F-35s, Super Hornets and Growlers to Perform Super Bowl LVIII Flyover

Before the 2022 football season comes to an end in February when the Bengals, Chiefs, 49ers or Eagles will hoist the Vice Lombardi trophy, the Super Bowl will have to wait for the Super Hornets. To celebrate the anniversary of the first female naval aviators in the U.S. Navy, the NFL has invited naval aviators […]

Before the 2022 football season comes to an end in February when the Bengals, Chiefs, 49ers or Eagles will hoist the Vice Lombardi trophy, the Super Bowl will have to wait for the Super Hornets.

To celebrate the anniversary of the first female naval aviators in the U.S. Navy, the NFL has invited naval aviators to overfly the field during the country music star Chris Stapleton’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” ahead of kickoff, the league announced this week.

“To commemorate 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy, the service will conduct a flyover of State Farm Stadium during the national anthem with female aviators as part of the formation,” according to the NFL release.

The flyover will include F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, EA-18G Growlers from the “Vikings” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 and F/A-18F Super Hornets from the “Flying Eagles” of VFA-122, according to a statement from the league.

The Navy released digital trading cards Thursday for the 15 service members involved in the flyover. They include Lt. Lyndsay “Miley” Evans, Lt. Lenue “Loo” Gilchrist III, Lt. Slawomir “GP” Glownia, Lt. Gregory “Benz” Oh, of the “Vikings,” Lt. Kathryn Martinez, Lt. Garrett Sherwood, Lt. Cmdr. Ben Piazza, Lt. Ryan Baptiste, Lt. Michael Thorsen, Capt. William Frank and Lt. Saree Moreno, from the “Flying Eagles” and Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Armenteros, Lt. Cmdr. Charles Calbretta, Lt. Chris McNulty and Lt. Ryan “Mr. Hong” Turner, from the “Argonauts.”

Naval Aviators set to perform a flyover for the Super Bowl.

 

The Navy selected eight women in 1973 to train as the first female aviators in the service, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. Lt. Barbara Allen was the first woman to receive her wings as a naval aviator.

In February 2019, the Navy flew a four-plane formation with all female pilots in honor of Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the first female jet pilot in the Navy, USNI News reported at the time.

Mariner was also among the class of eight women selected in 1973. Both Allen and Mariner earned their wings in 1974.

 

Marines Turning to Outside Experts for Fixes to Recruiting Challenge

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Fifty years after the United States turned to the all-volunteer force, a group of Marines gathered to hear outside experts discuss how to man the force between now and 2040. The Marine Corps, like the other branches, faces a competitive recruiting environment, which it is trying to overcome with a variety of […]

Recruits with Alpha Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, learn and apply rappelling techniques on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., October 31, 2022. US Marine Corps Photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Fifty years after the United States turned to the all-volunteer force, a group of Marines gathered to hear outside experts discuss how to man the force between now and 2040.

The Marine Corps, like the other branches, faces a competitive recruiting environment, which it is trying to overcome with a variety of talent management programs. But Wednesday, the Marines took a listening role as they sat through multiple panels at the Naval Institute’s Jack C. Taylor Conference Center. Later, Marine leaders would take what they heard and aim to turn it into action, Assistant Commandant Gen. Eric Smith said during his opening remarks.

The Marines have turned to new ideas through their Talent Management 2030, the personnel side of the service’s Force Design 2030. The latest plan stresses retention and maturing the force over a high turnover rate and recruiting the service has been known for in the past. Now, the Marines need to figure out how to continue to recruit enough new Marines each year.

In Fiscal Year 2022, the Marines brought on 33,210 enlisted active-duty Marines, meeting the service’s recruiting goal, but commandant Gen. David Berger has raised concerns that it will not be able to keep meeting those goals.

“Nothing is off the table, except we’re not lowering our standards,” Smith said.

The military cannot be a family business, he said, after asking anyone in uniform to raise their hand if they had a family member who served. The majority raised their hands. Even Smith contributes to that family business. His son is a Marine.

“I really do have skin in this game, and this is personal for me,” he said.

