Paw Five: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Manny, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego’s official mascot, raises his paw in the martial arts training facility at the depot, Jan. 30, 2023. USMC photo by Cpl. Max Noel.
Navy collecting Chinese surveillance balloon debris
by David Vergun,
The U.S. military began collecting the remnants of a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon shot down by an Air Force fighter over the weekend.
Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, said the recovery effort began about 10 a.m. Monday. Rough seas thwarted safe, comprehensive debris collection yesterday, he said.
On Saturday, an F-22 Raptor fighter from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va., fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon, which had floated southeastward across the United States.
It fell about six miles off the coast of South Carolina into about 50 feet of water. No one was hurt.
Precautions are being taken during the salvage operation in case explosives or toxic substances are present, VanHerck said.
Due to changing ocean currents, it’s possible that some debris could escape notice and wash ashore. VanHerck said members of the public can assist by informing local law enforcement personnel if they spot remnants of the balloon; they should not collect it themselves.
Amphibious landing ship Carter Hall is collecting debris in the vicinity of the splashdown, he said. USNS Pathfinder, a survey ship, is mapping the ocean floor using sonar for the debris search, VanHerck said.
Explosive ordnance members and at least one unmanned underwater vehicle are also participating, he said.
In addition, VanHerck said the Coast Guard cutters Venturous, Richard Snyder and Nathan B. Bruckenthal, along with Coast Guard aviation support, are keeping the area safe for military personnel and the general public.
The FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents are embedded with salvage operations personnel to assist in counterintelligence work, he added.
VanHerck mentioned that the Federal Aviation Administration was helpful in closing air space when the balloon was being shot down.
2023 Department of Defense Black History Month Observance
The Department recognizes February 1, 2023 to February 28, 2023, as Black History Month. This year’s theme, “Inspiring Change,” celebrates the contributions of African Americans to overcoming racial inequities and promoting opportunities for equal advancement within the Black community.
World-renowned African American author Dr. Maya Angelou stated, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” During Black History Month, we remember the Department’s painful history of segregation and we celebrate those who worked to overcome such obstacles and advance change. Their courage to stand up or sit down, when necessary, and to come together against racial injustices changed this Department and our nation. Cognizant ofthis past, we recommit to providing an environment where people with different backgrounds and experiences are united by a common mission, an inclusive culture, and equal opportunities to succeed.
Diverse and inclusive workplaces improve our ability to attract, recruit, and retain the best qualified DoD workforce. The Department has made some progress with increasing African American military and civilian leaders at the senior ranks and initiatives are underway to address the gaps. The Department remains committed to strategically broadening and diversifying our talent pipelines through outreach and leveraging other talent management programs and policies to advance opportunities for all. In order to sustain and advance our capabilities, DoD must attract and retain diverse talent by incorporating equity and inclusion into daily operations.
As leaders in the Department, we must remain vigilant and courageous in our actions to remove all racial and cultural barriers, wherever they reside, and cultivate environments that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all DoD personnel.
Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness of the United States
New waterfront ship repair facility coming soon
SAN DIEGO - Austal USA will host an event Feb. 13 to kickoff the opening of new San Diego waterfront ship repair facility here.
The shipbuilding giant finalized a deal late last year to establish a repair facility in the Port of San Diego. The deal includes a long-term lease of a waterfront site in National City adjacent to Naval Base San Diego. Austal USA’s 15-acre site will focus on ship repair for Navy, Military Sealift Command, and Coast Guard ships. The site will be centered on a newly-built dry dock designed to efficiently dock small surface combatants and similar sized ships.
“The agreement marks a major milestone in the continued growth of Austal USA’s services business,” said Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh. “When the dry dock is delivered we’ll be able to provide the Navy a highly capable full-service repair facility located in the homeport of San Diego.
Austal USA will establish a full service ship repair capability providing maintenance and modernization for small surface combatants, unmanned and autonomous vessels, and other ships. The site will include a dry dock optimized to execute availabilities on littoral combat ships and other small surface combatants. Services will include technical and material support, topside work, and drydocking availabilities. The new facility will enable more availabilities to be completed in their home port of San Diego reducing the strain on the fleet and Sailors.
