Archive | February, 2015

Boxer’s Operations Intelligence Division Officer Receives SWO Pin

13 Feb
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 9, 2015) - Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces pins newly qualified Surface Warfare Officer, Ens. Lauren M. Hood in a ceremony in the wardroom of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by  Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Briana Taylor/Released)

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 9, 2015) – Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces pins newly qualified Surface Warfare Officer, Ens. Lauren M. Hood in a ceremony in the wardroom of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Briana Taylor/Released)

Ens. Lauren Hood, USS Boxer’s Operations Intelligence Division Officer, a Naples, Florida native, was awarded her Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) pin by Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, in the wardroom aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) Feb. 9.

“This is one of the proudest days of my life,” said Hood, addressing fellow officers in the wardroom during the ceremony.

Surface warfare officers have 18 months from the time they are gained on a ship to qualify for their SWO pin. Through intensive study of shipboard operations, surface warfare officers gain a working knowledge of how all systems and platforms work together and function and then demonstrate that knowledge as a last step before they are awarded their pin.

Hood originally wanted to be a police officer like her father. When he convinced her that other careers might be able to take her further, her desire to serve and protect led her to become a Naval Officer.

“Now that I’ve been here, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Hood. “I get paid to drive around billions of dollars worth of Navy equipment and to see things that other people my age never get to see.”

Hood studied for 2-3 hours a day for two weeks leading up to her board, and for an hour a day in the weeks before that.

“There is an inexhaustible supply of help on the ship,” said Hood. “My department heads and fellow officers have been fantastic, and my parents at home keep me even-keeled. Now that I’m qualified it’s my responsibility to help my fellow junior officers.”

Next, Hood would like to earn her Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW) certification and look for orders on a smaller ship in Everett, Washington.

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 9, 2015) - Ens. Lauren Hood, Operations Intelligence Division Officer for the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) is awarded her Surface Warfare Officer pin by Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, in Boxer's wardroom. Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by  Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Briana Taylor/Released)

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 9, 2015) – Ens. Lauren Hood, Operations Intelligence Division Officer for the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) is awarded her Surface Warfare Officer pin by Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, in Boxer’s wardroom. Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Briana Taylor/Released)

“We can make that happen,” said Rowden during the ceremony, after asking Hood and the other SWO pin recipient what their plans for the future are.

The SWO pin is not a qualification that an officer can achieve by themselves, according to Hood. The most difficult part of the qualification is understanding the role of an amphibious assault ship in the fleet and how all of the individual ship functions affect one another.

“I’m trying to emulate my department heads’ ability to be a source of knowledge for the Sailors that work for them,” said Hood. “Now I know for sure that this is where I belong, and I want to move to other platforms and experience them.”

Hood intends to make the Navy a career.

“Eventually I think it’d be awesome to captain a ship,” said Hood. “All of these doors are open for me now that I’m qualified.”

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Commander, Naval Surface Forces, visits USS Boxer

13 Feb
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 9, 2015) - Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces surveys work done on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) during a recent visit. Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by  Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Briana Taylor/Released)

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 9, 2015) – Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces surveys work done on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) during a recent visit. Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Briana Taylor/Released)

Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, returned to USS Boxer (LHD 4) on Feb. 9, to visit Sailors and assess the ship’s status as Boxer gets ready to finish its maintenance period and regain her operational certifications for the Strike Group and Fleet Commanders.

Rowden, and other members of his staff, were greeted by Capt. Martin L. Pompeo, Boxer’s commanding officer, Capt. Michael S. Ruth, Boxer’s executive officer and Capt. Keith G. Moore, Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 1. The group toured Boxer’s hangar bay, flight deck and forward main machinery room. Rowden was briefed on the ship’s condition, and the remaining maintenance evolutions that have to happen before Boxer can get underway for sea trials.

Ens. Lauren M. Hood and Ens. Sebastian R. Delossantos received their surface warfare pins from Rowden in the wardroom aboard Boxer during the visit. Rowden removed his own surface warfare pin during the ceremony to pin Delossantos.

When the floor was opened for questions, Lt. Cmdr. Bryan Breeden, Boxer’s Command Control Communications Computers Collaboration and Intelligence Department Head, asked Rowden to expand upon Distributed Lethality, a recent combat readiness initiative.

“We need to change the rules of the game in the middle of the game,” said Rowden.

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 9, 2015) - Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces speaks to members of the USS Boxer (LHD 4) wardroom during a recent visit to the amphibious assault ship.  Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by  Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Briana Taylor/Released)

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 9, 2015) – Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces speaks to members of the USS Boxer (LHD 4) wardroom during a recent visit to the amphibious assault ship. Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Briana Taylor/Released)

The evolution of requirements for defense on surface ships has, since the 30’s, revolved around protecting aircraft carriers, according to Rowden. Because of the high cost of this approach and concerns about its efficacy, more emphasis will be put on the offensive capabilities of the surface force.

