PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 28, 2013) The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), left, the George Washington Strike Group and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships participate in tactical maneuver training during Annual Exercise (AnnualEx) 13

PHILIPPINE SEA The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), left, the George Washington Strike Group and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships participate in tactical maneuver training during Annual Exercise (AnnualEx) 13

NAPLES, Italy — The Navy has spoken softly. Now it’s reaching for the big stick.

After years of emphasizing global amity and cooperation across the seas, the service is speaking more about combat power, the threat of “anti-access” technologies such as cheap missiles and the challenges posed by nations such as China and Iran. “Warfighting” has suddenly become the new buzzword across commands.

Friday’s release of the new Maritime Strategy epitomizes the shift in message. The joint document was developed by the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard as an update to a 2007 strategy that focused on cooperation with foreign navies and generally avoided reference to confrontation.

Despite carrying the same title — A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower — the update moves in a different direction, identifying regional competitors and unstable regimes by name and detailing force deployment by theater.

The strategy elevates “domain access” — the ability to operate at will in a theater — alongside traditional naval goals of deterrence and forward presence. It includes more about Marine Corps posture than in 2007, and it frames naval forces as forward-pressing instead of maintaining status quo. “It is an appropriately harder-edged document,” said Bryan McGrath, a former Navy officer who worked on the 2007 document and reviewed the new one before release. “The threat has clarified in a meaningful way.”

A big part of that threat is financial. Current Navy plans call for more than 300 ships in the fleet by the early 2020s, about 20 more ships than the fleet currently operates. Just maintaining and replacing the current fleet is costly: The program to replace the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine is expected to be too large to wedge into the Navy budget when the program begins in 2020.

What’s more, budget cuts set to return in fiscal 2016 threaten to stop shipbuilding plans before they can begin, unless Congress acts to overturn or offset them.

Global threats also appear to be on the rise compared to 2007, when the Navy was concerned with fostering foreign cooperation in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, said Robert Rubel, a former professor at the Naval War College who helped draft the original strategy document.

The result in 2007 was a much softer message, which framed the U.S. as on the strategic defensive, its goal not to assert itself militarily but to maintain a global world order that benefited many nations. “We never named any names in there, we never called out any country, we added humanitarian assistance to the list of core capabilities of the Navy,” Rubel said. “This rankled a lot of realists-slash-hawks in the Navy and elsewhere. But we felt this kind of language was necessary.”

By the time Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, called for a strategy update in 2011, the climate had already changed. Naval cooperation among nations had improved, but global power dynamics had shifted. China and Iran were asserting themselves as regional powers. Russia was newly assertive, having invaded Georgia in 2008. Affordable missile technology was challenging the assumptions of naval power projection by making access to shore more costly.

Naval strategists continued to push for a more detailed vision of naval power in the world. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, wrote a letter to Greenert last July decrying the Navy’s lack of strategy and encouraging him to speak openly of China’s rise as a threat to U.S. interests. “If this (document) had come out and was as general as the last one, it would have been a failure,” McGrath said.

It is instead far more detailed. While few, if any, of its statements are new, the document labors to place maritime strategy in the context of recent world events, from Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula last March to the January terrorist attacks in Paris and the resurgence of the Boko Haram terrorist group in western Africa.

It names military hardware like warships and weapons systems and details Marine Corps efforts to scale unit size to mission in places like Africa and Australia. It argues that the sea services will embody the U.S. shift to the Pacific: Navy plans call for roughly 60 percent of ships and aircraft to be based in the Indian and Pacific oceans regions by 2020.

The strategy still emphasizes cooperation and maintenance of a shared global system. But the message this time, said Rubel, is intended more for Capitol Hill than foreign nations. “It doesn’t need to address the rest of the world,” he said. “[The original] CS-21 took care of that. It needs to have an internal message.”

The question is whether that message will resonate with Congress.

