Crash Course Blog Notes

A number of regular features will be taking an intermittent month off in July because of my cycling schedule. They will return without interruption in August. At the same time, I am for the most part off of social networking for the same reason in July, but hope to post when I can – both in social media and the blog when time permits and when I can’t be quiet about something.

Thanks very much for visiting and for continually reading Crash Course!

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#WarriorWednesday

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Warrior Wednesday is a weekly feature honoring the brave men and women of the US Armed Forces and its Allies.

U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, fly with Turkish Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcons during Anatolian Eagle 15, June 17, 2015, in Turkey. The two-week flying training exercise involved U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa units and multiple NATO partners.  Master Sgt. Nick Hodge

U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, fly with Turkish Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcons during Anatolian Eagle 15, June 17, 2015, in Turkey. The two-week flying training exercise involved U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa units and multiple NATO partners. Master Sgt. Nick Hodge

Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 2 prepare to secure a beam, which is intended to simulate a 6,000 pound cargo load, to a CH-53E Super Stallion operated by Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron 302 aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 16, 2015. HMHT-302 teamed up with Combat Logistics Battalion 2 to give pilots and landing support specialists familiarization with operating equipment and performing external operations, skills that allow them to deliver and recover supplies and gear quickly and efficiently in deployed settings.  Lance Cpl. Fatmeh/Marine Corps

Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 2 prepare to secure a beam, which is intended to simulate a 6,000 pound cargo load, to a CH-53E Super Stallion operated by Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron 302 aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 16, 2015. HMHT-302 teamed up with Combat Logistics Battalion 2 to give pilots and landing support specialists familiarization with operating equipment and performing external operations, skills that allow them to deliver and recover supplies and gear quickly and efficiently in deployed settings. Lance Cpl. Fatmeh/Marine Corps

SOCOM athlete Sualauvi Tuimalealiifano competes in discus at the 2015 Warrior Games aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Tuesday, June 23, 2015.  Mike Morones

SOCOM athlete Sualauvi Tuimalealiifano competes in discus at the 2015 Warrior Games aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Mike Morones

USS New York - A Marine with the Maritime Raid Force, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, participates in a live-fire training exercise on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) in the Gulf of Aden, June 14, 2015. The 24th MEU is embarked on the ships of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and is deployed to maintain regional security in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of operations.   Cpl. Todd Michalek/Marine Corps

USS New York – A Marine with the Maritime Raid Force, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, participates in a live-fire training exercise on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) in the Gulf of Aden, June 14, 2015. The 24th MEU is embarked on the ships of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and is deployed to maintain regional security in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of operations. Cpl. Todd Michalek/Marine Corps

A soldier from the 73rd Iraqi Infantry Brigade receives an M16A2 rifle as part of the fielding of combat brigade sets supplied to Iraqi Security Forces in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve at Camp Taji, Iraq, June 15, 2015. Under the direction of the 3rd Sustainment Brigade Forward Support Element, Fort Stewart, Ga., and the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) from Fort Bragg, N.C., Iraqi soldiers received equipment needed in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  Capt. A. Sean Taylor

A soldier from the 73rd Iraqi Infantry Brigade receives an M16A2 rifle as part of the fielding of combat brigade sets supplied to Iraqi Security Forces in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve at Camp Taji, Iraq, June 15, 2015. Under the direction of the 3rd Sustainment Brigade Forward Support Element, Fort Stewart, Ga., and the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) from Fort Bragg, N.C., Iraqi soldiers received equipment needed in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Capt. A. Sean Taylor

The amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage travels through waves in the Indian Ocean, June 22, 2015. The Anchorage, part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.  Liam Ken/Navy

The amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage travels through waves in the Indian Ocean, June 22, 2015. The Anchorage, part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Liam Ken/Navy

New York Army National Guard Specialists Kadeem Fowler, from Troy, N.Y., and Richard Madsen, from East Greenbush, N.Y., who are both members of the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, practice combat lifesaver techniques while at annual training June 16, 2015, at Fort Drum, N.Y.  Sgt. J.P. Lawrence/Army National Guard

New York Army National Guard Specialists Kadeem Fowler, from Troy, N.Y., and Richard Madsen, from East Greenbush, N.Y., who are both members of the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, practice combat lifesaver techniques while at annual training June 16, 2015, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Sgt. J.P. Lawrence/Army National Guard

Senior Airman Jason Soliz, a 100th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog Unit handler, and MWD Gina, conduct a sweep of the passenger terminal on Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, June 16, 2015. Members of the 100th SFS and Central Region U.K. Border Force conducted sweeps of the building with their working dogs to strengthen detection methods and learn potential training techniques.  Christine Halan/Air Force

Senior Airman Jason Soliz, a 100th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog Unit handler, and MWD Gina, conduct a sweep of the passenger terminal on Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, June 16, 2015. Members of the 100th SFS and Central Region U.K. Border Force conducted sweeps of the building with their working dogs to strengthen detection methods and learn potential training techniques. Christine Halan/Air Force

More images on the Warrior Games this Friday for #RedFriday

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#WarriorWednesday

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Warrior Wednesday is a weekly feature dedicated to honoring and remembering the men and women, past and present, of the US Armed Forces and its Allies.

Marvin Shields

Marvin Shields

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum honors the first and only U.S. Navy Seabee ‬to receive the Medal of Honor Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields. Shields was also the first ‪‎US Navy‬ ‪‎Sailor‬ to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam‬. (Link for more about Shields appears at the end of this post).

Midshipman Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., Daguerreotype. He graduated first in the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1854. USN Photo Collection.

Midshipman Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., Daguerreotype. He graduated first in the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1854. USN Photo Collection.

1854, the first formal graduation exercises are held at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Previous classes had graduated without a ceremony. Rear Adm. Thomas O. Selfridge and Rear Adm. Joseph N. Miller, are two of the six graduates that year.

Eight members of the Class of 1861, including Midshipman George M. Bache (3rd from left). Among the others present are (based on other photos) are: Midshipman William F. Stewart (bearded, 2nd from left); Midshipman John F. McGlensey (4th from right); and Midshipman Richard F. Armstrong (2nd from right). Collection of Commander George M. Bache. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

Eight members of the Class of 1861, including Midshipman George M. Bache (3rd from left). Among the others present are (based on other photos) are: Midshipman William F. Stewart (bearded, 2nd from left); Midshipman John F. McGlensey (4th from right); and Midshipman Richard F. Armstrong (2nd from right). Collection of Commander George M. Bache. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. Photograph of the “Old Quarters” with the Recitation Hall on the extreme left, circa the 1860s, possibly taken by Fischer and Brothers., Baltimore. Collection of Commander George M. Bache.

U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. Photograph of the “Old Quarters” with the Recitation Hall on the extreme left, circa the 1860s, possibly taken by Fischer and Brothers., Baltimore. Collection of Commander George M. Bache.

U.S. Naval Academy, as it is today.

U.S. Naval Academy, as it is today.

