Showing posts with label u.s. navy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label u.s. navy. Show all posts

Friday, January 7, 2011

Obama Oks Joint Forces Command Closure

Hampton Roads stands to lose at least another 160 jobs as part of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' plan to overhaul defense spending.

The details of Gates' plan, announced Thursday, raised red flags among some area leaders and regional advocates, who argued that Gates didn't offer enough specifics about how the cutbacks would save money or improve national defense.

Gates said he plans to decommission the Navy's Norfolk-based Second Fleet, turning over control of its ships and operations to Fleet Forces Command. Both are headquartered at Norfolk Naval Station. President Barack Obama on Thursday night also approved an earlier plan to shut down the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk and Suffolk.

None of the more than 120 ships would leave Norfolk, Gates said during a Pentagon news conference, but about 160 military positions could be eliminated.

"During the Cold War, this command had distinct and significant operational responsibilities," he said. "Today, its primary responsibility is training and mission preparation."

The Second Fleet was established in 1950 in Norfolk and has participated in several historic military operations, including a 1962 naval blockade during the Cuban missile crisis. It also trained more than half the Navy's ships that were deployed during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991.

Under the new arrangement, the Second Fleet ships would be under the direct command of Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., the four-star head of Fleet Forces Command.

In a memo from the White House, the president said he accepted Gates' plan to shut down JFCOM - a move he announced in August - on a date to be determined by Gates.

Pentagon officials have said they expect that some parts of the command could remain in the region but have not specified how many of JFCOM's 3,760 jobs in the region might remain.

Gates said that officials are "still refining the details but expect that roughly 50 percent of the capabilities under JFCOM will be kept and assigned to other organizations."

The statement doesn't shed light on how many jobs might be lost and what kinds of positions might remain, said Craig Quigley, who heads the taxpayer-funded Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance, which lobbies to protect the region's military assets.

Local members of Congress said they don't have enough information to judge whether the cuts proposed by Gates are defensible.

U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Virginia Beach, whose district includes the Second Fleet and JFCOM headquarters, said Gates' decision about Second Fleet is troubling because he didn't provide any data to justify the change.

U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake, was more emphatic, saying he believes Gates' efforts are part of a larger effort by the Obama administration to restrict military spending so that the funds can be spent elsewhere.

"You have no analysis, no documentation," Forbes said. "You simply have the cut, and then you back fill the analysis."

Forbes, who has become chairman of the readiness subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, has said he wants Congress to have a more direct role in setting defense priorities.

"We're going to be demanding audits of the Department of Defense," he said.

Gates also said the Navy will cut costs by reducing land-based staffs for submarines, patrol aircraft, destroyer squadrons and an aircraft carrier strike group.

The Navy was careful to point out that no ships, subs or aircraft will depart Norfolk or any other homeport as a result of the changes.

"We're going to streamline shore-based infrastructure by consolidating," said Lt. Courtney Hillson, a Navy spokeswoman. "But we're not moving any ships or planes - just people."

Gates said the Navy will use the savings to develop a new generation of electronic jammers and unmanned aircraft, and to buy more F/A-18 fighter jets, a new destroyer, a littoral combat ship, an ocean surveillance vessel and fleet oilers.

Monday, January 3, 2011

USS Kittiwake Arrives In Grand Cayman Under The Command of Captain Reggie Stubbs

When I read this I just had to give a big grin. For those of us that know Reggie very well know this is something he would do and do well. I've never seen anything that Reggie couldn't do and didn't do with his whole soul! Way to go, Reggie!!!

NORFOLK -- The Norfolk-based tug America recently towed a former U.S. Navy submarine rescue ship to Grand Cayman in British West Indies for sinking as an artificial reef there.

The America, under the command of Chincoteague native Captain Reginald Stubbs III arrived in George Town, Grand Cayman, on Christmas Day.
On board the ship were also Chincoteague residents Michael Isdale, deck chief, and Salvage Captain Timothy Mullane, managing director of American Marine Group of Companies.

The America, a 105-feet, 3600-horsepower ocean tug, left Norfolk with USS Kittiwake during snow on Dec. 16, towing the ship down the East Coast and around the western tip of Cuba to arrive in Grand Cayman with a Christmas gift that will pay off for years to come.

The rest of the Mullane family and other crew members were anxiously waiting on shore for the arrival, and a traditional Christmas Dinner was hosted by the family of Nancy Easterbrook, the Kittiwake Cayman project manager.
USS Kittiwake had been cleaned and prepared for sinking as an artificial reef to provide beneficial marine habitat and a dive tourism attraction in the crystal clear waters of Grand Cayman. The Kittiwake is a 251-foot ship built in Savannah, Ga. in 1944 and served on active duty for more than 50 years in the Navy before being decommissioned and mothballed in the James River Reserve Fleet. The ship should be sunk near Seven Mile beach in Grand Cayman shortly New Year's Day.

American Marine Group is engaged in the marine services industry, to include marine salvage, towing, wreck removal, marine heavy lift services, and artificial reef development, and has deployed more than 50 vessels on artificial reefs from New Jersey to Grand Cayman, as well as deploying concrete modules on artificial reef sites in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay.

