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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.”

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

I025 Writing – Feature

28 Jan

Third Time’s a Charm!

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert R. Sanchez, USS Boxer Public Affairs.

ARABIAN SEA- It’s not a common occurrence for a Sailor to go from eating on the mess decks one day to dining with officers in the wardroom the next. However, aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), for Engineman 2nd Class Evan Singleton that is exactly what happened.  

Although, to others the change might have appeared to happen overnight, Singleton’s journey was far from that.

“It’s quite an extensive process,” said Singleton, from Grand Rapids, Mich., “Initially, after college I applied through a recruiting officer station. Found out a few months later, I got denied. So I went enlisted. I let a year and half go by before I sent off my second package. I got denied again. I kept saying third time is a charm, and here I am.”

At an early age, Singleton decided he wanted to work in federal law enforcement, which he states was one of the things that helped him to keep pushing.

“Before going to college I had a goal of being in federal law enforcement,” explains Singleton. “A family friend was a federal law enforcement agent and he gave me clear cut direction; go to college and get military experience, preferably from the officer level. Although that goal has kind of shifted now, it has been one of my greatest pushes.”

Before enlisting in the Navy, Singleton attended Aquinas College on a baseball scholarship. There he got his bachelor’s degree in Business Communication.

So when he entered the Navy as an engineman, it was not quite what he was expecting.

“Four years of college and I never looked under the hood of my car,” said Singleton. “Not being mechanically inclined I felt like I was behind the curve. However, I loved the experience. I loved learning about mechanical things. Now, I can do quite a few things under the hood.”

His drive for success is something that helped in achieving his acceptance to Officer Candidate School (OSC).

“It is a significant milestone in his career,” said Chief Engineman Kenneth Kelly, from Idaho Falls, Idaho. “It proves that if you have strong determination and goals, the hard work you put in every day towards them will pay off.”

 

Boxer has allowed Singleton to get exposed to what life will be like once he becomes commissioned.

 

“I’m grateful that the command is allowing me the experience of the ship while it’s operating to full capacity,” said Singleton. “I’m being exposed to the atmosphere, to the watch stations, to the instructions, and to the tempo of the officers’ way of life. I would not get the same experience if we were pierside.”

 

-more-

 

However, Singleton is not yet completely at ease with his new position.

“I feel like I can’t get comfortable just yet. I still don’t have the [Ensign] bars,” he explains. “Until I do, I won’t find another level of comfort. Right now I’m in between. I’m looked at by the officer side as enlisted, and on our side I’m looked at as an officer. However, that is not my main focus right now. My focus is getting exposure to the operations and getting into the mindset of the daily routine at an officer level.”

One person who is helping him with his transition is his leading chief petty officer, Chief Kelly.

“The transition process from enlisted to officer can be tough,” admits Kelly. “He has a great opportunity onboard Boxer to see both sides of the Navy (enlisted and officer). Remembering where he came from and looking toward the future with his current career goals will make him a stronger leader. Overall, I think he is adjusting well, and he is realizing the responsibilities and challenges he will soon face as a commissioned officer.”

 

He also got more insight on guidance that was passed down to him while being enlisted.

 

“I’ve always heard, from good chiefs and division officers, that people needs come first, then your own,” said Singleton. “I’ve now seen it put into play on a daily basis and realize how important it really is.”

 

Singleton offers a word of advice to his shipmates that are thinking of going on the same path.

 

“Read all the instructions thoroughly and don’t let anyone tell you no,” advices Singleton. “I ran into quite a few doors that seemed closed. I used the instructions, confidence, and a smile to push through those doors. Maintain a positive attitude day in and day out and thrive on whatever gives you motivation.”

Singleton is scheduled to stay on Boxer until July and encourages anyone to come talk to him if they are thinking about putting in a package for OSC.

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Boxer Sailor Earns NAM by Accident

15 Dec

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Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina

It was finally here. The day we wait for every week – Friday. Hard work had paid off and the workday was done. Logistics Specialist 3rd Class(SW) Cole Karr had gotten off early on a Friday to run a few errands before the weekend. His head start came to a standstill as he drove down the highway and found himself stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.

Curious as to what was causing all of this traffic, he finally reached the source; there was an accident.

“From what I saw, it was a black crossover SUV [sport utility vehicle] that rear ended a smaller car.” said Karr, who works in the post office aboard Boxer. “As I was about to go around the accident, like everyone else did, I noticed a pregnant woman standing next to the SUV and she was in hysteria.”

