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USS Port Royal and USS Hopper to Deploy Tomorrow

Guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73), with an embarked detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 (HSM-37), and guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) will depart their homeport of Pearl Harbor for an independent deployment to the U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet areas of operation, Aug. 25.

USS Port Royal (CG 73)  U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnnie R. Robbins.  (RELEASED)

USS Port Royal (CG 73) U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Johnnie R. Robbins. (RELEASED)

“The warriors aboard USS Port Royal and USS Hopper have been working together diligently to prepare for this deployment to the 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet AOR,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 (HSM-37)

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 (HSM-37)

While deployed, Port Royal and Hopper will transit through the western Pacific to enter the 5th Fleet area of operation supporting maritime security operations and theater cooperation efforts.

USS Hopper (DDG 70)  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Dasbach/Released)

USS Hopper (DDG 70) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Dasbach/Released)

“Port Royal and Hopper crews are trained and ready to execute higher headquarters tasking. We join their friends and families in wishing them a safe and successful deployment,” said Fuller.

Port Royal and Hopper help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and humanitarian/disaster response as well as supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.

Armed Services YMCA Receives $12,000 Grant From Hawaiian Electric Companies

Armed Services YMCA has received a generous $12,000 grant from the Hawaiian Electric Companies in support of the Early Learning Readiness (ELR) program.  The ELR program serves toddlers and preschoolers providing the educational structure for these young children to acquire the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills necessary for future learning, and to prevent these military dependent children from falling behind academically in elementary school and beyond.

Landon Romero joins other children in thanking Hawaiian Electric and Ron Cox for their generous grant of $12,000 in support of the Early Learning Readiness Program.

Landon Romero joins other children in thanking Hawaiian Electric and Ron Cox for their generous grant of $12,000 in support of the Early Learning Readiness Program.

“The ELR program equips caregivers with resources that enable them to be their child’s first teacher and is specifically designed to serve young military families who are new to parenting and far from home, family and support. Many of these families have recently been stationed in Hawaii , and this program provides a high quality early learning environment, while providing parents with the support network to manage the stresses associated with military life,” said Laurie Moore, Armed Services YMCA Executive Director.

Participation in the ELR program ensures that children develop the skills necessary to successfully transition to one of Hawaii’s preschools or kindergarten programs, not only knowing their letters and numbers, but with competency in social skills. Through the ELR program, caregivers learn to teach their own children as they participate alongside them.

The financial investment provided by Hawaiian Electric Companies will be used to purchase developmentally appropriate furnishings and curriculum, which will enhance teaching by further providing ELR instructors with research-based strategies and curriculum resources.  “We are so thankful for the investment that the Hawaiian Electric Companies has provided. This will enable ASYMCA of Honolulu to continue providing outstanding early childhood programs for the families of our young men and women who serve our country,” added Moore.

“We are deeply appreciative of the men and women of the armed services for their valor and service to Hawaii and the nation, and to their families who sacrifice so much,” said Ron Cox, Hawaiian  Electric vice president – power supply. “It is gratifying to hear that our donation will help enhance the preschool learning environment at ASYMCA sites so young military families stationed in Hawaii can raise their children with confidence while they serve their country.”

Armed Services YMCA of Honolulu focuses programs and services in the areas of education and child care; financial support and assistance; and services that reduce military members and families’ feelings of isolation and loneliness.  As a private non-profit organization serving Hawaiʻi’s military community since 1917, ASYMCA has touched more military lives than any other organization in Hawaii. Please contact the Armed Services YMCA for more information at (808) 473-3398 or visit the website at www.asymcahi.org.

Coast Guard Tows Disabled Fishing Vessel Back To Honolulu

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Friday.

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Aug. 19, 2016. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them back safely to the pier. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Mazer/Released)

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Aug. 19, 2016. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them back safely to the pier. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Mazer/Released)

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them safely to the pier.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received a report Wednesday from the crew of fishing vessel Lily Kaileia that they were disabled and adrift approximately 115 miles south of Honolulu Harbor.

Sector Honolulu launched the Kittiwake to tow the Lily Kaileia back to shore due to the fact that the vessel was drifting and there was no commercial or private vessel assistance available.

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Aug. 19, 2016. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them back safely to the pier. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Mazer/Released)

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Aug. 19, 2016. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them back safely to the pier. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Mazer/Released)

The Kittiwake is a Marine Protector Class Patrol Boat homeported in Honolulu. As one of Sector Honolulu’s most versatile afloat assets, Kittiwake provides support to over 50,000 square miles around the waters of the Hawaiian Islands conducting law enforcement patrols, search and rescue missions as well as aiding in living marine resources and marine protected species missions.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to Conduct Harbor Security Exercise

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) will be holding a harbor defense training exercise with activities that can be seen and heard in the vicinity of the harbor on Aug. 22 to 26 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Exercise Citadel Protect

During the training period, JBPHH will make “Giant Voice” announcements at the beginning and conclusion of the daily training exercises. The exercise will involve increased activities in the harbor, including using blank ammunition to simulate live fire. The exercise is not in response to any specific threat. There is no cause for concern.