With China as the pacing threat, the numbers do not look good in terms of bodies, Smith said. China has a larger population that can fill its military in the short term. In the United States, the numbers are smaller, reduced even further by fewer young people able to meet eligibility requirements and who have the desire to serve.

“It is just a matter of time before we are once again called to defend our nation and, perhaps, on our own shores,” he said.

The theatres where conflict could occur are expanding, said Jack Goldstone, chair of public policy at George Mason University. The highest growth of young populations is in Asia and Africa, he said.

China’s population growth is slowing, which could lead to President Xi Jinping pushing for a Taiwan invasion in the next 10 years while the population is still strong, Goldstone said. But the population increases in African countries are going to also pose a challenge for the military.

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaks during his visit to Recruiting Sub-Station, College Station, Texas, Nov. 18, 2022. US Marine Corps Photo

China can do more than outmatch the United States in manpower, said Francis Hoffman, a distinguished research fellow at National Defense University. The country also has economic and technological advantages.

Hoffman does not necessarily agree with the idea of China as a pacing threat, saying it is too general. There are multiple futures for which the U.S. needs to prepare, he said.

Marines of the future will need to be more tech-savvy and collaborative, he said.

Technology can help address manpower concerns, said Paul Scharre, vice president at Center for New American Studies. But the Marine Corps will have to ask what can machines do and what still needs a human touch or decision.

Looking toward the future, one aspect that might need to change is the overhaul of the officer system, Scharre said. He questioned why recent college graduates, who go through officer programs, are put into the middle manager version of a position in the military. The system harkens back to the British influence on the country, he said.

“It’s fundamentally unAmerican,” Scharre said. “I don’t know why we do it.”

Instead, there needs to be more education available for enlisted service members so they can get into leadership positions, bringing their time and experience into the positions, he said.
Identifying what the 2040 force will face is one challenge. The other is figuring out how to ensure there are enough people that want to and can serve.

There are systemic issues that are affecting the population that can serve. Obesity, drug use and felony convictions pick away at the population of young Americans targeted by the services. Roughly one in seven men in the United States has a felony conviction, said Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt chair in political economy at the American Enterprise Institute.

Then there is the issue of willingness to serve. Only half of Americans 18-29 years old think the military has a positive effect, said Richard Fry, senior researcher at the Pew Research Center.

Nationally, fertility rates are dropping – there were 58.21 births per 1,000 women in 2019 versus 70.77 in 1990, according to the Census Bureau – but immigration is rising, which means that there will still be a number of young adults, Fry said. Immigrants are a population that the military can pull from, Goldstone said. There are young people who would take the opportunity to join the military as a way to get citizenship.

“So just like all the tech companies in Silicon Valley that are recruiting engineers from around the world, the military should, I think, take a leading role in exploring ways to draw on the strength of immigrants and have immigrants a big part of our National Service and National Defense as they always have been,” he said.

The military needs to expand the pools where it recruits, said Lindsay Cohn, an associate professor at the Naval War College.

U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, raise their right hand during the Oath of Allegiance aboard the Battleship USS North Carolina Dec. 2, 2022. US Marine Corps Photo

“The idea that you should only fish where there are fish, I get that it makes total sense, Cohn said. “But you have to expand your idea of who the fish are. Because if you just go to the places where you have an easy time recruiting numbers, you’re not going to get the force that you need.”

This includes seeking out more women to serve, she said. In addition to seeking out more places to find recruits, the military needs to go to populations that have been less tapped, like women, said Meredith Kleykamp, director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland.

Recruiting messaging also needs to change, Kleykamp said. Right now, the message being shared is the one that encouraged current Marine leadership to join. But the Marines need to appeal to future generations.

“And those are the people we need to recruit and the institution needs to be a place that is seen as a desirable place to go for people who both want to serve the nation and fight and defend the country but also who have a very clear sense of justice about our collective national values,” Kleykamp said.

It is not that young people do not want to serve, Cohn said. They just want to serve different communities. The service branches need to appeal to young Americans as their community.

