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Doctor reunites with medical student he delivered decades ago
by Curtis Hill, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton
A military medical student at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton was reunited with the doctor who delivered her into the world more than two decades ago.
Ensign Hannah Ortiz is currently in the middle of her family medicine rotation as part of her medical education through the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU).
Capt. William Roberts (Ret-Navy) was an active-duty family medicine physician at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in 2000 when he delivered young Hannah Ortiz, the daughter of a Marine stationed on the Marine Corps base.
“I began delivering babies in 1982 and have delivered or supervised the delivery of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of babies over my career,” said Roberts. “I’ve had patients who told me that I had delivered them, but this is the first time I’ve heard that from one of our medical students.”
Ortiz knew who had delivered her because her mother would speak often about the wonderful doctor she had for the birth of her daughter, and this wasn’t the first interaction between the two.
“My mom raves about him to this day,” Ortiz added. “We saw him in either 2012 or 2013 at the old hospital when my dad was stationed here on Camp Pendleton again,” Ortiz said. “My mom introduced me to him when she saw him during a medical visit to the hospital.”
Hannah will only be here for her five-week rotation; however, the opportunity to reunite with the wonderful doctor who brought her into the world was too good to pass up.

DeCA plans home delivery from stateside commissaries
by Kelly Agee, Stars and Stripes
Commissaries at military bases in the United States will soon offer home delivery, according to the Defense Commissary Agency. Commissaries at military bases in the United States will soon offer home delivery, according to the Defense Commissary Agency. (Jeremy Stillwagner/Stars and Stripes) Commissary customers across the United States will soon be able to order groceries delivered to their homes, according to the Defense Commissary Agency. DeCA anticipates starting home delivery by midsummer, but only from its 178 stateside location. DeCA is still soliciting bids on a contract to deliver groceries to the homes of eligible consumers, after which it will determine where it will roll out the delivery option, he said. DeCA has been running a pilot program for nearly two years at Fort Belvoir and Norfolk Naval Station, both in Va.; Scott Air Force Base, Ill, Fort Liberty South, N.C., MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Lewis Main at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Naval Station San Diego, both in California. Read more...

Navy resources arrive in Baltimore to support Key Bridge efforts
The Chesapeake, a 1,000-ton lift capacity derrick barge, the Ferrell, a 200-ton lift capacity revolving crane barge, and the Oyster Bay, a 150-ton lift capacity crane barge have arrived in Baltimore Harbor. An additional 400-ton lift capacity barge is on track to arrive early next week. The barges, contracted through Naval Sea Systems Command, will support the Coast Guard-led Unified Command in its effort to clear and reopen the channel.
The barges will be used by the Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving to remove submerged portions of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. SUPSALV will accomplish the work in phases. Following an overall assessment, work will focus on disassembling and removing the bridge section by section. The disassembled pieces will be lifted onto barges, which will then be transported away.
An additional 12 crane and support vessels including tugs, survey, dive and crew boats are in the mobilization process and will arrive to Baltimore in the coming days. SUPSALV will manage the operation and use of all assets to provide centralized oversight of all salvage operations.

Celebrate Earth Month with San Diego County
by Shauni Lyles
San Diego County is transforming Earth Day into Earth Month by holding a series of events highlighting sustainable activities that will span through the month of April to raise awareness about environmental issues.
Earth Day, which is celebrated on Monday, April 22, connects people to the public spaces where wildlife and nature thrive. The global theme this year is Planet vs. Plastics.
Earth Fair at County Operations Center: The Earth Day Fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 22, at the County Operations Center, located at 5500 Overland Drive, San Diego. There will be numerous County departments with booths set up for you to learn about the ways your County makes a difference protecting and investing in our planet. The event is free and open to the public.
Check www.sandiegocounty.gov/earthday for specific times and locations of Earh Month events.

NORAD commander: Incursions by unmanned aircraft systems on southern border likely exceed 10,000 a month
by Matthew Olay, DOD News
There are likely more than 1,000 incursions by unmanned aircraft systems along the U.S.-Mexico border each month, said the U.S. Northern Command’s top general during testimony March 14 at a Senate Armed Services Committee posture hearing.
“I don’t know the actual number — I don’t think anybody does — but it’s in the thousands,” said Air Force Gen. Gregory M. Guillot in response to one senator’s query.
When asked about the period of time that it takes to reach that number of incursions, Guillot responded, “I would say in probably over a month. We... probably have over 1,000 a month.”
Though the exact number of UAS incursions along the border remains unknown, Guillot, who took over as commander of Northcom and the North American Aerospace Defense Command on Feb. 5, said he learned the approximate number recently while talking to officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Justice.
“The number of incursions was something that was alarming to me as I took command last month,” Guillot said.

Military Sealift Command Pacific hosts students in support of Navy Recruiting campaign
by Sarah Cannon, Military Sealift Command Pacific

Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) played host to 30 students from Coronado High School at Naval Station North Island recently.
The students, made up of members of the schools Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC), the Health Occupation Student Association Club (HOSA), and students taking Sports Medicine and Biomedical Innovation courses, were given a brief by area Navy recruiters on scholarship opportunities and Navy careers, followed by a tour of the ship by Mercy’s Medical Treatment team.
Capt. Micah Murphy, commander, Military Sealift Command Pacific also attended, taking time to engage with the students, sharing his personal experiences as an officer who received his undergraduate degree through a Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship, and answering questions from the students.

VERTICAL LAUNCH: A V-BAT uncrewed aerial system launches from the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall during operations in the Mediterranean Sea, Feb. 9, 2024. The V-BAT provides the capability to increase maritime awareness through utilization of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors. Photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Rafael Brambila-Pelayo
VERTICAL LAUNCH: A V-BAT uncrewed aerial system launches from the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall during operations in the Mediterranean Sea, Feb. 9, 2024. The V-BAT provides the capability to increase maritime awareness through utilization of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors. Photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Rafael Brambila-Pelayo

CAPSULE COMMITMENT: NASA astronaut Navy Capt. Victor Glover Jr., right, provides the oath of reenlistment to Petty Officer 2nd Class Gerald Castro in a test capsule aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego during recovery training for NASA’s Artemis II mission in the Pacific Ocean, Feb. 26, 2024. Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Connor Burns
CAPSULE COMMITMENT: NASA astronaut Navy Capt. Victor Glover Jr., right, provides the oath of reenlistment to Petty Officer 2nd Class Gerald Castro in a test capsule aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego during recovery training for NASA’s Artemis II mission in the Pacific Ocean, Feb. 26, 2024. Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Connor Burns