This training is part of Exercise Citadel Protect, an annual exercise designed to enhance the training, readiness and capability of Navy security forces to respond to threats to military installations and units.

For questions, please contact JBPHH Public Affairs Office at (808) 473-3152 or 473-2924.

Coast Guard Responds to Vessel Taking on Water Off Maui, Death Off Big Island, Busy Weekend

Coast Guard Station Maui personnel responded to a report of a commercial vessel with 21 people aboard taking on water off Maui Sunday.

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard responded to a report of the 43-foot vessel, with 21 people aboard, taking on water off Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard responded to a report of the 43-foot vessel, with 21 people aboard, taking on water off Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew arrived on scene five miles south of Maalaea and verified the crew of the 43-foot Maka Koa had the situation in hand before escorting the vessel back to port.

It was determined the vessel was taking on water around their shaft and has since been removed from the water to receive repairs and inspections before returning to service.

Maka Koa

“The Maka Koa crew was very professional and effective in their casualty response,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester, a crewman aboard the Station Maui RB-M. “Upon arrival we confirmed the vessel’s installed bilge pumps were keeping up with the leak and provided a standby until they reached port. We applaud the operators quick action identifying the problem and alerting us to what could have become a more severe case.”

Coast Guard crews responded to eight search and rescue and marine safety cases between Friday and Sunday.

Friday, the Coast Guard responded to a possible hoax call resulting from an email sent by a member of the public seeking employment with the Coast Guard. The individual ultimately apologized for the action. No Coast Guard assets were launched for the case. The public is reminded that hoax calls are against the law and can divert resources from necessary search and rescue or other operations. Those found guilty of committing a hoax call may receive fines or jail time.

Also, Friday the crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349) conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky a mile south of Honolulu.

USCGC Galveston Island

USCGC Galveston Island

As a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations the Galveston Island crew terminated the crew’s voyage and escorted the vessel to Pier 38 in Honolulu where they were met by personnel from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu to address all discrepancies are ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Coast Guard marine investigators in Maui are responding to the reported death of a diver Friday. The operator of a commercial vessel notified the Coast Guard of the incident involving a middle-aged man who became distressed while conducting a night dive off Big Island. The crew of the vessel recovered the man and contacted emergency medical services who met them at Honokohau Marina. He was transferred to Kona Hospital.

Hawaii is home to 340 small passenger vessels, 139 of which support snorkel and dive operations. Such incidents are reportable marine casualties under the Code of Federal Regulations and after addressing the immediate issue the master is required to notify the Coast Guard.

Saturday crews from Station Maui and the Maui Fire Department responded to a report of an adrift pool toy 200-yards off Kaanapali. The toy was located and recovered. Maui Fire Department resources and a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin crew conducted searches in the area to ensure no one was in distress. The case was closed.

Also, Saturday the crew of the Galveston Island conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Jennifer Lynn near Honolulu. The crew’s voyage was terminated and they were escorted back to port as a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel will address all discrepancies and ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Sunday crews in Kauai responded to a report of an overdue vessel. It was reported that a 26-yeear-old man had departed Mahaulepa Beach Saturday to fish and failed to return.

Coast Guard Station Kauai, Air Station Barbers Point and the USCGC Kiska (WPB-1336) were launched to respond. Kauai Fire Department personnel also searched. Shortly after launching assets Kauai police located the man ashore and well in Ahukini Park.

Also Sunday, the Coast Guard received notification of a 60-year-old Japanese citizen who experienced symptoms of a heart attack while snorkeling off a commercial vessel on the west side of Oahu. The man was transferred to shore and met by emergency medical personnel who took him to Queen’s Medical Center. Again, such incidents are not uncommon and the operators of commercial vessels report occurrences to the Coast Guard in line with the requirements for inspected commercial vessels. Coast Guard investigators from Sector Honolulu are reviewing the case.

The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to meet and maintain safety requirements and plan ahead for voyages. At the first sign of distress contact the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Evacuates Man From Oil Tanker Off Oahu

The Coast Guard medevaced a 45-year-old citizen of India from an oil tanker 12 miles south of Oahu, Wednesday.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point rescued a 45-year-old man from an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point rescued a 45-year-old man from an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point safely hoisted the man from the 1,050-foot Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager at 7 a.m. and transferred him to Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point lowers a rescue swimmer onto an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a 45-year-old crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point lowers a rescue swimmer onto an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a 45-year-old crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

Personnel aboard the ship contacted watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center at 11 a.m. Saturday requesting assistance for a crewmember presenting heart attack symptoms. The vessel was 1,438 miles from Oahu at the time headed toward the U.S. from Southeast Asia and elected to divert their course toward Honolulu.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point hoists a 45-year-old man from an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point hoists a 45-year-old man from an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and recommended the vessel continue toward Honolulu. The man’s condition was stable and plans were made to get him to shore via water taxi. However, when his condition began to deteriorate it was decided that a hoist would be conducted when the vessel arrived 14 miles offshore of Oahu to expedite his access to a higher level of medical care.