Stars and Stripes article By Steven Beardsley



Posted by: arbeam | March 16, 2015

Submarine Group 9 Standout Sailors Honored

Four 2014 Commander, Submarine Group 9 Sailors of the Year (SOYs) were recognized by the Navy League of the United States Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council during a March 10th luncheon. Assembled right to left: Council President, Tim Katona; Junior Shore SOY, LS2(SS) Michael Porterfield; Junior Sea SOY, YN2(SS) Cody Browder; Shore SOY, NC1(SCW/FMF) Sara Dozier; and Sea SOY, MM1(SS) Christopher Smith.

Four 2014 Commander, Submarine Group 9 Sailors of the Year (SOYs) were recognized by the Navy League of the United States Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council during a March 10th luncheon. Assembled right to left: Council President, Tim Katona; Junior Shore SOY, LS2(SS) Michael Porterfield; Junior Sea SOY, YN2(SS) Cody Browder; Shore SOY, NC1(SCW/FMF) Sara Dozier; and Sea SOY, MM1(SS) Christopher Smith.

Silverdale, Washington. Four 2014 Commander, Submarine Group 9 (CSG-9) Sailors of the Year (SOYs) were recognized by the Navy League of the United States (NLUS) Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council during a March 10th luncheon held at the Bangor Plaza on Naval Station Kitsap–Bangor.

Each awardee was presented a soaring eagle statuette engraved with their names by Council President, Tim Katona. Senior Navy leaders representing each awardee’s respective command were present to honor the 2014 stand-outs for their hard work and individual efforts, including the Submarine Group 9 Commander, RDML Dave Kriete. Commander Michael Yesunas, Commanding Officer of Naval Magazine Indian Island, was the guest speaker.

CSG-9 is the flag-level organization overseeing all submarine activity in the Pacific Northwest, and each year selects top sea and shore command awardees at the senior and junior petty officer level. All SOY competitors at the collective CSG-9 level are already top performers in their own right because they are nominated only after having been designated as the SOY within their own units.  Read More…

Posted by: arbeam | March 13, 2015

New Commander Named at Puget Sound Shipyard

PSNS MarkleThe U.S. Navy has announced that Capt. Howard B. Markle II will relieve Capt. Stephen F. Williamson to become the 49th commander of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in July 2015.

Most recently serving as the Operations Officer, and before that the Production Resources Officer, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, Markle, an Engineering Duty Officer, comes to PSNS & IMF with a depth of knowledge and experience in naval maintenance, ready to lead the Command.

“It is an honor to be selected to lead such a high performing team of ship maintenance experts,” said Markle. “I look forward to working alongside them as we face the future challenges and opportunities.” Read More…


BREMERTON, Wash. – Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) celebrated the renovation of unaccompanied housing Building 1001 at NBK-Bremerton on Thurs., March 12. The two-year, $14.8 million renovation project included upgrades to bathrooms, doors, flooring, and air systems as well as safety improvements such as safety guardrails and additional lighting.

The building’s 168 rooms house 336 sailors. During the ceremony, Capt. Tom Zwolfer, Commanding Officer, NBK, noted that the project team was met with unforeseen challenges at the beginning but praised those involved for aggressively pursuing resolutions. “As some of you may know, this renovation was our #1 project last year,” Zwolfer said. Read More…


Bremerton, Washington. “It’s always a pleasure to visit a port in which support from the community is outstanding. But here, it’s simply overwhelming! This city is like a second home port for us.” With these words, USS BREMERTON (SSN 698) Commanding Officer, Commander Wes Bringham, opened his remarks at a packed reception hosted by City Mayor, Patty Lent. The reception capped a busy six-day namesake visit by the Fleet’s oldest active submarine to the scenic Puget Sound port. But as CDR Brigham stressed, “We don’t refer to our ship as old–‘old’ is an excuse; rather our ship is an ‘American Classic!'” Read More…