All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office
DoD report discounts sightings of ET technology

by C. Todd Lopez, DOD News

The Defense Department’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office released a report March 8 detailing its review of nearly 80 years of reports on government offices and special access programs related to unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAP—a new term for what was once referred to as unidentified flying objects.
“AARO has found no verifiable evidence that any UAP sighting has represented extraterrestrial activity,” said AARO acting Director Tim Phillips during a Wednesday briefing at the Pentagon. “AARO has found no verifiable evidence that the U.S. government or private industry has ever had access to extraterrestrial technology. AARO has found no indications that any information was illegally or inappropriately withheld from Congress.”
The 63-page “Report on the Historical Record of U.S. Government Involvement with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena” provides conclusions drawn following an examination of historical documents and conclusions drawn by U.S. government programs that did work related to UAP dating back to 1945.
AARO’s work also involved investigating claims that there were secret or hidden U.S. government programs related to UAP that might not have been reported to Congress. The AARO team looked into those claims to verify if such programs actually existed.
“AARO assesses that alleged, hidden UAP programs either do not exist or were misidentified, authentic national security programs unrelated to extraterrestrial technology exploitation,” Phillips said. “We assess that claims of such programs are largely the result of circular reporting in which a small group of individuals have repeated inaccurate claims they have heard from others over a period of several decades.
Also, part of the report were assessments of claims made by about 30 individuals AARO interviewed, including former and current U.S. government employees who were allegedly involved in such programs or heard stories about those programs and subsequently misinterpreted what they saw or heard.
“AARO, as designed by Congress, had unprecedented access to classified programs,” Phillips said. “Nobody blocked where we could go or the questions we asked. Nobody in the government influenced the findings in the report. As a career intelligence officer, I am just amazed at the access we had to some of our nation’s most sensitive programs. Nobody said, ‘No.’”
Lawmakers directed AARO to produce the report as part of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. Today’s report is the first volume of AARO’s findings and covers a period from 1945 through October 2023. A second volume, which will be released later this year, will cover findings from interviews and research completed between November 2023 and April 2024.

DoD to construct pier to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza
The Department of Defense will undertake an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier on the coast of Gaza to deliver up to 2,000,000 humanitarian aid meals per-day, the Pentagon announced March 8. The announcement comes less than a day after the State of the Union address, when President Joe Biden called on the military to lead such an operation. The mission, which will be under the command of U.S. Transportation Command and conducted by the 7thTransportation Brigade from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., and other forces, will deploy DOD’s Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability, or JLOTS, with a goal of beginning delivery operations in approximately 60 days.

VA funding bill that gun rights for veterans passes Senate
On March 8 the Senate passed a spending bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs that strengthens gun rights for certain veterans and averts a partial government shutdown.
Most of the controversial riders, including prohibitions on abortions for veterans and gender-affirming care for transgender veterans, were stripped from the final bill. However, a gun rights provision championed by Republicans, as well as some moderate Democrats in the Senate, stayed.
The measure would stop the VA from reporting to a federal gun background check system when veterans are found mentally incapable of managing their financial affairs. Opponents of the decades-old policy argued it infringed on veterans’ rights to firearms and relied on an overly broad definition of incompetence.

Women's History Month
The Defense Department honors the contributions of women serving in the military and DOD civilian forces, celebrating the richness and diversity of their achievements in March and throughout the year.
Read more....

The rating symbol for the newly established Navy Robotics Warfare Specialist (RW) rating, announced in NAVADMIN 036/24, comprises an airplane propeller and lightning bolt crossed over a treaded wheel, all layered over a single wave. Navy's RW rating symbol

Navy pins first Robotics Warfare Specialist
From MC1(SW/AW) Jeanette M. Mullinax,
Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

The Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, and the Navy’s Personnel Plans and Policy Division (N13) Director, Rear Adm. Jim Waters, pinned Master Chief Christopher Rambert as the Navy’s first Robotics Warfare Specialist during an office call at Naval Support Facility Arlington, Virginia, Feb. 27, 2024.
The rating insignia reveal followed the U.S. Navy’s announcement in NAVADMIN 036/24, establishing the branch’s enlisted career field for operators, maintainers, and managers of robotic and autonomous systems. Read more....

Active-duty spouse survey helps DOD shape family policy, programs 
by David Vergun, DOD News
The biennial Survey of Active-Duty Spouses is now available for the nearly 600,000 Defense Department active-duty spouses to complete.
The survey has new, expanded sections on remote work and financial well-being. 
It's the only official DOD-wide survey for active-duty spouses. Input collected through this survey will provide the department with a barometer on how to adjust policies and programs to address the needs of military families in the U.S. and abroad, said Lee Kelley, principal director for the Department's Military Community and Family Policy Office. Read more....


SAN DIEGO (Feb. 23, 2024) Culinary Specialist 1st Class John Estes, a native of Alexandria, Minnesota, assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) shares a smile with his son after the ship pulled into port upon return from deployment. Vinson, flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, returned to its homeport of Naval Air Station North Island, Feb. 23, following a four-month deployment to the Western Pacific. The Carl Vinson strike group deployed with flagship USS Carl Vinson and embarked CSG-1 staff, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1 staff and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59). DESRON-1 ships included Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Hopper (DDG 70), USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110). The Carl Vinson CSG is a multiplatform team of ships and aircraft, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe from combat missions to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Tyler R. Fraser.


USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group returns from West Pac deployment
From Seaman Nathan Jordan
SAN DIEGO - Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, returned to its homeport of Naval Air Station North Island, Feb. 23, following a four-month deployment to the Western Pacific.
Carl Vinson is joined by two other CSG-1 ships, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104), which returned to their homeport of Naval Base San Diego. Read more...

Welcome Home
to our returning
Sailors and Marines
from the

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)
Strike Group


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NAVAL BASE CORONADO (Feb. 17, 2024) - The crew of the expeditionary sea base USS John L. Canley (ESB 6) mans the ship during its commissioning ceremony on Naval Base Coronado Feb. 17, 2024. The ship is named for Medal of Honor recipient John Lee Canley, a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major and Vietnam war veteran. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Claire M. DuBois
NAVAL BASE CORONADO (Feb. 17, 2024) - The crew of the expeditionary sea base USS John L. Canley (ESB 6) mans the ship during its commissioning ceremony on Naval Base Coronado Feb. 17, 2024. The ship is named for Medal of Honor recipient John Lee Canley, a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major and Vietnam war veteran. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Claire M. DuBois

USS John L. Canley commissioning recognizes legacy of Vietnam vet, Medal of Honor recipient
by Julie Ann Ripley, Naval Surface Force Pacific Fleet
CORONADO - With several Medal of Honor recipients in attendance, Expeditionary Sea Base USS John L. Canley (ESB 6) commissioned at Naval Air Station North Island here Feb. 17.
The first of its name, ESB 6 honors Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) John L. Canley, who was awarded the Medal of Honor 50 years after his actions during the Battle of Hue City. Canley served as company gunnery sergeant, Company A, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Alpha/1/1) in the Republic of Vietnam from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968. Canley passed away in Bend, Ore., on May 11, 2022.
During the ceremony, guest speaker, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, reflected on the importance of what matters to the future.
“As the world’s problems grow increasingly more complex and stability more uncertain, we need to tap into America’s most precious resource - its people - to solve the issues of the future,” said Del Toro.
“Because better technology and more ships will go to waste without the courageous Americans who will answer the call to service to their country.”
In office when Canley received the Medal of Honor, Gen. Joseph P. Dunford, Jr., 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps, began by honoring Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipients Col. (Ret.) Robert J. Modrzejewski and Col. (Ret.) Jay R. Vargas, seated in the front row. Read more...

Sub Santa Fe welcomes new CO
SAN DIEGO - Los Angeles-class submarine USS Santa Fe welcomed Cmdr. Eric Knepper as its newest leader Feb. 16 at Naval Base Point Loma. Knepper relieved Capt. Matt Pianetta in front of friends, family members, the crew and personnel assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron (CSS) 11. Pianetta took command of Santa Fe in December 2020. “It was a very challenging assignment,” said Pianetta. “The number of different environments, different expectations, differing experience levels and multiple mission sets created a series of high consequence transitions that I am very proud to say the crew handled fantastically.”