1869, Secretary of the Navy Adolph E. Borie, ordered the construction of the first torpedo station on Goat Island, Newport, Rhode Island. During the establishment, the station experimented with torpedoes and trained sailors in the use technology of the weapons. Functions of the station were incorporated in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

Mark VII Bliss-Leavitt Torpedo, outside Torpedo Factory on Goat Island, Newport, Rhode Island, August 1913. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Mark VII Bliss-Leavitt Torpedo, outside Torpedo Factory on Goat Island, Newport, Rhode Island, August 1913. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

MARK III Whitehead Torpedo, fired from East Dock, Goat Island, 1894. USS Cushing (TB #1) is in the background. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

MARK III Whitehead Torpedo, fired from East Dock, Goat Island, 1894. USS Cushing (TB #1) is in the background. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Tug Leyden and three early torpedo boats. Torpedo Station's Ferry Launch at East Dock on Goat Island, 1899. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Tug Leyden and three early torpedo boats. Torpedo Station’s Ferry Launch at East Dock on Goat Island, 1899. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Soldiers assigned to various units throughout Europe, rappel from a UH-60 Black Hawk during an air assault course at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, June 9.  Markus Rauchenberger/Army

Soldiers assigned to various units throughout Europe, rappel from a UH-60 Black Hawk during an air assault course at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, June 9. Markus Rauchenberger/Army

Sailors assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 Explosive Ordnance Detachment recover the test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) on June 8 off the coast of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.  John Hageman/Navy

Sailors assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 Explosive Ordnance Detachment recover the test vehicle for NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) on June 8 off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. John Hageman/Navy

A Marine assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducts a nighttime high altitude high opening (HAHO) jump during category 3 sustainment training in Louisburg, N.C., June 5.  Cpl. Andre Dakis/Marine Corps

A Marine assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducts a nighttime high altitude high opening (HAHO) jump during category 3 sustainment training in Louisburg, N.C., June 5. Cpl. Andre Dakis/Marine Corps

Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey greets recipient Specialist Spencer Jacobsen of the Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) of Fort Campbell in Kentucky, after a Purple Heart ceremony June 9 at George Washington's Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey greets recipient Specialist Spencer Jacobsen of the Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) of Fort Campbell in Kentucky, after a Purple Heart ceremony June 9 at George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit sprint to an MV-22B Osprey aircraft during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) exercise, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., June, 5.  Cpl. Shawn Valosin/Marine Corps

Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit sprint to an MV-22B Osprey aircraft during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) exercise, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., June, 5. Cpl. Shawn Valosin/Marine Corps

Army Secretary John McHugh lays a wreath at George Washington's tomb June 9 at Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The U.S. Army held celebration for its 240th birthday.

Army Secretary John McHugh lays a wreath at George Washington’s tomb June 9 at Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The U.S. Army held celebration for its 240th birthday.

Navy Capt. William Koyama, commander of Carrier Air Wing 5, prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in an F/A-18E Super Hornet after completing his 4000th flight hour near Guam, June 8. The Super Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron.  Bryan Mai/Navy

Navy Capt. William Koyama, commander of Carrier Air Wing 5, prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in an F/A-18E Super Hornet after completing his 4000th flight hour near Guam, June 8. The Super Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron. Bryan Mai/Navy

Allied leaders salute the 9th Air Force Memorial, which commemorates fallen U.S. service members, in Picauville, France, June 4, during a D-Day ceremony.  Nicole Sikorski/Air Force

Allied leaders salute the 9th Air Force Memorial, which commemorates fallen U.S. service members, in Picauville, France, June 4, during a D-Day ceremony. Nicole Sikorski/Air Force

Bryan County High School, Ga., JROTC cadet Dikenya Dukes, a rising 11th grader, climbs through a wall on an obstacle course as her classmate and "battle buddy" Mitchell Miller watches, June 9, at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. The Savannah Army post is hosting about 200 JROTC cadets from southeast Georgia high schools this week during its Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge Summer Camp led by the Hunter-based 6th ROTC Brigade.  Corey Dickstein/Savannah Morning News

Bryan County High School, Ga., JROTC cadet Dikenya Dukes, a rising 11th grader, climbs through a wall on an obstacle course as her classmate and “battle buddy” Mitchell Miller watches, June 9, at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. The Savannah Army post is hosting about 200 JROTC cadets from southeast Georgia high schools this week during its Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge Summer Camp led by the Hunter-based 6th ROTC Brigade. Corey Dickstein/Savannah Morning News

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer throws the first pitch of the 3rd annual Amputee Warrior Softball Classic June 6, at Prince George's Stadium in Bowie, Md.  Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Air Force

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer throws the first pitch of the 3rd annual Amputee Warrior Softball Classic June 6, at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Md. Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Air Force

Marines and sailors with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, escort a simulated isolated person onto an MV-22 Osprey during a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel training exercise on May 29 in Southwest Asia.   Lance Cpl. Garrett White/Marine Corps

Marines and sailors with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, escort a simulated isolated person onto an MV-22 Osprey during a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel training exercise on May 29 in Southwest Asia. Lance Cpl. Garrett White/Marine Corps

George Shenkle, World War II veteran and former Army Soldier with the Easy Company, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, reacts as soldiers parachute over the historic La Fiere drop zone near Sainte Mere Eglise, Normandy, France, on Sunday to commemorate the 71st Anniversary of D-Day.   Master Sgt. Brian Bahret/Air Force

George Shenkle, World War II veteran and former Army Soldier with the Easy Company, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, reacts as soldiers parachute over the historic La Fiere drop zone near Sainte Mere Eglise, Normandy, France, on Sunday to commemorate the 71st Anniversary of D-Day. Master Sgt. Brian Bahret/Air Force

Marine Corps Hospital Corpsman Melissa Irvin, a 1st Dental Battalion dental corpsman, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., carries a box of medical supplies to Unggai Primary School, where medical professionals set up during Pacific Angel 15-4 at Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, on May 29.  Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris/Air Force

Marine Corps Hospital Corpsman Melissa Irvin, a 1st Dental Battalion dental corpsman, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., carries a box of medical supplies to Unggai Primary School, where medical professionals set up during Pacific Angel 15-4 at Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, on May 29. Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris/Air Force

Sailors man the rails as the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson returns to homeport on Thursday at Naval Air Station North Island.   MC3 Jacob G. Kaucher/Navy

Sailors man the rails as the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson returns to homeport on Thursday at Naval Air Station North Island. MC3 Jacob G. Kaucher/Navy

Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Worley examines a puppy during a Continuing Promise 2015 veterinary event in Colon, Panama, on Tuesday.   Andrew Schneider/Navy

Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Worley examines a puppy during a Continuing Promise 2015 veterinary event in Colon, Panama, on Tuesday. Andrew Schneider/Navy

Visitors stand among a display of 120 American flags, representing the 120 Wyoming soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who died during the Vietnam War, at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Sunday in Evansville, Wyo.   Alan Rogers/The Casper Star-Tribune

Visitors stand among a display of 120 American flags, representing the 120 Wyoming soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who died during the Vietnam War, at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Sunday in Evansville, Wyo. Alan Rogers/The Casper Star-Tribune

Soldiers from NATO countries attend an opening ceremony of military exercise Saber Strike 2015 at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade about 38 miles north of Vilnius, Lithuania, on Monday.  Mindaugas Kulbis

Soldiers from NATO countries attend an opening ceremony of military exercise Saber Strike 2015 at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade about 38 miles north of Vilnius, Lithuania, on Monday. Mindaugas Kulbis

On the Web:

Ceremony to mark 50th anniversary of Seabee’s heroism

HONORING SHIELDS, SEABEE HISTORY

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#WarriorWednesday

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Saluting, honoring and remembering the men and women, past and present, of the US Armed Forces.

Congressional Medal of Honor presentation:

CMoH - June 2015

The Medal of Honor was presented to Elsie Shemin-Roth, right, and Ina Bass, accepting on behalf of their late father, Army Sergeant William Shemin, for actions while serving in France during World War I, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday. Also, a Medal of Honor was awarded to the late Army Private Henry Johnson for his actions, also during World War I.

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Marines line up for a door-breaching exercise using a donut charge during Operation Lava Viper at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, on Thursday. The Marines are combat engineers assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.  Photo credit: Cpl. Ricky Gomez/Marine Corps

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Soldiers from Texas National Guard’s 1st Squadron 124th Cavalry and D Co., 949th Battalion Support Brigade, along with members of Texas Task Force 1, look for survivors on May 26 of the floods that have hit Texas. This Search and Rescue Ground team from the 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard conducted operations in both the Wimberley and Blanco areas utilizing their high-water trucks to rescue 32 civilians and seven pets after the Blanco River flooded its banks.  Photo credit: 1st Sgt. Ross Dobelbower/US Army.

