSSN Joseph Heller
hand July 4, 2012. Leading up to his graduation from boot camp, Heller knew exactly what he wanted. More than anything, on that special day, he wanted to salute his grandfather while both were in uniform. Because of cancer treatments, Blutt was not able to make the journey. “During the graduation I was looking for my grandfather the whole time, but the only family members I saw were my mom, step-dad, and grandmother,” Heller said. “I was crushed when I found out about my grandfather’s condition.” “He was supposed to come…I thought saluting him while in my uniform would be the best thing ever,” Heller explained. After boot camp, Heller went to Meridian, Miss. for his A-school. He took two weeks of leave following the course to visit his family in Colorado, but his grandfather was in Arizona undergoing more treatment. From there, Heller reported to Carl Vinson. It was October and the ship was undergoing Planned Incremental Availability. As soon as he could, Heller took leave again – this time making sure he visited his grandfather in Arizona. It was Christmas. “He was un-proportionate; his skin was hanging off his bones; it just wasn’t good,” said Heller. “It looked like someone put sticks in his body and added flesh.” On February 14, 2013, Heller logged onto Facebook from his work computer while underway off the coast of Southern California. “We were out to sea and I went on Facebook on my computer and saw people writing ‘rest in peace’,” said Heller of his grandfather’s profile page. Heller couldn’t believe it. “The man that was my role
A Grandson’s Honor
by MC2(SW/AW) Nicolas Lopez
Continued on Page 8
egs burn from the long and steep trail, but you force another step. Your heart hammers, no longer able to maintain a steady pace, but you’re more concerned about your footing as you skirt along a rocky ledge. The mind focuses on the body, removing all distractions - bills, work, the disruptions of city life fall away like the miles behind you. You eventually step out into a clearing high above the mountains and drink in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Southern California wilderness – a welcome respite before a glance above reveals the still-distant summit. Pulling in the clear mountain air in a deep breath, you take
Once a thriving industrial area populated with factories and steel mills, it’s now a shadow of its former self, suffocated by intense crime. The flat plains and endless corn fields Canete grew up with stand in stark contrast to Southern Californian cities, which are embedded into vast valleys and surrounded by grand mountains and canyons. “I appreciate just how peaceful it is and how you really don’t have to think about much when you’re out here,” Canete said. “You just take it all in and you put annoyances and worries aside and appreciate nature and all it has to offer.” A long-time friend and hiking partner,
California’s Mount Whitney. The Cucamonga Peak and Mount San Antonio Loop are treasures located in Lytle Creek, Calif., with summits reaching 8,859 feet and 10,068 feet respectively. Mount Wilson hikers are rewarded with a 50-foot waterfall and an observatory at the peak situated within the San Gabriel Mountains. San Jacinto and San Bernardino Peaks offer spectacular views for the hard chargers, and soaring at 11,503 feet, San Gorgonio, also known as Old Greyback, is the tallest mountain in Southern California. “It’s been a different level of conditioning,” Chaniott said. “It prepares
Photo courtesy of OS3 Nicolas Canete
the next step toward reaching your goal. For Operations Specialist 3rd Class Nicolas Canete, assigned to operations department OI division, hiking has become a way to relieve stress and promote a positive lifestyle as he explores the gorgeous and dynamic countryside of Southern California. “It’s really a longing to get away from the ship and get out of San Diego,” Canete said. “I wanted to get away from civilized areas and [explore] mountains and have some new experiences.” Southern California boasts a wide variety of entertainment for Sailors looking for a good time. In particular, the Californian mountains, running adjacent to beautiful wilderness and sometimes just outside metro cities – are sought out by avid explorers after a more peaceful environment or a physical challenge. Canete grew up in Northwest Indiana.
Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class (AW) Ryan Chaniott, an aircraft intermediate maintenance department’s (AIMD) IM-3 division consolidated automated support systems (CASS) technician, has traversed numerous hiking trails with Canete in Southern California. Chaniott does it mainly to complete Southern California’s six highest peaks, known as the SoCal Sixpack. “It’s been a tremendous amount of fun,” Chaniott said. “It’s given me a chance to get away from the city and think about how there are so many things right at the tips of our fingers we can go out and experience.” The SoCal Six-pack is a series of six strenuous day hikes in Southern California. These hikes are advertised as training summits for hikers interested in the eventual challenge of hiking
you mentally and physically for bigger challenges. You really get to know Southern California.” The summit of Mount Whitney soars above the clouds and measures just over 14,500 feet, which makes it the tallest mountain in the continental United States. It’s a strenuous hike to the top and requires intense training and dedication, but it does not pose as many risks as some of the other great summits in the Lower 48. For example, Mount Rainer comes in at an elevation of 14, 401 feet, only 91 feet shorter than Mount Whitney, but it is largely covered in glaciers, with avalanches, rock-fall, crevasses and freezing temperatures to contend with. Alternatively, Mount Whitney has none of those dangerous and is easily accessible. The number of individuals interested in adding Mount Whitney to their hiking resumes exceeds what the
Parks Service and U.S Forest Service can manage, and for this reason, permits are required and limited to 100 day-hikers and 60 backpackers a day between May and November. A lottery for the permits begins in February, giving hikers enough time to know if they made the list and to plan their trip. “I feel confident that we’ll make it to the top, but I am worried about the altitude,” Chaniott admitted. “The important thing when you’ve got a goal like that is to keep a positive attitude about it and realize that you’ve got the willpower and drive to make it to the top.” Canete views Mount Whitney as a big step toward his ultimate goal, which is to hike the daunting 2,663-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The trail starts from the California/Mexico border and runs through Oregon and Washington, spanning 27 national parks and seven national forests. It ends at Manning Park in British Columbia, Canada. People who attempt the PCT hike from start to finish are called Thru Hikers, and the average thru hiker takes approximately six months to complete the entire trail. “I first heard about it when I was in boot camp from a friend of mine,” Canete said. “He was telling me about his experiences hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail, which is on the East Coast. I’ve pretty much been researching it ever since then. I’ve done some hiking on it as well out here in Southern California. I think it represents the ultimate form of freedom to be with no phone and technology. Everything you need, you can carry on your back.” Now that Canete has completed the SoCal Six-pack hike series, he is ready to hike Mount Whitney. But hiking the Six-pack made its mark on him. “It has made me more at ease,” Canete said. “It’s helped me not to really sweat the small things so much. It leaves me with a pretty comfortable feeling that lasts a few days [and] that I can take into the workweek. It’s helped me become more focused towards short-term and long-term goals. It’s helped me realize there’s a world without steel and ocean and [inspired me] to get out there and become a part of that.”
OS3 Nicolas Canete stands on top of Mount Wilson showing the number six to signify the completion of the Southern California Six-Pack hikes. Photo by MC2(SW/AW) Timothy Hazel
Photo courtesy of OS3 Nicolas Canete
SOUTHERN SIX-PACK by MC3 Michael H. Lee
story & photos by MC2 (SW/AW) Timothy Hazel Recently, four of Carl Vinson’s commanders were selected for promotion to the rank of captain. In this issue of the Voice, we feature our line officers, Cmdr. Hammond and Cmdr. Lannamann. In our next issue we will highlight our staff corps officers, Cmdr. Nevarez and Cmdr. Stewart.
