Boxer celebrates Hospital Corpsman 114th birthday
by MC3(AW) Maebel Ysog Tinoko, USS Boxer Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors from amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) gathered in the ship's medical triage to celebrate the 114th Hospital Corpsman birthday, June 15.
San Diego Training Support Center Command Master Chief (FMF/SW) Kelvin E. Carter was the guest speaker for the event and shared the history of the Hospital Corpsman rate during his speech.
"Prior to the establishment of the Hospital Corps, enlisted medical support in the Navy was limited in scope," he said. "Still, there existed pressure to reform the enlisted component of the Navy's medical department. Medicine as a science was advancing rapidly, foreign navies had begun training medically skilled Sailors, and even the U.S. Army had established an enlisted Hospital Corps in 1887. Navy Surgeon General J.R. Tyron and subordinate physicians lobbied the Navy administration to take action. With the Spanish-American War looming, Congress passed a bill authorizing establishment of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps, signed into law by President William McKinley June 17, 1898," said Carter.
"Today, hospital corpsmen are serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars providing corpsmen for convoys, patrols, and hospital or clinic treatment," he said.
During the celebration, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW) Joy Dedious led the medical department with reciting the Corpsman creed.
Following the formal ceremony, a cake-cutting was held which included Carter with the youngest and oldest Hospital Corpsman from the Boxer medical staff.
For Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Lakesha Aldaco this celebration honors the Corpsmen who made the rate what it is today.
"This is a way to pay our homage to those who sacrificed so much to save others," said Aldaco. "It's important to reflect on where we started and learn how we got here today."
Boxer Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin Flanagan thanked the medical department for its hard work and dedication.
"All of you do a tremendous job of taking care of our Marines and Sailors. I am proud to serve with each and every one of you," said Flanagan. "From the day I met this department, I've never seen a more productive group of Sailors. Congratulations and happy birthday."
Boxer Sailors participate in CSADD rally
by MCSN Mayra A. Knight, USS Boxer Public Affairs
CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- A USS Boxer (LHD 4) Sailor recently decided to become a new member of the ship's chapter of the Coalition of Sailors against Destructive Decisions (CSADD).
Damage Control Fireman Roberto Fernandez Jr. represented the amphibious assault ship at the CSADD rally held at Naval Base Coronado, June 12-13.
"The goal of the rallies is to thank CSADD members for what they are doing," said Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Keith Wright, CSADD coordinator and organizer of the rallies. "We hope to hold it annually."
"CSADD is a program that was established to help promote the idea of peer to peer mentoring and is for the proactive Sailor that wants to make a change," said Wright.
The rally kicked off with a motivating talk from Wright. Next, guest speakers were introduced and covered an array of topics such as the dangers of trending drugs, financial management and stress operation.
"The topics covered were chosen by CSADD members themselves," said Wright. "We asked CSADD members to think outside the box and got feedback from them. Using local assets was the best way to go about this."
The rally's theme was "Navigating Success," and included two comedy acts. The first act discussed alcohol and its effects on Sailors. The second act covered sexual assault awareness.
Fernandez said both of the comedy acts were his favorite. "There was audience participation in the show and there never was a dull moment. I was engaged," he said.
The rally concluded with a beach picnic and group activities on the sand.
"It was a great way to network face to face and is the preferred form of communication to date," said Wright about the rally.
Fernandez hopes to continue participating in future CSADD events, and hopes to see the function grow. "It has the potential for it to become something greater," he said.
CSADD was first conceptualized in June 2009 and currently has 250 registered chapters Navy-wide. Boxer CSADD chapter has been operating as a registered chapter for almost six months and is continuously growing.
Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability, and the crew is training to maintain proficiency in preparation to return to the fleet.
SAN DIEGO (May 16, 2012) Operations Specialist 3rd Class William Campbell, center, a member of the soccer team from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), steals the ball from his opponent during a match with Sailors from the guided-missile frigate USS Rentz (FFG 38). U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Maebel Tinoko
Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group, 13th MEU complete certification exercise
by MC1 Fletcher Gibson, USS Boxer Public Affairs
USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- The 13th Marine Expeditionary unit, along with the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) and the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group, completed its certification exercise (CERTEX) off the coast of Southern California Dec. 17.