The Dolphin aircrew launched from Air Station Barbers Point at 5:45 a.m. and conducted the hoist at 6:35 a.m. He was delivered to awaiting emergency medical personnel in stable condition.

Public Invited to View Visiting RIMPAC Ships and Vessels

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) invites the general public to free, narrated boat tours of the harbor to view visiting Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) ships and vessels on Aug. 3-4.  The tours will be approximately 20-minutes long aboard the Navy’s white boats, and will be departing from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, 1 Arizona Memorial Place.

In this file photo, 42 ships and submarines representing 15 international partner nations steam in close formation during RIMPAC 2014. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Shannon Renfroe)

In this file photo, 42 ships and submarines representing 15 international partner nations steam in close formation during RIMPAC 2014. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Shannon Renfroe)

Tours for the general public will be limited to the following schedule, on a first-come, first-served basis (300 guests per tour time). No tickets or reservations required.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 4 at 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

No backpacks, fanny packs, luggage, diaper bags, camera bags, purses, large cameras/tripods or other items that provide concealment are allowed in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.  No bag storage is available for these after-hours tours, so please plan accordingly.  Limited photography will be allowed during the tour.

For questions, please contact JBPHH Public Affairs Office at (808) 473-3152 or 473-2924.

Navy Breaks Ground on New Groundwater Monitoring Site

The Navy resumed work today on a new groundwater monitoring well near the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Facility, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to protect drinking water on Oahu.

Red Hill Drill

The monitoring well, one of four new wells to be installed in coming months, will help scientists and Navy engineers sample and check water quality and evaluate how groundwater moves in the vicinity of Red Hill.

The installation of the newest monitoring well is in accordance with the Administrative Order on Consent agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH).

In EPA’s latest Red Hill website update* the agency states the Navy has been testing groundwater at the Red Hill facility since 2005 and adds, “These new wells will supply additional data to identify the presence of contamination, better characterize groundwater flow, and guide future investigations.”

Understanding Red Hill geology and groundwater flow is a high priority. The Navy broke ground for the well earlier this month, but digging was temporarily put on hold due to Tropical Storm Darby.

“Last week we began installing an additional groundwater monitoring site to better understand exactly how groundwater moves in the area,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. “Public records confirm that all drinking water remains safe, and this well is more tangible evidence that we are committed to keeping the drinking water safe.”

EPA reports: “Public water systems that supply drinking water to Oahu residents are required to routinely test drinking water for contaminants. All drinking water supplies in the vicinity of Red Hill continue to meet all federal drinking water standards.”

The installation of the new well coincides with visits by groups of senior civilian leaders and delegates this month. Last Monday, July 18, U.S. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Bradley Byrne (R-AL), among other legislators, visited Red Hill. Navy subject matter experts provided a tour of the facility and status update briefings.

“In the past two-and-a-half years, we hosted several hundred legislators, community leaders and other stakeholders for visits to the Red Hill facility. At the same time, we continue to work closely with regulators to protect the aquifer,” said Fuller.

Since 2006, the Navy has invested nearly $200 million to continue modernizing Red Hill.

At a cost of half-a-million dollars, construction of this latest monitoring well is expected to take about one month and be completed by the end of August.  The Navy will continue to routinely take water samples and send them to an independent accredited commercial laboratory for analysis, using industry-standard EPA test methods. And the Navy will continue to submit test results to DOH and EPA for evaluation, assessment and public dissemination.

Data from groundwater samples are designed to identify whether additional action is warranted.

Red Hill is a key part of the Rim of the Pacific exercise 2016. It is a national strategic asset that provides fuel essential to our nation’s defenders.

Coast Guard Rescues 8 From Burning Ship Offshore Oahu

The Coast Guard rescued eight crewmembers from a burning ship two miles offshore Oahu, Thursday.

Lady Anna

Eight people are safe after a rescue and assist team from USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349) fought and extinguished an engineroom fire aboard commercial fishing vessel Lady Anna two miles south of Honolulu Harbor.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” said Lt. Ryan Ball, commanding officer of USCGC Galveston Island. “This was a combined effort between the Galveston Island crew, the watchstanders at Sector Honolulu and rescue boat crews from Station Honolulu and Honolulu Fire Department. I’m happy that we were able to help and I’m proud of my crew for their quick and effective response in putting out the fire. The reason why we do training is to ensure that in an emergency situation such as this, we can perform safely and effectively.”

Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu Command Center overheard a transmission on VHF channel 16 at 4:30 p.m. regarding a fire aboard the 78-foot fishing vessel Lady Anna. Watchstanders established communication with the vessel, directed the launch of a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Honolulu and diverted the nearby Galveston Island crew to assist.

Once on scene, the Galveston Island crew reported black smoke billowing from the engineroom. The RB-M crew arrived on scene and safely disembarked the crew from the fishing vessel. The Galveston Island Rescue and Assist Team then boarded the Lady Anna to investigate the smoke. When approaching the engineroom, the team identified flames coming from the generator and utilized a P-6 pump to successfully extinguish the fire.