Air Force to re-introduce warrant officer rank, other major changes
by C. Todd Lopez, DOD News
AURORA, Colo. - To best optimize itself for Great Power Competition, the Air Force plans to, among other things, bring back warrant officers within the cyber and information technology professions, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin during a presentation Feb. 12 at the Air Force Association’s 2024 Warfare Symposium.
That change was among two dozen announced by senior Air Force officials. Each change is specifically designed to prepare the service for strategic power challenges from competitors like China and Russia.
“Both China and Russia are actively developing and fielding more advanced capabilities designed to defeat U.S. power projection,” said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. “The need for modernization against capable, well-resourced strategic adversaries never stops. But modernization isn’t the only thing we need to do to be competitive. Today we are announcing 24 key decisions we have made to improve both the readiness of the current force and our ability to stay competitive over time, to continuously generate enduring competitiveness.”

USNS Mercy returns to San Diego, concluding Pacific Partnership 24-1
From Ensign Lacy Burkett
SAN DIEGO - Pacific Partnership 24-1 personnel assigned to the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) returned home February 12 as the ship pulled in to Naval Air Station North Island, concluding the four-month humanitarian and disaster relief mission.
More than 800 service members and civilian mariners returned to San Diego after participating in Pacific Partnership 24-1, the largest multinational humanitarian mission that takes place in the Indo-Pacific. Pacific Partnership, now in its 19th iteration, is an annual mission that focuses on strengthening capacity of host nations to respond to crisis and fostering enduring bonds of friendship and multinational cooperation through four lines of effort: medical, engineering, host nation outreach and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR). This year’s mission’s five stops included the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, the Republic of Palau and two states in the Federated States of Micronesia, Pohnpei and Chuuk. Read more....

Navy’s naming of newest destroyer honors Black World War II hero
The Navy will name its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer for World War II hero Charles Jackson French, who saved 15 of his fellow sailors from certain death by exposure or execution. In a daring feat of strength and endurance following an enemy attack that sank USS Gregory on Sept. 5, 1942, French swam his shipmates out of danger by towing their life raft with a line tied around his waist. The feat earned him the nickname “The Human Tugboat” and “Hero of the Solomons.”

Retired officers, enlisted members can rejoin active duty to offset personnel shortfalls
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
ARLINGTON, Va. - The Secretary of the Air Force has reimplemented the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program in an effort to leverage the talents of our highly trained and experienced officer and enlisted military retirees to help minimize the service’s critical manning shortages. Application window opened Feb. 8.
Applications must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2026, and the program allows up to 1,000 retired officer or enlisted personnel to active duty at any given time. Additionally, under this VRRAD program, the period of active duty service is limited to no more than 48 months. Personnel will only fill vacant active duty authorizations. Retired applicants selected for Extended Active Duty can expect to return to active duty anywhere from 4 to 6 months from their date of application.
Information about the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program, to include detailed official program guidance, eligibility criteria and application requirements, can be found here.

Navy allowing those without high school diploma or GED to enlist
The Navy’s Chief of Naval Personnel, Adm. Rick Cheeseman, announced that the Navy will allow those without a high school diploma to enlist if they score 50 or higher on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which all potential recruits must take. This move aims to boost recruitment amid an historic recruiting crisis across the services. Federal law permits the military to recruit such applicants, and the Navy last allowed those without a diploma to enlist in 2000.
Currently, the Navy is the only military branch seeking to recruit those without a high school diploma or GED, aiming to expand the number of eligible candidates to join the service amid a historically difficult recruiting environment. The Navy insists the policy change does not mean the service is lowering its standards and emphasizes that these prospective Sailors must still qualify for specific ratings based on their Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) line scores.
The Navy recently announced it recruited 30,236 new active-duty Sailors in fiscal 2023, falling more than 7,400 short of the 37,700 target for the year. The service also recruited 1,948 Reserve enlisted personnel, down from its 3,000 goal.
The Navy also failed to meet its officer goals, recruiting only 2,080 new active-duty officers rather than the 2,532 target, and 1,167 Reserve officers rather than the 1,940 target.

Researchers set out to tackle voting challenges of military members
by Joseph Clark , DOD News
Researchers from nonprofit election technology company VotingWorks showcased an early-stage prototype of technology aimed at improving the experience of military absentee voters, Feb. 7.
The prototype was presented during the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors conferences in Washington, D.C., last week. It was unveiled midway into a two-year, research project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to explore methods to ease burdens for service members stationed away from their home voting districts.
"We want military voters to be first-class voters and have the same abilities as other voters," said Ben Adida, the executive director of VotingWorks and the technical lead on the project. Read more...

Five Miramar Marines killed in CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crash in east San Diego County

Five Miramar Marines killed in bad weather helo crash

Top row from left, Capt. Jack Casey, Capt. Benjamin Moulton, Capt. Miguel Nava. Bottom row from left, Sgt. Alec Langen, Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Three pilots and two crew chiefs were aboard the helicopter that crashed during a training exercise in the mountains outside San Diego, the service said Friday. All five Marines were killed.
Capt. Benjamin Moulton, Capt. Jack Casey, Capt. Miguel Nava, Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis and Sgt. Alec Langen were the Marines aboard the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter that was traveling Tuesday from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California, the service said. They were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16 of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
“We have been confronted with a tragedy that is every service family’s worst fear,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Harvey, commanding officer of squadron 361. “Our top priority now is supporting the families of our fallen heroes, and we ask for your respect and understanding as they grieve.”

Sgt William Jerome Rivers, Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett and Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, who were killed in Jordan.
Sgt William Jerome Rivers, Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett and Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, who were killed in Jordan.

U.S. identifies three soldiers killed in drone attack in Jordan
The Pentagon announced Monday, January 29, the names of the three Army reservists killed in a suicide drone strike in Jordan. Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga.; Sgt. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga.; and Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga., died Jan. 28, 2024, in Jordan, when a one-way unmanned aerial system (OWUAS) impacted their container housing units. The incident is under investigation.
Rivers, Sanders and Moffett were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, Fort Moore, Ga.
According to NBC news, more than 30 were injured when a drone packed with explosives struck the base in northeast Jordan, near the Syria border.
Eight of the injured personnel were evacuated from Jordan to receive higher-level care and are stable, U.S. Central Command said.
It’s not clear whether all of the injured troops were members of the Army or other services.
Brig Gen Todd Lazaroski, commanding general, 412th Theater Engineer Command expressed condolences to the families, loved ones and teammates of those killed.
“We are reminded that the brave men and women who defend our great nation put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our country safe,” he said in a statement. “They represent the best of America. We will remember their service and their sacrifice.”

Federal grant of $75 million awarded to Chesterton Elementary School in the Point Loma Naval Base area
With 52 percent of its students coming from military families, Chesterton Elementary School was recently notified by the Department of Defense that they’ll receive a $78,188,733 federal grant to replace the current Chesterton Elementary School in Naval Base Point Loma area.
The grant is the federal share of a larger $97,735,917 project. The project will address facility capacity and condition deficiencies that placed Morris Hill Elementary School as the 45th school on the 2019 Deputy Secretary of Defense “Public Schools on Military Installations Priority List” (Priority List). Upon completion, Chesterton Elementary School will serve up to 611 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Funding for this grant is provided under the Department’s Public Schools on Military Installations Program. In making these funds available, the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation must give priority consideration to military installations that have schools with the most serious capacity and facility condition deficiencies, as determined by the Priority List.