The 12-day period of amphibious actions demonstrated the unit's ability to perform a wide variety of missions and was the final check mark making the 13th MEU/Amphibious Squadron 1 team ready for deployment.
Alongside Boxer, the dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and the Marines of the 13th MEU completed simulated missions ranging from maritime boarding to amphibious land raids, to civilian evacuation drills.
"We've been able to evaluate our full set of missions," said Maj. Ryan Caughlin, 13th MEU operations officer. "Since the first day we formed up, this is what our entire training has built up to."
While the focus of the evaluation was on mission completion for the Marines, their ability to integrate with their naval partners and deploy to their assignments was a key part of the evaluation.
Launching harrier jets from Boxer's flight deck or equipping landing craft from USS Green Bay played a large part in their ongoing success.
"There's no such thing as a pure Navy or Marine Corps show when you're an amphibious force," said Col. David Coffman, 13th MEU commanding officer.
The all-amphibious operations of CERTEX also marked a shift for most of the Marines involved who had until now only been involved in land operations and training. Nearly 60 percent of the MEU personnel had never done a ship deployment, and Coffman said he was excited to be able to turn them into sea-going Marines.
"The [best] part to me is watching the Marines learn what it is to be a Marine," he said, "To not just ride around on a ship, but operate from a ship and do our mission."
CERTEX was the third and final group exercise for the 13th MEU and Boxer ARG. Previous exercises consisted of the PHIBRON/Marine Integration (PMINT) which first tested the Blue/Green team's ability to coordinate together, and the Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) which tested the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group as a whole.
With these three major certifications behind them, the ARG and MEU are ready for their scheduled deployment in early 2011.
USS Boxer (LHD 4) conducts change of command
USS Boxer (LHD 4) conducted a change of command aboard the ship located in drydock at General Dynamics NASSCO Shipyard, San Diego on Jan. 22, 2010.
Capt. Frank J. Michael relieved Capt. Mark E. Cedrun as USS Boxer’s Commanding Officer during the ceremony.
During Cedrun’s tenure aboard Boxer, the ship conducted a seven-month Western Pacific deployment with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The team deployed to the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea to engage in counter-piracy operations during which Boxer’s role in the rescue of Maersk Alabama captain Richard Phillips made international headlines.
Cedrun was relieved by his own executive officer who served with him during this time.
Michael, a native of Dallas, Pa., graduated from College Misericordia in 1986 and was commissioned a Naval Aviator through Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1988.
In addition to his previous tour on USS Boxer, Michael’s tours of duty include USS Guam (LPH 9), HSL 43 at NAS North Island, Calif., and HSL47 on board USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) where he served as squadron commanding officer.
USS Boxer Sailors serve less fortunate at local charity
by MC2 Jeff Hopkins
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) spent their morning helping the less fortunate at a local charitable organization Dec. 7.
Approximately 15 Boxer Sailors prepared ingredients, made sandwiches and served breakfast to residents of St. Vincent De Paul Village, an organization which works to help struggling individuals and families regain financial footing and rehabilitate the homeless.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate Handling Airman Apprentice Keenan Houtz, a Sailor assigned to Boxer's Air Department, went to work in one of St. Vincent's kitchens chopping potatoes and said the experience gave him a new perspective on the plight of the less fortunate.
"It's a very meditative task, cutting potatoes," Houtz said. "It's given me a chance to think about the lives of the people I'm serving. It's humbling to be around those in need."
The St. Vincent De Paul Village is a residential center for San Diego's struggling individuals and families. Started as a sandwich-distribution program for the indigent, St. Vincent offers short- and long-term residency for people struggling to find work, as well as full service medical and dental facilities. The program encourages self-sufficiency and rehabilitation. The village also offers help in attaining General Equivalency Degree and seeks employment for its residents at local job fairs. Children of resident families go to school at the on-site, county-run elementary and high schools. This would not be possible however without the help of volunteers like those from Boxer.
"We're always looking for opportunities to help out and volunteer in the external community, and were very grateful to have this opportunity to do so," said Religious Programs Assistant 2nd Class Lagicondia Phillips, the leading petty officer for Boxer's Religious Ministries Department.