The company is also preparing the USS Arthur W. Radford, a 563-foot destroyer, for sinking on the Del-Jersey-Land artificial reef site, 26 miles from Indian River Inlet, 28 miles from Ocean City Inlet, and 30 miles from Cape May, N.J., this spring.
American Marine Group has operations based in Philadelphia and Norfolk, with employees based in North Carolina, Virginia, the Delmarva Peninsula, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Navy Chooses Franklin County Airport for Prop Aircraft Test Landings

The Navy has decided to conduct Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) operations at Franklin Municipal Airport for the E-2/C-2 squadrons that are currently home-based at the Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field. The Navy had considered using Melfa Airport for the landings.

The Navy is negotiating for the use of an airfield for E-2/C-2 aircraft in order to provide a near term, interim solution to Navy Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress FCLP capacity shortfalls.

The agreement would also eliminate the need for the E-2/C-2 Fleet Replacement Squadron to conduct out-of-area FCLP operations in NAS Jacksonville, Fla., four to six times per year.

Governor McDonnell gave his blessing to the Navys decision in a release Friday afternoon.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Taliban Says It Captured Two U.S. Service Members In Afghanistan

KABUL -- Two U.S. service members went missing after driving off their base in Kabul on Friday, and the Taliban later claimed to have captured them in eastern Afghanistan, NATO officials said Saturday, the same day five U.S. troops were killed in the south.

Coalition forces launched a manhunt by ground and air for the two missing troops but did not immediately release information about their identities or what is known of their whereabouts. The Associated Press reported that the two were Navy personnel, citing a NATO official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"Every available asset is being brought to bear" to find them, said Lt. Col. Joseph T. Breasseale, a NATO spokesman in Kabul.

Afghan officials in Logar province, which borders Kabul to the south, said the two service members were driving an armored sport-utility vehicle when they were captured in Matinai, a village in the Charkh district. A spokesman for Logar's governor, Din Mohammad Darwish, said the area is "totally under control of the enemy."

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, called Afghan reporters in Logar on Saturday and told them that the militant movement had captured the two Americans and killed one of them, according to an Afghan reporter and the governor's spokesman. NATO officials said they could not confirm the statements of the Afghan officials or the Taliban.

The announcement of the two service members' disappearance came on a difficult day for NATO forces, as five U.S. troops were killed in bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan, the volatile region where the Taliban is strongest. Four of the troops died in one bomb blast, and one died in a separate attack, NATO officials said.

The deaths pushed NATO's death toll in July to 75 troops, including 56 Americans. Last month was the deadliest of the war for NATO troops, with more than 100 killed.

President Obama has sent 30,000 new U.S. troops to Afghanistan, and commanders attribute the growing violence to the push into Taliban strongholds where the coalition previously had a minimal presence. Others say that the Taliban has grown stronger by the year and that it now controls wide swaths of the country.

Kidnappings of U.S. troops in Afghanistan are rare. One American soldier, Spec. Bowe Bergdahl, from Idaho, has been held captive since June 2009.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dolphins Find Device Lost By the Navy


Chalk one up for the mammals.

Navy dolphins found an underwater surveillance device that went astray during a military exercise last week in Thimble Shoals Channel, the Navy announced Monday.

The device, known as an unmanned underwater vehicle, or UUV, was one of four that lost contact with its operators.

The Navy uses the robotic devices to search for underwater explosives. Some commentators have predicted they’ll one day replace the specially trained dolphins that have had that duty for decades.

The 5-foot-long, 80-pound torpedo-shaped vehicles, which cost $250,000 each, are equipped with side-scanning sonar and camera equipment. They transmit data back to shore to be analyzed.

When the four went missing, the Navy launched a broad search, using other UUVs, teams of searchers on shore and spotters in the air. Four minehunting dolphins from San Diego here to participate in the same exercise, called Frontier Sentinel, also were put on the case.

In the end, mammals succeeded where computers failed. Navy divers retrieved the missing vehicle after a dolphin located it, said Lt. Cmdr. Susan Henson, a spokeswoman for the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.

The search for the other three vehicles has been called off, Henson said, but it’s still possible they could turn up. The vehicles should not be handled – if any are spotted, the finder should call (619) 921-6782.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Plane From USS Eisenhower Crashes At Sea

Three of four crew members rescued

MANAMA, Bahrain (WAVY) - The Navy says an E-2C Hawkeye from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 stationed aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) crashed at sea Wednesday while operating in the North Arabian Sea.

Three of the four crew members have been rescued and returned to the ship. According to the Navy, search and rescue efforts for the fourth crew member are currently underway.

Officials say the E-2C was returning from conducting operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan when the aircraft experienced mechanical malfunctions and the crew performed a controlled bailout.

The identities of the crewmen involved have not been released.

Both the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the "Bluetails" from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 are based in Norfolk.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group left Naval Station Norfolk on a regularly scheduled six-month deployment January 2nd.

VAW-121 is part of Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW 7).