Younger people also see problems as not requiring force, and if there’s no need for force, the military has less importance, Cohn said. When it comes to China, young Americans think the country will affect their lives but they do not see it as a military problem.

That mindset needs to change in order to get more people who want to serve, she said.

The military also needs to figure out how to better recruit those who have already been to college or those considered difficult to recruit, Kleykamp said.

The military does not want to lower its standards, but there are military policies that are kept because it has always been that way not function, Cohn said. She raised the question of haircuts and if it was because of function or history.

Marijuana use is another issue that could be changed, she said. As a compromise, the military could let in people who have used marijuana in the past but not allow use once recruits are in the service.

Medication is another area that can be examined as society as a whole is more medicated now, Cohn said.

Recruiting is about getting those who do not have the desire to serve into the military, said Beth Asch, a senior economist at RAND. Incentives offered by the service branches are good, but they only help push those already considering service.

The military is stressing its recruiting system, said Todd Harrison, managing director at Metrea Strategic Insights. The service branches have made do, but it comes at the cost of lowering standards.

“I don’t think it’s a money problem,” Harrison said. “I think it is a culture problem. It is a career model problem. And then there are some limitations that we’ve artificially imposed on ourselves that are holding us back and making it difficult to recruit the people that we need.”

Recruits with Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, conduct physical training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., Jan. 18, 2023. US Marine Corps Photo

The military’s reliance on the pyramid model, where many people start at the bottom and few rise to the top is also hurting the military, Harrison said.

“We build ourselves in an inefficient way to try to maintain this pyramid structure,” he said.

It also leads to an up-and-out problem, where those who want to stay are pushed out because they are not promoted, Cohn said.

The military needs to move beyond the industrial model that drove it in the past, he said, a sentiment Cohn echoed. It is not about putting bodies in the Marines anymore, they said. It’s about finding the best and the brightest.

“That is the Marine Corps today, that is who you are today,” Harrison said. “Is that who we want to be in the future?”

New Marine Training Plan Emphasizes Technology to Prepare for Modern Conflict

THE PENTAGON – The Marine Corps laid out a plan Tuesday for transforming training and education of the force through advancements in technology and a focus on critical thinking that will better shape Marines for future operations. Training and Education 2030 is the latest strategy document produced by the Marine Corps as part of its […]

Recruits with Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, initiate the Crucible with a hike at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C, Jan. 12, 2023. US Marine Corps Photo

THE PENTAGON – The Marine Corps laid out a plan Tuesday for transforming training and education of the force through advancements in technology and a focus on critical thinking that will better shape Marines for future operations.

Training and Education 2030 is the latest strategy document produced by the Marine Corps as part of its Force Design 2030 effort to reshape the service for modern conflict. Training and Education 2030 is a companion policy to Talent Management 2030 released last year.

Under the new plan, the Marine Corps aims to move away from some of the repetitive training and replace it with exercises that require critical thinking to help young Marines learn to make battlefield decisions, said Lt. Gen. Kevin Iiams, commanding general of Training and Education.

“There’s a sacred process to making a Marine,” Iiams said. “That’s not going to change.”
The critical thinking piece is going to allow the Marines to prepare for what the Marine Corps leaders predict the future will hold as well as unknowns, he told reporters during a roundtable on Tuesday.

The document, which lays out a number of objectives and areas of further study, along with deadlines for each, also formalizes the commanding general of Training and Education as a new deputy commandant.

Training and Education 2030 will build on the core legacy of the Marine Corps, through more integration and abilities provided by technology not previously available or used.

“They want to talk,” Iiams said. “They want to be part of solutions. They want to be thinkers and what we’re doing is we’re just unchaining them, they have capability well beyond anything that we ever imagined. And this is just us recognizing that and finding a ways and a means to unleash it.”

The focus on critical thinking is one way that the Marine Corps can mature the force without just bringing in and retaining older Marines, said Col. Joseph Farley, assistant chief of staff for Training and Education Command.

The training program also lays out some new standards for the Marines, including an emphasis on swimming.