USS Antietam departs Yokosuka after nearly 11 years of forward-deployed service
by Petty Officer | 2nd Class Askia Collins
YOKOSUKA, Japan -Cruiser USS Antietam departed Yokosuka, Japan, Jan. 26 to transit to its new homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as part of a planned rotation of forces in the Pacific.
Antietam arrived on station at Yokosuka Naval Base from Naval Station San Diego in February 2013 to support operations within the 7th Fleet area of operations. Antietam was homeported in San Diego for 20 years.
Before the cruiser departed for the final time, officers from its sister ship, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force guided-missile destroyer JS Kirishima (DDG 174), provided the crew of USS Antietam a plaque commemorating its time in Japan.
AntietamSailors ceremonially manned the rails in service dress blue uniforms as the ship left Japanese waters.
“For more than a decade, USS Antietam enjoyed being part of the Yokosuka community,” said Capt. Victor Garza, ship’s commanding officer. “Antietam was at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to protect peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific. On behalf of the crew, I want to express my appreciation for our Japanese hosts, who have become our colleagues, friends and family.

From left to right, Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing; Col. Thomas M. Bedell, CO of MCAS Miramar; Rear Adm. Brad Rosen, the commander of Navy Region Southwest; Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, the representative of California’s 51st District; and Meredith Berger, the assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment, cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony of the Child Development Center on MCAS Miramar. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jackson Rush
From left to right, Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing; Col. Thomas M. Bedell, CO of MCAS Miramar; Rear Adm. Brad Rosen, the commander of Navy Region Southwest; Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, the representative of California’s 51st District; and Meredith Berger, the assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment, cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony of the Child Development Center on MCAS Miramar. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jackson Rush

Largest of its kind CDC opens at MCAS Miramar
MCAS MIRAMAR - A ribbon cutting ceremony for the newest Child Development Center (CDC) Complex was held here Jan. 25.
The ceremony, which showcased the largest CDC facility in all of Navy Region Southwest, featured remarks from top military leadership to include Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Meredith Berger, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, Commanding Officer of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Maj. Gen. Michael Borgschulte, Commander, Navy Region Southwest Rear Admiral Brad Rosen, and Commanding Officer of MCAS Miramar, Col. Marty Bedell.
“Today we are celebrating a true win-win success story,” said Rosen. “As you’ve already heard, this project is the result of an extraordinary partnership that developed based on the shared goal of serving our military families by providing the best possible care for their children.”
The complex, consisting of two single-story buildings, MCAS CDC II and MCAS CDC III, occupies more than 62,000 square feet. MCAS CDC II is a 20,000-square-foot facility with a capacity for 146 children. It features 12 classrooms, including five infant rooms, three pre-toddler rooms, two toddler rooms, and two preschool rooms. It will be staffed by 66 employees when at full capacity. MCAS CDC III is a 42,000 square-foot-facility with a capacity for 306 children. It features 25 classrooms, including 10 infant rooms, six pre-toddler rooms, five toddler rooms, and four preschool rooms. It will be staffed by 123 employees when at full capacity.

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Two Navy SEALs who went missing at sea on Jan. 11 while on an interdiction mission were identified Monday as Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram.
Two Navy SEALs who went missing at sea on Jan. 11 while on an interdiction mission were identified Monday as Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers (left) and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram (right).
Naval Special Warfare releases names of teammates lost at aea
Naval Special Warfare Command Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO -- The search and rescue efforts to locate Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram concluded Jan. 21.
On the evening of Jan. 11, Chambers, 37,  and Ingram, 27, both assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit, were reported missing at sea while they were conducting a night-time seizure of a vessel illegally transporting advanced lethal aid from Iran to resupply Houthi forces in Yemen.
“We extend our condolences to Chris and Gage's families, friends, and teammates during this incredibly challenging time. They were exceptional warriors,  cherished teammates, and dear friends to many within the Naval Special Warfare community,” said Capt. Blake L. Chaney, commander, Naval Special Warfare Group 1.
Chambers enlisted in the Navy on May 17, 2012, and graduated from boot camp at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Ill., in July 2012. He served with West Coast-based SEAL units since graduating from SEAL qualification training in Coronado, Calif., in 2014. His awards and decorations include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “C,” three Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and other personal and unit awards.
Ingram enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 25, 2019, and graduated from boot camp at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Ill., in November 2019. Ingram served with West Coast-based SEAL units since graduating from SEAL qualification training in Coronado, Calif., in 2021. His awards and decorations include various personal and unit awards.
“Chris and Gage selflessly served their country with unwavering professionalism and exceptional capabilities," said Chaney. "This loss is devastating for NSW, our families, the special operations community, and across the nation."
The incident remains under investigation. Naval Special Warfare's top priority is to respect the families’ privacy while providing unwavering support to them, their loved ones, and our personnel affected by this loss.

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First active duty servicemember crowned Miss America 2024
U.S. Air Force officer 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh is first active duty service member to be crowned Miss America. The 22-year-old, who represented Colorado, plans to continue her commitment to the military while embarking on her new role. Marsh is a grad student at the Harvard Kennedy School and has dedicated her life to pancreatic cancer research after her mother died from the disease in 2018. Congratulations on your historic win!
U.S. Air Force officer 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh is first active duty service member to be crowned Miss America. The 22-year-old, who represented Colorado, plans to continue her commitment to the military while embarking on her new role. Marsh is a grad student at the Harvard Kennedy School and has dedicated her life to pancreatic cancer research after her mother died from the disease in 2018. Congratulations on your historic win!

Defense Department seeks military spouse input through survey
The Defense Department has launched the 2024 Survey of Active Duty Spouses, its biennial assessment of the impact of military life on spouses and their families.
The long-running survey asks spouses about their satisfaction with military life and collects data about issues, such as financial well-being, spouse employment, military relocations, child care and the overall health and well-being of spouses, children and families. The DOD uses the results to prioritize resources and programs that address the pressing needs of the nation's more than 594,000 active-duty spouses and their families.
Patricia Montes Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy, said the survey provides the department with a barometer on how to adjust family policy and programs in the coming years.
"We strongly encourage all active-duty spouses to take a few minutes from their busy days to complete the 2024 Survey of Active Duty Spouses, so we can hear directly from them about what is and isn't working," Barron said. "The DOD is committed to the well-being of military spouses and relies on the survey findings to make the decisions that will best meet their needs."
The 2024 Survey of Active Duty Spouses includes expanded sections on remote work and financial well-being, in addition to measuring important aspects of military life, such as employment and child care. The survey, conducted approximately every two years, takes about 20 minutes to complete, and will take most spouses far less time. Spouses only answer questions that pertain to them.
Spouses can access the survey from early January for about eight weeks at https://www.dodsurveys.mil/ to provide their answers to questions about their current quality of life in the military.

For service members, access to mental health care streamlined under Brandon Act
Jan. 22, 2024 | by C. Todd Lopez
Last year, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness signed policy implementing within the Defense Department and across the military services the requirements laid out under the Brandon Act. 
Within the DOD and military services, the Brandon Act allows service members to request a mental health evaluation just by making the request to their supervisor.  Read more....