Navy aircraft to fly over Super Bowl LVII
by Ensign Bryan Blair
Commander, Naval Air Forces
SAN DIEGO – Three Navy tactical aircraft squadrons will conduct an integrated flyover at the conclusion of the National Anthem during Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 12.
The flyover formation will include two F/A-18F Super Hornets from the “Flying Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122, an F-35C Lightning II from the “Argonauts” of VFA-147, and an EA-18G Growler from the “Vikings” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129. These aircraft represent the strike and electronic attack capability of the “Carrier Air Wing of the Future,” providing advanced technology and enhanced flexibility to our military combatant commanders. VFA-122 and VFA-147 are based at Naval Air Station Lemoore; VAQ-129 is based at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. The squadrons will stage and depart from nearby Luke Air Force Base.
The flyover also commemorates 50 years of women flying in the Navy. In 1973 the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola, Fla., and one year later six of those eight women, titled “The First Six,” earned their Wings of Gold. Since then, women have served, operated and led at every level of Naval Aviation.
Lt. Katie Martinez, a Naval Flight Officer assigned to VFA-122, looks forward to representing Naval Aviation at one of the world’s most-watched events.
WWII vets lay wreaths for commemoration of the Battle of the Bulge
On Jan. 25, 2023, two World War II Army veterans returned to Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign on the western front. Darryl Bush and John Landry witnessed a wreath-laying at the Battle of the Bulge Memorial before laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Both veterans recalled fighting the cold as well as the Germans. “It was 30 below on the day that I was shot,” said Bush, a rifleman with the 75th Infantry Division, who caught a bullet in his right thigh.
USS Nimitz Superhornet launch
Sailors monitor the launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
‘Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act’ signed into law
Military spouses who hold professional licenses will find a smoother transition when transferring their professional licenses during moves across state lines under a newly enacted federal law.
The new law requires states to recognize service members and spouses’ valid professional licenses from other states for any job if they moved because of military orders. This law DOES NOT include law licenses.
Representative Mike Garcia spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in late December in support of his bill, the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act. This bill was included in H.R. 7939 (Veterans Auto and Education Improvement Act of 2022), which passed the U.S. House and Senate, and was signed into law by President Biden January, 5, 2023.
During his speech, Congressman Garcia made the following statement:
“In the midst of one of the most challenging times for our military in terms of recruitment and retention, what this bill does is allow military spouses to cross-deck their professional licenses -- if they’re a realtor, a nurse, a teacher, a beautician, a cosmetologist, whatever their profession is – across state lines,” said Garcia. “This bipartisan bill above all things would ease the burden for our military families. This is a win for our military families, for our national security, for our local communities who are in desperate need of these professionals, and even for our government who now enjoys the tax revenue from these dual-income families. And hopefully this translates into better recruitment and retention for our military.”
Currently, 34 percent of military spouses require a professional license for their line of employment. While military spouse unemployment hovers over 20% (over five times above the national average), this legislation is critical to assisting our military families and spouses who make countless sacrifices to support their servicemember family members.
Tricare fee increases for 2023 revealed
Some military families will see a rise in their health care costs this month, even as they’re stretching their dollars to cover higher prices for food, fuel and other necessities. Generally, if you’ve been paying out-of-pocket for Tricare in 2022, you’ll pay extra in 2023. According to a report in Military Times, active duty families in Tricare Select don’t pay annual enrollment fees, but they will see small co-payment increases, generally by a few dollars, for most services starting Jan. 1. Some will also see increases in their annual deductible, meaning they will have to spend more out of pocket before Tricare starts to pay. There are also planned increases in co-payments and annual enrollment fees for retirees, their families and others, according to fee schedules just released by the Defense Health Agency. Active duty service members and their families in Tricare Prime (including U.S. Family Health Plan) don’t pay annual enrollment fees, annual deductibles or out-of-pocket costs for covered services. See your primary provider for more details.
EOD Jumpers Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 12 jump from an MH-60S Nighthawk helicopter during operations in the Adriatic Sea, Dec. 13, 2022. Part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, the sailors are experts in countering explosive hazards in all environments by being able to locate, identify, render safe, recover, conduct field evaluation and dispose of all explosive ordnance. Photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Samuel Wagner
DoD releases 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing rates
The Department of Defense has released the 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing rates. Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase an average of 12.1 percent when the new rates take effect on January 1, 2023. An estimated $26.8 billion will be paid to approximately one million Service members. The significant increase in average BAH rates is reflective of the unique market conditions experienced across many locations nationwide over the past year. While average BAH rates increased substantially, different rental markets experience different market trends, and the 2023 BAH rates reflect those geographic market condition differences.