The April Luncheon Speaker is Captain Stephen Williamson, Commanding Officer Puget Sound Naval Shipyard /Intermediate Maintenance Facility. Capt Williamson Today, PSNS is one of Washington’s largest industrial facilities. The shipyard, which covers 344 acres of hard land and 338 acres of submerged land, has six dry-docks, nine piers with 12,300 lineal feet of deep-water pier space, four mooring sites, and 382 buildings with more than six million square feet of floor space. The property is bordered on three sides by the City of Bremerton, and on the south by Sinclair Inlet, a natural deep-water harbor. Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Pacific Northwest, first known as TRIDENT Refit Facility (TRF), Bangor, was established on July 31,1981 as the primary maintenance facility for the West Coast TRIDENT submarine fleet. In 1998 TRF consolidated with Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity (SIMA), at Everett and Bremerton, and became Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility (NAVIMFAC) Pacific Northwest. Today, the Bangor site operates refit piers, repair shops and a drydock located in the homeports of submarines, ships, and aircraft carriers in the Pacific Northwest. Bangor has expertise in hull, mechanical, electrical, electronics, and weapons systems repair; continually responding to meet the fleet’s maintenance and repair needs with on-time, cost-effective and quality service Puget Sound Naval Shipyard was originally established in 1891 as a Naval Station and was designated Navy Yard Puget Sound in 1901. During World War I, the Navy Yard constructed ships, including 25 subchasers, seven submarines, two minesweepers, seven sea-going tugs, and two ammunition ships, as well as 1,700 small boats. During World War II, the Shipyard’s primary effort was the repair of battle damage to ships of the U.S. Fleet and those of its Allies. Following World War II, Navy Yard Puget Sound was designated Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The Shipyard engaged in an extensive program of modernizing carriers, including converting conventional flight decks to angle decks. During the Korean conflict, the Shipyard was engaged in the activation of ships. In the late 1950′s the Shipyard entered an era of new construction with the building of a new class of guided missile frigates. USS SCULPIN (SSN 590) was the first nuclear powered submarine worked on at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in 1965. Captain Williamson is a an Engineering Duty Officer and is a qualified Surface Warfare Officer. He has a Master Of Science in Mechanical Engineering form the Naval Postgraduate School. Captain Williamson had a previous tour at PSNS as the Strategic Planning Officer, Production Resource Officer and Operations Officer. Captain Williamson was awarded the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce Thunderbird Award last year for his community service efforts. Our social hour will begin at 11 am; opening will be at 11:45 followed by lunch. Location is the Bangor Conference Center, Trident Ballroom, NBK, Bangor. Registration! Please call Evergreen Transfer & Storage at 360 674-2762 for your lunch registration. Please call at your earliest convenience. Cut off for reservations is April 7 Members with out access; processing time takes weeks.

  • Please give your name as it appears on your driver’s license.
  • Spell your name to make certain that it will be correct on the gate access sheet.
  • Provide your date of birth and city of birth.
Posted by: arbeam | March 11, 2015

Mar 25: Strategic Weapons Facility Tour


patchIn celebration of Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific’s 50th Anniversary, SWFPAC is hosting a tour for the Navy League tour on March 25, 2015. This is a rare honor and Byron has been working for most of a year arranging it.

The land for the Bangor base, 7,000 acres on the East side of the Hood Canal and approximately 500-600 acres directly across the Canal on the Toandos Peninsula, was purchased from local landowners beginning in 1941, and completed by 1944. In 1943 the Marginal Pier had been built to handle the loading of ammunition on Navy transport ships headed for the Pacific Theater during WWII.

Commissioned as POLARIS Missile Facility Pacific (POMFPAC) in 1964, the POLARIS A3 missile facility was in full production and providing the Fleet with high-quality missiles by December of that year. The “jewel” of Strategic Systems Programs’ (SSP’s) Fleet Ballistic Missile ( FBM) program for the Pacific was recommissioned Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC) in July 1974. Along with the command name change, came a new mission: SWFPAC would become the missile production facility for the new generation FBM deterrent weapons—the TRIDENT I (C4) missile. By August 1980, SWFPAC was approved as a TRIDENT-capable facility and production of the new missile began. The first of 8 TRIDENT submarines assigned to protect American soil and interests in the Pacific, USS OHIO, arrived in August 1982, becoming the first of the Pacific TRIDENT Submarine Fleet.