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Addison Trimble of Glendale, Wis., looks for her mother, Alyssa Trimble, during the send-off ceremony for members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment at the Army Aviation Support facility in West Bend, Wis., on Saturday. The soldiers will deploy to Texas for training, then Kuwait to assist with Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield.

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A platoon of U.S. Marines with Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, MRF-D sit with their gear inside of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during a refueling and transport operation May 22 at Mount Bundey Training Area, Northern Territory, Australia. Two CH-53Es picked up and transported approximately 140 Marines from Robertson Barracks to MBTA to begin Exercise Predator Walk.  Photo credit: Cpl. Reba James/Marine Corps.

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A Marine with 1st Marine Division, 7th Marine Regiment participates in stalking training aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., on May 27. The training was the last event during Division School’s six-week-long Pre-Scout Sniper Course.  Photo credit: Lance Cpl. Danielle Rodrigues/Marine Corps.

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A soldier rappels during certification on Victory Tower on Fort Jackson, S.C., on Friday before training chaplain candidates in a leaders course during two weeks of annual training. The soldiers are assigned to the 104th Training Division.  Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton/US  Army.

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The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard marches during the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., on May 25. The National Memorial Day Parade was first launched in 2005 by the American Veterans Center.  Photo credit: Scott Ash/US Air Force.

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A Cub Scout stands among military personnel in salute as a hearse carrying the body of Marine Capt. Chris Norgren is driven through McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., on Tuesday. Norgren, 31, was killed May 12 in Nepal when the U.S. Marine helicopter he was in crashed while flying disaster aid to earthquake victims.  Photo credit: Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle.

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#WarriorWednesday #MilitaryAppreciationMonth: Duty, Honor, Courage, Sacrifice, Remember, Honor

Honoring Their Own May 2011: U.S. Navy, United States Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard personnel unfurl an American flag on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at a Memorial Day ceremony during Fleet Week New York. Fleet Week has been New York City’s celebration of the sea services since 1984 and is an opportunity for citizens of New York and the surrounding area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and see firsthand the capabilities of today’s maritime services.  Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew R. White.

Honoring Their Own
May 2011: U.S. Navy, United States Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard personnel unfurl an American flag on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at a Memorial Day ceremony during Fleet Week New York. Fleet Week has been New York City’s celebration of the sea services since 1984 and is an opportunity for citizens of New York and the surrounding area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and see firsthand the capabilities of today’s maritime services.
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew R. White.

The Heritage of the Military Funeral and Burial at Sea

Honoring the deceased is a centuries-old practice that includes many traditions across cultures. The customs and traditions behind military funerals and burial at sea date as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. In the Navy’s culture, as  the final honor to give to shipmates, traditions are employed that not only signify the service of the deceased, but also display our nation’s commitment to their legacy.

Atlantic Ocean, December 6, 2014. Capt. John Carter, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) salutes during a burial-at-sea.  Bataan is conducting an underway evolution in preparation for an upcoming planned maintenance availability.  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Julie Matyascik

Atlantic Ocean, December 6, 2014.
Capt. John Carter, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) salutes during a burial-at-sea. Bataan is conducting an underway evolution in preparation for an upcoming planned maintenance availability.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Julie Matyascik

Reversal of Rank

In Royal Connell and William Mack’s “Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions,”it is noted that the reversal of rank at military funerals is modeled after an ancient Roman custom of “reversing all rank and position when celebrating the feast of Saturn,”showing that, at death, all are equal. This is signified by positioning the honorary pallbearers and all other mourners, if practicable, in reverse order of rank.

Firing Three Volleys

The custom of firing three volleys at funerals comes from an old superstition. It was once thought that evil spirits escape from the hearts of the deceased, so shots are fired to drive away those evil spirits. “The number three has long had a mystical significance,”write Connell and Mack. They note that in Roman funeral rites, earth was cast three times into a grave, mourners called the dead three times by name, and the Latin word vale, meaning “farewell,”was spoken three times as they left the tomb. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also notes that the firing of three volleys “can be traced to the European dynastic wars when fighting was halted to remove the dead and wounded.”The funeral volley should not be mistaken for the twenty-one gun salute which is fired for the U.S. President, other heads of state, Washington’s birthday, and the Fourth of July. At Navy military funerals today, three volleys are fired by a firing detail of seven riflemen during the funeral of active duty personnel, Medal of Honor recipients, and retirees just before the sounding of taps.

Pacific Ocean, August 19, 2007. US Navy flag bearers bow their heads in prayer during a burial at sea ceremony aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Lincoln conducted the solemn and sacred tradition of burial at sea for 11 former service members during her transit home to Everett, Washington. Lincoln completed carrier qualifications, Tailored Ship's Training Availability and Final Evaluation Problem during a scheduled work-up off the coast of Southern California.  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James R. Evans.

Pacific Ocean, August 19, 2007.
US Navy flag bearers bow their heads in prayer during a burial at sea ceremony aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Lincoln conducted the solemn and sacred tradition of burial at sea for 11 former service members during her transit home to Everett, Washington. Lincoln completed carrier qualifications, Tailored Ship’s Training Availability and Final Evaluation Problem during a scheduled work-up off the coast of Southern California.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James R. Evans.

Taps

The sounding of taps is perhaps one of the most moving and well known elements of military funerals. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, taps originated from the French final call, “L’Extinction des feux,”to extinguish the lights. This “lights out”bugle call was used by the U.S. Army infantry during the Civil War, but in 1862 Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield suggested a revision of the French tune, and we now have the 24-note bugle call we hear today. Taps was first played at a military funeral in Virginia when Union Capt. John Tidball ordered it to be played as a substitute to the traditional three rifle volleys so as not to reveal the battery’s position to the nearby enemy. At Navy military funerals today, taps is played by a military bugler after the firing of three volleys and just before the flag is folded.

The National Ensign

The National Ensign plays a very special role in today’s military funeral traditions. The custom of placing a flag over the body of a fallen soldier has been recorded in the days before the American Revolution when a private in the British Guards by the name of Stephen Graham wrote that the Union Jack was laid upon the body of a fallen soldier who died in the service of the State to show that the State “takes the responsibility of what it ordered him to do as a solider.”Today, this custom is practiced in American military funerals as a way to honor the service of the deceased veteran. The National Ensign is draped over the casket so the union blue field is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. After Taps is sounded, the body bearers fold the flag 13 times—representing the 13 original colonies—into a triangle, emblematic of the tri-cornered hat word by the Patriots of the American Revolution. When folded, only the blue field with stars should be visible. The flag is then presented to the next of kin or other appropriate family member.

Arabian Sea, April 9, 2011. Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) prepare to cast ashes overboard during a burial at sea.  Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are conducting close-air support missions in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jesse L. Gonzalez.

Arabian Sea, April 9, 2011.
Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) prepare to cast ashes overboard during a burial at sea.
Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are conducting close-air support missions in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jesse L. Gonzalez.

Burial at Sea

Another type of ceremony for honoring the deceased is the burial at sea (also called the “at sea disposition”) performed on a U.S. Navy vessel. According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, the tradition of burial at sea is one that dates back to ancient times and has been a practice for as long as people have gone to sea. The body was sewn into a weighted sailcloth and in very old custom, the last stitch was taken through the nose of the deceased. The body was then sent over the side, usually with an appropriate religious ceremony.

During World War II, many burials at sea took place when naval forces operated at sea for months at a time. Today, active duty service members, honorably discharged retirees, veterans, U.S. civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command, and dependent family members of active duty, retirees, and veterans are eligible for at sea disposition.

The ceremony for burial at sea is conducted in a similar manner to that of shore funerals, with three volleys fired, the sounding of taps, and the closing of colors. The casket or urn is slid overboard into the sea after the committal is read, or, if requested, the cremated remains are scattered into the sea. Flowers or wreaths are also allowed to slide overboard or tossed into the sea by a flag bearer.