The Department collects rental housing cost data annually for approximately 300 military housing areas in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The Basic Allowance for Housing rate-setting process relies on a wide variety of data sources (e.g., U.S. Census Bureau survey data, Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, commercial subscription rental cost databases, industry-leading online rental listing websites, and input from the Services and local military installation housing offices, among other sources) to obtain high-quality, accurate, current-year housing cost data.
Median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) comprise the total housing cost for each military housing area and are included in the Basic Allowance for Housing computation. Total housing costs are determined for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area. Basic Allowance for Housing rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents, based on the housing choices of civilians with comparable incomes to each Service member pay grade grouping.
The 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing rates, as part of a robust military compensation package, continue the member cost-sharing element at five percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade. These amounts vary by grade and dependency status and range from $82 to $184 monthly for the 2023 rates. Even with this cost-sharing element, the overall military pay and benefits package remains competitive and healthy.
An integral part of the Basic Allowance for Housing program is the provision of individual rate protection to all members. No matter what happens to measured housing costs – including the out-of-pocket expense adjustment – an individual member who maintains uninterrupted Basic Allowance for Housing eligibility in a given location will not see his/her Basic Allowance for Housing rate decrease. This ensures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area's housing costs decrease.
The Department is committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefit structure that provides members with an adequate standard of living to sustain a trained, experienced, and ready force now and in the future.
For more information on the Basic Allowance for Housing, including the 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing rates and 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing rate component breakdown, visit https://www.travel.dod.mil/Allowances/Basic-Allowance-for-Housing/. Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the Basic Allowance for Housing calculator at: https://www.travel.dod.mil/Allowances/Basic-Allowance-for-Housing/BAH-Rate-Lookup/
Defense department increases child care fees to maintain quality child care for military families
The Defense Department implemented annual changes to the Child Development Program Fee Policy and restructured total family income categories which determine child care fees. The policy change includes fee increases necessary to ensure the department’s ability to find and keep skilled child care staff and to continue providing quality care for military children.
The DOD recognizes that in order to find and retain skilled staff and continue providing quality child care for military families, changes to the policy that guide child care fees are necessary to enhance recruitment and retention efforts. Read more...
Pay raise, security programs highlight defense budget
by Jim Garamone, DOD News
President Joe Biden has signed the Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act into law allotting $816.7 billion to the Defense Department.
The act means a 4.6 percent pay raise for military and civilian members of the department, and includes $45 billion more than originally requested to counter the effects of inflation and to accelerate implementation of the National Defense Strategy. Read more...
Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme receives patent for ‘smart’ fiberoptic system
Teri Carnicelli, NSWC, Port Hueneme Division
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) patented the process of applying a “smart” fiberoptic system between a metal surface and its protective coating in order to detect the beginnings of corrosion at the microscopic level, opening the door for wider applications through a licensing agreement with a commercial company. Read more....
Marine killed in Iraq in non-combat incident
A Marine died in Iraq Dec. 19 as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the Defense Department announced. Staff Sgt. Samuel D. Lecce was supporting the operation when he died from a non-combat related incident, defense officials said. Lecce, 32, was from eastern Tennessee, near Knoxville, the department said. He was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., as part of the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion of the Marine Forces Special Operations Command.Operation Inherent Resolve was established in 2014 to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Navy Cross awarded to Korean War veteran
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro awarded the Navy Cross to Capt. E. Royce Williams (Navy-Ret.) for his actions on November 18, 1952. This is an upgrade of the Silver Star Medal previously awarded to then-Lt. Williams on May 7, 1953, for his actions during the Korean War where he led a division of three fighter planes against seven enemy MiG-15s. “Having reviewed the findings of now numerous investigations related to the case of Capt. Royce Williams, I have determined this case to be special and extraordinary,” said Del Toro
Marine Air Control Group 38 refines warfighting capabilities
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR - Marines and Sailors with Marine Air Control Group (MACG) 38 refined tactics for future maritime conflicts in the Indo-Pacific region during Exercise Steel Knight 2023. With units positioned across California and Arizona, MACG-38 tested components of Aviation Command and Control (AC2) in conjunction with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s (MAW) “Hub, Spoke and Node” model in preparation for the next fight. Read more....