For the past 20 years, the Marine Corps was focused on the Middle East, with operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the change of focus to the Indo-Pacific, Marines need to be better equipped to be in the water, said Col. Eric Quehl, director of the policy and standards division in the Training and Education Command.

A U.S. Marine with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Maritime Raid Force prepares to breach and entrance during a limited scale raid as part of Realistic Urban Training Exercise 23.1 on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 11, 2023. US Marine Corps Photo

One aspect of the training plan is Project Tripoli, which will eventually allow for integrated training across the globe through the use of simulations. The idea behind Project Tripoli is that different units will be able to train together even when not in the same place through a combination of live and simulated training.

As an example, Iiams said a situation under Project Tripoli is a lance corporal using a blended reality system to train at Twentynine Palms, Calif., with an F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter pilot using the same training system in a simulator from the East Coast.

“So the airplane doesn’t exist, he sees it as an avatar as being flown by a pilot on the East Coast, that pilot looks down and can actually see the entire grand scheme of maneuver, and can strike and employ in support of the forces,” he said. “That simulator might also be flying in a formation with a live airplane, that live airplane looks over and actually sees its wingman avatar.”

Tripoli also helps to address the lack of long ranges that are required for training on long-range precision missiles or ranges that allow for Marines to test equipment like jammers, Iiams said.

With the use of virtual space, the Marines are able to do this type of training within the space the service already has.

It also allows for more real-time adjudication and feedback, Iiams said.

“We know that Marines learn, humans, learn, in real-time,” he said.

The virtual aspect can also help with safety around training, as it’ll allow for progressive training, said Col. Mark Smith, director of range training programs division under the Training and Education Command.

That sort of progressive training means that a Marine might be able to train on the basics before using live fires, Smith said. Or they can do training that would be considered riskier in a safe environment because of the virtual element.

It also allows Marines to train their critical thinking skills in an environment where they cannot get hurt, Farley said.

The Marine Corps has a mishap library from training exercises so Marines can see mistakes made by other units when training in order to learn and avoid making similar ones, Iiams said.

Aspects of the new training policy are already in effect. Training and Education 2030 lays out new standards and training for marksmanship with a new advanced rifle qualification course, Iiams said.

“[It is] more offensively minded,” Iiams said. “It’s combat related, it’s positional shooting, it’s talking about how they’re actually going to employ their [weapons], teaching them how they’re going to employ their weapons in combat, instead of just marksmanship.”

A U.S. Marine with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Maritime Raid Force signals platoon to halt while on patrol during a limited scale raid as part of Realistic Urban Training Exercise 23.1 on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 11, 2023. US Marine Corps Photo

Marksmanship is more than firing at static paper targets, Quehl said. Instead, the Marines are using training that requires service members to start at farther positions and progress toward the target to simulate a combat situation.

That’s already been rolled out in the fleet, but they are still working toward full operational capability, he said.

The Marine Corps is a learning organization, said Sgt. Maj. Stephen Griffin, command senior enlisted leader of Marine Corps Training and Education Command.

The document lays out the plan for how to modernize the force to be able to address future operations, Iiams said.

“And I think what’s really key here when we talk about the document, as much as we’re talking about new, is this document actually builds on the core legacy of high standards. It’s really, really rooted in our core values, our warfighting ethos, what we consider for our Marines, you know, a desire for a bias for action. And then, you know, really our cornerstone document, which is MCDP 1 Warfighting, and that’s all of the tenets of maneuver warfare.”

Coast Guard Opens Up Senior Enlisted Positions to More Candidates in Pilot Program

The Coast Guard introduced a new advancement pilot program meant to help fill critical, vacant positions, while also allowing service members to develop professionally, the service announced Thursday. Under the new policy, Coast Guard assignment officers can offer advancements to service members, who would have typically not been eligible or below the advancement threshold, if […]

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian Engelmann, a boatswain’s mate assigned to USCGC Vigorous (WMEC 627), drives the cutter’s small boat during an at-sea personnel transfer in the Windward Pass, Dec. 2, 2022. US Coast Guard Photo

The Coast Guard introduced a new advancement pilot program meant to help fill critical, vacant positions, while also allowing service members to develop professionally, the service announced Thursday.