San Diego aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt deploys
According to USNI.org, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) deployed Jan. 11 from San Diego, with a detachment of C-2A Greyhounds from the East Coast filling in for the grounded CV-22B Ospreys.
The carrier, which completed its graduation exercise last month, left its berth at Naval Air Station North Island and steamed out of the bay on Thursday afternoon, according to ship spotters. The Navy did not announce the start of the deployment ahead of the carrier’s departure. A defense official confirmed the deployment to USNI News on Jan. 12.

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SPARKED UP: Marine Corps Cpl. Conlon Kane cuts metal with an air carbon arc cutting system during a bridge demolition operation as part of Strategic Mobility Exercise II at San Clemente Island, Calif., Jan. 6, 2024. Photo by Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jennifer Sanchez
SPARKED UP: Marine Corps Cpl. Conlon Kane cuts metal with an air carbon arc cutting system during a bridge demolition operation as part of Strategic Mobility Exercise II at San Clemente Island, Calif., Jan. 6, 2024. Photo by Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jennifer Sanchez

Crew rescued from Navy MH-60R helo crash in bay off Coronado
An MH-60R Sea Hawk from a Fleet Replacement Squadron that trains new naval aviators crashed Jan. 11, around 6:40 p.m. while on a training mission near NAB Coronado.
All six crew members were rescued by a Navy boat at the scene.
“Due to the nature of the training, a safety boat was on location and, with the assistance of Federal Fire, all six crew members survived and were promptly moved ashore,” according to a Navy statement. The incident is under investigation by the Navy.

Navy selects potential master developer for 70.3-acre Navy Old Town Campus
SAN DIEGO – The Navy announced today the selection of Manchester Financial Group/Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate (Manchester/Edgemoor) as the potential master developer for the 70.3-acre Naval Base Point Loma Old Town Campus (OTC). The Navy and Manchester/Edgemoor entered into a period of exclusive negotiations for the potential revitalization of OTC, home to Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR). From August 2023 to December 2023, the Navy evaluated proposals received from potential master developers. The Navy selected Manchester/Edgemoor after completion of a comprehensive source selection evaluation process.
“This is an exciting milestone for the Navy and San Diego. We look forward to continuing progress on the potential revitalization of OTC,” said Rear Admiral Brad Rosen, Commander of Navy Region Southwest. “While the Navy’s goal is new mission-capable facilities for NAVWAR and other tenant commands, the Navy recognizes that any project that is good for the Navy should also provide positive impacts to the community. We have every faith that the Manchester/Edgemoor team will be respectful and collaborative partners in this effort.”
Read more details and background....


The Value of service

Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group visits Philippines
by Ensign Valentine Mulango
MANILA, Philippines – Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Sterett (DDG 104) arrived in the Philippines for a scheduled port visit Jan. 5.
This visit marks an additional demonstration of the U.S.-Philippine Alliance, and broader commitment to the Indo-Pacific region. It also serves to fortify relationships with local leaders and communities, reaffirming the seven-decade-old Alliance between the U.S. and the Philippines.

U.S., partners committed to defensive operations in Red Sea
Jan. 4, 2024 | by Joseph Clark , DOD News
The U.S. remains committed to providing a persistent defensive presence in the Red Sea alongside allies and partners, the commander of Naval Forces Central Command said today.
Navy Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said about 1,500 merchant ships have safely transited the Red Sea since mid-December when the U.S. launched Operation Prosperity Guardian. The operation is a multinational, maritime security initiative responding to the recent escalation in Houthi attacks originating from Yemen.
"We are certainly mindful of the continued threat and expect the Houthi attacks may continue," he said. "I think really importantly, though, our actions in this defensive operation are not just through words, but through deeds."
Since mid-November, Houthi rebels have launched 25 attacks against merchant vessels operating in the Red Sea. Those include the detonation of an unmanned surface vessel in international shipping lanes earlier today.
While no ships were hit in the most recent attack, Cooper said that the persistent threat from the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in an international shipping lane is a vital concern.
"Our assessment is that 55 nations have direct connections to the ships who've been attacked, whether through the flagging state, where the goods were produced or destined, or the nationalities of the innocent mariners aboard each vessel," Cooper said.
"The impacts of these attacks stretch across the globe," he said. "This is an international problem that requires an international solution."
On Wednesday, the governments of the U.S., Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement condemning the attacks and warning the rebel group against further escalation.

Sexual assault now tried outside military chain of command
Dec. 28, 2023 |DOD News
Beginning today, the decision to prosecute sexual assault and several other serious crimes has moved from an accused service member's chain of command to new Offices of Special Trial Counsel, which have general or flag officer leaders who report directly to the secretaries of the military departments. 
This military justice reform is an important step in restoring faith that the system is fair, just and equitable, said senior Defense Department and military officials, who emphasized that the offices will be staffed by specially trained, independent military attorneys uniquely qualified to address complex cases. The OSTCs will handle cases professionally, applying the best practices and procedures of civilian prosecution offices, a senior DOD official said.
The covered offenses that fall under the authority of the new OSTCs include: murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, domestic violence, stalking, child pornography and most sexual assault and sexual misconduct.  
Sexual harassment will become a covered offense on Jan. 1, 2025, for crimes committed after that date where a formal complaint is made and substantiated. 

After tough year, military recruiting is looking up
by Jim Garamone, DOD News
It's no secret that 2023 was a tough year for military recruiting, but that situation is looking up, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder during a recent news conference.
Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said recruiting will remain challenging, but the services are adapting to the challenging environment and there's reason to be optimistic.
Last fiscal year, only the Marine Corps and the Space Force made their recruiting goals.
Still, there are concerns. Only 23 percent of young people between 17 and 24 even qualify to join the military. Even fewer have expressed the "propensity" to enlist, officials said.
Also working against the recruiting environment is the fact that the military is smaller and in fewer places. Many young people do not know anyone who has enlisted and they do not see service members in their communities or even on a regular basis.
The services are responsible for staffing the force, and they have tried new ways and methods to attract recruits. The COVID-19 pandemic handcuffed military recruiters who were not able to have "the face-to-face kind of communication that is absolutely essential to recruiting efforts," Ryder said.

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO (Dec. 21, 2023) - Vice Adm. Blake L. Converse, Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, left, returns the salute of Vice Adm. Brendan R. McLane, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, right, as he relieves Rear Adm. Yvette Davids during a change of command ceremony Dec. 21. Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s mission is to man, train, and equip the surface force to provide fleet commanders with credible naval power to control the sea and project power ashore. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Claire M. DuBois
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO (Dec. 21, 2023) - Vice Adm. Blake L. Converse, Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, left, returns the salute of Vice Adm. Brendan R. McLane, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, right, as he relieves Rear Adm. Yvette Davids during a change of command ceremony Dec. 21. Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s mission is to man, train, and equip the surface force to provide fleet commanders with credible naval power to control the sea and project power ashore. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Claire M. DuBois

Commander, Naval Surface Forces, holds change of command
SAN DIEGO – Vice Adm. Brendan McLane relieved Rear Adm. Yvette Davids as commander of Naval Surface Forces and Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, during a change of command ceremony at Naval Base San Diego with USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) in the background, Dec. 21, 2023. Read more....

USNS Mercy arrives in the Republic of Palau for Pacific Partnership 24-1
PALAU - The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived Dec. 21 in the Republic of Palau to begin the fourth mission stop of Pacific Partnership 24-1, the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific region. This marks the sixth time Pacific Partnership has come to Palau, the previous visit was in 2022.