Phillips serves as coordinator for the ship's numerous community relations projects and said Boxer Sailors perform the projects to give back to the local community and to humanity at large. Boxer Sailors have performed community relations projects around the globe, from repainting and cleaning up public buildings in Thailand to sanitizing classrooms to protect against H1N1 in elementary schools at home in San Diego.
SAN DIEGO (August 1, 2009) Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Michael Daley holds his baby for the first time after returning from a seven-month deployment aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer and the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) deployed from Southern California in January to support global maritime security. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Joshua Martin
USS Boxer and Expeditionary Strike Group 3 return from deployment
The USS Boxer (LHD 4) Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) return to San Diego this week, marking the end of a seven-month deployment to the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Arabian Gulf, and Indian Ocean.
The Boxer ARG/MEU left Southern California in January in support of global maritime security as the nation's force in readiness within the Pacific and Central Commands. During the deployment, the Boxer ARG/MEU spent three months conducting maritime security operations (MSO) with coalition partners to provide security in international waters. The mission included anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean while assigned to Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151). Sailors and Marines also supported community service projects during port visits.
ARG/MEUs provide a variety of expeditionary mission capabilities, including rapid, projected humanitarian assistance worldwide with the physical capacity to transport large amounts of medical and engineering supplies and equipment to most locations around the globe.
Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU)
Amphibious Squadron (CPR) 5
USS Boxer (LHD 4)
USS New Orleans (LPD 18)
USS Comstock (LSD 45)
USS Lake Champlain (CG 57)
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 Detachment 3
Naval Beach Group 1
Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 and ACU 1
Beach Master Unit (BMU) 1
Fleet Surgical Team 5
Boxer ARG exemplifies health readiness
PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) completed a visit to Oahu July 24 that gave the crew an opportunity to see and enjoy Hawaii. The port visit also demonstrated how the Navy has prepared deployed units to respond during potential global health crises.
In recent weeks a small number of ARG Sailors and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Marines aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), USS Comstock (LSD 45) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18) had symptoms of an influenza-like illness (ILI). Sixty-nine crew members were officially confirmed to have had strain H1N1 virus, while many others were confirmed to have a typical seasonal flu strain. All had very mild symptoms that lasted a few days and were able to continue all of their shipboard duties.
Prior to arriving in Hawaii the Boxer amphibious task force surgeon contacted the Navy Environmental and Preventative Medicine Unit Six in Hawaii, and together they developed additional force health protection measures that the Boxer ARG could employ. These additional measures followed strict guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Hawaii Health Department.
"The Pacific Fleet has been preparing for possible worldwide infectious disease outbreaks for several years," said U.S. Pacific Fleet Surgeon Capt. Charles Baxter. "We started increasing our force health protection posture throughout the Pacific by increasing supplies of antiviral medication and prepositioning afloat response kits."
Medical departments at sea conduct regular, routine training to maintain readiness.
"Units now have the ability to provide enhanced medical intervention in shipboard infection control, decontamination-disinfection, patient isolation, sampling and initiation of treatment," Baxter said.
"Operational readiness is critical, and timely accurate medical intervention has a tremendous role in containing and preventing the spread of any disease process," Baxter added. "We also have a responsibility to ensure that shipboard illnesses are not transmitted to a local population, and we take every precaution."
In Pearl Harbor, the Boxer ARG used a state-of-the-art thermograph screening tool to monitor temperatures of the crew prior to liberty. Crewmembers with an elevated temperature were provided with an immediate, more intensive medical evaluation.
"The success of the Boxer port visit will help us develop very specific guidance to all of our afloat units planning port calls throughout the Pacific," Baxter said.
The World Health Organization rates the current H1N1 influenza outbreak as a level-six pandemic. The CDC reports that so far in 2009 novel H1N1 has spread quickly but is not as severe as this most recent seasonal flu.
"Most people who have become ill have recovered without requiring medical treatment," according to CDC's Web site.
"As we deal with this issue, we need to keep things in perspective," Baxter said. "This has been a relatively mild virus to this point, but as with every flu virus, the virus can mutate quickly, so we must remain vigilant."
"Education is critical, too, now and as we head into flu season this fall," Baxter said. "Our Sailors and their families can and should learn more about novel H1N1 by visiting www.flu.gov or www.cdc.gov. There, they can get more information about different types of influenza and, perhaps most importantly, learn how to prevent the spread of illness."