Under the new policy, Coast Guard assignment officers can offer advancements to service members, who would have typically not been eligible or below the advancement threshold, if that service member agrees to an empty position late in the assignment year or an offseason fill position, according to the Coast Guard news release.

The pilot will start with two ratings – boatswain’s mate and electronic technician – and will be limited to pay grades E-6 through E-9. The program may expand to include other E-9 positions in order to meet grade caps.

The new pilot comes as the Coast Guard, like other military branches, adapts to a challenging recruiting environment. But unlike some of the other services, the Coast Guard has not seen struggles with retention, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan said during a talk at the annual Surface Navy Association conference earlier this month.

Under current Coast Guard policy, when the service does not have enough members eligible to advance to fill empty positions, the number of candidates who can advance is adjusted, according to the release. The change in policy is meant to offset the negative aspects the policy has on professional development.

The pilot is one way the Coast Guard is assessing innovative ways to assign service members, Master Chief Petty Officer Grant Heffner said in the release. It also gives people more power in choosing their assignments.

“We understand that as people age and mature, their lives and priorities may change,” Heffner said in the release.

If service members get more agency in deciding their positions means, then the unit they go to will have someone who is more motivated to be there, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joel Laufenberg said in the release.

“This lessens the likelihood that a position is going to remain vacant,” Laufenberg said. “And the member benefits because they get an opportunity to advance that they may not have had otherwise.”

VIDEO: Coast Guard Tracking Russian Intelligence Ship Off Hawaii

The U.S. Coast Guard monitored a Russian intelligence ship that sailed near the coast of Hawaii last week, the service announced Wednesday night. The vessel was identified as Vishnya-class intelligence ship Kareliya (535), according to the Jan. 11 video released by the Coast Guard. Satellite photos from Jan. 10, reviewed by USNI News, show the […]

Vishnya-class intelligence ship Kareliya (535). US Coast Guard Image

The U.S. Coast Guard monitored a Russian intelligence ship that sailed near the coast of Hawaii last week, the service announced Wednesday night.

The vessel was identified as Vishnya-class intelligence ship Kareliya (535), according to the Jan. 11 video released by the Coast Guard. Satellite photos from Jan. 10, reviewed by USNI News, show the Russian vessel coming as close to 40 kilometers, or approximately 25 miles, within the Hawaiian shore.

The Coast Guard continues to monitor the ship, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said during a press conference Thursday. The Pentagon did not know why the Russians sailed the ship near Hawaii, but Singh noted the “precarious timing.”

 

Kareliya is sailing in international and open waters, she said.

“We haven’t seen any unsafe or unprofessional behavior and we expect that the Russians will operate within the region in accordance with international law,” she said, directing additional questions to the Coast Guard.

Ships belonging to foreign militaries can sail through the U.S.’s economic exclusive zone, the Coast Guard said in its news release. The service, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security, is working with the Department of Defense to track vessel movement and, if necessary, provide additional U.S. presence in an area where a foreign military ship may be sailing.

“The U.S. Coast Guard is currently monitoring the Russian vessel operating in the vicinity of Hawaii,” External Affairs Chief Cmdr. Dave Milne said in the statement. . “As part of our daily operations, we track all vessels in the Pacific area through surface and air assets and joint agency capabilities.”

Russian intelligence vessels have sailed near Hawaii before, with the Coast Guard tracking Kareliya in May 2021, USNI News previously reported. At the time, the ship sailed in international waters and was not hazardous to navigation.

Navy Removes Two East Coast Ship Commanders Over Performance Concerns

The Navy removed the commanding officers of a guided-missile destroyer and an amphibious warship on Wednesday, the sea service announced Thursday. Both commanders were not accused of misconduct and were removed from command for performance issues, a Navy official told USNI News on Thursday. Capt. Michael Nordeen was removed as the commanding officer of amphibious […]

USS Carney (DDG-64) departs Naval Station Rota, Spain, in 2020. US Navy Photo

The Navy removed the commanding officers of a guided-missile destroyer and an amphibious warship on Wednesday, the sea service announced Thursday.