Plan on meeting at the Keyport Naval Undersea Museum at 8:45 on March 25, 2015.  A bus will pick up everyone at the museum parking lot at 09:00 and wrap up at noon.  Only US Citizens.  Only Navy League Members.   No kids!!!    This is a special NAVY LEAGUE MEMBERS ONLY Tour.    You will be touring industrial areas.   No cameras, camera cell phones or cell phones allowed in any of the areas.  It’s best to leave them in their cars.  I will need the list by 16 March to be able to process access with Naval Base Kitsap.

We will need to provide

Last Name
First name
Middle initial
Date of birth
US Citizenship
Place of birth

to allow for base and waterfront restricted area access.  If you are interested please contact Byron Faber, Email:, Cell: 360-434-1144


Posted by: arbeam | March 11, 2015

USS Bremerton Visits Bremerton


Bremerton Arriving

From Feb 25 to March 3, the city of Bremerton & the Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council of Navy League had the honor of hosting their adopted submarine, the USS Bremerton, during it’s port visit here. It was a great honor to participate in the events with “our” boat. Several crewmen had relatives that came from around the country to spend time with their sailors during the time in Bremerton. Read More…

Posted by: arbeam | March 9, 2015

USS Bremerton Tour

Feb 2015  USS Bremerton gathering 46

On a chilly, gray and slightly rainy February 27, 2015 nineteen fortunate Navy Leaguers were given a warm Hawaii type welcome to USS Bremerton SSN 698, a Los Angeles class fast attack submarine home ported at Pearl Harbor, HI. Bremerton was visiting its namesake city as part of a shakedown cruise following yard work in Pearl Harbor. Sadly this will be the last visit followed by a departure since Bremerton is slated to be retired and decommissioned in or about 2017 and will return to Bremerton one final time for that purpose at PSNS.

Our first location to visit aboard was the control room where the control party steers the submarine. There are two periscopes, one with infra red capability, the other with an integral camera. We also saw and heard about the operation of fire control, navigation and SONAR. When underway this is a very busy and crowded place.

We moved along to the torpedo room where up to 22 MK 48 ADCAP torpedoes can be stored for eventual launch from 4 torpedo tubes. Tomahawk missiles were once carried for horizontal launch but Bremerton was decertified for that purpose because necessary technological updates were not implemented due to the short time before decommissioning. There were a number of bunks placed on the empty torpedo racks so as to provide a bunk for every crew member and avoid “hot bunking”.

In another area we were shown the equipment that generates oxygen, scrubs CO2 out of the air, makes water, etc. Also the “old fashioned” diesel engine which can be used for non-propulsion emergency power.

badfish logoAt the mess deck/galley we saw where the crew eats in several fast shifts and also had the opportunity to purchase “BAD FISH” ball caps, mugs, jackets, coins and other items, the sale of which benefit’s the MWR fund. In the ward room we were shown the Richard O’Kane cribbage board that is traditionally passed to and held by the oldest submarine in the fleet. Bremerton has that honor and will pass it to another submarine in a few years.

Commanding Officer CMDR W.P. Bringham bade us farewell and so concluded our great tour. Thanks, of course, to everyone aboard USS Bremerton, and also to Byron Faber for setting up this special tour.

Norm Marten

BREMERTON — USS Bremerton has been commissioned longer than any submarine in the Navy — but don’t call it old.

“We’re a classic, like a 1967 Mustang,” said Cmdr. Wes Bringham, the fast attack sub’s affable commanding officer. “We’re the most classic and the most classy.”

Pearl Harbor-based USS Bremerton, commissioned 34 years ago, arrived Wednesday morning at its namesake city for a weeklong visit. It was last here in May 2012. Several of its current crew members were aboard and remember being embraced by the city and Navy League chapter that adopted the boat in January 2011. “We really value the relationship we have,” Bringham said. “When we come here, it’s almost like coming to a second homeport.”

This week, the sub’s sailors will participate in a community relations project at Hal’s Corner, attend a crew function at McCloud’s Grill House, play a baseball game against Bangor-based USS Nebraska crew members, and go to a mayor’s reception at City Hall.

The 360-foot-long sub, nicknamed Bad Fish, is carrying a crew of 14 officers and 134 enlisted men. Two hundred feet shorter than the area’s Ohio-class submarines, it’s designed to seek and destroy enemy subs and ships, deliver Tomahawk cruise missiles and special operations forces ashore, engage in mine warfare, and carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. There’s not much room for all those guys to perform all that work. Or eat.