The Boxer ARG/MEU recently supported maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
PEARL HARBOR (July 24, 2009) – USS Boxer (LHD 4) Sailors and Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship, prepare to man the rails during the ship’s departure from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Boxer made a seven-day port visit to the island as its final stop while returning to its homeport of San Diego. Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG)/13th MEU are returning from a seven-month deployment in support of global maritime security. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 John J. Siller
PEARL HARBOR (July 24, 2009) – USS Boxer (LHD 4) Sailors and Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship, stand at parade rest while manning the rails as the ship approaches the USS Arizona Memorial during its departure from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Boxer made a seven-day port visit to the island as its final stop while returning to its homeport of San Diego. Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG)/13th MEU are returning from a seven-month deployment in support of global maritime security. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 John J. Siller
PACIFIC OCEAN (July 24, 2009) – Sailors assigned to USS Boxer’s (LHD 4) Air Department attach straps to a ramp so it can be lowered into its storage area after departing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Boxer made a seven-day port visit to the island as its final stop while returning to its homeport of San Diego. Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG)/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are returning from a seven-month deployment in support of global maritime security. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 John J. Siller
PACIFIC OCEAN (July 24, 2009) – Sailors assigned to USS Boxer’s (LHD 4) Air Department use the amphibious assault ship’s crane to hoist a ramp so it can be lifted into its storage area after departing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Boxer made a seven-day port visit to the island as its final stop while returning to its homeport of San Diego. Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG)/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are returning from a seven-month deployment in support of global maritime security. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 John J. Siller
R&R: Reunions and reconnecting
by MC2 (SW/AW) Brian Gaines
PACIFIC OCEAN – Representatives from the Fleet and Family Support Center, Naval Base Coronado, hosted a series of Return and Reunion seminars onboard USS Boxer (LHD 4) beginning July 13.
The seminars were given to help forward deployed Sailors and Marines cope with returning to life on land, reconnecting with spouses and family, and with such topics as finances and car buying.
The seminars were conducted by Work and Family Life Consultants, known as “Waffles”, while Boxer was making her way to her final port visit of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
“These classes offer a variety of information for Sailors and Marines, whether its relocating, buying their first car, or becoming better at money management,” said Carrie Carmichael, a “waffle” that made the week-long trip. “Hopefully, we can reach out and give assistance to those who need it.”
The consultants who made the trip go through extensive training to be able to give advice and counseling on the broad range of topics.
As well as going through training, some consultants can speak from experience on the topics they cover.
“The money management seminar is one of my favorites, because a few years ago, my husband and I needed financial counseling,” said Carmichael, who is a military spouse. “Fleet and Family Support is an excellent resource to help get service members on the right track.”
For some Sailors, such as Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (SW) Andrew Hernandez, the information presented at these seminars has been appreciated.
“I have really learned a lot from these classes,” said Hernandez. “I feel that I am better prepared to adjusting back to life with my wife and family.”
The Return and Reunion seminars will run until Boxer’s arrival to Pearl Harbor June 17.
Boxer and BOXARG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USCGC Boutwell (WHEC 719), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 Detachment 3, Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1 and Fleet Surgical Team 5.
The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit is comprised of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 163 (Reinforced), Combat Logistics Battalion 13 and Battalion Landing Team 1/1.
Boxer Sailors, Marines make Hawaiian port visit
by MC1 (AW) T.S. Hall
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII (NNS) -- After a nearly seven-month deployment, Boxer Amphibious Ready Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit made a scheduled port visit in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, July 17.
Sailors and Marines got the opportunity to enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation as they prepare for their final journey to San Diego.
"Hawaii means home – the United States," said Boxer's Commanding Officer Captain Mark Cedrun. "This is the perfect place to catch your breath and prepare for homecoming."
Boxer's Morale Welfare and Recreation Department arranged numerous tours and activities for the crew, including a snorkeling trip and a hike up one of Oahu's most recognized landmarks, Diamond Head State Monument. The crew also enjoyed shopping for gifts and the scenic beauty of the islands.
Boxer will undergo some brief scheduled maintenance before continuing on to its homeport of San Diego.
The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USCGC Boutwell (WHEC 719), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 Detachment 3, Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1 and Fleet Surgical Team 5.
