Archive | July, 2014

Drinking on the Job: The Importance of H2O

29 Jul

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina
USS BOXER (LHD 4) NNS – July brings in new uniform trends for Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), undergoing a major maintenance period. The Navy’s latest blue sun-blocking hardhat along with a brand new pair of safety glasses, issued to protect one’s delicate eyes from any stray object, send the message that work is about to get done. In addition, sweat and tears from a scorching San Diego sun pool under the hardhats and uniforms of these Boxer Sailors. Water is limited aboard the ship, so every Sailor sports a water bottle.
Summer is here and as temperatures continue to rise in San Diego, so does the need to stay hydrated-especially aboard Boxer. Boxer is currently undergoing an overhaul of various systems and equipment as part of a Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA) period, which is slated to last for the next several months.
Due to Boxer’s PMA period, some air conditioning units and water supply tanks are among the many systems that may be temporarily shut down aboard the ship.
“Drinking water isn’t that easy anymore due to the ships maintenance period,” said Neil Roberts, Boxer’s afloat fitness specialist.
Dehydration occurs when your body is losing fluids quicker than they are being replenished, according to Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Christopher Woodhouse.
“When you sweat, it’s not just water, but other nutrients and electrolytes that your body uses to perform basic functions,” said Woodhouse.
Woodhouse added that energy drinks and coffee won’t kill you but will not keep you hydrated.
Just like a car needs a certain amount of gas to run, our bodies require a certain amount of water to achieve maximum performance daily.
There are signs of dehydration Sailors can look for in someone who might be dehydrated.
“Common signs of dehydration you might see in Sailors on Boxer include dry mouth, increased thirst and general weakness or dizziness,” said Woodhouse. “These can generally be remedied by sipping water in a cool, dry place.”
Dehydration becomes dangerous when a shipmate exhibits an altered mental status, confusion, or stops sweating. Anyone showing signs needs advanced medical attention immediately.
“We should make it a conscious effort to drink at least one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day,” said Roberts.
Woodhouse suggests one or two liters of water during a normal work day and then one or two more by the time you go to bed and repeat.
If drinking water isn’t your thing, you can supplement it.
“Eating fruits and vegetables are really helpful to staying hydrated as well,” said Roberts.
Roberts added that certain fruits and vegetables contain have very high water content.
Heat related injuries are common, and the number one weather related killer in the United States in 2011, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The United States had 400 heat fatalities that year.
For more information on hydration, please visit:



25 Jul

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Briana Taylor, USS Boxer Public Affairs

USS BOXER (LHD 4) – He looks out of place on a warship. His signature long hair and overall look are clearly not military. Despite the personal protective equipment he’s been issued, his clean shirt and jeans don’t fit in with the dust and paint covered coveralls most contractors are wearing, and then there’s that massive gold Super Bowl ring.

                Rob Ryan, Defensive Coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, is an unexpected sight on Boxer’s flight deck.

                Ryan toured Boxer Friday, July 10, during Boxer’s planned maintenance availability period (PMA).

                Not many people get to see a warship while it is in a shipyard environment like the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) is currently in. Contractors and Sailors alike are covered head to toe in hard hats, safety goggles, ear plugs and gloves. Everyone is moving about the ship with a purpose, barely maintaining the pristine condition of their uniforms amid the wet paint and various types of tape spreading steadily through the spaces.

                Boxer is buzzing with maintenance work during PMA. It’s is one of the longest and most work intensive periods that prepare ships for sea, and it is unusual for ships to host distinguished visitors during that time.

                Ryan’s brother-in-law, Paul Ralph, is the Director of Production for YYK Ship Repair and the one who requested the visit to the ship. YYK is one of the many companies that are working aboard Boxer during the maintenance availability as the ship completes repairs and upgrades after its recent deployment.

                “He took time out of the tour to go talk to people,” said Lt. Cmdr. Bryan Breeden, Boxer’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat Systems and Intelligence Department Head. “He didn’t wait for them to come to him.”