READY FOR WINGS
n April 17, 2013 the Navy released a fleet-wide message announcing line officers selected for promotion to the rank of captain. While conducting unit-level training off the coast of Southern California, Capt. Kent Whalen, commanding officer of Carl Vinson, came over the 1-MC to congratulate Operations Officer Cmdr. Jason Hammond and Chief Engineer Cmdr. Daniel Lannamann on their future ‘full bird’ status. The requirements to be promoted to the rank of captain are seemingly basic. Before receiving a recommendation for the promotion from commander to captain, the officer must have completed three years of service as an O-5. Additionally, one must have a minimum of 21 years of military service in order to be considered. That being said, the O-6 pay grade is the highest rank a naval officer can attain without congressional and presidential approval. Getting promoted to a rank where the next step in your career requires executive and congressional approval lends to its significance. Given that more than two decades of military service are required to be considered for captain, it is no surprise that both Hammond and Lannamann have made significant accomplishments in their careers thus far. Both will tell you the road to this point was paved with hard work, planning, and strong mentorship. Lannamann, recognizing he was not collegiate material at the time, joined the Navy in 1983 as a Gunner’s Mate, four days after his 17th birthday. He spent his senior year of high school in the delayed entry program and never looked back. “The Navy has been fantastic for me,” said Lannamann. “I was a lousy student and there was no doubt I was not going to college. I knew I did not have the maturity or the skills to be in college, and the Navy gave me those.” After completing his first tour, Lannamann earned his
associate’s degree. With the degree, he was able to pick up a commissioning. He would later return to college to earn both a bachelor’s and graduate degree. After the completing his master’s degree in 2000, he went to work on a minesweeper as an engineering duty officer (EDO). It is at that time he set his sights on what would ultimately bring him to this moment. “I have been looking towards captain since I became an EDO in 2000,” Lannamann said. “My first CO down there sat me down for a counseling session -- I was a lieutenant at the time -- and she asked me where I saw myself. She let me know if I wanted to make captain I needed to plan to afford myself that opportunity. It was at that point I started laying that career plan out.” Cmdr. Hammond began his naval career in 1989 in Annapolis, Md., by attending the Naval Academy. He graduated in 1993 and continued on to flight school where he was selected to be a C-2A pilot. As a C-2A pilot, Hammond went on to do two tours out of Norfork, Va. The highlight of those tours was when he was a flight instructor at Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120. Similarly to Lannamann, Hammond said at early points in his career he was guided by mentors which encouraged him to etch out a pathway from ensign to captain. “When I was a very young junior officer, my commanding officer at the time gave me several nudges,” Hammond said. “He wanted me to pursue instructor duty, which was both a great career move and a great experience.” Both Lannamann and Hammond were clearly men who knew how to set themselves up for success. Their mentors instilled in them the persistence to take advantage of every opportunity given to them, and when selecting orders, to pick the more arduous duty assignments. This proved helpful for Hammond, who says he tended to take his career one step at a time. “The goal of promoting to the rank of captain has of course been a goal of mine,” Hammond said. “I think my biggest goal in the Navy was to become a squadron CO. Once I hit that goal, then I started to think about this promotion. But I will be honest with you, I didn’t really think about making captain until it was upon me. It is one of those things that always seemed so far away.” Both Hammond and Lannamann have given a tremendous amount of their time and talent to the Navy to get where they
are today. Each says the support they received at home has allowed them to be successful. “I have a fantastic wife who has been very versatile and independent,” Hammond said. “She has always gone everywhere I have gone, so the only times we have been apart are when I deployed. She is supportive and understands that my job sometimes demands longer working hours.” Lannamann’s assessment of his wife began with the words “wonderfully supportive”. “She understands the sacrifices. And she met me when I was already in the Navy, so she understood that the Navy is a 24-hour day, seven days-aweek type of job, and the more senior you become the more of that 24/7 becomes your 24/7.” That 24/7 lifestyle has been the norm for these two during their time on Carl Vinson. The complexity of their jobs and the demands placed on them illustrate the high expectations the Navy has for personnel in their positions. Hammond explained it like this: “As the operations officer it is like being the band director – you know a lot about what is going on. It is a pretty difficult job, and a collaborative job, so you have to spend a lot of your time making sure everyone is on the same sheet of music, so to speak.” Keeping more than 20 departments, nine squadrons, Destroyer Strike Group (DESRON) 1 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 orchestrated and singing to the same tune is at times a daunting responsibility. As the ship’s chief engineer, or CHENG, Lannamann equates his job to that of a civil engineer. Everything a civil engineer does paving roads, managing sewer systems and distributing gas and electricity has its counterpart on the ship, Lannaman explains. Despite their accomplishments, both men are relatively modest and give the impression that their service on Carl Vinson isn’t extraordinary. Despite