Navy locates and recovers downed Blackhawk in the Mediterranean Sea
MEDITERRANEAN SEA - A team of deep ocean salvage experts located and recovered the downed MH-60 Blackhawk that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Nov. 10. The aircraft was conducting routine training when it experienced an in-flight emergency resulting in the crash.

Corps Carry: Marine Corps Sgt. Evan Carlton carries equipment off a Navy utility landing craft during Steel Knight at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 2, 2023. The exercise is designed to train Marines in the planning, deployment and command and control of a joint force. USMC photo by Sgt. Anabel Abreu Rodriguez
CORPS CARRY: Marine Corps Sgt. Evan Carlton carries equipment off a Navy utility landing craft during Steel Knight at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 2, 2023. The exercise is designed to train Marines in the planning, deployment and command and control of a joint force. USMC photo by Sgt. Anabel Abreu Rodriguez.

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NAS North Island inaugurates new aircraft hangar
by Katie Cadiao, NAVFAC Southwest
Naval Base Coronado, Naval Air Station North Island held a ribbon cutting ceremony Dec. 8 to celebrate Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southwest’s completion of a new aircraft hangar.
The V-22 aircraft maintenance hangar was built by Harper Construction, who were awarded a contract for the work on June 25, 2019. Construction cost $72 million and took 4.5 years to complete.
The new facility contains a high-bay space, shops and maintenance areas, operation, training, and administrative spaces, and supporting site infrastructure improvements.
The hangar also houses maintenance and operations for the CMV-22B, the Navy’s replacement long-range resupply aircraft. The additional space the new hangar provides is essential to ensuring full operational capability of this new model airframe.
In addition to the enhanced capabilities inside the building, construction also improved the surrounding pavement, which will facilitate ingress and egress to the hangar.

NSA focuses on talent as pace of technology quickens
by Joseph Clark. DOD News
The National Security Agency’s ability to recruit and retain top talent is key to meeting the demands of the future, agency Director Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, said recently.
Nakasone said the rapid evolution of technology continues to reshape the national security landscape and how his agency responds to new threats, but people remain central to the NSA’s mission.
“A lot of times we think about the incredible technological capabilities and the high-speed computers that are there, but, at the end of the day, what makes us the agency that we are is our talent,” he said during a discussion in Washington hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, a trade organization focused on public-private national security partnerships.
Earlier this year, the National Security Agency launched its largest hiring surge in three decades with a goal of hiring more than 3,000 new employees by the end of 2023.
Nakasone said the NSA is “moving very quickly” to meet that goal, but said numbers are only part of the overall objective.
He said the agency has also focused on improvements to its recruiting and retention practices to ensure it attracts a “future-ready workforce.”
“How do we think about a population that is over 50 percent today millennials and [Generation Z]?” he said. “Ten years ago, 70 percent of our workforce was baby boomers. Five years ago, Gen Z and millennials overtook baby boomers. Five years from now, 70 percent will be Gen Z and millennials.

DOD officials underscore 'ironclad' commitment to Philippines after China's unsafe maneuvers
by Joseph Clark, DOD News
Defense officials remain in close consultation with counterparts from the Philippines following the latest unsafe operational behavior by Chinese military vessels against Philippine vessels operating lawfully in the South China Sea over the weekend, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said today.
Ryder underscored the United States' "ironclad" commitment to upholding its obligations under its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines and urged "all nations to work together in the region to ensure that ships and aircraft can sail wherever international law allows."
"We're going to continue to consult very closely with our Philippine allies and our partners in the region," he told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon.
Chinese vessels carried out unsafe maneuvers against Philippine vessels operating outside the Scarborough Reef on Saturday and again near the Second Thomas Shoal on Sunday.
During the encounters, the Chinese vessels employed water cannons and forced a collision which caused damage to Philippine vessels undertaking official supply missions.
Chinese military ships operating near the Scarborough Reef also used acoustic devices to incapacitate Filipino crew members.
"By impeding the safe operations of Philippine vessels carrying provisions to Filipino service members stationed at Second Thomas Shoal, the PRC interfered in lawful Philippine maritime operations and in Philippine vessels' exercise of high seas freedom of navigation," State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement on Sunday. "Obstructing supply lines to this longstanding outpost and interfering with lawful Philippines maritime operations undermines regional stability."

San Diego Humane Society can help you protect your pet
Having a missing pet can be one of the most stressful experiences for a pet owner, but there are steps you can take now to help your pet find their way home should they ever become lost. Our campus vaccine clinics offer microchips for just $25, providing permanent protection for the entirety of your pet’s life. Along with a collar and ID tag, and a license for dogs, microchips provide peace of mind and can bring lost pets home without ever needing to enter a shelter. New microchip appointments open each week for our campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside and San Diego

Road work may cause delays entering Miramar National Cemetery
SAN DIEGO, CA – Starting November 21, 2023, a new left turn lane and deceleration lane will be built at the entrance of Miramar National Cemetery on Nobel Drive between Miramar Road and Interstate 805. Expect delays entering the cemetery while construction is ongoing. This project is expected to continue until June 2024, and will improve safety for all entering the Miramar National Cemetery.
“If you are expecting a large attendance at your committal service, please call the cemetery at 858- 658-7360 to help mitigate impact to your arrival,” said Greta Hamilton, cemetery director of both Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries. “Thank You for your patience during this period of improvement.”
Miramar National Cemetery is located about 15 miles north of downtown San Diego at the northwest corner of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Officially dedicated in Jan. 2010, Miramar National Cemetery includes both gravesite and columbarium facilities, providing a full range of burial alternatives to the approximately 240,000 Veterans in San Diego County. Nearby Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery closed to first interments in 1966, though it continues to provide subsequent interments of family members of those currently interred there.

Tuskegee Tribute: Retired Sgt. Thomas Newton, a Tuskegee Airman, is honored during a ceremony celebrating the 75th anniversary of desegregation in the U.S. military at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, Dec. 2, 2023.
Tuskegee Tribute: Retired Sgt. Thomas Newton, a Tuskegee Airman, is honored during a ceremony celebrating the 75th anniversary of desegregation in the U.S. military at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, Dec. 2, 2023.

Amphibious Squadron 5 Commodore relieved of command
The commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, Rear Adm. Randall Peck, relieved Capt. James Harney, commodore of Amphibious Squadron 5, on Dec. 1, 2023 due to a loss of confidence in Capt. Harney’s ability to perform his duties.
Capt. Tate Robinson will assume the duties as commodore of Amphibious Squadron 5. Capt. Harney will be administratively reassigned to Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Navy leaders are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct, both on and off duty. They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability, and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards.

With a third of homeless veterans living in California, Newsom backs new housing strategy
California has poured billions of dollars into finding homes for unhoused veterans, but the number of former military service members living on the street has held steady for almost a decade. Today, a third of the nation’s unhoused veterans are in California.
Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes a significant change in the state’s strategy for ending veteran homelessness. His plan, included in a $6.4 billion mental health bond he’s sending to voters in the March primary election, would set aside funding specifically for veterans with serious behavioral health conditions. Read more....