International crewmembers from the Lady Anna were safely transferred by the RB-M crew to the commercial fishing vessel Sapphire III due to lack of clearance and two U.S. crewmembers were safely transferred to Pier 38. No injuries were reported.

The Lady Anna was towed in to Pier 17 by a water taxi after a marine surveyor deemed the vessel seaworthy and not in danger of taking on water or having a fire re-flash.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel will investigate the cause of the fire in the coming days and address any repairs necessary for the Lady Anna to resume normal operations. Lady Anna is homeported in Honolulu.

Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) Range Named in Honor of Late Hawaii Senator

The Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) Range and Operations Center was officially named in honor of the late Senator from Hawaii, Daniel K. Inouye, during a naming ceremony held at PMRF on the 20th of July.  The former building 105 on PMRF was officially named the “Daniel K. Inouye Range and Operations Center (DIROC)”.

Daniel Inouye Range and Operations Center

Kekaha, HI (July 20, 2016) – U.S. Navy officers and members of the Kauai’s community come together in celebrating the naming of the range and operations center in honor of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye at Pacific Missile Range Facility on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Omar Powell)

The 33,522 square foot Range Operations Center was erected in 1963 and houses facilities for sustaining operations for the worlds largest instrumented multi-environment training and test range that encompasses 2.1 million square miles of sea, air and space and plays a vital role in ensuring current and future force readiness.

The event which was attended by family, friends and distinguished visitors from the civilian and military communities from all across Hawaii, included the Honorable Mazie Hirono, United States Senator, Mayor County of Kauai, the Honorable Bernard Carvalho, Rear Admiral John V. Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, wife of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Mrs. Irene Inouye, their son and daughter Ken and Jessica Inouye and many more.

(July 20, 2016) - Rear Admiral John Fuller, Navy Region Hawaii, talks with Irene Inouye at a naming ceremony held in honor of her late husband, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, at Pacific Missile Range Facility on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Omar Powell)

(July 20, 2016) – Rear Admiral John Fuller, Navy Region Hawaii, talks with Irene Inouye at a naming ceremony held in honor of her late husband, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, at Pacific Missile Range Facility on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Omar Powell)

The program featured comments from distinguished guests, a traditional Hawaiian christening ceremony and unveiling of the new name and logo.

In his speech to the group, Capt. Bruce W. Hay, Commanding Officer, PMRF commended the senator’s significant actions in removing PMRF from the Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure list and ensuring infrastructure improvement funding was allocated to help make PMRF the worlds premier test and training range and paving the way for a brighter future for the facility.

Hay also explained the significance of each part of the new DIROC logo which was chosen from a number of different design submissions.  The winning logo was designed by Steve Rogers, a former employee of PMRF and depicts four horizontal color bands representing the four operational domains that the Daniel K. Inouye Range and Operations Center (DIROC) is capable of controlling simultaneously: subsurface, surface, air and space.

The colors represent the natural tones of the Hawaiian sea, sky and space.  Each band depicts a submarine, surface ship, airplane and space vehicle/missile representing the participants in each of these domains. A thin line trails each craft representing that the PMRF environment is not static, but dynamic and evokes the tracks displayed on the control screens during operations.  The colors of yellow and black were the Senators favorite colors and the five white stars in the light blue field represent the Medal of Honor the Senator received for his heroism during World War II.

Mrs. Irene Inouye, wife of the late senator welcomed and expressed her gratitude for all in attendance, shared her joy in being back at PMRF and expressed her thanks for having the late senators name be part of the base.

Kekaha, HI (July 20, 2016) - Rear Admiral John Fuller, Navy Region Hawaii, greets Purple Heart recipient John Iwamoto former member of the U.S. Army  442nd battalion at Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s naming ceremony at Pacific Missile Range Facility on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Omar Powell)

Kekaha, HI (July 20, 2016) – Rear Admiral John Fuller, Navy Region Hawaii, greets Purple Heart recipient John Iwamoto former member of the U.S. Army 442nd battalion at Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s naming ceremony at Pacific Missile Range Facility on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Omar Powell)

To officially dedicate the building, Rear Admiral John Fuller, Captain Bruce Hay, Ms. Jennifer Goto-Sabas, Mr. Ken Inouye and Mrs. Irene Inouye drew the strings that unveiled the new signage and a new DIROC logo on the east wall of the building as Ms. Aletha Kaohi recited a Hawaiian christening prayer.  After the unveiling of the new signage, guests joined hands and sang “Hawai’i Aloha” in unison.

The naming ceremony was followed by a tour of the DIROC and a social gathering at Shenanigans All Hands Club on PMRF.

Senator Schatz Meets with Admiral Harris at RIMPAC

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) lead a congressional delegation to the Asia Pacific to participate in high-level meetings with leaders in Japan, Korea, and the Philippines. Before heading to Asia yesterday, the delegation toured the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) headquarters at Camp Smith and met with Admiral Harry Harris, PACOM commander.