The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit is comprised of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 163 (Reinforced), Combat Logistics Battalion 13 and Battalion Landing Team 1/1.
INDIAN OCEAN (May 4, 2009) Sailors and Marines perform a foreign object debris (FOD) walk down after an all-hands call aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). FOD walk downs help prevent damage to aircraft from debris on the flight deck which could be ingested into a jet engine. Boxer is deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 John J. Siller
GULF OF ADEN (April 1, 2009) Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Ryne Mueller, a search and rescue swimmer assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) 21 Detachment 3, is pulled out of the water during a training mission. HSC-21 is embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), the flagship for Combined Task Force 151, a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Laura A. Moore
Search, Rescue swimmers ready to take plunge
by MC3 Matthew Jackson
USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- Search and Rescue (SAR) swimmers aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) continually train in preparation for lifesaving missions.
Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) 21 Squadron, 3rd Detachment is deployed aboard Boxer in support of maritime security and counterpiracy operations, where training and preparedness are key priorities.
"We conduct search and rescue training and routine operations daily," said HSC 21 Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class (AW/AC) Jake Woodley, a SAR swimmer from Berryton, Kan.
"We support Boxer's vertical replenishments, rigid-hull inflatable boat operations and the current primary mission of counterpiracy operations."
SAR swimmers must complete nearly one year of training before going to their first squadron.
"My training consisted of four weeks of Naval Aircrew Candidate School, five weeks Aviation Rescue Swimmer School, sixteen weeks of Aviation Warfare 'A' School and sixteen weeks of Fleet Replacement Air Crewman School," said Woodley.
Once Sailors complete aircrew and rescue swimmer school, they enter into what many view as one of the most dangerous jobs in the fleet.
"Swimming most of my life and enjoying it got me interested in becoming a SAR swimmer. The best part of my job is jumping out of a moving aircraft and plunging into the water," said Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Ryne Mueller, a SAR swimmer from Clinton, Iowa.
Like every rate and profession in the Navy, SAR swimmers use tools-of-the-trade to successfully train and execute operations.
"We use wetsuits, fins and masks and two different types of small firearms for self-defense," said Woodley.
"We fly different rescue equipment that is specific to a survivor's physical injuries. These include a rescue basket -- to hoist a survivor to the helicopter from the ocean -- and a variety of emergency gear."
Boxer is deployed as part of Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting maritime security operations (MSO) in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet Area of Operations. MSO help develop security in the maritime environment and compliment the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment to transport personnel and weapons or serve as a venue for attack.
INDIAN OCEAN (April 23, 2009) Lance Cpl. Christopher Romero, from Albuquerque, N.M. assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13 MEU) embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), cleans the tire of an AV-8B Harrier aircraft. Boxer is deployed as part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th MEU supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Matthew Jackson
GULF OF ADEN (March 27, 2009) A CH-47 helicopter flies near the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. CTF 151 was established to create a lawful maritime order and develop security in the maritime environment. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Laura A. Moore.
Boxer boosts morale with dance classes
by MC3 Matthew Jackson
USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Boxer's (LHD 4) Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) offers dance classes as a way to relieve stress, exercise and boost morale.
"Sailors and Marines can participate in ballroom, salsa, hip hop and step dance classes," said Gina Bilitz, MWR representative and Boxer's fun boss.
"There really is something for everyone, which is great because the purpose of dance classes is to boost morale and increase the quality of life for deployed Sailors and Marines."
"The best part of class is learning new steps, competing against others and accepting the personal challenge to improve," said Cpl. Jade Myles. "The step class is definitely a workout."
All dance classes are instructed by service members deployed aboard Boxer.
"I wanted to instruct a step dance class so that I could pass on knowledge and the art of stepping to some of my shipmates and Marines," said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Dameon Douglass, step class instructor.
"Many people have not yet had a chance to learn about step dance because it is not very well known. These classes are free, so it's a great opportunity for people to learn something new."
Several classes have such high attendance rates that they have to offer multiple sessions to accommodate the students.
"The attendance rates have exceeded my goals for them," said Bilitz. "I'm impressed with the time and dedication the instructors have taken out of their busy schedules to teach Sailors and Marines."
"My students are the best part of teaching my class," he said Douglas. "They are motivated and willing to learn, which makes my job easy."