The crew’s mess seats a maximum of 24, uncomfortably. Chief Earnest Rouse Jr., the leading culinary specialist, tries to shuffle up to 130 sailors through the four tables in an hour. For lunch Wednesday, about 75 sat down for bratwurst, sauerkraut, macaroni and cheese, and accouterments. The meal looked incredible, and smelled even better. “Some of the finest food in the fleet comes out of the submarine corps,” said Rouse.

The heart of the ship is the control room. Two periscopes, which can magnify up to 24 times by turning a handle like a motorcycle throttle, sit in the middle. Around the outside are a variety of computer screens and two navigator stations. Sailors here control several methods of orienting the boat, including moving water and air around, and a wing called a fairwater plane.

An emergency ballast blow rockets the ship to the surface, launching it out of the water like in the movies. “Every once in a while we get to do that,” said Chief of the Boat Wade Tandberg. “It’s fun.”

It wouldn’t be enjoyable if a boat was in the way of the 6,000-ton sub. Fire control chief Darrien Brown’s job, among other things, is to make sure that doesn’t happen. “We’re going to the top and they’re going to go to the bottom,” he said of the results of such a scenario.

Branching off the control room is the “sonar shack,” with four seats in front of sonar stacks, where sailors wearing headphones in the dark get a visual picture of sounds in the water. The screens can show a vessel’s range, course and much more. “There are so many layers to the system, it’s kind of like Photoshop,” said Sonar Technician Shane Madak.“Sonar is trigonometry and geometry,” Madak said. “And physics and oceanography and a lot of magic, as well,” added Bringham.

The sonar shack can also pick up sounds of whales, like noisy humpbacks off Maui in January. “All the sonar techs were in here saying, ‘Please, make it stop,’” Bringham said. “Actually, it was pretty cool.”

In the machinery room, skinny paths snake through crowded gadgets like an oxygen machine and carbon dioxide scrubber. It’s anchored by a huge red diesel engine designed in 1938 for locomotives. It can’t propel the boat if the nuclear reactor goes down, but can keep the lights on and systems running. Nothing here is very high-tech, which is just how Machinist Mate Bechett Simonis likes it. “I wanted to go to the boat that was the most mechanically inclined,” he said. “The choice I made was probably the best one.”

USS Bremerton can carry up to 26 Mark 48 ADCAP (advanced capability) torpedoes. It has four tubes from which to fire them, or Tomahawk cruise missiles. Loading and unloading them is a production. “I’ve never been able to offload them the easy way,” Nathan Horalik, a torpedoman for 8 1/2 years, said of firing a torpedo.

He has fired a lot of water, though. That’s how they test, by flooding the tubes with water for an air-powered piston to blast out. Sailors call them water slugs.

There’s not much living space. Bringham and executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Fassbender have their own small staterooms. Junior officers and top enlisted sleep in nine-man berths. Other sailors squeeze into 21-man bunkrooms stacked three high with racks. Under their mattress is a couple-inch-deep space for clothes, and each man gets a small foot locker for toiletries. Some sleep with the torpedoes to get more room.

Though the boat might be classic, the crew isn’t. Bringham is 43 just years old. Ninety percent of his sailors were born after the Los Angeles-class sub was commissioned on March 28, 1981. Their average age is 27, and 70 are younger than 25. “But these guys know their jobs,” Bringham said. “They go through years of technical training and really are the experts.”

USS Bremerton has local ties beyond its name. When it was launched in July 1978 by sponsor Helen Jackson, wife of U.S. Sen. Henry Jackson, it was under the command of Thomas Anderson, a current Poulsbo resident. Capt. Thomas Zwolfer, Naval Base Kitsap commander, skippered the boat from December 2005 to March 2008.

The sub left the shipyard six weeks ago and been conducting shakedown and predeployment cruises. It’s scheduled to deploy at the end of the year. It’ll return to Bremerton at least one more time. Bad Fish will be decommissioned here in late 2017 or 2018.

 Kitsap Sun article by Ed Friedrich





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