Both commanders were not accused of misconduct and were removed from command for performance issues, a Navy official told USNI News on Thursday.

Capt. Michael Nordeen was removed as the commanding officer of amphibious warship USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19), by Expeditionary Strike Group 2 commander Rear. Adm. Tom Williams cited a lack of confidence in his ability to lead, according to a Navy release. Nordeen was reassigned to the staff of commander, Naval Force Atlantic. Nordeen assumed command of the Norfolk-based ship on Aug. 3, 2022, according to his Navy biography.

Capt. Gregory Baker, currently the chief of staff for Expeditionary Strike Group 2, took over as commanding officer of Mesa Verde on a temporary basis.

Nordeen’s career started in the Army. He enlisted before being accepted to the U.S. Military Academy, where he graduated with a Navy commission, according to his biography. He flew with Fighter Squadron 31 and Strike Fighter Squadron 32. He previously commanded Strike Fighter Squadron 211.

Prior to his time as commanding officer of Mesa Verde, Nordeen served as the executive officer for USS George Washington (CVN-73) from March 10, 2020 to March 6, 2022.

(left to right) Capt. Michael Nordeen, Cmdr. Alexa Jenkins. US Navy Photos

Cmdr. Alexa Jenkins was also removed as the commanding officer of Carney by Naval Surface Squadron 14 Commodore Capt. Jennifer Blakeslee citing a lack of confidence in Jenkins’ ability to lead the ship, according to a Navy release. Jenkins took command of the guided-missile destroyer on May 31, 2022, according to her Navy bio. The removal was not related to a December fire aboard the destroyer, a Navy official told USNI News.

Jenkins is a 2004 Naval Academy graduate who took over commanding officer after serving as Carney‘s executive officer, according to her biography.

She previously commanded patrol ships USS Tornado (PC-14) and USS Chinook (PC-9).

Capt. Aaron Anderson will take over as commanding officer of the Mayport-based ship on a temporary basis until the Navy appoints someone to the position. Jenkins was reassigned to the staff of the commander of Naval Surface Squadron 14.

Navy Offers Up to $100K in Retention Bonuses for Select Special Warfare Sailors

Some senior enlisted members in the special warfare community have a chance to earn a retention bonus of up to $100,000, the Navy announced in a new memo. NAVADMIN 004/23, released Jan. 10, details a new retention bonus program that targets naval special warfare senior enlisted sailors that have a SEAL special warfare operation (026X) […]

U.S. Navy SEALs survey a rooftop during consulate evacuation training during Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-23 at Deuce Village, near Yuma, Arizona, Oct. 12, 2022. US Marine Corps Photo

Some senior enlisted members in the special warfare community have a chance to earn a retention bonus of up to $100,000, the Navy announced in a new memo.

NAVADMIN 004/23, released Jan. 10, details a new retention bonus program that targets naval special warfare senior enlisted sailors that have a SEAL special warfare operation (026X) or special warfare combatant craft board operator (052X) classification. The new program is the sea service’s new effort to increase retention.

“The NSW SSRB is part of the overarching effort of the Navy to size, shape, and stabilize the force,” the NAVADMIN reads.

In order to be eligible for the retention bonus, the senior enlisted sailors with the two classifications must have an E-7 or higher pay grade and have between 20 to 28 years of service, according to the NAVADMIN. The sailors must also be active duty and have a favorable recommendation from their commanding officer.

The retention bonus program will start with phase one, targeting those with the E-7 pay grade who have 20 to 24 years of service. E-7 sailors can earn up to $80,000 in retention bonuses for their contracts, with $20,000 awarded each year.

The second phase is for enlisted sailors with an E-8 paygrade and 24 to 26 years of service. They have the opportunity to earn up to $50,000 in retention bonuses, with $25,000 offered each year.