their humble estimation of themselves, their steadfast service aboard Carl Vinson was recognized by Navy leadership, making this promotion yet another stepping stone. Both Hammond and Lannamann are quick to acknowledge the hard work and professionalism of all of the officers and enlisted personnel who work for them. They know that this promotion, just like virtually everything done in the Navy, is a team effort. “I have lots of good officers, good chiefs, good petty officers and good firemen that I am relying on,” Lannamann said. “The engineering department has close to 290 people, and I can’t be everywhere at once. Fortunately, there is no need for me to be.” “I know this is a story about my accomplishments, but we should be focusing on our Sailors and all the incredible things they have done,” said Hammond. “If you look back on our deployments, you can really begin to see it is what our Sailors do on every level. We tend to focus on the bigger things, but really the everyday things the people on this ship do are incredible and they make this whole world work.” Lannamann’s next step is on to Southwest Regional Maintenance Center to oversee the entire depot level repair ships on San Diego’s waterfront. Hammond will head to Hawaii to work for Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
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model, the man who raised me and the man that had all the answers for all my questions had passed away.” After the ship returned from the underway, Heller drove to Arizona to attend the memorial service. He also learned of his grandmother’s intentions to bury her husband at sea, and hopefully – if it all worked out – to be buried on the same ship where Heller served. “When the chaplain told me that Kenneth Blutt would be part of the ceremony, I immediately told him he was my grandfather,” Heller said. “I was out of it, I felt like a robot – all I could think was ‘this is actually happening’.” “I mean, I knew he was going to be buried on a ship, my grandmother had requested a West Coast ship and had asked for Carl Vinson, but my grandmother never told me that his ashes were here,” he clarified. Cmdr. Stephen Duesenberry, CRMD’s department head and senior chaplain, told Heller to put on his whites – and quickly. Heller hurried to his berthing, slipped on his dress whites and rushed to elevator no. 4. When Heller arrived in the hangar bay, his department head and the ship’s Administration Officer Lt. Cmdr. Michael Beal saw him and asked what he was doing. After Heller explained his situation, Beal talked to Duesenberry, and Duesenberry gave Heller directions on how to bury his grandfather at sea. “After the ceremony, I called my grandmother and told her what had happened – she was ecstatic,” Heller said. “I told her I had the honor to bury my grandfather. She started to cry. In the end, I got to salute my grandfather – and that means the world to me.”
Photo courtesy of PSSN Joseph Heller
: t e c u a F Hands t l l a A r h o T f st ff
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arl Vinson uses more than 720 tons of fresh water on a daily basis. According to Chief Machinist’s Mate (SW) Carlos W. Lee, reactor department’s reactor propulsion division chief of RPO 5, each distilling unit is designed to produce 100,000 gallons per day. In order for Carl Vinson to perform at its most efficient level, the distilling units must operate at an 80-percent capacity or better at all times. That percentage of potable water isn’t always easy for the ship to maintain, especially when Sailors waste water through negligence or ignorance. Because it is crucial to the ship’s safety and mission readiness, conservation actions could be set into place if levels begin to drop. That is why the ship’s chain of command is asking all hands to stay mindful of using fresh water as prudently as possible. “Once we hit that limit, that’s when people really start noticing, because we have to take preventative measures to preserve potable water,” Lee explained. “One thing we do is cut off ship’s laundry; another thing is water hours.” Lee explained that water hours are scheduled for times during the day when the use of water is minimal, and all potable water gets secured. By doing this, distilling units can regain acceptable supply levels. “Sometimes, unless those measures are enforced, a lot of people really don’t give water conservation its due consideration,” said Lee. Things the crew could expect if water
hours are enforced is the formation of lines for showers, laundry and sinks, because the use of potable water will be restricted to the busiest parts of the day – giving less time for Sailors to get in everyday personal hygiene. “Whenever you’re not continuously using water, turn it off,” advised Machinist’s Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Ryan Lu, reactor department’s reactor propulsion division two plant leading petty officer. “It makes a difference. You’re talking about 4,000 people onboard. If 4,000 people waste water all at once, that’s a lot of water lost.” Because the distilling units run nonstop, the units themselves or pipes could break down like any other system on the ship, also causing a water shortage. With that in mind, Lu emphasized the need for the ship to sustain its 80-percent potable water minimum capacity. “It’s very important the whole ship understands we don’t have an unlimited amount of water,” Lu said. “You can’t just turn on every faucet and expect the ship to continuously give water.” That’s why both Lee and Lu suggested all hands take simple measures to ensure they don’t use more than the 30 gallons per day they’re prescribed. Some ways to help conserve water include turning the water on when actually washing hands, brushing or shaving, and turning it off when lathering. It can make a huge difference, Lee said. As long as we all stay aware of our water use and keep each other in check, we can ensure we’ll always have fresh water for all our needs.