Without thinking twice, Karr pulled over to see if the woman needed any assistance.

There was an immense amount of smoke coming from under the hood of her car as Karr approached the woman.

“I asked what she needed out of the vehicle and said she needed her purse and the baby items out of the back,” explained Karr. “I then grabbed her purse and gave it to her, opened up the back hatch of her car and I saw there were a few baby items so I quickly started grabbing everything.”

As Karr hurriedly snatched car seats, diaper bags and toys, another bystander came up to him and told him to move his truck back because the woman’s car was soon going to go up in flames.

“Once I grabbed her stuff, I escorted the pregnant woman further away from the scene and sat her down to get her to calm down,” said Karr. “After I moved her and her belongings back, I backed my truck a little further back and just as emergency services showed up, the woman’s car was engulfed in flames.”

Karr said he wasn’t nervous or scared during the accident and could only think about the woman’s safety the whole time.

“After I left the scene, I broke down emotionally and called my dad to tell him what happened and as Christians, we both came to the agreement that God had worked through me to help this woman,” Karr said.

Karr had never experienced anything like this before.

Capt. Martin L. Pompeo, Boxer’s commanding officer, showed his appreciation for Karr’s act of kindness by awarding Karr with a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

“I do not want to be referred to as a hero like I have been hearing these last couple of days,” explained Karr. “I just happened to be at the right place at the right time to help someone and I acted on my responsibility as a human, Christian, and United States Sailor.”

USS Boxer is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability in its homeport of San Diego. For more news from Boxer, visit our homepage at http://www.boxer.navy.mil or our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/USSBoxer/.

BOXER RE-BRANDS, RE-OPENS SHIP STORE

21 Nov

141031-N-PZ713-009

By Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Mayra A. Knight, USS Boxer (LHD 4) Public Affairs

 

San Diego — Sailors from supply department’s sales division, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the re-opening of Boxer’s ship store Oct. 31.

 

The ship’s store had been closed for renovations and re-branding for several days while the process was completed.

 

Gene F. Hoffman, the associate director of the merchandising branch for the Navy Exchange, flew in from Virginia Beach, Va. with a team to help Boxer accomplish this mission.

“We’re branding the ships store,” said Hoffman. “There are two elements to that, the first element is the visual. We’re putting blue trim around the perimeter of the store, and we’re putting ‘Your Ship, Your Store’ with the ship’s logo to keep the identity of the ship. We’re giving it a professional look.”

Along with re-branding, a heritage wall displaying the Boxer motto and a large photograph of Sailors and Marines was added.

“The second part is the merchandising,” said Hoffman. “where the Navy Exchange Service Command along with civilians from the local Navy Exchange, come aboard your ship and prepare a layout of where certain merchandise is supposed to be placed. We also teach the ship’s store personnel proper retail merchandising techniques.”

According to Hoffman, Boxer is the second LHD to receive the re-branding. The Navy Exchange started this project in 2013 and is making this change fleet wide.

“I hope Boxer Sailors are impressed with the store and I hope that when they go inside the store they have that wow factor,” said Hoffman. “We hope that it brings in more sailors to do more shopping during the week. From the eleven other ships that have had this done we found that sales have increased 30-70%.”

Master Chief Ship’s Serviceman Alex Payumo, Leading Chief Petty Officer of Boxer’s sales division, was happy with the results.

“I feel great about the whole process. They came in with a very friendly attitude,” said Payumo. “I welcome the change and my guys know that it is for the better, so we embrace the change. I know that these experts have put in a lot of time and effort in developing the design, lay-out and the manual for stocking. They left with a good feeling that they contributed and we feel the same way and we are here to maintain what they’ve taught us.”

Ships Serviceman 3rd Class Shamir Sellers Brown, who works with Nexcom Fleet Assist team from Naval Supply Fleet Logistics Center San Diego, was part of the team re-merchandising the store.

“We are the assist for everything [sales division] related; sales, technical support, and anything else that the ship may need,” said Sellers Brown. “We come on board and help them. Merchandising is one of the things that we do.”

Payumo hopes that the results will be enjoyed by everyone.

“Quality of life is one of the commanding officer’s priorities and this definitely brings pride to Boxer Sailors,” said Payumo.  “They can now brag that they have best looking ship’s store in the fleet.”

 

 

For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.