Because the committal ceremony is performed while a ship is deployed, family members are not permitted to attend burials at sea. So, within 10 days after committal, the commanding officer of the ship will mail a letter giving the date and time of committal and include any photographs or video of the ceremony, the commemorative flag, and a chart showing where the burial took place.

For many centuries, funerals have been a way to give our final respects to our loved ones. The customs and traditions that we share during the ceremony make it all the more meaningful.

HonoringTheFallen

World War II Unknown Serviceman

Ceremonies for the selection of the World War II Unknown Serviceman were conducted on board USS Canberra (CAG 2) on May 26, 1958. Medal of Honor recipient Hospitalman William R. Charette, selected the Unknown Serviceman. After the ceremonies, the ‪‎WWII‬ Unknown Serviceman was transported for interment at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day‬, which fell on May 31.

Private First Class Frank Calvin, USMC, places the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Private Calvin is himself the recipient of two Navy Crosses, the Purple Heart, and the Presidential Unit Citation, circa 1943.

Private First Class Frank Calvin, USMC, places the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Private Calvin is himself the recipient of two Navy Crosses, the Purple Heart, and the Presidential Unit Citation, circa 1943.

Unknown Servicemen of World War II and the Korean War. Crewmen of USS Boston (CAG 1) render honors as the first casket is transferred to USS Canberra (CAG-2), prior to ceremonies on board Canberra to select the Unknown Serviceman of World War II. Two more caskets are still on board Boston, visible just aft of the starboard whaleboat davits. The ceremonies took place off the Virginia Capes on 26 May 1958. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

Unknown Servicemen of World War II and the Korean War. Crewmen of USS Boston (CAG 1) render honors as the first casket is transferred to USS Canberra (CAG-2), prior to ceremonies on board Canberra to select the Unknown Serviceman of World War II. Two more caskets are still on board Boston, visible just aft of the starboard whaleboat davits. The ceremonies took place off the Virginia Capes on 26 May 1958. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

Unknown Servicemen of World War II and the Korean War. Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette, who received the Medal of Honor for Korean War heroism, selects the Unknown Serviceman of World War II, during ceremonies on board USS Canberra (CAG-2) off the Virginia Capes on 26 May 1958. The other World War II Unknown Serviceman candidate's casket is at left, with the Unknown Serviceman of the Korean War in the middle. The other Unknown Serviceman from WWII not chose was given a solemn burial at sea. After completion of the selection ceremonies, the World War II and Korean War Unknown Servicemen were carried to Washington, D.C., for burial at Arlington Cemetery. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Note: At that time, Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette was the Navy's only active-duty Medal of Honor recipient.

Unknown Servicemen of World War II and the Korean War. Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette, who received the Medal of Honor for Korean War heroism, selects the Unknown Serviceman of World War II, during ceremonies on board USS Canberra (CAG-2) off the Virginia Capes on 26 May 1958. The other World War II Unknown Serviceman candidate’s casket is at left, with the Unknown Serviceman of the Korean War in the middle. The other Unknown Serviceman from WWII not chose was given a solemn burial at sea. After completion of the selection ceremonies, the World War II and Korean War Unknown Servicemen were carried to Washington, D.C., for burial at Arlington Cemetery. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.
Note: At that time, Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette was the Navy’s only active-duty Medal of Honor recipient.

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Above photo: An Army member of the joint services casket team carries the folded U.S. flag from the casket of the Unknown Serviceman of the Vietnam Era to President Ronald Reagan, left, during the interment ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. Photographed by Mickey Sanborn, 28 May 1984.

The Unknown service member from the Vietnam War was designated by Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Allan Jay Kellogg Jr. during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 17, 1984. The Vietnam Unknown was transported aboard the USS Brewton to Alameda Naval Base, Calif. The remains were sent to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., May 24. The Vietnam Unknown arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., the next day.

Many Vietnam veterans and President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan visited the Vietnam Unknown in the U.S. Capitol. An Army caisson carried the Vietnam Unknown from the Capitol to the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 28, 1984. President Reagan presided over the funeral, and presented the Medal of Honor to the Vietnam Unknown.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower poses with three men to whom he has just presented the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in Korean War combat action, at the White House, Washington, D.C., 12 January 1954. Those who received the medal are (from left to right): First Lieutenant Edward R. Schowalter, Jr., U.S. Army, honored for his actions near Kumhwa, Korea, on 14 October 1952; Private First Class Ernest E. West, U.S. Army, honored for his actions near Sataeri, Korea, on 12 October 1952; and Hospital Corpsman Third Class William R. Charette, U.S. Navy, honored for his actions in Korea on 17 March 1953. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower poses with three men to whom he has just presented the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in Korean War combat action, at the White House, Washington, D.C., 12 January 1954. Those who received the medal are (from left to right): First Lieutenant Edward R. Schowalter, Jr., U.S. Army, honored for his actions near Kumhwa, Korea, on 14 October 1952; Private First Class Ernest E. West, U.S. Army, honored for his actions near Sataeri, Korea, on 12 October 1952; and Hospital Corpsman Third Class William R. Charette, U.S. Navy, honored for his actions in Korea on 17 March 1953. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

1973, the first U.S. manned orbiting space station, Skylab 2, was launched with an all US Navy‬ crew. Commanding was Capt. Charles Conrad, Jr., with Cmdr. Paul J. Weitz, as the pilot, and Cmdr. Joseph P. Kerwin as the science pilot. Recovery was by USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14)…

Skylab 2 Astronauts pictured in-front of a Skylab 2 model. Left to right: Cmdr. Joseph P. Kerwin, USN; Capt. Charles Conrad, Jr., USN; and Cmdr. Paul J. Weitz, USN. NASA Photograph.

Skylab 2 Astronauts pictured in-front of a Skylab 2 model. Left to right: Cmdr. Joseph P. Kerwin, USN; Capt. Charles Conrad, Jr., USN; and Cmdr. Paul J. Weitz, USN. NASA Photograph.

USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14). With her rails manned, circa 1970-72, following conversion to an anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14). With her rails manned, circa 1970-72, following conversion to an anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

These three men are the crewmen for the first manned Skylab mission. They are Charles Conrad Jr., commander, standing left; scientist-astronaut Joseph P. Kerwin, seated; and Astronaut Paul J. Weitz, pilot. They were photographed and interviewed during an "open house" press day in the realistic atmosphere of the Multiple Docking Adapter (MDA) trainer in the Mission Simulation and Training Facility at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). The control and display panel for the Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) is at right. NASA Photograph Collection.

These three men are the crewmen for the first manned Skylab mission. They are Charles Conrad Jr., commander, standing left; scientist-astronaut Joseph P. Kerwin, seated; and Astronaut Paul J. Weitz, pilot. They were photographed and interviewed during an “open house” press day in the realistic atmosphere of the Multiple Docking Adapter (MDA) trainer in the Mission Simulation and Training Facility at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). The control and display panel for the Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) is at right. NASA Photograph Collection.

Heroes and Warriors, all of them!

On the Web: Request Military Funeral Honors

For information on requesting military funeral honors, visit https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/mfh.

For detailed information and protocol for Navy military funerals, see Bureau of Naval Personnel instruction NAVPERS 15555D. For information on burial at sea, contact the U.S. Navy Mortuary Affairs Burial At Sea Program.

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#WarriorWednesday #MilitaryAppreciationMonth

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A weekly feature chronicling the sacrifices and achievements of the brave men & women of the US Armed Forces.

1969, Apollo 10 is launched. The mission is a dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing. Cmdr. John W. Young is the command module pilot and Cmdr. Eugene A. Cernan, the lunar module pilot. HS-4 helicopters from USS Princeton (LPH 5) recover the Apollo crew upon splashdown.

Apollo 10 crew. Col. Thomas P. Stafford, USAF (commanded the mission); Cmdr. John W. Young, USN, and Cmdr. Eugene A. Cernan, USN, Apollo 10’s Mission Report. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, Aviation, Space.

