Posted by: arbeam | December 6, 2014

Navy League Legislative Support

Navy League Masthead

Dear Navy Leaguer,

I am writing to ask for your support of a new Navy League program. As you know, we recently reached our fundraising goal and were able to purchase a voter-response software, This software system, also accessible via a link from the main Navy League homepage, allows Navy Leaguers to easily write or call their member of Congress.

As Navy League leaders, you know how important our work is to the sea services. As the budget shrinks and threats from around the world increase, we need strong maritime services. Our voice is needed on Capitol Hill more than ever to tell Congress that the sea services must receive the funding they need.

It is imperative that Navy Leaguers visit and utilize this feature often. One of the primary missions of the Navy League is to inform Congress and the American public on the importance of strong services. The more Congress hears from the Navy League, the more influence we will have as it realizes that Navy Leaguers are politically engaged-they pay attention and make their voices heard. As Navy Leaguers share the website with their friends via social media, the Navy League can also use that pool to identify potential members and grow the Navy League. As leaders in your council, we ask for you to help your council members get excited about this tool. We all joined the Navy League to help the sea services-help them today by writing Congress.

Our current campaigns are extremely important:
Stop sequestration: Tell Congress that the mandated budget cuts of $500 billion over 1 years hurt the sea services at a time when they are needed most.
Fund the Maritime Security Program: The Maritime Security Program, which funds a public-private partnership necessary for sealift in times of national emergency, was gutted in the Appropriations bill. We can speak out to restore that funding.
Food for Peace: Enforcing needed cargo preference is integral to keeping the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine strong. Recent action has reduced the amount of cargo and we ask that the requirements of this popular program be kept.
Help WWII Merchant Marine Veterans: Ensure WWII Merchant Marine veterans are recognized for their service.
Fund Harbor Maintenance: Ensure the trust is used as it was intended-to keep our ports dredged and maintained to protect commerce and trade.
Pass the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Reauthorization Act: This bill reauthorizes major Coast Guard programs, including its recapitalization plan, and strengthens cargo preference. It is in very real danger of not passing the Senate next week-the Coast Guard needs you to write your Senators today.
Pass the National Defense Authorization Act: Ensure the Department of Defense has the authorization for new programs, creates a separate account for funding the Ohio-class replacement, and ensures an 11-carrier Navy.

Thank you for your help in supporting the sea services, and visit today!

Jack Ritter,
National Vice President, Legislative Affairs

Posted by: arbeam | December 6, 2014

Toys For Tots


Since inception, the Marine Toys for Tots Program has distributed more than 469 million toys to more than 216 million less fortunate children. According to their website, the Toys for Tots campaign has a very specific mission,

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

To help the Marines make Christmas better for kids around the country, simply purchase a new, unwrapped toy and bring it to your nearest Toys for Tots drop off location.

  • December 7th the Grinch Dance Party at the Kitsap Mall for toy/monetary donations.
  • December 12, Final pickup of all boxes @ 5:00 PM
  • December 13th Toy giveaway at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Presidents Hall 9AM-3PM
 This website explains to parents in need how they qualify for receiving Toys for Tots

Here is a list of all the Drop off locations in the local area. Read More…

House and Senate appropriations committee staffers spent their Thanksgiving holiday weekend hard at work, negotiating a full appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 to take the place of the continuing resolution currently funding the government at last year’s spending levels.

The bill being drafted would include compromise versions of all 12 pieces of legislation each committee must pass each year, each providing a line-by-line spending allowance for various federal departments and agencies.

With Republicans taking control of the Senate in January, there were questions as to whether lawmakers would pass an actual appropriations bill before the continuing resolution (CR) expires on Dec. 11, or if they’d pass a CR extension and wait until the next Congress is seated to vote on FY ’15 funding. Read More…


Newport News, Virginia. “I hereby declare that the keel of the United States Navy submarine WASHINGTON has been truly and fairly laid.” With these words, Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and sponsor of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) WASHINGTON (SSN 787), climaxed a time-honored traditional ceremony marking the start of construction of the 14th VIRGINIA class submarine. Representing the Navy League of the United States (NLUS) at the November 22nd Keel Laying Ceremony were Larry Salter, President of the Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council, and National Board of Directors member, Ken Sparks, of the Lake Washington Council.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and his daughter Elisabeth, stand before the bow module of PCU WASHINGTON (SSN 787) shortly after the Keel Laying Ceremony held November 22nd at Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. The 25-year old sponsor was somewhat uncomfortable at the podium, explaining how it was a little odd to be standing in front of the crowd--usually she's listening to her father speak.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and his daughter Elisabeth, stand before the bow module of PCU WASHINGTON (SSN 787) shortly after the Keel Laying Ceremony held November 22nd at Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. The 25-year old sponsor was somewhat uncomfortable at the podium, explaining how it was a little odd to be standing in front of the crowd–usually she’s listening to her father speak.