VA announces extension of program to stop foreclosures on VA backed loans
The Department of Veterans Affairs will extend a pandemic-era program that helps financially-strapped veterans keep their homes after criticism that it wasn’t doing enough to prevent those with VA-backed loans from foreclosure. The VA also called on mortgage servicers to pause foreclosures of VA-guaranteed loans through May 31, to allow the VA to present workable home retention solutions, VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes said .Through VASP, the VA will purchase defaulted VA loans from mortgage servicers, modify the loans, and then place them in the VA-owned portfolio as direct loans.

U.S. has 4 objectives in Middle East
by David Vergun, DOD News
11/6/23

The Defense Department currently has four lines of effort in the Middle East, said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, who briefed the media today.
1 Protection of U.S. forces and citizens in the region.
2 Flow of critical security assistance to Israel as it defends against further Hamas terrorist attacks.
3 Coordination with the Israelis to help secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, to include American citizens.
4 Strengthening of force posture across the region to deter any state or nonstate actors from escalating the crisis beyond Gaza.
Strengthened force posture includes the deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Groups, which are currently in the U.S. Central Command area, along with an Ohio-class submarine.
Over the past few weeks there have been attacks by Iranian proxy groups at al-Asad air base, Iraq, and al-Tanf, Syria, on U.S. forces there, Ryder said.The attacks, by drones and missiles, resulted in several dozen injuries, including a mix of minor injuries and traumatic brain injuries, he said.
Some of those injured didn't immediately report their condition, he said.
"The reporting data is highly dependent on self-reporting when individual injuries are not visually evident to medical personnel providing care directly following an incident," he said.

Navy christens, launches fleet replenishment oiler USNS Robert F. Kennedy
The Navy christened and launched the USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208) as the newest John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler on Saturday, Oct. 28, in San Diego.
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Emerita, U.S. House of Representatives, delivered the christening ceremony's principal address. Remarks were also provided by the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy, Rear Admiral Brendan McLane, Special Assistant to Commander, U.S. Third Fleet, Mr. Steven Cade, Executive Director, Military Sealift Command, and Mr. Dave Carver, President, General Dynamics NASSCO. The ship’s sponsor is the Honorable Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, eldest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy. Read more...

Capt. Elizabeth Adriano, Commanding Officer, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command San Diego; Rear Adm. Guido F. Valdes, Commander, Naval Medical Forces Pacific; Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro; Vice Adm. Michael E. Boyle, Commander, U.S. Third Fleet; and Paul Williamson, Wounded Warrior Regiment, pose for a photo during a ceremony at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Oct. 27. At the ceremony, Secretary Del Toro announced that a future Bethesda-class expeditionary medical ship will be named USNS Balboa (EMS 2), The future USNS Balboa honors the legacy and commitment of Navy doctors, nurses, corpsmen, and staff of Balboa Naval Hospital in caring for the needs of U.S. Service Members. U.S. Navy photo by CPO Shannon Renfroe.
Capt. Elizabeth Adriano, Commanding Officer, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command San Diego; Rear Adm. Guido F. Valdes, Commander, Naval Medical Forces Pacific; Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro; Vice Adm. Michael E. Boyle, Commander, U.S. Third Fleet; and Paul Williamson, Wounded Warrior Regiment, pose for a photo during a ceremony at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Oct. 27. At the ceremony, Secretary Del Toro announced that a future Bethesda-class expeditionary medical ship will be named USNS Balboa (EMS 2), The future USNS Balboa honors the legacy and commitment of Navy doctors, nurses, corpsmen, and staff of Balboa Naval Hospital in caring for the needs of U.S. Service Members. U.S. Navy photo by CPO Shannon Renfroe.

SECNAV Del Toro names future medical ship USNS Balboa (EMS2)
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced today that a future Bethesda-class expeditionary medical ship will be named USNS Balboa (EMS 2), during a ceremony at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Oct. 27.
The future USNS Balboa honors the legacy and commitment of Navy doctors, nurses, corpsmen, and staff of Balboa Naval Hospital in caring for the needs of U.S. Service Members.
The name selection follows the tradition of naming expeditionary medical ships after U.S. military hospitals. Read more....

U.S. to build new nuclear gravity bomb
by Stephen Losey, Defense News
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department on Friday, Oct. 27, announced the government is moving forward with developing a new version of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb.
The bomb, designated B61-13, would have a yield similar to the B61-7 and replace some of those older gravity bombs, the Pentagon said in its announcement. The B61-7's yield is higher than the B61-12, the most recent bomb being added to the military’s arsenal. Read more....

The first Flight II Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) arrived at its new homeport in San Diego Oct. 25.
USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) arrives at homeport in San Diego

From Ensign Sarah Beauchamp
The first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), arrived at its new homeport in San Diego Oct. 25.
The Navy commissioned Jack H. Lucas, Oct. 7, 2023, during a ceremony in Tampa, Florida under the leadership of Carrier Strike Group 11. The destroyer is assigned to U.S. 3rd Fleet. Read more....

FLAME FIGHTERS: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kyle Datu and Staff Sgt. Matt Trevizo, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron fire protection specialists, extinguish a fire during an aircraft live fire training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Oct. 12, 2023. Propane ignitors are built in multiple positions throughout and around the training fuselage providing firefighters with a more realistic training environment. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Rufus
FLAME FIGHTERS: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kyle Datu and Staff Sgt. Matt Trevizo, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron fire protection specialists, extinguish a fire during an aircraft live fire training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Oct. 12, 2023. Propane ignitors are built in multiple positions throughout and around the training fuselage providing firefighters with a more realistic training environment. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Rufus

Honor Flight San Diego announces U.S. Navy Special Warfare Operators Flight for April 2024
On April 26-28, 2024, Honor Flight San Diego will take 90-100 U.S. Navy Special Warfare Operators (SEALs, Frogmen) who served during the Vietnam War, Korean War, or WWII. Priority will also be given to any Navy Special Warfare Operator from any era who has a terminal illness.
San Diego and Coronado specifically, have always been home to the West Coast Navy SEAL Teams, the Underwater Demolition Teams, and supporting special boat crewmen. Vietnam era SEALs were tasked with conducting covert missions behind enemy lines. Due to their dangerous missions, 48 SEALs were killed in action during combat operations in Vietnam, and more than 200 were wounded.
Eligible veterans can apply at: www.HonorFlightSanDiego.org. Due to generous donors, the veterans travel on the three-day trip at no cost to them. The trip costs $300,000 and the organization is seeking sponsors for this flight. To donate, go to: www.HonorFlightSanDiego.org

Read us on line with a fresh issue weekly, find us in print on base and in the community twice a month!
Great news for trees! With prices ever increasing, and more readers getting their news on line, we are switching our print issues to twice a month and staying online with weekly issues. We will have fresh print issues out on the 1st and 16th of each month. We will be posting new issues weekly on line in our downloadable pdf format right here at www.afdispatch.com (see weekly links on the right side below the ads or current issue link at top of left column) and we are also viewable for the page turners on issuu.com/armedforcesdispatchnewspaper (click link under the rolled up newspaper at the top right of this page). Its a win-win -- saving money, saving trees, reducing our carbon footprint, while serving our readers the news they want and helping our advertisers reach the military market. Thank you to our advertisers who support our military readers! We're still kicking it in our 63rd year in San Diego thanks to you!