“We need to make them worry about our surface ships,” said Rowden. “We have to take what we have today and make it better; use it differently, which includes the possibility of bringing back our Expeditionary Strike Groups.”

In Boxer’s Chiefs’ Mess, Rowden stressed the importance of formality, procedural compliance, a questioning attitude, watch team backup and level of knowledge for Sailors under their watch.

“You have to have standards in everything,” said Rowden. “The trick is to decide that you’re going to expend the energy to make sure everyone understands them and complies. The Chiefs’ Mess is the heart and soul of any ship. Your Sailors deserve the best leadership.”

“Admiral Rowden’s visit demonstrated the importance our Surface Warfare community is placing on getting planned maintenance right, not only for our ships readiness, but also for our Sailor’s safety,” said Capt. Pompeo. “The admiral noticed and appreciated the great deal of time and energy our Sailors have expended into getting Boxer ready as we prepare for the operational challenges that lie ahead.”

This is Rowden’s second visit to Boxer during the planned maintenance availability (PMA) period. During this visit Rowden took time to tell the engineering department exactly what he looks for when he visits ships, and was happy with the current condition of the forward main machinery room.

“They say we have ten aircraft carriers,” said Rowden. “I say that with ships like this one, it’s more like twenty.”

Boxer is in a planned maintenance availability period (PMA) at its homeport of Naval Base San Diego. For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.

Boxer Sailors Do Their Homework

5 Feb
150205-N-GM561-031 SAN DIEGO (Feb. 5, 2014) Information Systems Technician Seaman Apprentice Keenan Walker studies his history class notes during his off-time aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) for a college class. Boxer is currently undergoing a phased maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina/Released)

150205-N-GM561-031 SAN DIEGO (Feb. 5, 2014) Information Systems Technician Seaman Apprentice Keenan Walker studies his history class notes during his off-time aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) for a college class. Boxer is currently undergoing a phased maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina/Released)

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina Sailors join the Navy for different reasons. Some join solely for the benefits and experience, some join for financial reasons and some join to use the Navy as a stepping-stone for their professional development. The Navy is constantly changing and opportunities usually won’t fall on anyone’s lap. If Sailors do their homework there are opportunities that the Navy provides that can be taken advantage of in the yards.

 Aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), Sailors are taking advantage of the Navy’s financial assistance and getting a head start on their education while in the yards.

 Tuition Assistance (TA) is the Navy’s educational financial assistance program. It provides active duty personnel funding for tuition costs for courses taken in an off-duty status at a college, university or vocational/technical institution, whose regional or national accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

150205-N-GM561-044 SAN DIEGO (Feb. 5, 2014) Seaman Claire Markham studies her psychology class notes during her off-time aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) for a college class. Boxer is currently undergoing a phased maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina/Released)

150205-N-GM561-044 SAN DIEGO (Feb. 5, 2014) Seaman Claire Markham studies her psychology class notes during her off-time aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) for a college class. Boxer is currently undergoing a phased maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina/Released)

 “Our mission is to give everyone the resources and opportunity to pursue their educational goals,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class(AW/SW) Oscar Ruelas, a member of Boxer’s office for education services.

 Some Sailors made getting an education a goal during their first enlistment.

 “When I joined the Navy, I always had college in mind,” explained Seaman(SW) Yair Herrera, a member of Deck department’s 3rd division. “I wanted to make sure I took advantage of the opportunities as soon as I could.”

 Herrera, a 21-year-old, is currently working toward an associate’s degree in general studies for this fall semester and plans to eventually pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance after the Navy.

 Balancing school and work is not easy for most Sailors. It can be mentally exhausting in some cases.

 “I had to balance the ships mission, which came first, so I attended college after working hours and on the weekends,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class(AW/SW) Raymond Escalona.

 Escalona has been in the Navy for 20 years and earned an associate’s degree during his service.

 “I hope to pursue a bachelor’s degree in health administration after I am out of the Navy,” said Escalona.

 Ruelas said the Navy is always changing and having some sort of education under your belt is important.

 “As a veteran, having work experience and education looks a lot more desirable than just one or the other,” said Escalona.

 To some Sailors, going to college was a good way to stay educated and on top of your goals for when you retire.

 Ruelas gave some advice to junior Sailors aboard the ship.

 “An education is one of the few things that help a Sailor anywhere,” said Ruelas. “It does not matter if they are doing 30 years in the Navy or one enlistment. Start as soon as possible. I recommend taking one class to get in the groove and get a feel on how everything balances out. It’s free education.”

 Navy TA pays up-front tuition charged by educational institutions for course enrollments. Navy TA pays 100 percent of tuition costs for courses applicable to the completion of a high school diploma or equivalency certificate.

 Ruelas completed various classes and is currently working toward his second degree.

 Escalona is currently retiring and Herrera looks to continue his studies during his first term.

U002 – Funded News Publication

5 Feb

U002 – Funded News Publication