Salter is a member of the USS WASHINGTON Commissioning Committee, chaired by RADM Mike Sharp, USN (Ret), also of the Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council. While still in its infancy, the growing Commissioning Committee consists of a core steering committee centered in Bremerton, and will ultimately include participation from most Washington State NLUS Councils.

USS Washington CO COB

Navy Leaguer Larry Salter, President of the Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council (center) recently attended the November 22nd keel laying ceremony for the (PCU) WASHINGTON (SSN 787), the 14th VIRGINIA class submarine. Salter is shown here with the ship’s prospective Commanding Officer, CDR Jason “Jay” Schnieder (left), and Chief of the Boat, CMDCM(SS) Adam Burchette (right).

While attending the ceremony, Slater and Sparks met with the ship’s prospective Commanding Officer, CDR Jason “Jay” Schnieder, and Chief of the Boat, CMDCM(SS) Adam Burchette, who treated the Navy Leaguers to a tour of PCU WASHINGTON hull sections and other submarines in later stages of construction.

Salter recalls, “We were climbing up scaffolding and climbing over submarines—it was awesome! Much of the technology was way over the head of this MBA, but to see how they build submarines today was truly fascinating.” Salter was also able to meet many of the crew and address the crew at quarters.

With the advent of modular construction of the submarine’s cylindrical hull sections, the keel laying ceremony is truly symbolic in nature. Not only do the cylindrical submarines lack a traditional “keel” (single strength member running along the full length of the ship at its lowest point), but the modular hull sections are already almost 70% complete. The modular units are being assembled at Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding.

USS Washington Logo

The NLUS-led Commissioning Committee will continue to support WASHINGTON throughout the construction process. The next event will be the Christening Ceremony in a little over a year, followed by the Commission Ceremony in late 2016. The Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council has also voted to adopt the ship following commissioning after it relocates to its new homeport in Pearl Harbor, HI. The Council currently supports Hawaii-based USS BREMERTON (SSN 698), the oldest submarine in the Fleet, scheduled to be inactivated shortly after WASHINGTON is commissioned.

For more information about joining the USS WASHINGTON Commissioning Committee, please contact board member Kevin Torcolini at

Posted by: arbeam | November 25, 2014

Presidents Corner: December 2014

Larry SalterHello Navy Leaguers. December and the holidays are upon us—where did the year go? December is my last full month as your Council President. We have accomplished much this year and with Tim Katona returning as President, next year will be every bit as successful as his Presidency last year—an Outstanding Council kind of year. I am not going anywhere and will remain active as the Immediate Past President and support Tim and the 2015 Officers to the best of my ability.

Many of you missed a great Marine Corps uniform pageant at our annual November Marine Corps Birthday recognition luncheon. I know it was on a different day (rescheduled due to Veterans Day falling on the second Tuesday of November) and there were some gate issues, but the attendance was embarrassing low. There were more Marines than members.

The Veterans Day Celebration on Tuesday November 11th at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds was another huge success. Thanks John Gardner for heading up the committee and making it such a great event. Sandra and Earle Smith, the retired event coordinators did not look so retired. Thank you for your continued commitment to the Veterans Day Event and the Navy League.

Our guest speaker for December is Captain Mark Geronime, the new Commanding Officer of NAVFAC NW. The Captain will give us an update on the Explosive Handling Warf (the largest MILCON project in the Navy), progress on the build-up of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and other construction projects around the region. This is the Captains first encounter with Navy League since taking over the command in July—please come and welcome him.

The December luncheon is also an important event in the life of your Council—the Annual Meeting. We will give a quick review of the year and will have minutes of board meetings available to review for anyone who would like to look at them. Dave Ellingson will also be available to answer any budget questions you have. And most importantly, we will be voting in our 2015 slate of officers.

The Board of Directors proposes the follow­ing slate of candidates for election as 2015 Officers: President: Tim Katona, Vice President (2 Positions): Kevin Torcolini, Bob Lamb, Secretary: Ruth Bond, Treasurer: Dave Ellingson, JAG: George Rose. We will induct the new officers and board members at the January luncheon.

