Medical Training Benefits All in 7th Fleet

130614-N-QD718-014From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

JAKARTA, Indonesia – U.S. 7th Fleet medical officers and Indonesian doctors from Jakarta and the surrounding area met for discussions, training and an exchange of capabilities in Jakarta, Indonesia June 14, 2013.

Operational medicine was the focus of the international exchange of knowledge, with topics ranging from dentistry and preventative medicine to military focused situations such as combat medicine and dive/submarine medicine.

“Meaningful engagement with Indonesia’s military medical staff serve as outstanding opportunities to foster and build relationships based on mutual respect and professionalism,” said Lt. Cmdr. Alan Lam, Fleet Preventive Medicine Officer. “Often, host nations are eager to showcase their medical capabilities and expertise.  The flow of information goes both ways in these exchanges.  It enhances our own readiness and positively contributes to diplomacy.”

The talks are focused on learning the capabilities of each country how they can better assist each other in future operations. For both countries, it is a platform to showcase their abilities and how they perform medical operations in their military. The Surgeons office coordinates these exchanges months in advance with each country visited to further build relationships in the region and in the medical community.

“Interacting with the operational medicine teams from so many different nations greatly benefits all parties involved. It is more than just training and exchanging information on capabilities but it is an opportunity for the U.S. and partner nations to put on display what they bring to the table with regards to operational medicine,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Michael J. Bagley, Fleet Independent Duty Corpsman. “These interactions develop relationships which enhance the readiness of the Fleet, both in peacetime and during conflict”

Blue Ridge and embarked 7th Fleet staff are currently on patrol operating forward while building maritime partnerships and conducting security and stability operations.

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CARAT Thailand 2013 Closes

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Melissa K. Russell

SATTAHIP NAVAL BASE, Thailand – The Thailand phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise 2013 ended with a closing ceremony at Sattahip Naval Base, June 12, following nearly two weeks of training ashore and at sea.

The closing wrapped up the at-sea phase of the annual bilateral exercise series which was designed to develop relationships, address shared maritime security priorities and enhance interoperability among the naval forces of the U.S. and Thailand.  The formal ceremony included dignitaries from the U.S. Navy and Royal Thai Navy and Marines as well as a performance by the Royal Thai Navy band.

Rear Adm. Bill McQuilkin, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea and executive agent for CARAT Thailand, highlighted several of the events that took place, particularly an integrated humanitarian assistance disaster relief scenario involving a simulated earthquake and tsunami in Rayong Province.

“This highly realistic scenario took place over several days, allowed our forces to plan a combined, whole-of-government response, and culminated with relief operations from the sea involving our amphibious forces, construction engineers, Navy divers, civil affairs experts, explosive ordnance disposal units and medical professionals,” McQuilkin said.

“The fact that we were able to bring these capabilities together successfully during this training scenario will greatly enhance our ability to respond effectively to real world events.”

New this year, participating ships and aircraft transferred fuel during an underway replenishment, and personnel from both navies stood up a combined staff to control forces.  Additional events included diving and salvage training, medical training, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training, community service projects, and a joint engineering civil action project.  U.S. Marines practiced scout sniper integration and jungle survival training, while U.S. Navy riverine forces conducted training patrols in inter-coastal waters.

CARAT is a series of annual bilateral naval exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste.

More than 1200 Sailors and Marines participated in CARAT Thailand.  U.S. Navy ships participating in the exercise included the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) with embarked U.S. Marine Corps landing force, diving and salvage vessel USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) with embarked Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, and the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54).

Additional participants in CARAT Thailand were staff from Destroyer Squadron Seven (DESRON 7), medical professionals and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) evaluators assigned to Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command (MCAST), Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five (NMCB5), technicians from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Units (EODMU) Five, divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MUDSU) One, P-3C Orion and MH-60 aircraft, and the U.S. Seventh Fleet Band, Orient Express.

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USS Shiloh Receives New Commanding Officer

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class N. Ross Taylor, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Japan

YOKOSUKA, Japan — A new commanding officer took command of Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) during a ceremony at Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Fleet Theater, June 12.