Marine Corps-Navy team TEAM join up for Exercise Steel Knight ‘23
Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force, to include 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing will train alongside Sailors with Expeditionary Strike Group 3 in exercise Steel Knight 2023 throughout southern California, through Dec. 16.
Historically led by 1st MARDIV, Steel Knight is designed to refine naval integration in the areas of expeditionary operations, fire support planning and targeting, command and control, and logistics support to geographically dispersed forces.
This year’s iteration will certify 1st Marine Regiment as the command element and Combat Logistics Battalion 1 as the logistics combat element for the upcoming annual rotation of Marines and Sailors deploying to Australia as part of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2023.
This year 3rd MAW is increasing its participation by providing a full complement of aviation support to ground-based units participating in the exercise. This will include a forward-deployed MAW headquarters for aviation units to rehearse concepts and tactics that enable expeditionary advanced base operations in a contested environment.
Training events include division-level command and control procedures, establishing and sustaining expeditionary advanced bases, combined arms operations, amphibious operations, mechanized attacks, and a regimental-sized maritime air assault against a simulated opposing force.
Space Force presents Forces to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii -- The U.S. Space Force officially activated and assigned U.S. Space Forces, Indo-Pacific to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in a ceremony Nov. 22 at Camp H.M. Smith under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir.
USSPACEFOR-INDOPAC is the service’s second component to present forces to a combatant command and the first to stand up at an overseas combatant command. The component is directly subordinate to the Chief of Space Operations for the execution of responsibilities under Title 10 for service-specific administration and support functions.
“This is truly an historic moment for the Space Force,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman. “This is an important step as we normalize Space into the joint force. Given today’s multi-domain character of war, Space must be deeply integrated with the joint team.”
Having field components dedicated to Space removes layers of bureaucracy and aligns with how other services provide forces to the commander. Additionally, activating the USSF component to INDOPACOM provides clarity to command relationships, roles and responsibilities.
“Our approach requires the joint force to think, act, and operate differently by synchronizing our operations, re-aligning our posture, and advancing our warfighting capabilities,” said Adm. John Aquilino, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. “Today’s ceremony represents a tangible progression in accomplishing our mission of deterrence, while simultaneously increasing our ability to defend the homeland, protect the joint force, operate in contested space, and provide all-domain battlespace awareness.”
USSPACEFOR-INDOPAC will be headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam in Hawaii to maximize synergy with USINDOPACOM headquarters and the existing Air Operations Center with U.S. Pacific Air Forces.
Marine Corps updates approved female hair styles
Training and Education Command announced updates to approved female hair styles via Marine Administrative Message 615/22. These changes were initially proposed in Uniform Board 220 and authorized for wear today. The Uniform Board is comprised of diverse Marines of various ranks and specialties to provide comprehensive feedback and fleet perspective.
These changes include: twists for short hair, increase in maximum length for medium hair, half-ponytails or up to two half-braids for medium hair, and overall increase in styled length for long hair.
Consistent with current MCO 1020.34H, long hair must be secured up (defined as no portion of the hair should be left to fall naturally / unsecured or with exposed ends), except when authorized during non-combat physical training. Medium and long length hair may be worn in an unsecured full ponytail or unsecured braid during non-combat physical training only.
Inconspicuous hairpins and bobby pins are authorized. Barrettes, combs, etc. are authorized, if consistent with the hair color and concealed by the hair. Ponytail holders will be consistent with the hair color and need not be concealed, but should be inconspicuous. Conspicuous hair securing devices (e.g., headbands, scrunchies, alligator clips, bows) are not authorized.
The updates to the regulation also clarify tightly pulled or slicked back hair is not a requirement, and Marines are encouraged to avoid potentially damaging or harmful products.
“These changes are indicative of our disciplined approach to uniformity without sacrificing the health and safety of our female Marines,” said Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesperson. “We are grateful for the continued feedback from our Marines in addressing uniform updates and modifications. It’s because of conversations like those that our leadership can make positive change.”
The updated Marine Corps Uniform Order is pending publication, but these changes are effective immediately.