USS Washington LogoAs you may already know, the USS Washington is being built at Newport News Shipyard. The Washington State Navy League Councils have committed to coordinate the festivities surrounding the Commissioning Ceremony (late summer/early fall 2016). Our Council stepped up to be the lead Council which will involve lots of work. Rear Admiral Mike Sharp, USN (retired) is leading the commissioning committee with help from me, Alan Beam, Kevin Torcolini, and Kathy DiMaggio. This steering committee is just the beginning of the support needed to pull off an event of this size. We will be looking for more volunteers.

USS Washington CO COB

As a member of the Commissioning Committee, I was able to participate in two events last week that were firsts for me.   Unfortunately due to airline weather delays and schedule changes, RADM Sharp was not able to attend. Ken Sparks from the Lake Washington Council was also in attendance. The Captain of the USS Washington (CDR Jay Schnieder), the Chief of the Boat (Command Master Chief Adam Burchette ), and the Newport News Virginia Class Construction Supervisor provided a once in a life time tour of the Washington section under construction as well as other Virginia Class submarines under construction. We were climbing up scaffolding and climbing over submarines—it was awesome! Much of the technology was way over the head of this MBA, but to see how they build submarines today was truly fascinating.

USS Washington Initials

On Saturday I attended the Keel Laying Ceremony at Newport News Shipyard—another first. Not the Keel Laying Ceremony of yester year—submarines are tubes, built in sections and then welded together—no keel. None the less, the tradition is upheld. I had the opportunity to meet the ships sponsor—Ms. Elizabeth Mabus, and her father, the Secretary of the Navy. I was also able to meet many of the crew and the Captain gave me an opportunity to address the crew at a scheduled quarters.

The next event will be Christening Ceremony in a little over a year from now followed by the Commission Ceremony. It was truly an honor to represent the Council and the Commissioning Committee at this significant event in the life of the USS Washington.

The Board voted to adopt the USS Washington and the CO was pleased to accept our invitation. We hope to get the Captain and COB out for a number of visits over the next 19 months. He is very keen to establish a relationship with the State that his ship is named after.

Thank you for all you do to support Navy League, Larry

The December Luncheon will be our Annual Business Meeting and Election of Officers for 2015. 

Capt Mark GeronimeThe December 9 Luncheon Speaker will  be Captain Mark Geronime, Commanding Officer of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Northwest, located in Silverdale WA.  NAVFAC Northwest manages the planning, design, construction, contingency engineering, real estate, environmental programs and Public Works covering six states; Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Alaska.

The Captain will give us an update on the Explosive Handling Warf (the largest MILCON project in the Navy), progress on the build-up of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and other construction projects around the region.

CAPT Geronime qualified in submarines onboard  USS Indianapolis  (SSN 697) in Pearl Harbor Hawaii. After lateral transfer into the Civil Engineer Corps he has served in various assignment around the world including  a deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2006 as an Individual Augment (IA) to Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan. His last position was as the Facilities Investment Branch Head at OPNAV N46 from 2012-2014. He assumed his current position as Commanding Officer of NAVFAC Northwest in July 2014.

CAPT Geronime is qualified in Submarines and Seabee Combat Warfare. He is a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps and completed the Executive Development Program at Wharton School of Business in 2012. He is a Certified Energy Manager and registered Professional Engineer in the state of Oregon. His personal awards include the 2006 SAME Moreell Medal, Legion of Merit, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal (four awards) and Navy Achievement Medal (three awards).

Doors open at 11 am and the program begins at 11:45 at the Bangor Conference Center Trident Ball Room


  • Please call Evergreen Transfer & Storage at 360 674-2762 for your lunch registration. Please call at your earliest convenience.
  • Cut off for reservations is December 2
  • Please give your name as it appears on your driver’s license.
  • Spell your name to help make certain that it will be correct on the  gate access sheet.
  • If you do not have base access, you will need to provide your date of birth.

Washington Keel Laying

NEWPORT NEWS — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus had more than a professional interest in Saturday’s keel-laying ceremony of the submarine Washington at Newport News Shipbuilding.

He was able to introduce his daughter as the sponsor.

And if it was a big day for him, imagine the experience of 25-year-old Elisabeth Mabus.

With ships sponsor Elisabeth Mabus and her father, Sec. of the Navy Ray Mabus, the keel was laid for the submarine USS Washington Saturday. (Rob Ostermaier, Daily Press)

Earlier in the day, her alma mater, Harvard University, beat Yale in one of college football’s oldest rivalries. Then she saw her initials welded on a steel plate that will be a permanent fixture on the future USS Washington, the newest Virginia-class attack submarine.