During the event, Capt. James T. Jones turned over command of the warship to Capt. Kurush F. Morris.

Guest speaker, Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet, congratulated Jones and his crew for their accomplishments.

“Jim, you leave behind a winning team,” said Montgomery. “I can say without a doubt that you have led the Shiloh and her crew to great successes with unfailing strength and wisdom. Kurush, welcome aboard. This job will challenge you, but I am confident you will find it one of the most rewarding jobs in the Navy.”

Jones expressed his gratitude to his crew for all of their perseverance.

“To the wardroom, chief’s mess, and the crew of USS Shiloh, my warmest thanks for your hard work and dedication,” said Jones. “The cohesiveness of our ship is one of the prime reasons for our success.”

As the commanding officer since August 2011, Jones led his crew through several demanding and complex exercises and missions. He continued by highlighting some of the successes Shiloh had under his command.

“In total, we have sailed 47,100 nautical miles and executed 142 special evolutions up to and including the largest and most intricate ship’s maintenance availability that the Yokosuka waterfront has ever attempted, and strengthened international cooperation by being the first U.S. Navy ship to visit the People’s Republic of China since 2009,” said Jones.

Jones attributed his success as commanding officer to the outstanding performance and character of the men and women who served under him.

“I am better for having known all of you, for having the chance to serve alongside you, and to be able to call myself your captain,” Jones said. “This is the best job I will ever have, and it is a bittersweet day today because I must say, ‘good bye.’”

As Jones’ final act as Shiloh’s commanding officer, he led the officers and crew in the Sailor’s Creed. Thereafter, he reminded them of a credo they had become very familiar with during Jones’ tenure.

“Remember Shiloh, if you’re going to do it,” he said and was joined by the more than 300 Shiloh Sailors in attendance, “do it right!”

Morris thanked Jones for his leadership and leaving him in care of an outstanding warship.

“Capt. Jones, I appreciate your outstanding accomplishment in building this group of exceptional Sailors who have consistently excelled at every task given,” said Morris. “You are turning over a focused and motivated team, and I am convinced there is no better ship or group of Sailors to work with on the waterfront.”

Morris previously served as Division Chief, J-39 Special Actions Division, on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jones’ next assignment will be in Washington, D.C. working on the staff for the Chief of Naval Operations.

Shiloh, forward deployed to Yokosuka, is the Navy’s 21st Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser and reports to Commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet.

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Pacific Partnership 2013 Arrives in Tonga

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samantha J. Webb

TONGATAPU, Tonga – The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) arrived in Tonga, the second mission port of Pacific Partnership 2013, June 12.

Pacific Partnership, currently in its eighth iteration, is a mission that brings U.S. military forces, partner nation military forces, and non-governmental organization volunteers together to conduct disaster-preparedness activities.

While in Tonga, mission personnel are scheduled to conduct a variety of projects including school renovations, harbor surveys, medical and dental screenings, water catchment and filtration installations, basic veterinary care and training, educational health fairs and boating safety training.

New Zealand Air Force Group Captain Darryn Webb, the mission deputy commander, said the extensive planning and cooperation of individuals with different skills is what brings Pacific Partnership together.

“We’re going to have to have complete collaboration in order to maximize the team skill sets,” said Webb.

U.S. Army Capt. Linda Jones, the project lead for a nursing conference scheduled to take place at the Vaiola Hospital in Tonga, said that Tongan nursing students will be able to choose which topics Pacific Partnership medical staff will teach about, based on need and interest.

“Our main goal is to teach them to teach others,” said Jones. “This can be such a great benefit to everyone involved, and I really hope for a wonderful exchange.”

Jones said she thinks that skilled nurses are one of the most important elements in disaster relief efforts. After a disaster strikes, nurses are often the first line of care in the triage process.

Webb said that he has heard from the mission planning team on the ground that the people of Tonga can’t wait to see the faces of Pacific Partnership.

“They are excited about the services, skills and support that we’re going to bring,” said Webb.

Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster-response preparation mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Pacific Partnership is also scheduled to visit the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and Solomon Islands.