For more information about the Marine Corps Uniform Order please visit www.hqmc.marines.mil/Agencies/Marine-Corps-Uniform-Board.
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing activates new air defense unit
by 2nd Lt. Andrew Baez, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
CAMP PENDLETON - The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing activated a new air defense battery on November 18, 2022, as part of its ongoing efforts to modernize its existing ground-based air defense capabilities to continue responsibly modernizing the force.
Charlie Battery, which belongs to 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Air Control Group 38, increases 3rd MAW’s ground-based air defense weapon systems and capabilities. The activation demonstrates the Marine Corps’ investment in growing the ground-based air defense community.
The unit’s activation sets the foundation for the arrival of Marine Air Defense Integrated System Increment 1 to the battalion. This system modernizes the existing ground-based air defense capabilities by mounting a mix of legacy and emerging technologies and capabilities onto the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The new capabilities will help the unit mitigate the threat from unmanned aerial systems, fixed, and rotary-wing aircraft.
Once fully equipped, the new unit will have the MADIS, FIM-92 Stinger missiles, and a kinetic remote weapon system designed to counter adversary unmanned aerial systems. The remote weapon system, an organic RPS-62 RADAR, provides additional capabilities, including multi-function electronic warfare and significant command and control improvements.
Secret donor gives $100,000 in gifts to Toys for Tots drive
For 12 years, a mystery man has spread joy to needy families throughout the region by making sure kids aren’t forgotten during the holidays. This marks the fifth year the mystery benefactor has purchased thousands of dollars of toys from a local Geppetto’s for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program based at Camp Pendleton.Now there’s a new high. On Nov. 10, also the birthday of the U.S. Marines, the gift giver spent $100,700. The anonymous donor’s generosity adds up to more than $340,000 in electric trains, bikes, Lego sets, dolls and plush toys over the past five years alone.The receipt for $100,700 of toys is stretched out by those at Geppetto’s in Carlsbad who loaded the Toys for Tots trucks.
Makin Island Amphibious Readiness Group deploys Nov. 8-9
Amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8), the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, departed Naval Base San Diego on Wednesday, Nov 9, for a deployment to the Indo-Pacific region.
The Amphibious Ready Group with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked includes Makin Island and amphibious transport docks USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) and USS Anchorage (LPD-23). Makin Island and John P. Murtha left San Diego on Wednesday, while Anchorage left on Tuesday.
According to usni.org, the ARG/MEU includes the aviation combat element with the “Flying Leathernecks” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 flying F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and the “Ugly Angels” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 362 (Reinforced) flying MV-22B Ospreys; the logistics combat element made up of Combat Logistics Battalion 13; and the ground combat element with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines
VA begins toxic exposure screening for enrolled veterans
Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and clinics across the country began offering enrolled veterans a new toxic exposure screening. These screenings are a key part of the PACT Act, a new law that empowers VA to deliver care and benefits to millions of toxic exposed Veterans and their survivors. The screening takes around five to 10 minutes and begins by asking veterans if they believe they experienced any toxic exposures while serving in the armed forces.
Veterans who answer “yes” will then be asked about specific exposures, including open burn pits/airborne hazards, Gulf War-related exposures, Agent Orange, radiation, Camp Lejeune contaminated water exposure and other exposures. Veterans enrolled in VA health care will be offered an initial toxic exposure screening then follow-up screenings at least once every five years.
After completion of the screening, VA will connect veterans who are concerned about toxic exposures to information about benefits, registry exams and clinical resources. Medical concerns will continue to be addressed through existing care teams or other facility resources as appropriate.
Veterans can ask about receiving the screening at their next VA primary care provider appointment. If veterans are not assigned to a primary care team or wish to be screened sooner than their next appointment, they are invited to contact their local facility and ask to be screened by the toxic exposure screening navigator.
VA encourages veterans not currently enrolled in VA health care to apply now. Learn more at https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction. Information: VA.gov/PACT. https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposure
Be the face of change during 2022 Combined Federal Campaign
The Combined Federal Campaign runs through January 14, 2023. The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all. CFC is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign.