The third phase is offered for E-9 sailors with 26 to 28 years of service. These sailors have the ability to earn up to $100,000 in bonuses, with $25,000 offered each year. Sailors who have 27 and 28 years of service have an option to sign a contract for their 29th and 30th years of service.

Sailors who want to earn the retention bonus must re-enlist or extend their enlistment contracts for at least two years. The retention bonus contracts are for between two to three years, according to the NAVADMIN.

“Reenlistments and extensions may be combined to align service dates for the
maximum opportunity, up to a reenlistment of 6 years and an extension of up
to 12 months,” the NAVADMIN reads.

Those wishing to apply for the program should submit a request through their chain of command to the naval special warfare enlisted community manager, who is serving as the program manager. Any sailors already under one of the critical skills retention bonus programs, such as the selective reenlistment bonus program, or part of the High Year Tenure Plus pilot program – which suspends the high year tenure for two years – are not eligible.

U.K. MoD: Russian Anti-Ship Missile Used in Fatal Attack on Civilians in Ukraine, Killing 40

Russian military likely used an anti-ship missile in the attack on Dnipro, which killed 40 people, according to the British Ministry of Defense. Russian troops used the long-range, 1980s-era AS-4 Kitchen cruise missile, launched from a Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire medium bomber, according to the British MoD on Monday. The Kitchen missile is a long-range tactical, […]

AS-4 Kitchen Missile flown by a Tupolev Tu-22M bomber

Russian military likely used an anti-ship missile in the attack on Dnipro, which killed 40 people, according to the British Ministry of Defense.

Russian troops used the long-range, 1980s-era AS-4 Kitchen cruise missile, launched from a Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire medium bomber, according to the British MoD on Monday.
The Kitchen missile is a long-range tactical, standoff missile. It is not known for its precision when used against ground targets, according to the British MoD.

Over the weekend, Russia launched multiple missile strikes, including the one against Dnipro, where the Kitchen is likely to have been used. The anti-ship missile hit an apartment building, Ukrainian officials said.

The death toll is now at 40, according to The New York Times, but 34 people were still missing three days after the strike. The Dnipro attack is one of the most deadly hits on civilian infrastructure since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago.

Russian missiles also struck Kherson, where a residential building, a vacant children’s hospital and a boarding school were hit. The bombardment killed three people, according to the Times.

So far, the United Nations has confirmed 7,000 civilians deaths, which include 398 children, but the death total is likely higher.

During a press briefing Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed that Russia launched missiles from the air, land and sea, but he did not specify the type of missiles. Russia does have Kalibr cruise missile capable ships in the Black Sea.

It is unclear how many ships Russia currently has in the Black Sea. On Saturday, the British MoD reported that 10 ships in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet left Novorossiysk Naval Facility.

Naval News reported that among the ships were Pyotr Morgunov, an Ivan Gren-class landing ship, and three Project 636.3 Kilo-class submarines.

Iranian Navy Sending Ships to Panama Canal, Says Commander

The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy is sending ships to the Panama Canal, according to an article published in state-run media Friday. The Iranian Navy has yet to operate in two straits in the world, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said Wednesday at a navy ceremony, according to Tehran Times. One of them is […]

IRINS Makran. FARS Photo

The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy is sending ships to the Panama Canal, according to an article published in state-run media Friday.

The Iranian Navy has yet to operate in two straits in the world, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said Wednesday at a navy ceremony, according to Tehran Times. One of them is the Panama Canal. Irani did not identify the other strait but said the Iran Navy would operate in it this year.

Irani did not lay out a similar timeline for when ships may head to the Panama Canal.

“Today, if my comrades are approaching the shores of the American continent, they are showing signs of the authority of dear Iran,” Irani said. “As a showcase for the dear people of our country, we appeared in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Of course, along this route, Australia and the French created threats for us and tried to violate the laws they had approved to cross their coasts. But we answered them with authority and according to the law.”

He went on to say that the Iran Navy has set up commands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans, with one expected in the Pacific Ocean this year.