Apollo 10 crew. Col. Thomas P. Stafford, USAF (commanded the mission); Cmdr. John W. Young, USN, and Cmdr. Eugene A. Cernan, USN, Apollo 10’s Mission Report. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, Aviation, Space.

Navy helicopter arrives to recover the Apollo 10 astronauts, seen entering a life raft, as the Command Module "Charlie Brown" floats in the South Pacific. U.S. Navy underwater demolition team swimmers assist in the recovery operations. Splashdown occurred at 11:53 a.m., May 26, 1969, about 400 miles east of American Samoa. Note that in this photo the divers have attached a flotation collar to the spacecraft. NASA Photograph Collection

Navy helicopter arrives to recover the Apollo 10 astronauts, seen entering a life raft, as the Command Module “Charlie Brown” floats in the South Pacific. U.S. Navy underwater demolition team swimmers assist in the recovery operations. Splashdown occurred at 11:53 a.m., May 26, 1969, about 400 miles east of American Samoa. Note that in this photo the divers have attached a flotation collar to the spacecraft. NASA Photograph Collection

Starboard broadside view of USS Princeton (LPH 5) at sea during the operation to recover the Apollo 10 spacecraft in May, 1969. Visible on the flight deck are SH-34 Seabat and SH-3 Sea King helicopters. The rounded structure on the forward part of the flight deck is for use in housing the space capsule. US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum.

Starboard broadside view of USS Princeton (LPH 5) at sea during the operation to recover the Apollo 10 spacecraft in May, 1969. Visible on the flight deck are SH-34 Seabat and SH-3 Sea King helicopters. The rounded structure on the forward part of the flight deck is for use in housing the space capsule.
US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum.

Emblem of the Apollo 10 lunar orbit mission. NASA Photograph Collection.

Emblem of the Apollo 10 lunar orbit mission. NASA Photograph Collection.

1973, Capt. Robin Lindsay Catherine Quigley becomes the first woman to hold a major Navy command when she assumes command of U.S. Navy Service School, San Diego, Calif. She previously served as the director of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) from 1970 to 1972.

Capt. Robin Lindsay Quigley, USN, pictured in 1971. She would later be the first woman to hold a major Navy Command as Commanding Officer of Navy Service School, San Diego, CA on 17 May 1973. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, People.

Capt. Robin Lindsay Quigley, USN, pictured in 1971. She would later be the first woman to hold a major Navy Command as Commanding Officer of Navy Service School, San Diego, CA on 17 May 1973. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, People.

Capt. Robin Lindsay Quigley, USN, answers questions for a Kansas City reporter during an interview concerning a new profile of women’s service in the Navy. She was one of over 700 Navy women attending the 30th Anniversary National Convention of Navy women held in Kansas City. Captain Quigley stated, “there are exciting, challenging and promising things going on in the People Business in the Navy these days and women are a part of it.” She added, “we are moving off in new and uncharted directions and breaking with old and comfortable ways of doing things.” When asked if women were part of the Navy, felt that women were definitely part of the “now Navy.” NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, People.

Capt. Robin Lindsay Quigley, USN, answers questions for a Kansas City reporter during an interview concerning a new profile of women’s service in the Navy. She was one of over 700 Navy women attending the 30th Anniversary National Convention of Navy women held in Kansas City. Captain Quigley stated, “there are exciting, challenging and promising things going on in the People Business in the Navy these days and women are a part of it.” She added, “we are moving off in new and uncharted directions and breaking with old and comfortable ways of doing things.” When asked if women were part of the Navy, felt that women were definitely part of the “now Navy.” NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, People.

Lt. j.g. Robin L.C. Quigley, USN, shown while visiting the U.S. Naval Gun Factory, Washington D.C., photographed circa 1959. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, People.

Lt. j.g. Robin L.C. Quigley, USN, shown while visiting the U.S. Naval Gun Factory, Washington D.C., photographed circa 1959. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, People.

1953, the publishing of the official history of the Women’s Army Corps in WWII, “United States Army in World War II Special Studies: The Women’s Army Corps” by Mattie Treadwell. Originally published by the US Army Center of Military History,  it is still one of the best sources on the subject of WACs through WWII and is a daily resource for the staff of the Army Women’s Museum.

World War II photo of Mattie Treadwell.

World War II photo of Mattie Treadwell.

Mattie E. Treadwell, a native of Texas, held a B.A. and an M.A. degree from the University of Texas. During World War II she was an officer, first in the WAAC and later in the WAC, holding such assignments as assistant to the Director WAC, assistant to the Air WAC Officer, and assistant to the Commandant, School of WAC Personnel Administration. She had the additional distinction of having been a member of the first class of women sent to the Command and General Staff School. While on active duty she attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

From September 1947 to March 1952 Miss Treadwell was a historian in the Office of the Chief of Military History. Upon her departure she became Assistant Director, Dallas Regional Office, Federal Civil Defense Administration, in charge of women’s activities and volunteer manpower, an office that she currently holds. Her last military status was that of a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

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Above photo: ‪‎US Army‬ Paratroopers, from 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, and currently assigned to KFOR Multinational Battle Group-East, conduct airborne operations near Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, May 19, 2015.

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Above photo: U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers, assigned to the 411th Engineer Brigade, 412th Theater Engineer Command, return from a situational training exercise where they constructed an improvised ribbon bridge across the Mississippi River near La Crosse, Wis., May 14, 2015, part of Warrior Exercise 15-02. ‪‎US Army‬ photo by Staff Sgt. Debralee Best.

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Above photo: US Army‬ Soldiers, assigned to 3rd Infantry Division, conduct security operations during an urban warfare training exercise, part of Exercise Noble Partner in Vaziani, Georgia (Eastern Europe) May 17, 2015. ‪ ‎Noble Partner‬ is a bilateral effort focused on enhancing U.S. and Georgian NATO Response Force interoperability. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel Cole.

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Above photo: A US Army‬ Soldier, assigned to 173rd Airborne Brigade and Slovenian 1st Brigade soldiers conduct sling load operations, attaching a trailer to a Slovenian Cougar helicopter, during Exercise Neptune Thrust‬ at Pocek Range in Postonja, Slovenia, May 15, 2015. Neptune Thrust is a combined exercise between U.S. and Slovenian soldiers, focused on enhancing interoperability and developing individual technical skills. U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Paolo Bovo.

Sacramento Marine recruiter honored for work in Iraq

Marine Corps Maj Daniel Grainger, commanding officer of Marine Recruiting Station Sacramento, will be honored Thursday, May 14, 2015 for his leadership of a rifle company that ended up protecting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, last year. (U.S Marine Corps)

Marine Corps Maj Daniel Grainger, commanding officer of Marine Recruiting Station Sacramento, will be honored Thursday, May 14, 2015 for his leadership of a rifle company that ended up protecting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, last year. (U.S Marine Corps)

A Sacramento, Calif.-based Marine Corps infantry officer and recruiter who began his military career as an enlisted man will receive a coveted award for leadership Thursday night.

Maj Daniel Grainger, currently the commanding officer of Marine Recruiting Station Sacramento, earned the Lt Col William Leftwich Jr. Trophy for Outstanding Leadership for his actions last year in an increasingly chaotic Iraq.

Read the full story at the Miami Herald

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Above: Marines watch each other’s backs. Here, a combat engineer checks for IEDs while leading a patrol during a training exercise at Udairi Range, Kuwait.

WarriorWednesday

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#WarriorWednesday #MilitaryAppreciationMonth

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A weekly feature with news, history and photos in appreciation of the brave men and women who protect our freedom.

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In 1908, the Navy Nurse Corps is established by Public Law No. 115, though nurses have been volunteering on board Navy ships beforehand.

Navy Nurse Recruiting Poster, issued November 1950. Artwork by Blasingame. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 78844

Navy Nurse Recruiting Poster, issued November 1950. Artwork by Blasingame. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 78844

Navy nurses looking ashore in this early 20th century photograph.