Col. Nicole Mann first female Marine and Native American to lead NASA space flight
Marine Corps Col. Nicole Mann, on Oct. 5, became the first female Marine and Native American to lead a NASA space flight. Mann and SpaceX Crew-5 successfully launched into space from Kennedy Space Center, bound for the International Space Station with Mann serving as the mission commander. Semper Fi and Bravo Zulu, Colonel Mann. We wish her and the crew the best for successful mission.
Defense Commissary Agency to lower shopping prices even further
Service members and their families will soon see a 3-5 percent decrease in pricing on most grocery items in their commissaries as part of a Defense Department initiative to bolster the economic security and stability of the military community.
DOD’s “Taking Care of Service Members and Families” initiative lays out comprehensive actions to support military members struggling with the financial impacts of inflation, supply chain disruptions and the pandemic.
“The department’s added investment in our budget allows us to reduce commissary prices at the register about 3-5 percent on most items - particularly on food staples that struggling military families need most such as bread, eggs, milk and more,” Bill Moore, director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency, said. “With this boost we can achieve at least 25 percent in overall savings for eligible patrons who shop their commissaries.”
SECNAV reinforces DoD commitment to island nations
“The U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team takes its responsibility to build resilience against climate change seriously,” said Secretary of the navy Carlos Del Toro at the event. “The Department of Defense, and indeed the entire U.S. government, have made a commitment to island nations to combat climate change, and the Department of the Navy is already working with island nations on their climate defenses.”
Separately, as a part of President Biden’s first ever U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit last week, Del Toro participated in a reception with PIC leaders to discuss maritime issues affecting economic prosperity and regional resilience such as maritime domain awareness, maritime security, and law enforcement cooperation, including combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Sailor Ryan Sawyer Mays acquitted in charges of starting fire that destroyed USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)
On Friday, Sept. 30, a military judge acquitted a sailor of arson in a 2020 fire that destroyed the amphibious warship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6). a blow to the Navy as it faces allegations of improper training and maintenance of the $1.2 billion amphibious assault ship.
Seaman Recruit Ryan Sawyer Mays was a 19-year-old deck seaman when he was identified by a shipmate claiming he saw Mays near where the fire began in the ship's lower vehicle deck.
“I am so grateful that this is finally over. It’s been a long two years,” Mays said outside the court building, flanked by his wife, parents and defense team. “I’ve been waiting a long time.”
Navy, Port of San Diego sign agreement to generate millions for electrification projects
To further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality and public health on and around the San Diego Bay Working Waterfront, Navy Region Southwest and the Port of San Diego have formed a first-of-its-kind partnership that gives the Navy access to participate in California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) market.
The groundbreaking federal/state initiative will provide millions of dollars for further electrification efforts for both the naval base the port.
Recently, at Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan, Navy and port officials, joined by state and local partners, formalized the collaboration by signing an Intergovernmental Support Agreement and celebrated the partnership and its multiple environmental and public health benefits for local communities, the region, and the state.
The Navy’s participation in this program will be the first ever participation by the Department of Defense in this type of carbon reduction effort. The Navy will generate LCFS credits while ships are plugged into shore power, rather than generating power internally using traditional, carbon-intensive fuels, and limiting emissions of greenhouse gasses in the surrounding community. Connecting ships to shore power while in port directly aligns with two Presidential Executive Orders requiring all federal agencies to take steps to reduce carbon emissions and support clean energy activities.
As the local participant in the state’s LCFS program managed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Port will register, generate, and sell the credits from Navy shore power, and then utilize the proceeds from the sale to provide Naval Base San Diego with energy and utility improvement projects. In exchange, the Port will keep a specified portion of the Navy’s LCFS revenues.
The Port will pay from its share of the revenues for Port personnel who will manage project design and construction of Navy identified projects at NB San Diego and in Port operations. If this partnership – which is being conducted as a pilot program through 2030 – is successful, it could be duplicated between other U.S. ports and naval bases.
“We’re excited to be the first in the Navy to participate in this innovative program,” said Rear Adm. Brad Rosen, commander, Navy Region Southwest.
“Our Sailors and their families live and work throughout San Diego County; we’re part of this community, and are proud to do our part towards improving air quality locally, and contributing to a more resilient electric infrastructure.”
U.S. Navy establishes “Divine Nine” Ambassador program to strengthen ties with HBCUs
U.S. Navy Recruiting Outreach and Diversity has announced the
establishment of the “Divine Nine” Ambassador program to build
stronger relationships with students, faculty, administration and alumni
at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Read more...