MENTAL WELLNESS CORNER
NSERVE CO RL VINSON
By Lt. Cmdr. Robert Lippy
We all know how stressful life can be onboard, so how can we manage all the stressors thrown at us? First, it is important to remember that some amount of stress is good – challenging duties and responsibilities help us focus our energy and talents into overcoming obstacles and hardships and enable us to experience success. The technical term for this type of stress is eustress. However, like most things in life, too much stress can be harmful. This is why the Navy and Marine Corps developed the Combat/Operational Stress Control (COSC) continuum most of you should be familiar with. The COSC continuum is a tool for all Sailors to help gauge their current stress level. The more stress you experience without taking action the higher up the continuum you go, from yellow, orange and red. The goal is to “Go for the Green!” zone. Although being at sea certainly limits our access to a full range of coping resources, there is still much we can do to manage our
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daily stress and stay mentally focused and fit. The following is a list of a few things you can do to help manage your stress: -Exercise! This is probably the best stress management activity in this environment; it is sometimes easier to have a work-out partner to motivate you, but if you work out better alone that is fine. If you are not into exercising in the gyms, try one of the many fitness events the Fitboss has planned! -Get plenty of sleep – understandably, this can be quite challenging out here. Try to have a wind-down routine before bed – your body needs to be relaxed to fall asleep. -Eat balanced and nutritious meals. -Hydrate – despite how much you love those Monsters, water is still best. -Talk with Shipmates and/or family. Use this time to actively engage with others, meet new people, make new friends – remember we are all out here together. -Practice relaxation – breathing, muscle tension/relaxation, visual imagery. -Take time to unwind with a relaxing activity (e.g., watch a movie, listen to music, play cards/board games/video games, draw, read, journal). -Use humor. Finding humor in a situation and laughing freely with others is a powerful antidote to stress. If it is difficult to find humor in your daily duties, then de-stress by watching or listening to a favorite comedian. -Seek spiritual support (e.g., through prayer, attending services onboard). -Practice time management and planning. There’s really no such thing as “not enough time.” It is a matter of setting priorities. Identify your important day-to-day mandatory tasks, and then add one priority that supports or reflects your personal values/goals. Although stress is inherent in what we do in this operational environment, we can increase our resilience to these daily stressors by practicing stress management skills such as those mentioned in this column. The more we practice these skills, the more resilient we become to stress, and the better we are able to do our jobs and support the mission of the ship and embarked air wing, which is to do our nation’s bidding. If you have suggestions for other mental well-being topics, feel free to email me at Robert.Lippy@cvn70.navy.mil.