Navy nurses looking ashore in this early 20th century photograph.

USS Relief (AH 1) and some of her nursing staff, March 1921. Principal Chief Nurse J. Beatrice Bowman is standing in the center, 4th from right. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 53047.

USS Relief (AH 1) and some of her nursing staff, March 1921. Principal Chief Nurse J. Beatrice Bowman is standing in the center, 4th from right. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 53047.

Trinidad and Tobago (Oct. 29, 2008) Lt. Cmdr. Kathaleen Sikes, a Navy nurse embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), listens to a young woman during a routine check-up at a medical clinic at the Couva District Health Facility during the humanitarian/civic assistance mission Continuing Promise (CP) 2008. Kearsarge is the primary platform for the Caribbean phase of CP, an equal-partnership mission involving the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

Trinidad and Tobago (Oct. 29, 2008) Lt. Cmdr. Kathaleen Sikes, a Navy nurse embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), listens to a young woman during a routine check-up at a medical clinic at the Couva District Health Facility during the humanitarian/civic assistance mission Continuing Promise (CP) 2008. Kearsarge is the primary platform for the Caribbean phase of CP, an equal-partnership mission involving the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

USS Enterprise (CV 6) is commissioned in  May 1938. Notable service during WWII‬ include the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Midway, the Guadalcanal Campaign, Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the Okinawa Campaign.

USS Enterprise (CV 6) steams toward the Panama Canal on 10 October 1945, while en route to New York to participate in Navy Day celebrations. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Enterprise (CV 6) steams toward the Panama Canal on 10 October 1945, while en route to New York to participate in Navy Day celebrations. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Enterprise (CV 6) F6F Hellcat fighters taxiing forward on the flight deck, during training exercises, 2 July 1943. Another F6F is in flight overhead, with its landing gear and tail hook extended. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Enterprise (CV 6) F6F Hellcat fighters taxiing forward on the flight deck, during training exercises, 2 July 1943. Another F6F is in flight overhead, with its landing gear and tail hook extended. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942. A Japanese bomb explodes off the port side of USS Enterprise (CV 6) during the action, 26 October 1942. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942. A Japanese bomb explodes off the port side of USS Enterprise (CV 6) during the action, 26 October 1942. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Enterprise (CV 6) F6F Hellcat fighters taxiing forward on the flight deck, during training exercises, 2 July 1943. Another F6F is in flight overhead, with its landing gear and tail hook extended. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Enterprise (CV 6) F6F Hellcat fighters taxiing forward on the flight deck, during training exercises, 2 July 1943. Another F6F is in flight overhead, with its landing gear and tail hook extended. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

1942, the USS Massachusetts (BB 59) is commissioned. She serves in both the Atlantic and Pacific during World War II, notably participating in Operation Torch, Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the bombing of the Japanese homeland.

USS Massachusetts (BB 59) seen from the after deck of USS Alabama (BB 60), in Casco Bay, Maine, January 1943. The muzzles of Alabama's after 16

USS Massachusetts (BB 59) seen from the after deck of USS Alabama (BB 60), in Casco Bay, Maine, January 1943. The muzzles of Alabama’s after 16″/45 guns are in the foreground. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-416 (Color).

USS Massachusetts (BB 59). Underway at 15 knots off Point Wilson, Washington, on 11 July 1944. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 97255.

USS Massachusetts (BB 59). Underway at 15 knots off Point Wilson, Washington, on 11 July 1944. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 97255.

USS Massachusetts (BB 59). View looking forward from the ship's after deck, during a lull in the Battle of Casablanca, 8 November 1942. Note: 16

USS Massachusetts (BB 59). View looking forward from the ship’s after deck, during a lull in the Battle of Casablanca, 8 November 1942. Note: 16″/45 guns of her after turret; 20mm gun at left with “Lead, Dammit, Lead” printed on its shield; FC & FD radar antennas atop her gun directors; two large National Ensigns flying from her masts. Collection of Rear Admiral Clifford Van Hook, 1972. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 84534.

Invasion of North Africa, November 1942. Anti-aircraft fire chases four French fighters away from an American spotting plane, during the early morning hours of the Battle of Casablanca, 8 November 1942. Photographed from the after deck of USS Massachusetts (BB 59). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-38832.

Invasion of North Africa, November 1942. Anti-aircraft fire chases four French fighters away from an American spotting plane, during the early morning hours of the Battle of Casablanca, 8 November 1942. Photographed from the after deck of USS Massachusetts (BB 59). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-38832.

1946, USS Philippine Sea (CV 47) is commissioned. During her career, Philippine Sea served first in the Atlantic Ocean and saw several deployments to the Mediterranean Sea as well as a trip to Antarctica as a part of Operation Highjump.

Philippine Sea was not the first choice for the name of this carrier. When the keel was laid, she was the USS Wright named in honor of the Wright Brothers.

National Archives Photo 80-G-439871: USS Philippine Sea (CV 47). Grumman F9F-2 Panther fighters of Fighter Squadrons 111 and 112 (VF-111 & VF-112) parked on the flight deck, forward, during a snowstorm off the Korean coast, 15 November 1950.

National Archives Photo 80-G-439871: USS Philippine Sea (CV 47). Grumman F9F-2 Panther fighters of Fighter Squadrons 111 and 112 (VF-111 & VF-112) parked on the flight deck, forward, during a snowstorm off the Korean coast, 15 November 1950.

USS Philippine Sea (CV 47) passes under the Oakland Bay Bridge as she arrives at San Francisco, California, upon her return from the Korean War zone, circa 9 June 1951. Crewmen on the flight deck are spelling out

USS Philippine Sea (CV 47) passes under the Oakland Bay Bridge as she arrives at San Francisco, California, upon her return from the Korean War zone, circa 9 June 1951. Crewmen on the flight deck are spelling out “CVG 2” in honor of her air group.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (photo # NH 97322).

Members of USS Philippine Sea (CV 47) Ordnance Department pose with decorated 2000-pound bombs, during Korean War operations, 9 March 1951. Messages painted on the bombs are:

Members of USS Philippine Sea (CV 47) Ordnance Department pose with decorated 2000-pound bombs, during Korean War operations, 9 March 1951. Messages painted on the bombs are: “Greetings from PhilCee”; “Happy Easter”; and “Listen! To This One it will Kill you”. Among the planes parked in the background are F4U-4Bs of Fighter Squadron 113 (VF-113).
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-439895).

A Grumman F9F-2 Panther from Fighter Squadron (VF) 112 on the flight deck of USS Philippine Sea (CV 47), during operations off Korea, circa October 1950. Note spectators on the island walkways. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-420946).

A Grumman F9F-2 Panther from Fighter Squadron (VF) 112 on the flight deck of USS Philippine Sea (CV 47), during operations off Korea, circa October 1950.
Note spectators on the island walkways.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-420946).

In 1943, in the Attu Operation, Task Force 16, commanded by Rear Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid, landed a force of 3,000 U.S. Army troops of the 7th Infantry Division in the cold and the mist of the Aleutians.

Attu Operation, May 1943. Soldiers climb down the side of USS Heywood (APA 6) into landing craft alongside off Attu, 11 May 1943. Note M-1 carbines carried by some of these men. National Archives photograph: 80-G-50770.

Attu Operation, May 1943. Soldiers climb down the side of USS Heywood (APA 6) into landing craft alongside off Attu, 11 May 1943. Note M-1 carbines carried by some of these men. National Archives photograph: 80-G-50770.

Attu Invasion, May 1943. The first American flag to fly over Attu was erected on the conning shield of this abandoned Japanese landing craft, circa 11 May 1943. Note that the boat’s helical propeller and “old fashioned” anchor. U.S. Army Photograph: SC-171525

Attu Invasion, May 1943. The first American flag to fly over Attu was erected on the conning shield of this abandoned Japanese landing craft, circa 11 May 1943. Note that the boat’s helical propeller and “old fashioned” anchor. U.S. Army Photograph: SC-171525

USS Louisville (CA 28) shells Attu, 11 May 1943 View of forward 8” guns in action. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 92382.