USS America pulls into Pearl Harbor

USS America pulls into Pearl Harbor

Following a briefing with Admiral Harris, the delegation boarded the USS AMERICA.  While onboard, the group toured the ship, observed the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise, and met with sailors serving aboard the USS AMERICA.

In addition to Schatz, members of the delegation include U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), and Donna Edwards (D-Md.).

Australia and Republic of Korea Participate in Sinking of U.S. Naval Ship

Live fire from ships and aircraft participating in the Rim of the Pacific 2016 exercise sank the decommissioned USS Thach (FFG 43) at 7:25 p.m. Thursday in waters 15,000 feet deep, 55 nautical miles north of Kauai, Hawaii.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 14, 2016) Sailors aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) fire an RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile during an international sinking exercise, or SINKEX, for Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 14, 2016) Sailors aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) fire an RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile during an international sinking exercise, or SINKEX, for Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

Units from Australia, the Republic of Korea and the U.S. participated in the sinking exercise (SINKEX), which provided them the opportunity to gain proficiency in tactics, targeting and live firing against a surface target at sea.

“This SINKEX was a tremendous event for all the units who participated. As you can imagine, the opportunity to fire live ordnances at a real target is incredibly rare and I know that these men and women learned so much today,” said Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Scott Bishop, deputy commander of the RIMPAC Combined Task Force. “This kind of training is vital to strengthening our interoperability and increasing our readiness for operations in the future.”

Former Navy vessels used in SINKEXs are prepared in strict compliance with regulations prescribed and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency under a general permit the Navy holds pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.

Each SINKEX is required to sink the hulk in at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) of water and at least 50 nautical miles from land. Surveys are conducted to ensure humans and marine mammals are not in an area where they could be harmed during the event.

Prior to the vessel being transported for participation in a SINKEX, each vessel is put through a rigorous cleaning process, including the removal of all polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), transformers and large capacitors, all small capacitors to the greatest extent practical, trash, floatable materials, mercury or fluorocarbon-containing materials and readily detachable solid PCB items. Petroleum is also cleaned from tanks, piping and reservoirs.

RIMPAC 2016

A Navy civilian environmental, safety and health manager and a quality assurance supervisor inspect the environmental remediation conducted in preparation of a vessel’s use in a SINKEX. Upon completion of the environmental remediation, the manager and supervisor provide signed certification of the work in accordance with EPA requirements.

The decommissioned USS Thach (FFG-43) was the 34th ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates. The ship was named for Naval aviator Adm. John S. Thatch, the developer of the “Thach Weave”; dogfighting tactic in World War II and former Commander, U.S.

USS Thatch

USS Thatch

Naval Forces Europe from 1965-1967. Thach participated in a number of maritime security exercises and operations both independently and as part of carrier strike groups in U.S. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility during nearly three decades of service.

Held every two years by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and executed by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, RIMPAC is a multinational maritime exercise that takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands and off the coast of southern California. This year’s RIMPAC exercise, the 25th in the series that began in 1971, is scheduled from June 30 to Aug. 4. Twenty-six nations, 45 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 are participating in this year’s exercise.

2 Pilots Rescued From Downed Small Plane Off Kona

Survivors of a downed small plane were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard off Kona, Thursday, following a joint search involving the U.S. Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews.

Coast Guard and Hawaii Fire Department personnel stand with the mother of Sidney Uemoto following her daughter's rescue nine miles off Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016. Uemoto and David McMahon were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

Coast Guard and Hawaii Fire Department personnel stand with the mother of Sidney Uemoto following her daughter’s rescue nine miles off Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016. Uemoto and David McMahon were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew hoisted the survivors at 11:35 a.m. about nine miles north of the Kona airport, a mile and half offshore. They were flown to the airport where they were met by awaiting emergency medical crews and treated for minor injuries.

The mother of Sidney Uemoto checks on her daughter following her daughter's rescue nine miles off Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016. Uemoto and David McMahon were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

The mother of Sidney Uemoto checks on her daughter following her daughter’s rescue nine miles off Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016. Uemoto and David McMahon were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

A commercial helicopter flying along the Kona coast sighted a debris field and reported it to the Coast Guard. One of the Dolphin crews was diverted to investigate and sighted the survivors. They vectored in a second Dolphin crew with a rescue swimmer aboard to conduct the hoist. The survivors were both wearing lifejackets and were swimming toward shore at the time.

Coast Guard crews safely deliver David McMahon and Sidney Uemoto to emergency medical personnel in Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016, following their rescue nine miles off Kona. They were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. They reportedly sustained only minor injures in the crash. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

Coast Guard crews safely deliver David McMahon and Sidney Uemoto to emergency medical personnel in Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016, following their rescue nine miles off Kona. They were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. They reportedly sustained only minor injures in the crash. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

Involved in the search were:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane crews and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Air Station Barbers Point
  • A Navy MH-60R helicopter crew from the USS Chung Hoon (DDG-93) and the crew of the ship
  • The USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349)
  • A Royal New Zealand air force P3K2 Orion airplane crew
  • HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from the 353rd Special Operations Group from Kadena Air Base, Japan

At 3:15 p.m. watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received notification from Honolulu control facility personnel that the pilot of a dual engine aircraft with two people aboard radioed them reporting and in air emergency. The tower confirmed they then lost contact with the pilot and the plane no longer appeared on radar.