Novavax COVID-19 vaccine available to troops; no mRNA, no human fetal cells in development
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with the Department of Defense, has secured 3.2 million doses of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Novavax is the latest company to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA for its vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and is now an option for active duty troops who are not vaccinated.
The protein-based, adjuvanted vaccine will be made available for free to states, jurisdictions, federal pharmacy partners, and federally qualified health centers.
This vaccine is an option for those who objected to vaccines developed from fetal cell tissue. Novavax says that “no human fetal-derived cell lines or tissue” were used in the development, manufacture or production of its vaccine.
Unlike the vaccines produced by Pfizer or Moderna, which use mRNA, the Novavax shot uses a SARS-CoV-2 recombinant spike protein to produce an autoimmune reaction in order to protect against further infection. The Novavax shot is more traditional and similar to other vaccines against disease like tetanus or HPV.
An FDA summary found the Novavax vaccine had 90 percent efficacy in protecting people against mild, moderate and severe disease.
National Military Youth of the Year awarded in DOD-supported program
As part of its commitment to military family readiness, the Defense Department has collaborated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America both on- and off-installation in the United States and overseas since 1991. This year the Annual Military Youth of the Year celebration was held August 4 in Washington, D.C.
The event honors exemplary teens who have overcome setbacks, demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments, and are prepared to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood, said Dianna Ganote, program analyst in the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy.
DOD officials: Women’s health care unchanged by Supreme Court decision
While last month's Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization means each state now makes its own laws regarding abortion services, the health care that the Defense Department provides to service members has not changed, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness said.
Armed Forces Classic returns in 2022 aboard USS Abraham Lincoln
The U.S. Navy is proud to partner with ESPN Events to host the 2022 Armed Forces Classic men’s college basketball game featuring Gonzaga and Michigan State universities, Nov. 11, 2022, on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) at Naval Air Station North Island.
“It is truly an honor that, on Veteran’s Day in the centennial year of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, we will host the Armed Forces Classic basketball game on the flight deck of one of our most renowned aircraft carriers, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72),” said Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, Commander, Naval Air Forces. “Those who serve, and who have served, know that the military is the ultimate team sport, and I can think of no better way to salute our men and women in uniform than to celebrate this all-American pastime together on one of our nation’s capital warships.” Read more...
Navy takes accountability actions after USS Bonhomme Richard fire investigation
WASHINGTON (July, 2022) - The U.S. Navy completed the accountability actions in support of the command investigation into the July 2020 fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Samuel Paparo, the Consolidated Disposition Authority (CDA), made individual disposition decisions and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro issued a Secretarial Letter of Censure (SLOC).
As CDA, Paparo made 27 individual disposition decisions, which were primarily focused on the ship’s fire prevention, readiness, and response efforts. The disposition decisions included six Nonjudicial Punishments (NJP) with guilty findings, two NJPs with Matter of Interest Filings (MIF) and a Letter of Instruction (LOI), two NJP dismissals with a warning, one additional MIF, five other LOIs, three Non-Punitive Letters of Caution (NPLOC), two letters to former Sailors documenting substandard performance, and six no-action determinations. Read more...
TRICARE: 7 questions to help you with your next PCS move
by TRICARE Communications
Will you be embarking on a permanent change of station (PCS) this summer? This can bring big adjustments for you and your family. However, whether you’re moving stateside or overseas, your TRICARE coverage will move with you. Still, you need to be prepared.
“If you have PCS orders coming up, following some simple steps can help for a smooth transition to your new area,” said Jeremy Schneider, TRICARE Health Plan program analyst. “We encourage beneficiaries to plan ahead and reach out to their regional contractor early if they have questions about their TRICARE coverage or need help finding support in their new location.” Read more...
Navy creates Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One to manage experimentation for medium & large vessels
by Ensign Ronan Williams
SAN DIEGO - Commander, Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet established Unmanned Surface Vessel Division (USVDIV) One during a ceremony May 13 which also included a change of command ceremony for Surface Development Squadron (SURFDEVRON) One.
During the combined ceremony, Cmdr. Jeremiah Daley assumed command of the newly established USVDIV One. Read more....