USS Louisville (CA 28) shells Attu, 11 May 1943 View of forward 8” guns in action. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 92382.

Massacre Bay, Attu, Aleutian Islands. A PBY-5A “Catalina” patrol bomber takes off on a patrol, circa May 1943, soon after the U.S. recaptured the island. USS Casco (AVP 12) is in the background. Photograph released on 4 June 1953. National Archives photograph: 80-G-65978.

Massacre Bay, Attu, Aleutian Islands. A PBY-5A “Catalina” patrol bomber takes off on a patrol, circa May 1943, soon after the U.S. recaptured the island. USS Casco (AVP 12) is in the background. Photograph released on 4 June 1953. National Archives photograph: 80-G-65978.

Sad news from last night: Academy midshipman killed in Amtrak crash

Emergency personnel gather Wednesday in North Philadelphia at the scene of a deadly train derailment. A midshipman aboard the New York-bound Amtrak train was one of six passengers killed Tuesday night. (Photo: Mel Evans/AP)

Emergency personnel gather Wednesday in North Philadelphia at the scene of a deadly train derailment. A midshipman aboard the New York-bound Amtrak train was one of six passengers killed Tuesday night. (Photo: Mel Evans/AP)

A Naval Academy midshipman was one of the six passengers killed in Tuesday night’s Amtrak crash in north Philadelphia, the school announced Wednesday.

Justin Zemser (pictured with his mother, Susan) and Jim Gaines were among the seven people killed when a New York-bound Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia.

Justin Zemser (pictured with his mother, Susan) and Jim Gaines were among the seven people killed when a New York-bound Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia.

In a speech Wednesday at Annapolis, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus identified him as Midshipman 3rd Class Justin Zemser.

“I know that the brigade and the Navy family is struggling with this, and our thoughts go out to the brigade, family brigade for losing such a crucial member of this institution,” Mabus told the audience of midshipmen.

Midshipman 3rd Class Justin Zemser

Midshipman 3rd Class Justin Zemser

Zemser was on leave and was headed home at the time of the crash. Zemser, a sophomore, was from Rockaway Beach, N.Y. and played sprint football, according to his Navy sports bio.

Thoughts and prayers for the victims as well as their family and friends.

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#WarriorWednesday: Task Force 99 and 58, Rear Adm. Tyson and the USN’s Good Conduct Medal

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Warrior Wednesday strives to honor those who worked and continue to work to make freedom possible through their dedication, sacrifice and bravery.

In 1944, following the support of the Hollandia landings, Task Force 58 begins a two-day attack on Japanese shipping, oil and ammunition dumps, aircraft facilities, and other installations at Truk. Japanese naval aircraft counterattack on U.S. formations.

USS Tang (SS 306). The submarine's Commanding Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Richard H. O'Kane (center), poses with the twenty-two aircrewmen that Tang rescued off Truk during the carrier air raids there on 29 April-1 May 1944. The photograph was taken upon Tang's return to Pearl Harbor from her second war patrol, in May 1944.

USS Tang (SS 306). The submarine’s Commanding Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Richard H. O’Kane (center), poses with the twenty-two aircrewmen that Tang rescued off Truk during the carrier air raids there on 29 April-1 May 1944. The photograph was taken upon Tang’s return to Pearl Harbor from her second war patrol, in May 1944.

TBF “Avenger” aircraft in flight formation over Norfolk, Virginia. Photograph received September 1942. National Archives photograph, 80-G-426849. TBF aircraft helped to sink Japanese sub I 174 on 29 April 1944.

TBF “Avenger” aircraft in flight formation over Norfolk, Virginia. Photograph received September 1942. National Archives photograph, 80-G-426849.
TBF aircraft helped to sink Japanese sub I 174 on 29 April 1944.

Nakajima B6N2 “Jill” Torpedo Plane begins to burn from A.A. fire hits during an attack on TG 58.2 off Truk. Seen from USS Monterey (CVL 26). Undated, probably taken 30 April 1944, during raid on Truk by TF 58. National Archives photograph: 80-G-366985.

Nakajima B6N2 “Jill” Torpedo Plane begins to burn from A.A. fire hits during an attack on TG 58.2 off Truk. Seen from USS Monterey (CVL 26). Undated, probably taken 30 April 1944, during raid on Truk by TF 58. National Archives photograph: 80-G-366985.

USS MacDonough (DD 351). At sea in December 1943. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives: 80-G-276746. USS MacDonough helped to sink Japanese submarine I 174 on 29 April 1944.

USS MacDonough (DD 351). At sea in December 1943. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives: 80-G-276746.
USS MacDonough helped to sink Japanese submarine I 174 on 29 April 1944.

Vought OS2U "Kingfisher" floatplane, from USS North Carolina (BB-55). Off Truk with nine aviators on board, awaiting rescue by USS Tang (SS-306), 1 May 1944. The plane had landed inside Truk lagoon to recover downed airmen. Unable to take off with such a load, it then taxiied out to Tang, which was serving as lifeguard submarine during the 29 April-1 May carrier strikes on Truk. National Archives photograph: 80-G-227991.

Vought OS2U “Kingfisher” floatplane, from USS North Carolina (BB-55). Off Truk with nine aviators on board, awaiting rescue by USS Tang (SS-306), 1 May 1944. The plane had landed inside Truk lagoon to recover downed airmen. Unable to take off with such a load, it then taxiied out to Tang, which was serving as lifeguard submarine during the 29 April-1 May carrier strikes on Truk. National Archives photograph: 80-G-227991.

In 1942, the US Navy‬’s Task Force 99, which consists of USS Wasp (CV 7), USS Tuscaloosa (CA 37) and USS Wichita (CA 45), plus four destroyers, sail from the Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, as part of the mixed U.S.-British force “Distaff.”

Hvalfjord, Iceland. U.S. and British warships in the harbor May-June 1942, seen from a USS Washington plane. Washington is the ship at left, with USS Wichita (CA 45) and a British Southampton Light Cruiser astern. Heavy cruisers at right are HMS London and HMS Kent (with three stacks). Ship in foreground is probably HMS Norfolk. National Archives photograph, 80-G-24832.

Hvalfjord, Iceland. U.S. and British warships in the harbor May-June 1942, seen from a USS Washington plane. Washington is the ship at left, with USS Wichita (CA 45) and a British Southampton Light Cruiser astern. Heavy cruisers at right are HMS London and HMS Kent (with three stacks). Ship in foreground is probably HMS Norfolk. National Archives photograph, 80-G-24832.

USS Wichita (CA 45), rides out a winter storm off Iceland in 1941-42. Note the PBY patrol plane on the deck of the seaplane tender from which the photograph was taken. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 97885.

USS Wichita (CA 45), rides out a winter storm off Iceland in 1941-42. Note the PBY patrol plane on the deck of the seaplane tender from which the photograph was taken. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 97885.

Photo # NH 93309  Navy leaders onboard USS Wichita (CA 45), April 1942.

Photo # NH 93309
Navy leaders onboard USS Wichita (CA 45), April 1942.

USS Tuscaloosa (CA 37). Moored in Scapa Flow, April 1942, while she was operating with the British Home Fleet. The British heavy cruiser London is in the background. National Archives photograph: 80-G-12018.

USS Tuscaloosa (CA 37). Moored in Scapa Flow, April 1942, while she was operating with the British Home Fleet. The British heavy cruiser London is in the background. National Archives photograph: 80-G-12018.