The plane was reportedly traveling to Kona from Oahu, not Maui as previously reported, with the last known position approximately 25 miles northwest of Kona. A Navy P3 Orion airplane was on approach to Kona and overheard the pilot’s call to the tower. The Orion crew initially diverted to investigate the report, but is not involved in the search.

Watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast advising mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to JRCC. They also directed the launch of assets to respond.

Me at the helm of USS Chung Hoon

Me at the helm of USS Chung Hoon

The Chung Hoon is homeported in Pearl Harbor. The Galveston Island is homeported in Honolulu. The Chung Hoon, Royal New Zealand air force and U.S. Air Force HC-130 are participating in RIMPAC 2016.

Diabetic Mariner With Heart Condition Gets Seasick… Rescued

Coast Guard and Navy aircrews conducted a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner from the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance 184 miles north of Oahu, Sunday.

The crew of an HC-130 Hercules airplane sights the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance as the sun rises and makes radio contact with the six people aboard. The Hercules crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

The crew of an HC-130 Hercules airplane sights the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance as the sun rises and makes radio contact with the six people aboard. The Hercules crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

A Navy SH-60 helicopter crew from Kaneohe Bay hoisted the mariner aboard the helicopter and returned to Kaneohe Bay where he was transferred in stable condition to awaiting emergency medical personnel for further transport to Castle Medical Center.

The crew of an HC-130 Hercules airplane begins their preflight checks. The crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

The crew of an HC-130 Hercules airplane begins their preflight checks. The crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew flew cover for the Navy helicopter and managed communications with the sailing vessel crew for both aircraft and Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders. A Coast Guard hospital corpsman flew with the Navy helicopter crew, administered an IV to the mariner and monitored his condition en route to Oahu.

At 5:55 a.m. Thursday the Coast Guard received a request for a medevac of the mariner who was suffering from extreme seasickness and is diabetic with a heart condition. The vessel departed Ko’olina, Oahu, with six people aboard five days earlier but turned around when the mariner became severely ill.

They were three days from Oahu at the time of their call for assistance. A Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended the crew monitor the mariner’s condition and close the distance between them and Coast Guard crews. The Second Chance crew maintained a regular communications schedule with the Coast Guard.

By 4:40 a.m. Saturday the mariner’s previously stable condition was deteriorating. The Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended a medevac to bring the mariner to higher level of medical care as soon as possible. The Second Chance was still outside the range of any hoist capable aircraft and there were no vessels in the area. The crew continued to make way toward Oahu.

Watchstanders estimated the vessel would be within range of air assets by first light Sunday and coordinated with the Navy’s HSM-37 Easyrider Squadron to conduct the hoist. The Coast Guard Hercules crew launched prior to sunrise and the helicopter crew shortly after.

The helicopter crew deployed their rescue swimmer and attempted to hoist the mariner from the deck of the Second Chance but 13 mph winds from the east and 7-foot seas made it impossible to do safely. The rescue swimmer was instead able to swim the mariner from the sailing vessel to the awaiting rescue basket a few hundred yards from the Second Chance, clear of the mast and rigging. Once the mariner was safely aboard the crew recovered their rescue swimmer and departed for Kaneohe Bay.

 Petty Officer 3rd Class Connor Mitchell, an aviation maintenance technician, records the hoist of an ill mariner from the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance on the CASPER pallet while serving as part of the crew of a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane form Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. The Hercules crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

Petty Officer 3rd Class Connor Mitchell, an aviation maintenance technician, records the hoist of an ill mariner from the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance on the CASPER pallet while serving as part of the crew of a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane form Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. The Hercules crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

“This case’s extreme distance and the mariner’s need underscores the importance of having hoist capable helicopters in the main Hawaiian Islands,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Scott, of Coast Guard Joint Rescue and Coordination Center Honolulu. “Our thanks to the Navy for their continued support and partnership in this case, allowing us to get the mariner to vital medical care in the most expedient way possible.”

Missile Range Facility Building to be Named After Daniel K. Inouye

Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands will be holding a naming ceremony for the PMRF Range and Range Operations Center, Building 105. The building will be named in honor of the late Senator from Hawaii, Daniel K. Inouye.

Makaha Ridge, 1970s.  Courtesy of PMRF.  (Click for more information)

Makaha
Ridge, 1970s. Courtesy of PMRF. (Click for more information)

Daniel K. Inouye was a World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient who fought with the infamous 442nd Infantry regiment. He later served as a U.S. Senator from 1963-2012. His political career began with his election to the House of Representatives in 1959 followed by his election to the U.S. Senate. He was one of the longest serving U.S. Senators in history and the first Japanese American to serve in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. He was later named President pro tempore. The late Senator Inouye had a profound influence on politics in Hawaii.