The Iranian navy has been trying to extend its international presence and range of port visits, Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told USNI News. However, whether it makes it to the Panama Canal is unclear, as the Iranian navy is known to be hyperbolic, he said.

“If anything, the statement tells one more about Iranian intentions than capabilities, as the regime tries to project strength abroad when it is increasingly looking weak at home,” Taleblu said.

While Irani did not specify what ships would travel to the vicinity of the Panama Canal, two Iranian Navy ships deployed last year and have been operating in the Pacific. Frigate IRIS Dena and IRINS Makran, Iran’s largest warship, made a port call in Jakarta, Indonesia, and was tracked by the French Navy and the Royal Australian Navy.

“As part of Australia’s broader whole-of-government maritime border protection efforts, Defence routinely monitors maritime traffic in the vicinity of our exclusive economic zone and maritime approaches,” an Australian defense official told local broadcaster ABC.
“Defence has been aware of two Iranian warships operating in the Indo-Pacific for some time.”

In December, Irani said the two-ship deployment represented an expansion of Iran’s maritime ambitions.

“What is important in the matter of maritime presence is authority … presence in the seas means power and authority,” the navy chief explained.
“The first message that a frigate or submarine sends out is that the country that builds them has acquired the required knowledge to dominate the sea.”

In 2021, IRINS Makran, and frigate IRINS Sahand deployed for four months reaching as far as the Baltic Sea.

SECNAV Del Toro Names Future Destroyer After MoH Recipient Thomas Gunning Kelley

ARLINGTON, Va. – The future guided-missile destroyer DDG-140 will be named after Medal of Honor recipient retired Navy Capt. Thomas Gunning Kelley, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced on Wednesday. The Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyer will honor Kelley, who received the Medal of Honor for actions during the Vietnam War. Del Toro […]

Thomas Gunning Kelley

ARLINGTON, Va. – The future guided-missile destroyer DDG-140 will be named after Medal of Honor recipient retired Navy Capt. Thomas Gunning Kelley, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced on Wednesday.

The Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyer will honor Kelley, who received the Medal of Honor for actions during the Vietnam War.

Del Toro announced the naming of the ship during his speech at the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium on Wednesday. Although Kelley could not attend, Del Toro had him on the phone when he announced the name.

“May we all, and especially the future men and women assigned to the ship, always be inspired by Kelley’s brilliant leadership, bold initiative and resolute determination,” Del Toro said when announcing the name.

According to the citation, in 1969 then-Lt. Kelley was in command of eight river assault craft that were extracting a company of U.S. Army infantry troops in Kien Hoa Province when the Army’s troop transport malfunctioned and the boats came under fire from North Vietnamese forces.

“After issuing orders for the crippled troop carrier to raise its ramp manually, and for the remaining boats to form a protective cordon around the disabled craft, [Kelley], realizing the extreme danger to his column and its inability to clear the ambush site until the crippled unit was repaired, boldly maneuvered the monitor in which he was embarked to the exposed side of the protective cordon in direct line with the enemy’s fire, and ordered the monitor to commence firing,” reads the citation.

During the fighting, Kelley suffered severe head injuries from shrapnel from an enemy rocket, but was able to direct the column to safety.

Del Toro told reporters after his speech that he called Kelley on Tuesday to tell him his decision to name the future ship in his honor.

Del Toro told reporters that he received thousands of requests for ship names, but Kelley’s story stood out to him.

“In review of the many candidates that were before me, it was obvious that Capt. Kelley stood up above, not that his was more important than others, but his stood above him, and above the call of duty and what he did, and it was time to name a ship after him,” Del Toro said.

Kelley left the service in 1990 and served as the secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services from 2003 to 2011.

This is the third ship Del Toro has named in a month’s time. In December, Del Toro named future LHA-9 after the Battle of Fallujah and future survey ship after Titanic finder Robert Ballard.

Del Toro said that he has four submarines and a few towing ships that he plans to name in the coming months.

He may also rename USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) and USNS Maury (T-AGS-66) later this year. Both ships received recommendations for renaming by the commission examining military installations and assets with names associated with the Confederacy.