Miramar Veterinary Clinic offers services for your pets by appointment only
Veterinary Treatment Facility
MCAS Miramar Building 6360
Hours: Mon.-Fri.: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (858) 307-6552/1773
Open for retail sales (flea and heartworm prevention, oral care) and drug/food prescription refills (if applicable) daily. Routine wellness checkups and vaccinations available, as well as minor sick call. Appointments can be made in person or by phone. Walk-ins aren’t accepted. Dogs and cats of all active duty military members and retirees with medical benefits are eligible to be seen at the facility. The facility always recommends that patrons of the clinic keep their own civilian veterinarian in case of emergency, or if the facility is unable to fulfill their needs.
Camp Pendleton takes big steps toward wildlife preservation
by Lance Cpl. Nataly Espitia , Camp Pendleton
Camp Pendleton honors, protects, and conserves the Earth every day of the year. Plenty of land and resources go into the conservation and care for wildlife aboard the installation. Read more....
San Diego's VA Medical Center renamed after
Capt. Jennifer Moreno
In March President Biden signed into law H.R. 3665, designating the San Diego VA Medical Center as the Jennifer Moreno Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and supporting the designation of a prominent space within the facility to honor Kathleen Bruyere. Read more....
March Air Reserve Base named preferred location for next KC-46A Pegasus
WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Department of the Air Force selected March Air Reserve Base (ARB), in Riverside County, California, as the preferred location to host the next KC-46A Pegasus aircraft.
The decision was made after conducting site surveys that assessed locations based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, environmental considerations and cost.
Twelve KC-46As will replace KC-135 Stratotankers at March ARB.
The new tankers will bring many enhanced capabilities, such as boom and drogue refueling on the same sortie, worldwide navigations and communication, cargo capacity on the entire main deck floor, receiver air refueling, improved force protection, and multi-point air refueling capability.
The location is about an hour and a half north of San Diego.
A final basing decision will be made after an environmental impact analysis, which is expected to take place in fall 2023. Grissom ARB, Indiana, and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, are considered reasonable alternatives and will also undergo environmental impact analyses.
Read more about the KC-46A Pegasus...
Dept. of Navy, California Energy commission partner on energy and water initiatives
SAN DIEGO - The Department of the Navy and the California Energy Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Dec. 1 that will help the Navy and Marine Corps and the state collaborate on energy and water-related projects at DON Installations. Read more...
California lawmakers pass bill for license reciprocity for military spouses
New state license reciprocity legislation was signed and passed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oct. 8, 2021, easing restrictions for veterans and spouses of California active-duty service members to actively practice certain professions or vocations. Read more...
Department of Defense offers information about domestic violence
The DoD’s 2021 Domestic Violence Awareness campaign is over but resources are available all year long. The campaign brought awareness to the military community’s responsibility to support victims, respond to abuse, and focus on prevention efforts this month and throughout the year.
Victims have two reporting options:
Unrestricted: those who want to pursue an official investigation report through the service member’s command, FAP or local law enforcement.
Restricted: those who do not want an official investigation but do want victim advocacy services, medical care and/or counseling should make a restricted report to a FAP victim advocate, clinician or supervisor, or a military health care provider. Read more...
First Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom, decomissioned
USS Freedom (LCS-1) was decommissioned in Sept. at Naval Base San Diego after 13 years in the fleet. The decommissioning service was limited to ship plankowners and former crew members due to safety measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more...
Resources for struggling veterans
Veterans from all eras are reacting to the events around the world, and may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth their sacrifice. US Dept of Veterans Affairs in California offers the following information. Read more...
United Through Reading®
Service members invited to record stories for family
United Through Reading® (UTR) is a free program helping ease the stress of separation for military and veteran families by having the service members or Veteran read children’s books aloud for their family to watch at home during times of physical separation. It is available for any type of separation, including but not limited to, deployment, training, geobaching, or shift work.
UTR provides service members and veterans a chance to make lasting connections from afar through the power of shared storytime. The recording and the book are given to the child and family at home at no cost.
Being a parent is not required; service members can send the recording & book(s) to any special child in their life such as younger sister or brother, niece, nephew, grandchild, or godchild.
The recording can be made via UTR’s free and secure UTR App, at one of UTR’s story stations, or at the Mobile Story Station at a community event. For more information visit unitedthroughreading.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org