The ceremony will be held at the PMRF Range and Range Operations Center, Building 105, Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands on Wednesday, July 20th beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 11:00 a.m.

Update – Coast Guard Rescues 3 Boaters, Search Continues for 3 Missing Fishermen Off Oahu

The Coast Guard rescued three boaters attempting to assist in the search and rescue case for three missing fishermen off of the North Shore of Oahu, Monday.

The Coast Guard and the Navy are searching for three missing fishermen reported overdue north northwest of Oahu, July 4, 2016. Their 20-foot fishing vessel Iwa, was spotted overturned by the Coast Guard approximately 25 miles off of Haleiwa Boat Harbor. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

The Coast Guard and the Navy are searching for three missing fishermen reported overdue north northwest of Oahu, July 4, 2016. Their 20-foot fishing vessel Iwa, was spotted overturned by the Coast Guard approximately 25 miles off of Haleiwa Boat Harbor. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point hoisted three men aboard and safely transported them to Haleiwa Boat Harbor. A fourth man was able to swim to shore.

One of the four men is being treated by local emergency medical services personnel for hypothermia. No other injuries were reported.

The boater’s 30-foot recreation vessel reportedly capsized and sank while they attempted to tow the 20-foot Iwa, a capsized and adrift vessel from an earlier search and rescue case.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed call at 8:35 p.m., from dispatchers at the Honolulu Fire Department reporting they received a mayday call stating the boaters were sinking and abandoning ship. The mayday call was abruptly cut off after the notification.

Shortly after, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert in the vicinity of the North Shore, correlating with the mayday report. Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu diverted Coast Guard assets from the search for the fishermen to rescue the boaters.

Coast Guard crews are continuing the search through the night for the three missing fishermen originally reported overdue aboard the Iwa northwest of Oahu, early Monday.

Missing are Jensen Loo, Clint Oshima and Derek Tomas. All three men are 30-years-old. The Iwa was spotted overturned by the Coast Guard approximately 25 miles off of Haleiwa Boat Harbor during Monday’s search.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, both from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, are currently searching as well as the crew of the USCGC Kiska (WPB-1336).

An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center.

Anyone with information that may help locate the three fishermen is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

Coast Guard Identifies Three Missing Fishermen

The Coast Guard and the Navy are searching for three missing fishermen reported overdue north northwest of Oahu, Monday.

Coast Guard LogoMissing is 30-year-old Jensen Loo, 30-year-old Clint Oshima and 30-year-old Derek Tomas.

Their 20-foot fishing vessel Iwa, was spotted overturned by the Coast Guard approximately 25 miles off of Haleiwa Boat Harbor.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point are currently searching as well as the USCGC Kiska (WPB-1336). A Navy P-3 Orion from Marine Corps Base Hawaii and members of the Honolulu Fire Department are also assisting in the search.

An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center.

Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu received a call at 8:21 p.m., Sunday from a friend of the three fishermen stating they had gone out to fish at 5:45 a.m., in their 20-foot fishing vessel and had not returned that evening by their designated time.

Anyone with information that may help locate the three fishermen is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

Weather conditions are currently reported as 15 to 25 mph winds with waves at 8 feet and unlimited visibility.

Great Green Fleet Arrives at RIMPAC

The USS John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) arrived in Pearl Harbor, June 28-29 to participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.

PEARL HARBOR (June 29, 2016) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) renders honors to the USS Arizona Memorial as the ship prepares to moor at Joint Naval Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan J. Batchelder/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (June 29, 2016) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) renders honors to the USS Arizona Memorial as the ship prepares to moor at Joint Naval Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan J. Batchelder/Released)

JCSSG, also known as the Navy’s first Great Green Fleet (GGF) strike group, consists of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 embarked, guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).

“The strike group has accomplished our mission in 7th Fleet, fulfilling a vital role in a region the U.S. Navy has operated in for a century-and-a-half,” said Rear Adm. Marcus A. Hitchcock, JCSSG commander. “I am very proud of our Sailors, and I look forward to watching them excel during the upcoming Rim of the Pacific exercise, when they have the opportunity to operate with maritime professionals from 26 different nations.”

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships which are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.

More than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

PEARL HARBOR (June 29, 2016) The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016. John C. Stennis is currently on a Western Pacific deployment and is expected to play a major role in RIMPAC. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Troutman/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (June 29, 2016) The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016. John C. Stennis is currently on a Western Pacific deployment and is expected to play a major role in RIMPAC. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Troutman/Released)

RIMPAC began in 1971 and is held every two years. In 2012, the exercise met one of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ five energy goals, to demonstrate a Green Strike Group operating on alternative fuel. U.S. Navy ships and aircraft used 900,000 gallons of a 50-50 blend of renewable diesel and traditional petroleum as a proof of concept.