Service members get extended parental leave
by David Vergun , DOD News
The Defense Department issued a new policy to provide 12 weeks of paid, non-chargeable parental leave to service members who have a child through birth, adoption or a long-term foster care placement of at least 24 months.
These 12 weeks of parental leave, which became effective Dec. 27, come in addition to authorized convalescent leave for service members who give birth. Read more....

Vietnam War 50th
Commemoration observed through
Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2025

Vietnam Veterans Day: March 29th

Vietnam War 50th Commemoration logo

The Vietnam War 50th Commemoration celebration is March 29, and is the nation’s opportunity to celebrate the veterans’ and families’ service and sacrifice.
We honor all who served on active duty and their families at any time between Nov. 1, 1955 - May 15, 1975, regardless of duty location.
Vietnam veterans represented nearly 10 percent of their generation. They fought under challenging conditions, and when their service ended, were not always welcomed when they returned home.
President Obama highlighted that one of our country’s most painful times was Vietnam and how we treated our service members who served there.
“You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor,” he said. “You came home and sometimes were denigrated when you should have been celebrated.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 6 million U.S. Vietnam veterans live in America and abroad today, along with 9 million family members of those who served during this timeframe.
The U.S. Vietnam War Commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense and launched by President Obama in 2012.
By Presidential proclamation, the Vietnam War Commemoration will continue through Veterans Day, November 11, 2025.
In 2012, then-President Obama signed a presidential proclamation, designating March 29 as the annual observance of Vietnam War Veterans Day. The signing of the proclamation marked the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last American troops from Vietnam - March 29, 1973.
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 was signed into law by President Trump, designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
You’re invited to you to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. Since its inception, the Commemoration publicly thanked more than 3 million Vietnam Veterans at over 21,000 ceremonies.The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration continues through Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2025.
Lapel pins will bepresented to Vietnam Veterans at many locations across America.
Living U.S. Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, are eligible to receive a lapel pin. Vietnam Veterans who cannot attend an event can receive a lapel pin by providing us a current mailing address.

Navy, California move forward on EV pilot programs
by Brian O’Rourke, Navy Region Southwest
SAN DIEGO - The California Energy Commission recently approved nearly $2 million for electrification programs at Navy and Marine Corps installations in California.
At their business meeting Jan. 25, the CEC approved funding for the Navy Electric Vehicle Pilot Program ($414,000) and the Electrification Blueprint Studies ($1,500,000) for three Navy and three Marine Corps installations. This is the first execution of projects that the Navy began working on with the CEC following a Memorandum of Understanding signing in December 2021.
“We’re excited to be moving forward with these critical energy projects at Navy bases throughout the Southwest,” said Rear Adm. Brad Rosen, commander of Navy Region Southwest. “Our partnership with the California Energy Commission is unique to the Navy, and this forward momentum can only increase the chances of similar partnerships becoming available in the future.”
The Navy programs receiving this critical funding are:
• Defense Innovation Unit Electric Vehicle Pilot: The CEC funds will be used to procure and install 10 Level 2 and four Level 3 chargers at Naval Base San Diego for charging personal and government vehicles. The Navy will measure uptime, usage, duty cycle, vehicle types, ratio of government to personal vehicles, and max charging power
• Electrification Blueprints: Electrification Blueprints will be created for three installations chosen by Navy Region Southwest and three installations chosen by Marine Corps Installations West: NB San Diego, Naval Base Ventura County, Naval Air Station Lemoore, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Marine Corp Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms.
This project will develop specific transportation electrification blueprints for each selected base, to support the transportation electrification requirements of their civilian and military workforce.
The blueprint will provide quantitative analysis cost benefit analysis of leveraging innovative technologies in the electrification of transportation infrastructure, particularly those related to vehicle-to-grid integration (VGI) and EVSE to grid.

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USS Nimitz Superhornet launch Super Hornet Launch: Sailors monitor the launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
Sailors monitor the launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

‘Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act’ signed into law
Military spouses who hold professional licenses will find a smoother transition when transferring their professional licenses during moves across state lines under a newly enacted federal law.
The new law requires states to recognize service members and spouses’ valid professional licenses from other states for any job if they moved because of military orders. This law DOES NOT include law licenses.
Representative Mike Garcia spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in late December in support of his bill, the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act. This bill was included in H.R. 7939 (Veterans Auto and Education Improvement Act of 2022), which passed the U.S. House and Senate, and was signed into law by President Biden January, 5, 2023.
During his speech, Congressman Garcia made the following statement:
“In the midst of one of the most challenging times for our military in terms of recruitment and retention, what this bill does is allow military spouses to cross-deck their professional licenses -- if they’re a realtor, a nurse, a teacher, a beautician, a cosmetologist, whatever their profession is – across state lines,” said Garcia. “This bipartisan bill above all things would ease the burden for our military families. This is a win for our military families, for our national security, for our local communities who are in desperate need of these professionals, and even for our government who now enjoys the tax revenue from these dual-income families. And hopefully this translates into better recruitment and retention for our military.”
Currently, 34 percent of military spouses require a professional license for their line of employment. While military spouse unemployment hovers over 20% (over five times above the national average), this legislation is critical to assisting our military families and spouses who make countless sacrifices to support their servicemember family members.

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SmallMiramar Veterinary Clinic offers services for your pets by appointment only
Veterinary Treatment Facility
MCAS Miramar Building 6360
Hours: Mon.-Fri.: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (858) 307-6552/1773
Open for retail sales (flea and heartworm prevention, oral care) and drug/food prescription refills (if applicable) daily. Routine wellness checkups and vaccinations available, as well as minor sick call. Appointments can be made in person or by phone. Walk-ins aren’t accepted. Dogs and cats of all active duty military members and retirees with medical benefits are eligible to be seen at the facility. The facility always recommends that patrons of the clinic keep their own civilian veterinarian in case of emergency, or if the facility is unable to fulfill their needs.

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An Idaho Army National Guardsman embraces a family member Feb. 23, 2022, before deploying to support Operation Enduring Freedom. Photo By: National Guard Master Sgt. Becky VanshurCamp Pendleton takes big steps toward wildlife preservation
by Lance Cpl. Nataly Espitia , Camp Pendleton
Camp Pendleton honors, protects, and conserves the Earth every day of the year. Plenty of land and resources go into the conservation and care for wildlife aboard the installation.   Read more....

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US Dept of Veterans Affairs logoResources for struggling veterans
Veterans from all eras are reacting to the events around the world, and may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth their sacrifice. US Dept of Veterans Affairs in California offers the following information. Read more...


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United Through Reading®
Service members invited to record stories for family
United Through Reading® (UTR) is a free program helping ease the stress of separation for military and veteran families by having the service members or Veteran read children’s books aloud for their family to watch at home during times of physical separation. It is available for any type of separation, including but not limited to, deployment, training, geobaching, or shift work.
UTR provides service members and veterans a chance to make lasting connections from afar through the power of shared storytime. The recording and the book are given to the child and family at home at no cost.
Being a parent is not required; service members can send the recording & book(s) to any special child in their life such as younger sister or brother, niece, nephew, grandchild, or godchild.
The recording can be made via UTR’s free and secure UTR App, at one of UTR’s story stations, or at the Mobile Story Station at a community event. For more information visit unitedthroughreading.org or e-mail military@utr.org



GI Film Festival San Diego May 6-11, 2024

EMCOR. Rewarding post-military careers are waiting.

El Indio Mexican Restaurant

Disabled American Veterans CFC Campaign

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