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Nora W. Tyson was nominated to be Commander, U.S. Third Fleet, San Diego‬, California http://1.usa.gov/1HkO8QO

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The watercolor is of Rear Adm. Tyson when she was the first two star woman Commander, Strike Group Two embarked with USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in the Mediterranean with U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet. (Image courtesy of U.S. Navy Art Gallery by Monica Allen Perin, Navy Reserve Watercolor, 2011)

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The Good Conduct Badge was established by the Secretary of the Navy on April 26, 1869. The badge was a Maltese cross with a rope-ringed circular medallion at the center. Along the rim of the medallion were the words ‘Fidelity Zeal Obedience’ and at the center, ‘U.S.N.’ Made of nickel and measuring about 31mm wide, the cross hung on a half-inch wide red, white and blue ribbon. On the back, the Sailor’s name was script-engraved. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

 

Second only to the Navy Medal of Honor, the Good Conduct Medal is the oldest award the U.S. Navy has continuously presented to deserving Sailors.

Prior to the Civil War, when a Sailor completed his enlistment, his commanding officer would certify his time, his trustworthiness at sea, and his proficiency with gunnery. If he wanted to go to sea again, his discharge acted as his references. Back then, “good conduct” was as much about skill than just behavior. A Sailor would enter a recruiting station with his “Good Conduct” report and reenlist. Enlistments worked differently back then compared to today when recruits may have little to no experience sailing.

“[The badge] was established by the Secretary of the Navy [on April 26, 1869] for award to any man holding a Continuous Service Certificate, who had distinguished himself for obedience, sobriety, and cleanliness,” according to John Strandberg and Roger James Bender in The Call of Duty: Military Awards and Decorations of the United States of America.

Given the reputation of Sailors back then, one could be forgiven for believing the bit about sobriety made the badge difficult to obtain, but there are no statistics available today about what percentage of 19th century Sailors were actually presented the badge at discharge.

The badge, which seemed a lot like a medal, was a Maltese cross with a rope-ringed circular medallion at the center. Along the rim of the medallion were the words ‘Fidelity Zeal Obedience’ and at the center, ‘U.S.N.’ Made of nickel and measuring about 31mm wide, the cross hung on a half-inch wide red, white and blue ribbon. On the back, the Sailor’s name was script-engraved.

If and when a Sailor received three such awards after consecutive enlistments, he merited promotion to a Petty Officer.

On the back of the 1896 version of the medal was inscribed, among other things, the discharge date and continuous service number. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

On the back of the 1896 version of the medal was inscribed, among other things, the discharge date and continuous service number. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

The badge underwent some redesigns in 1880 and again in 1884. Then 27 years to the day after the certificate became a badge, the badge became the Good Conduct Medal in 1896. In addition to this, by order of General Order 327, the time criterion was set at three years for a Sailor to earn it.

A straight bar clasp was used to attach the circular medal to its maroon ribbon.

“Subsequent enlistments were recognized by the addition of a clasp attached to the suspension ribbon,” relate Strandberg and Bender. “These clasps […] were engraved on the front with the duty station or ship upon which the recipient served and the discharge date and continuous service number on the reverse.”

Over the next several decades, the Navy changed the medal’s appearance numerous times, but the criterion for receiving it seems to have remained the same.

For a brief period during World War II, the Navy stopped awarding the medal to conserve metal and free the clerks from the paperwork they mandated. Instead, notations were made in the person’s service jacket.

Not until the 1950s did the Navy settle on something permanent. The clasps were done away with in favor of 3/16 inch bronze stars denoting multiple enlistments, names on awards were dropped for all but posthumous recipients, and the ribbon was changed to a solid red color.

Nowadays, the rules for earning the medal are a little more complex, but generally if Sailors go three consecutive years with “a clear record (no convictions by court-martial, no non-judicial punishment (NJP), no lost time by reason of sickness-misconduct, no civil convictions for offenses involving moral turpitude)” they are eligible for the Good Conduct Medal.

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#WarriorWednesday: The Navy-Army Nurses Act

“Serve with Pride and Patriotism” Artwork by Lloyd Nolan. Navy Recruiting Aids Facility Poster. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 67041

“Serve with Pride and Patriotism” Artwork by Lloyd Nolan. Navy Recruiting Aids Facility Poster. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 67041

It’s 1947 and Congress passes Army-Navy Nurses Act, giving Navy Nurse Corps members commissioned rank. The U.S. Navy Nurse Corps volunteered on board ‪‎US Navy‬ ships beforehand, such as during the Civil War on board USS Red Rover and during the Spanish-American War on board USS Solace (AH 2).

Navy Nurses pictured on board USS Solace (AH-5) in June 1945. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, Ships.

Navy Nurses pictured on board USS Solace (AH-5) in June 1945. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, Ships.

A collection of images depicts the past and present of retired U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Omilio Halder Jensen, a World War II flight nurse, compiled in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps in Denver, Colo., May 13, 2008. Illustration by Lieutenant Kris Hooper. DOD Still Media Photograph: 080513-N-4965H-001.

A collection of images depicts the past and present of retired U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Omilio Halder Jensen, a World War II flight nurse, compiled in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps in Denver, Colo., May 13, 2008. Illustration by Lieutenant Kris Hooper. DOD Still Media Photograph: 080513-N-4965H-001.

Navy Nurses. At the U.S. Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914. They are wearing the indoor duty uniform. Courtesy of the Nursing Division, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, September 1962. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 52970.

Navy Nurses. At the U.S. Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914. They are wearing the indoor duty uniform. Courtesy of the Nursing Division, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, September 1962. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 52970.

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#WarriorWednesday: USMC Capt. Katie Higgins Becomes A Blue Angel

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins, first female Blue Angels pilot, takes to the sky in C-130 ‘Fat Albert.

The Navy’s famous Blue Angels has its first female pilot since the team’s inception in 1946.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins, a third-generation military aviator, will now thrill crowds for eight months out of the year. Over 500 million people have seen the Blue Angels during its air shows.

Captain Katie Higgins is a native of Severna Park, Maryland, and graduated from W.T. Woodson High School in 2004. She attended the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 2008, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Katie then attended Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and graduated with a Masters of Arts in International Security in 2009.

Katie reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, for aviation indoctrination in November 2009. She completed primary flight training in the T-6B Texan II at NAS Whiting Field, Florida, and completed intermediate and advanced training in the T-44 Pegasus while assigned to Training Squadron 31 (VT-31) at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. She received her wings of gold in October 2011.

Katie then reported to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina, for initial training in the KC-130J Hercules. She reported to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR-252), “Otis,” at MCAS Cherry Point, in May 2012, to begin training in the KC-130J Harvest Hercules Armament Weapons Kit.

While assigned to VMGR-252, Katie deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and to Africa with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis-Response in support of contingency operations.

Fat Albert performs during the Annual Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Fla., Friday, November 7, 2014. This year, NAS Pensacola is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Fat Albert performs during the Annual Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Fla., Friday, November 7, 2014. This year, NAS Pensacola is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Katie has flown almost 400 combat hours in support of numerous operations and exercises in Afghanistan, Djibouti, France, Greece, South Sudan, Spain, and Uganda.

“I think that by including a lady on the team that just shows little girls and guys that women can do whatever they put their mind to. Little girls have told me that they didn’t even know that ladies can cry aircraft, that women could be in the cockpit,” Capt. Higgins told CBS of her historic accomplishment.

She discounted talk of her selection to the Blue Angels being a form of damage control after a former commander’s recent sexual harassment scandal.

“Well, honestly, I would just tell them to watch the demo. They can’t tell the difference between mine and the other two pilots on here because I fly it just as well as they do,” the officer told FOX News.

Capt. Higgins will fly the Blue Angels’ C-130 aircraft, known affectionately as “Fat Albert.” She joined the Blue Angels in September 2014. She has accumulated more than 1,000 flight hours. Her decorations include five Air Medals, and various unit and personal awards.

All smiles and all business: U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins joins the Blue Angels. She is the famous group’s first female pilot.

All smiles and all business: U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins joins the Blue Angels. She is the famous group’s first female pilot.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runwaysfor takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medivac, and cargo transport aircraft.

The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 60 nations.

On the Web:

Capt. Katie Higgins’ profile from the Blue Angels’ website

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