                “We’re going to do just that this year, Ma’am,” said Ryan, taking a moment in the fo’c’sle to talk about ‘kicking butt’ during the upcoming season while on the phone with the mother of Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Deron Hill. Hill mentioned to Ryan about his mother being a native of New Orleans and a Saints fan and was able to make a phone call during the tour so she could speak with him.

                Breeden’s son, Camden, who talks about nothing but football, said Breeden, asked his father to deliver a handwritten letter to Ryan, after looking him up online and discovering Ryan’s impressive career. He took it out of his pocket prior to the start of the tour, making a point to remember his ‘mission’ for the day.

                “It was a lot of fun,” said Breeden. “It’s always nice to show off the ship.”

                Breeden escorted Ryan through the more unique features of an LHD class vessel; a well deck to support the use of amphibious craft, medical facilities capable of providing treatment to 600 patients, and others. Ryan was focused during the tour, his eyes growing wide when Breeden showed him what the Combat Information Center looks like, underway, in blue light.

                “You guys are the best team there is,” said Ryan. “It’s awesome to be able to come out. It’s the first time I’ve ever been on a big ship like this and it’s amazing. I just wanted to say thanks.”

                During his brief tenure as Defensive Coordinator for the Saints, Ryan has already been accredited with one of the greatest turnarounds in NFL history from the 2012 season to 2013, according to Will Osgood, contributor to online sports news publication Cover32 NFL.

                Boxer returned from deployment in April and is now undergoing a maintenance availability at Naval Base San Diego. For more information about USS Boxer, please visit: or


10 Jul

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina, USS Boxer Public Affairs

USS BOXER (LHD 4) – The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) held a change of command ceremony on the flight deck July 2 where Capt. Wayne R. Brown relieved Capt. John E. Gumbleton as commanding officer.

Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific Fleet, Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, presided over the ceremony and presented Gumbleton with a Legion of Merit for his exceptional service as commanding officer.

“This is a big day for you [Capt. Gumbleton], each change of command commemorates and keeps alive our heritage with a peaceful transfer of power between two very well qualified officers.” said Copeman. “Everyone here is witnessing this small piece of the continuation of command when, without bloodshed, one commander relinquishes control of a mighty warship to another and I think it’s a beautiful thing.”

Under Gumbleton’s leadership, Boxer recently completed a successful eight month deployment to the U.S. Fifth and Seventh Fleet areas of responsibility. The ship was also awarded the Retention Excellence Award for outstanding retention during 2013 for a second consecutive year along with the Battle “E” award for a third consecutive year in 2013. Boxer also won the 2013 Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fundaward upon arrival home from the deployment this year, recognizing it as the best warship in the Pacific fleet and the 2013 SECNAV Safety Award. Gumbleton’s next assignment is at Chief of Naval Operations, Strategic Studies Group in Newport, R.I.

“I came to a realization that in order to achieve mission success I would have to build a cultured foundation for all of us to be a part of; a culture of by-the-book adherence, a culture of empowering your people, a culture of self-reliance and self-sufficiency,” said Gumbleton. “I stand here before you today humble and proud of you all.”

Brown complimented Gumbleton’s ability to command the ship and its crew. He spoke to friends, family and Boxer’s crew about what they could expect in the ship’s future.

“I am truly humbled to be given the privilege to serve such a hard working, professional and ambitious command that always met every challenge head on with a sense of pride,” said Brown. “It has been a pleasure to work with Capt. John Gumbleton for the last 19 months and I especially will be sad to see him leave. Thanks for your leadership and dedication to the crew and your trust in me to execute your vision.”

Copeman welcomed Brown to his new position prior to the reading of orders.

“You’re getting a great ship turned over to you that have done some great things so far. It takes a good crew to come this far and be this successful,” said Copeman.

Boxer returned from deployment in April and is now undergoing a maintenance availability at Naval Base San Diego. For more information about USS Boxer, please visit: or