The keel-laying, a Navy tradition, marked the ceremonial start of construction for Washington. In fact, shipbuilders have been working on the boat since 2011, and Saturday’s event took place under a large tent with the gaping bow section of the sub facing a crowd of several hundred people.

Mabus spoke haltingly as he prepared to introduce his daughter, saying, “This is the hardest part of the speech.”

She was born when Mabus served as governor of Mississippi, the first child born to a sitting governor there in more than 100 years. She earned the title of “Mississippi’s baby,” sleeping through her first press conference as a 3-day-old.

“In my mind’s eye, she is still about four years old,” he said.

Elisabeth, who wiped away tears as her father spoke, followed him to the podium and admitted it was little odd to be standing in front of the crowd. Usually she’s listening to her father speak.

But she said she looked forward to the experience of being a sponsor, which involves getting to know the officers and crew as the ship comes to life, then following it throughout its service to the nation. She was in college when her father told her a sponsorship was in her future. (Her sister, Annie, will sponsor the submarine Colorado.)

“It’s a big responsibility, and I’m proud to be part of this day,” she said.


It was also a big day for 22-year-old Dustin Utecht, a welder at Newport News Shipbuilding and a native of Richland, Wash. After Elisabeth chalked her initials on a steel plate, Utecht welded the letters into place.

Dustin, whose uncle was a welder, began learning the trade in high school. Seeking to further his craft, he found the Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding while browsing the Internet. He applied, was accepted, and moved across the country to start his career.

He’s finishing his third year of a four-year apprentice program.

In an interview before the ceremony, Dustin said it would not be difficult to trace the initials. The unique part would be doing his job with several hundred onlookers.

“That is a little bit different,” he said. “But since I do it every day, I feel it shouldn’t be too bad.”

It took a few minutes to weld the initials into place, and Dustin checked his progress several times as camera shutters clicked.

The Washington will be the 14th submarine of the Virginia class. Newport News, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, builds the nuclear-powered submarines in partnership with General Dynamics Electric Boat of Groton, Conn.

For Newport News, Washington marked the start of a two submarine per year construction schedule. It is scheduled to be christened in 2015, and like other Virginia-class boats, is on track to be delivered ahead of schedule.

The Navy purchases submarines in blocks, giving Newport News and Electric Boat the certainty of future work. Because the yards can plan ahead, they have consistently come in under budget and ahead of schedule.

Currently, about 100 officers and crew are assigned to Washington. It will be commanded by Cmdr. Jason Schneider

Daily Press article By Hugh Lessig

Keel Laying Video




Posted by: arbeam | November 22, 2014

Locals at namesake sub’s keel-laying ceremony

USS Washington Logo

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Larry Salter, president of the local Navy League council, will be present Saturday at USS Washington’s keel-laying ceremony as a prelude to the group leading the Virginia-class submarine’s 2016 commissioning ceremony.

Keel-laying is the symbolic beginning of building a ship, though the USS Washington (SSN 787) doesn’t have a keel and construction began three years ago. A keel is a large structural beam that serves as the spine of a ship’s hull. During the ceremony, the ship’s sponsor authenticates the keel by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. The initials are then welded onto a plate that is permanently affixed to the ship.

The USS Washington’s sponsor is Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, the keynote speaker. Two Washington residents will play roles in the ceremony. Welder Dustin Utecht, a Richland native, will weld sponsor Mabus’ initials into the plate, and Abigail Matthews, a fourth-grader at Gig Harbor’s Discovery Elementary School, will fly to Virginia to serve as the flower girl.

Salter and Mike Sharp, a retired rear admiral and former Navy League board member, planned to meet the crew and tour the shipyard Friday, then Salter would attend the ceremony Saturday.

“I’ve never been to one,” Salter said. “It surely will be interesting. In my 28 years in the Navy and my 12 years in Navy League, I have never been to a keel-laying ceremony.”

A webcast of the event will be provided at It begins at 1 p.m. Pacific time.

The 14th Virginia-class submarine will be the fourth ship named after the Evergreen State. It will be based in Honolulu. Its commissioning will occur in Virginia, Hawaii or Washington. That discussion won’t be broached for many months, but Salter, of Bremerton, hopes for the Kitsap area because his outfit volunteered to lead the event. The group will have to raise thousands of dollars and put in lots of effort.