The mission, which was born out of a response to the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, has now grown in scope and size. This year’s partner nations include Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea.

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USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) Arrives in Guam

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Lavin, USS Emory S. Land Public Affairs

Naval Base Guam—Submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) arrived in Guam June 10, 2013 for a maintenance availability period as a part of their extended deployment.

The arrival is Land’s first time returning to Guam since it left in Oct. 2012.

“The work the crew has done so far on this deployment both on and off duty has been great,” said Capt. Glenn Pendrick, commanding officer USS Emory S. Land.  “Having this time in Guam will be good for the morale of the ship as a whole.”

During its maintenance period, Land will undergo multiple repairs and upgrades.  Some of the major work to be done to the ship includes repairing and recertifying the ship’s 30 ton centerline crane, upgrading the ship’s wireless communication system, overhauling seven of the ships saltwater cooling pumps for the air conditioning and turbo generator systems and upgrades to the emergency diesel generator.

“Maintenance periods like this one are vital in getting the ship and crew the tools they need to stay mission ready,” said Pendrick.

For some of the Sailors assigned to Land, Guam is just another port visit, but for Sailors assigned to Land in an expeditionary capacity from USS Frank Cable (AS-40) Guam is where they call home.

“It’s awesome to be back in Guam,” said Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Gerrett Sullivan. “We got to see some amazing places, but there really is no place like Guam.”

USS Emory S. Land, homeported in Diego Garcia, is on an extended deployment conducting coordinated tending moorings and afloat maintenance in the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations.

To learn more about USS Emory S. Land visit http://www.as39.navy.mil

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USS Chosin Arrives in Subic Bay

From Lt. j. g. Angelica F. Walton, USS Chosin Public Affairs

SUBIC BAY, Philippines — The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) arrived in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines for a port visit, June 12.

“It is wonderful to be back in the Philippines,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly, Chosin’s commanding officer. “The warmth and hospitality of the Philippine people is as exceptional, as it is inviting.

“The crew of Chosin is excited to experience the culture and establish friendships during our stay here in Subic Bay.”

Sailors will be given the opportunity to experience the Philippines with various outdoor adventures and regional attractions, which include the Subic Bay Zoo, golf, and local cuisine, Most of which events are, provided by the ship’s morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) association.

The port visit is also an opportunity for many Sailors with Filipino backgrounds to embrace their heritage or visit family.

“I’m excited to see my father, a retired senior chief petty officer, during this port visit,” said Chief Petty Officer Eugene Gabriel, from the Republic of the Philippines. “It’s been three years since I have been back and I look forward to taking some time to explore the country again.”

Chosin is currently on deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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Pacific Ambassadors Visit Orphanage in Singapore

130611-N-GR655-058By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Karsten

SINGAPORE – The U.S. 7th Fleet Band’s Pacific Ambassadors performed for orphans and disadvantaged children at the Jamiyah Children’s Home in Singapore, June 11, 2013.

“The children of Jamiyah are so blessed for many activities and this is one activity that I think the children espe cially look forward to,” said Sophian Kayat, superintendant of the home.  “Music is always something that we us as therapy in the home. It heals, it speaks the universal language and having the Navy band here to perform here at our home is just awesome!”

The band mixed up the show providing performances from different instruments including a clarinet trio, a brass quintet and a vocal quartet. In between performances, individual musicians would teach the kids about their specific instrument and the history behind them.

“The kind of music that was played I think the children enjoyed,” added Kayat. “I could see from their eyes that they were glimmering and so joyful, so we are so thankful for this gift of music from this morning.”

The children also had the chance to showcase their talents with a musical and a traditional dance performance that was well received by the band members.

Since 1993, the home which means House of Bliss has been developing orphans and neglected children of single parents, drug detainees, abused and families in difficulties.

Kayat claimed that the shy children would be dancing if the band had stayed a little bit longer and expressed his gratefulness on behalf of all the children.130611-N-GR655-091

The band, embarked on the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), visited the home during a port visit. Blue Ridge and embarked 7th Fleet staff are currently on patrol operating forward while building maritime partnerships and conducting security and stability operations.

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