This year, RIMPAC participating countries will use 11.2 million gallons of a 10 percent alternative fuel blend during the exercise. This is the same fuel used earlier this year by JCSSG, during the first operational deployment of a GGF strike group. The principles behind the GGF initiative direct the use of energy efficiency measures, to include technologies and operational procedures, and alternative fuel in the course of normal operations.

The alternative fuel that will be used during RIMPAC is derived from waste beef fat from the Midwest. Alternative fuels can be made from animal waste oil, algae, or non-food crops. The fuel must be “drop-in,” requiring no modifications to engines or procedures. Having alternative fuel in the supply chain increases operational flexibility by allowing forces to obtain fuel from more sources worldwide.

Providing a combat-ready force to protect collective maritime interests, JCSSG is on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment.

USS America Arrives in Hawaii for RIMPAC 2016

Sailors and Marines manned the rails of the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) as it pulled pierside in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in preparation for the Rim of the Pacific 2016 Exercise, June 30.

PEARL HARBOR (June 30, 2016) Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) salute the USS Missouri Memorial and the USS Arizona Memorial as the ship transits into Pearl Harbor for Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jacob Holloway/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (June 30, 2016) Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) salute the USS Missouri Memorial and the USS Arizona Memorial as the ship transits into Pearl Harbor for Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jacob Holloway/Released)

This is America’s first time participating in the world’s largest international maritime exercise, but according to Capt. Michael W. Baze, America’s commanding officer, the ship’s crew understands the importance of strengthening ties with our partners throughout the globe.

“America’s maiden voyage around South America during the summer of 2014 was an incredible opportunity to reinforce relationships with our brothers and sisters throughout the continent,” said Baze. “Now, during RIMPAC, we have the same opportunity, but with even more partner nations. I know the Sailors and Marines serving aboard America look forward to meeting new friends from foreign navies and military services.”

During America’s time in Hawaii, the ship will host distinguished visitors, participate in community relations projects, explore the Hawaiian culture, and make final preparations for the underway portion of the exercise.

“It’s exciting to be a part of RIMPAC this year and to visit Hawaii,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Chelsea Milton, assigned to America. “I can’t wait to see the island culture, the hiking trails, meet new people, and check out the Hawaiian food scene.”
USS America
Throughout the exercise, America will host members of the Royal New Zealand Navy, Marines from Marine Expeditionary Battalion Hawaii (MEB-HI), and serve as the command and control platform for Amphibious Task Force CTF 176.

“America is a very capable and adaptable platform, and serves as the perfect amphibious task force flagship for this comprehensive exercise,” said Baze. “As a Marine Corps aviation-centric platform, USS America provides unmatched versatility for our fellow Marines who will be aboard throughout the next month.”

America’s Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Kenneth W. Robertson sees RIMPAC as a once in a lifetime experience for all the Sailors and Marines involved.

“I lived in Hawaii for several years and I am happy to come back to the islands to experience RIMPAC on America,” said Robertson. “The ship’s crew and embarked staffs will learn and grow together. This is a pivotal moment in the ship’s history and a memorable one for all participating.”

Twenty-six nations, 49 ships, six submarines, about 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships between participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

New Captain at Helm of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu

Capt. Michael Long relieved Capt. Shannon Gilreath as commander of Sector Honolulu during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Friday.

Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander for the Coast Guard 14th District, presents an award to Capt. Shannon Gilreath during a Coast Guard Sector Honolulu change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander for the Coast Guard 14th District, presents an award to Capt. Shannon Gilreath during a Coast Guard Sector Honolulu change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Long is a native of Florida and graduated from Florida State University with a master’s degree in public administration in addition to earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in environment resource management from the University of West Florida.

Capt. Michael Long (left) relieves Capt. Shannon Gilreath (right) as the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander for the Coast Guard 14th District, presided over the ceremony. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Capt. Michael Long (left) relieves Capt. Shannon Gilreath (right) as the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander for the Coast Guard 14th District, presided over the ceremony. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Long’s previous field assignments include serving as the deputy commander at Coast Guard Sector Miami, senior defense official and defense attaché at the U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, response department head and search and rescue mission coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, port operations at Marine Safety Office New Orleans, and assistant operations officer for the Gulf Strike Team.

Long’s previous staff tours include executive assistant to the Coast Guard’s director of port security, assistant director of the Coast Guard’s International Port Security Program, and a duty officer at the National Response Center.

Gilreath will be the new office chief of the Coast Guard’s Maritime and International Law Program in Washington, D.C.

Capt. Shannon Gilreath and Capt. Michael Long conduct an inspection of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu crewmembers during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Capt. Shannon Gilreath and Capt. Michael Long conduct an inspection of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu crewmembers during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Prior to assuming command of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, Capt. Gilreath was the deputy commander. His previous assignments include USCGC Northland (WMEC 904), Marine Safety Office New Orleans, Coast Guard 8th District legal office, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge, and chief of the Prevention Law Group within the Office of Maritime and International Law at Coast Guard Headquarters. He also served as a senior military fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander, Coast Guard 14th District, was the presiding official for the ceremony.