Sharp, of Bainbridge Island, is chairman of the commissioning committee, which includes Salter, Alan Beam and Kevin Torcolini, all of the local Navy league.

“It’s a privilege to be able to host the commissioning ceremony and bring a new ship into the Navy,” Salter said. “I’m looking forward to that in a couple years. We’re happy to be here (at the keel-laying ceremony) for the beginning of it.”

Mabus visited Seattle in February 2013 for a ship-naming ceremony with Gov. Jay Inslee. There hadn’t been one named after Washington since the battleship USS Washington left service after World War II.

The USS Bremerton, which is nearing the end of its life, is stationed at Pearl Harbor. It is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2017.

Kitsap Sun article by Ed Friedrich

Posted by: arbeam | November 20, 2014

Kitsap County Veterans Day Celebration

Bagpiper - Veterans Day Event 2014Bagpiper Michael Oliver, who is himself a veteran, is shown starting this year’s “Veterans Day Event” ceremony. With almost 2000 people in attendance, it is always a challenge to get everyone’s attention to go to their seats to get ready for the ceremony. Immediately after the bagpiper’s performance, the Bremerton High School marching band, marched down the center ailse and took their position for the ceremony.

This year’s event broke the record for the most number of active duty commands represented. After eleven years, it seems that the word has gotten out that this event is not one to be missed.

There were a record number of children in attendance this year as well. The children could be seen looking at the vintage military vehicles that have been lovingly restored and climbing up on the Submarine Veterans’ parade float. The Boy Scouts volunteered to escort VIPs to their reserved seats. The Sea Cadets presented the colors along with the Knights of Columbus. One of the Sea Cadets also took part in the POW/MIA “Missing Man” presentation.

kitsapveteransOur military co-host this year was RDML Jeffrey Ruth, Commander, Navy Region Northwest. Guy Stitt, Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Navy League Ambassador served as the other co-host.

We were honored by the attendance of the majority of our elected leaders, U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer, State Senator Jan Angel, State Representative Sherry Appleton, County Commissioners Charlotte Garrido, Robert Gelder, Linda Streissguth, and Commissioner Elect Ed Wolfe, Mayors Patty Lent, Tim Matthes, and Becky Erickson.

First Sergeant Doug R. Pfeffer, USA, (Ret) served as the Keynote Speaker. Doug helped create Rally Point/6, a free one-stop service for transitioning veterans. The Lakewood-based nonprofit organization helps veterans with job searching, resume writing, housing issues and working with the military and Veterans Affairs to receive benefits. They even helped a WWII vet and his wife get hot water restored to their home. Rally Point/6 is planning a satellite office in Kitsap within the next year or two.

Posted by: arbeam | November 20, 2014

New Navy Standardized FPO Mail Address Format

Mechanicsburg, Pa. (NNS) — Navy Fleet Post Office (FPO) addresses for ships, mobile units and ashore FPOs are being converted to an address format compatible with the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) address system, according to a Nov. 18 NAVADMIN message.

The new address format is effective immediately for mobile units and ashore FPOs.

“The new standardized addresses use a format similar to the way residential mail is addressed across the U.S.,” said Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Navy Postal Director Gabe Telles. “Standardization will improve service by reducing transit time, which is good news for Sailors.”

 The new format for ships and mobile units is as follows:

  •  Line 1: Name
  • Line 2: Ship or Mobile Unit name
  • Line 3: Ship or Mobile Unit number, box number
  • Line 4: FPO (AP, AE, AA) ZIP code (5 digits only)

The new format for ashore FPOs now includes a Postal Service Center (PSC) number and box number along with a 5-digit ZIP code in the address as follows:

  • Line 1: Name
  • Line 2: PSC number, box number
  • Line 3: FPO (AP, AE, AA) ZIP code (5 digits only)

“Sailors will notice immediately that only a 5-digit ZIP code is necessary,” Telles said. “This and the new standardized format will be easier for everyone, including businesses, family, and friends sending mail to FPOs.”

The standardization comes during the holiday mailing season. NAVSUP announced 2014 holiday mailing deadlines Sept. 15. ( )

“If senders use an old address but still follow the announced deadline dates for holiday mailings, delivery is expected by Dec. 25,” said Telles. “However, using the new address standardization could get holiday mail to its destination more quickly. Sailors should inform everyone who sends them mail about the new format as soon as possible.”

Another benefit of the standardization is postal patrons’ ability to use the USPS Internet change-of-address process at when rotating to/from new assignments that use FPO addresses. Sailors can find more information at their local FPO or at

Navy news article



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