MWR sponsored dance classes have been an overwhelming success according to Bilitz.
"It's rewarding to see the level of participation and to hear positive feedback about the programs MWR has offered," said Bilitz.
Boxer is deployed as part of Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting maritime security operations (MSO) in the 5th Fleet Area of Operations. MSO help develop security in the maritime environment and compliment the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations.
From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment to transport personnel and weapons or serve as a venue for attack.
Boxer celebrates Women's History Month, Navy's diversity
by MC3 Matthew c. Haws Jackson
USS BOXER, At sea (NNS) -- USS Boxer (LHD 4) Sailors and Marines celebrated Women's History Month March 21 with a ceremony on the forecastle while underway in support of counterpiracy operations.
The ceremony marked a brief pause, for some, from counter-piracy operations as the flagship for Coalition Task Force 151. The ceremony consisted of a rendition of the national anthem, a short video, presentations of poetry, biographies of distinguished women throughout history and remarks by Boxer's Commanding Officer, Capt. Mark Cedrun.
"The ceremony was very touching for me," said Yeoman 1st Class (SW) Beverly Ellis. "There was a wide array of talented women aboard Boxer and around the world featured during the ceremony."
Many of the ceremony's participants expressed a sense of honor they felt from participating in the event.
"I felt honored to take part in something like this," said Yeoman 2nd Class Mijoy Stephens, a stepping dance team member. "This ceremony shows how much the Navy cares about women's contributions throughout history, and even some of the women aboard Boxer."
Ellis, who read a poem by the famous poet Maya Angelou, agreed that the Navy works to provide an inclusive environment for all service members.
"I think the ceremony showed the Navy is openly accepting of women working side by side with men and being treated as equals," she said.
Boxer is deployed as part of Boxer Amphibious Ready Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting maritime security operations (MSO) in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet Area of operations. MSO help develop security in the maritime environment and compliment the counter terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment to transport personnel and weapons as well as the extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack.
Boxer ICs maintain ship's communications
by MC3 Matthew Jackson
GULF OF ADEN (NNS) -- USS Boxer (LHD 4) interior communications electricians work to keep Boxer's many communications systems running smoothly while deployed to the Gulf of Aden in support of maritime security operations (MSO).
Interior communications (IC) division's nine Sailors are charged with preserving mission essential communication systems. Boxer's MSO mission requires an efficient information flow to ensure the safety and preparedness of all Sailors and Marines aboard.
"Interior communications electricians have a large role aboard Boxer," said Ensign Christine Casey, IC division officer. "We support every department in different ways. Vertical Short Takeoff and Landing (VSTOL) aids the Marine Corps' Harrier jets during landing, our alarms and sensors help engineering determine when a system is not operating properly. Electronic indicators help the bridge know where we're steering, and Secure Video Distribution System (SVDS) helps the command and control elements of the ship make tactical decisions."
Boxer's communications systems are an important priority for many operations and basic functions.
"Whenever a mishap is evaluated aboard Boxer, communication is always something that gets mentioned," Casey said. "Without the ability to execute communications, even with something as simple as sound-powered phones, the Navy would not be able to successfully continue its daily operations."
Boxer's IC electricians learn their way around the ship quickly because their trouble calls take them to many spaces.
"We maintain and troubleshoot all audio and visual systems, alarms and warning systems, telephones, televisions, liquid level indicators, and announcing systems such as the 1MC," said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class (SW) Daniel Svoboda, "but our most frequent repair calls are for telephones not working."
During Svoboda's three and a half years as an interior communications electrician, he has been shocked before and stressed the importance of Sailor safety when dealing with electronics.
"Safety and operational risk management are always on my mind when I conduct maintenance or trouble calls on equipment," said Svoboda.
Casey spoke about the rewards she gets from working with the IC division.
"It's rewarding to work among some of the most talented Sailors in the fleet. With their services in high demand, they are able to provide continuous support throughout the ship. I truly think I have the best division on the ship, and I enjoy working with such intelligent and skilled technicians," Casey said.
Boxer is deployed as part of Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting MSO in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area of operations. MSO help develop security in the maritime environment and compliment the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment to transport personnel and weapons or serve as a venue for attack.