RIFLE AND PISTOL
AIMING TO WIN F
by MCSN Hansel D. Pintos
rom 600 yards away, the desert mirage can be deceiving. Breathing calmly, he settled deeper into position. Deftly holding his M16A2, he glanced to the flags along the perimeter, accounting the wind’s direction, and, as it played over his face, its strength. He was dimly aware of his posture – the balance of the rifle cradled in his hand, the stock nestled in his shoulder – and ignored the bite of stone and earth against his prone body as his world shrunk to the target framed within the “I” of iron sights. Almost of its own accord, his trigger finger began a slow squeeze. The crack! of the gun’s recoil snapped him out of his trance; he listened as the shot’s echo applauded another successful hit. This was the daily reality for service members and veterans in range 116-A, April 19 through May 3, as they made their way through the 2013 Fleet Forces Command (FCC) Pacific (PAC) Rifle and Pistol Championships and All Navy (West) Rifle and Pistol Championship. The staccato beat of small-arms fire peppered the air between 6:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. as participants trained for and then competed in the championship. During the first week of FFC (PAC), competitors were placed in groups, combining experienced shooters with novices. Staff members and the more experienced shooters assisted in training new shooters in both the pistol and the
rifle. Once trained, each competitor participated in scored matches. The second week of the event was dedicated to the All Navy (West) Rifle and Pistol Championship where service members competed for a Secretary of Navy trophy rifle. Lt. Eric Palmer, Carl Vinson’s 3M officer and match director for FCC (PAC) and the All Navy (West) 2013 Marksmanship matches, has previously represented the Navy in four national competitions. “It’s a passion of mine to come out here and shoot; it’s a great opportunity to hone your skills,” said Palmer. “It’s phenomenal. You spend a day out here and you learn something new. I learn something new every time I come out here.” Palmer attended the All Navy Rifle competition for the first time in 1999 as a Gunner’s Mate 1st Class and has represented the Navy Marksmanship Team in three national competitions throughout his naval career. By 2001, he had earned his distinguished shooter badge for rifle, becoming the 207th enlisted person to ever distinguish in rifle shooting since 1912. The distinguished shooter badge requires an accumulation of points only awarded in excellence in competition (EIC) matches, and national match competition (NMC) events. Both the EIC and the NMC are scored under strict guidelines nationwide. In fact, Palmer has earned the distinguished shooter badge for both rifle and pistol, making him only the 53rd officer since 1912 to become doubledistinguished. Given his accomplishments, it is clear Palmer appreciates both marksmanship and that the FCC
Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Teofilo Mejia serves as a spotter for Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Royce Alfred. Photo by MCSA Jacob G. Kaucher
(PAC) and the All Navy facilitate it, but Palmer said he supports the competition for other reasons as well. “The objective of FFC (PAC) is to train new shooters,” said Palmer. “Navy marksmanship matches are not simply sporting events – they are military training events.” Taking advantage of the unique opportunity, seven Carl Vinson Sailors signed up to compete in this year’s competition. Senior Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Teofilo Mejia, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Ronnie Smith and Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Luis Marquez participated as individuals with both rifles and pistols. Joining Palmer in the large command FFC (PAC) Team Rifle event was Personnel Specialist Seaman Katarina I. Flores, Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Royce Alfred and Aviation Control Technician 1st Class (AW) Royce Yaka. Mejia stepped up and served as the team coach. “The first time I shot a gun was at boot camp,” said Alfred. “Then, at master-at-arms (MAA) school, I learned how to shoot. In this competition, I really have fine-tuned my shooting skills; I learned the real power of the M16.” Starting from the standing position, each competitor fired 20 rounds at 200 yards, 10 rounds of slow fire while standing and 10 rounds at rapid fire while sitting. They then fired 10 more rounds rapid fire from 300 yards in the prone position. They finished in the prone position, firing 20 rounds at a target 600 yards down-range. Carl Vinson’s Sailors won 3rd place in the large command FFC (PAC) team rifle event. “I was super excited about winning the team match,” said Flores. “I didn’t think we would do that well because there were a lot of experienced shooters competing.” Flores, like the other Sailors who competed, said the training she received played a significant role in her fine performance. “I never imagined shooting and hitting a target from 600 yards with open sights,” said Mejia, Carl Vinson’s zone inspection administrator for 3M. “The purpose is not to make you the best shooter, but to make you a better shooter. My scores show my improvement.” For Yaka, Alfred and Mejia, the competition, environment and impression of their fellow competitors have inspired them to work toward becoming distinguished shooters. “The most important thing for me here is the camaraderie,” Mejia said. “The experienced shooters coached us the entire time – that type of training is invaluable. I plan to come back and volunteer. It’s a great program.” “I’ve competed in the FCC (PAC) and All Navy (West) event for the last four years,” said Yaka. “I’ve learned something new every year; every year you get pointers from people that are more experienced.” For Palmer, the wealth of knowledge and the training given during the competition are what is most important about FFC (PAC) and the All Navy (West) competitions. “I’m hoping that all the things that we’ve learned here will be carried back and shared with the rest of our Sailors, especially those that are going Individual Augmentee (IA.) If one Sailor’s life is saved because he learned how to shoot more proficiently, then it makes it all worthwhile,” explained Palmer.
Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Royce Alfred loads a magazine into his weapon. Photo by MCSA Jacob G. Kaucher
Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Royce Yaka competes in the standing position. Photo by MCSA Jacob G. Kaucher
Lt. Palmer records his score. Photo by MCSA Jacob G. Kaucher
“I VOLUTEERED AT A SENIOR LIVING CENTER AND CAUGHT UP ON MY REST.”
“I WENT TO L.A. TO SEE MY SON.”
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THE IMPOSSIBLE SAFE HAVEN WATER FOR ELEPHANTS WARM BODIES ADVENTURS OF TIN TIN COUNTRY STRONG THE IMPOSSIBLE SAFE HAVEN WATER FOR ELEPHANTS WARM BODIES ADVENTURS OF TIN TIN COUNTRY STRONG
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DIALOGUES D E C K P L A T E
How has your experience on the Carl Vinson been so far?
LTJG TREVOR DAVIDS Assistant Public Affairs Officer
“I’VE DONE EIGHT DEPLOYMENTS WITH FRIGATES, DESTROYERS AND CRUISERS. THIS IS MY FIRST TIME UNDERWAY WITH A CARRIER, AND IT HAS BEEN GREAT.” AMC (AW) Carlos C. Ibarra HSM-73
“IT’S ALWAYS A FINE DAY IN THE NAVY, WHEN YOU ARE OUT-TO-SEA DOING WHAT SAILORS DO.”
“THIS IS MY LAST RIDE AND IT HAS BEEN A CLASSIC GO ‘ROUND ON A TREMENDOUS WARSHIP.”
“IT HAS BEEN GOOD. I’VE DONE GOOD WORK, HAD GOOD FOOD AND I HAVE MY SHIPMATES WITH ME.”
AZ3 (AW) John B. Maldonado VFA-22
AD3 (AW) Darwin Anderson VFA-94
AMC (AW) Walter J. Moniz HSC-15
MCC (AW/SW) MONICA NELSON Media Leading Chief Petty Officer
NOW PLAYING CARL VINSON CINEMA
LCDR KYLE RAINES Public Affairs Officer
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CAPT. KENT WHALEN Commanding Officer
AEC (AW) Edward D. Kelly
AO2 (AW) Casey Petty
“I SPENT THE DAY PACKING MY CONDO, IN PREPARATION TO MOVE.”
“ I WENT SURFING AND PLAYED FRISBEE GOLF.”
AO3 (AW) Salvador Flores
DCFN Katelayn Rouse
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What did you do during the extra days of liberty the captain gave to the crew?
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D E C K P L A T E
ES IC VO
MC2 (SW) MEGAN L. CATELLIER MC3 MICHAEL H. LEE
STAFF WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS
MC2(SW/AW) TIMOTHY HAZEL MC2(SW/AW) NICOLAS C. LOPEZ MC3(SW) GEORGE M. BELL MC3 ALEX KING MC3 MICHAEL H. LEE MCSN HANSEL D. PINTOS MCSN CURTIS D. SPENCER MCSA MATTHEW A. CARLYLE MCSA JACOB G. KAUCHER
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This edition covers a visit by Commander, Naval Air Forces; a Sailor's completion of the Southern Six-pack; the backstory on the careers of...