Coast Guard Searching for Mariner in Distress Off the Big Island

The Coast Guard is coordinating the search for a mariner in distress aboard a 24-foot sailboat approximately 944 miles northeast of the main Hawaiian Islands.

Rimas in Hilo on December 17, 2013

Rimas in Hilo on December 17, 2013

At 8:47 a.m., watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center received notification from a concerned friend that the vessel’s owner, Rimas Meleshyus, transmitted a text via satellite stating, “I lost my life raft, in danger now.”

Meleshyus departed Hilo, Hawaii, Feb. 9 on a solo voyage to San Francisco aboard his vessel Pier Pressure.

Rimas Meleshyus's boat the

Rimas Meleshyus’s Sailboat

Attempts were made to establish communications with Meleshyus via cell phone, computer and satellite device.

At 10:32 a.m., an HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu diverted from a training mission and is enroute to the vessel’s last known position.The flight to the Pier Pressure’s last known position is approximately four hours. The Coast Guard Cutter Kukui, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Honolulu was also diverted to assist in the search.

Coast Guard watchstanders have identified two Good Samaritan vessels in the area. The Liberia-flagged tanker ship Athens Star and Bahama-flagged carrier ship Lapis Arrow have diverted to assist.

The Coast Guard also requested, through the Federal Aviation Administration, that aircraft passing through the area remain alert for any signs of distress.

Weather conditions at the last known position of the Pier Pressure are gale force winds and seas of 20 feet.

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

According to his Facebook page… he was heading to Samoa:

Rimas Meleshyus

February 8

I tomorrow leave now for American Somoa. To all so grateful for help and friendship! So thankful! In morning I set sail for open sea 7:30!

 

Four Rescued From Disabled Boat 12 Miles Off Oahu

Four adults are safe after being rescued from a disabled boat approximately 12 miles northeast of Kaneohe Bay Monday afternoon.

Four adults are safe after being rescued from a disabled Boston Whaler approximately 12 miles northeast of Kaneohe Bay Monday afternoon.

Four adults are safe after being rescued from a disabled Boston Whaler approximately 12 miles northeast of Kaneohe Bay Monday afternoon.

At 3:14 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Honolulu was patched in to a call from the Honolulu Fire Department notifying watchstanders that a 19-foot Boston Whaler suffered an unknown engine casualty and was adrift. An individual aboard the vessel was able to contact the fire department via cell phone.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew was dispatched from Coast Guard Station Honolulu at 3:36 p.m.

The boat crew arrived on scene at 5:15 p.m. and took the vessel in tow. The RB-M crew towed the vessel into Kaneohe Bay where it was met by a Good Samaritan who safely moored the disabled vessel at Hee’ia Kea Pier.

The vessel was boarded and issued a warning for expired flares. The Coast Guard advises all mariners to ensure they have all necessary safety equipment aboard and that it is in working condition. This includes flares, lifejackets and a working VHF radio. Cell phones are often unreliable off-shore and only provide one-on-one communication versus one-to-many with a VHF radio.

Mariners who want to ensure their vessel is safe and compliant with current regulations can request a free safety check by visiting www.vesselsafetycheck.org. For more information on boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

USS Lake Erie to Deploy to Western Pacific

The Hawaii-based Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) will depart Feb. 18 for a Western Pacific deployment, the ship’s last while being homeported in Pearl Harbor.

My Uncle and Aunt before they got a private tour of the USS Lake Erie.

My Uncle and Aunt before they got a private tour of the USS Lake Erie.

While deployed, Lake Erie will conduct theater security operations with partner nations while providing deterrence, promoting peace and security, preserving freedom of the seas and providing humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

Upon completion of this deployment, Lake Erie is expected to replace John Paul Jones as a rotational Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) deployer out of San Diego.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 27, 2014) Guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) operates with other cruisers off the coast of Hawaii during Koa Kai 14-1. Koa Kai is a semiannual exercise in the waters around Hawaii designed to prepare independent deployers in multiple warfare areas and provide training in multi-ship environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Johans Chavarro/ Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 27, 2014) Guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) operates with other cruisers off the coast of Hawaii during Koa Kai 14-1. Koa Kai is a semiannual exercise in the waters around Hawaii designed to prepare independent deployers in multiple warfare areas and provide training in multi-ship environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Johans Chavarro/ Released)

“We are trained and ready for deployment,” said Lake Erie Commanding Officer Capt. John S. Banigan. “I am very proud of this crew and all that they have accomplished. We have an amazing team of professionals, and I have the utmost faith in their abilities. I could not ask for a better group of Sailors to go to sea alongside.”

Lake Erie Commanding Officer Capt. John S. Banigan talks to some of his crew.

Lake Erie Commanding Officer Capt. John S. Banigan talks to some of his crew.

Lake Erie is one of 11 surface ships of Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. USS Lake Erie is named in commemoration of the Battle of Lake Erie fought Sept. 10, 1813. During the pivotal engagement, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry hoisted a crudely stitched flag bearing the dying words of his friend, Capt. James Lawrence, “DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP!” That proud motto served as the battle cry that day, and continues to inspire today.

I got to tour the ship in December of 2013.

I got to tour the ship in December of 2013.

U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of supporting carrier strike groups, amphibious readiness groups, surface action groups or operating independently.

Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific leads and manages the overall warfighting capability of the Surface Combatant Force homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Hawaii to achieve the highest levels of combat readiness; to coordinate with external organizations for products and services to directly support surface combatant force mission readiness; and to support the type commanders and numbered fleet commanders in the development of surface warfare requirements, policies, programs, standards, and business practices to meet operational readiness goals.

Hawaii Tuskegee Airmen a Big Hit at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Today

Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, USAF (Ret.) from Michigan, Hawaii’s own Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham, Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough, PhD, and a panel of members of the Baham Goldsborough Chapter of the Hawaii Tuskegee Airmen discussed the legacy of the first African-American military aviators who served during WWII. The Hangar Talk, “Tuskegee Airmen Then and Now” in the Museum Theater was followed with a Meet & Greet in the Gallery. Both in Hangar 37.

Tuskegee3

Lt. Col. Alexender Jefferson, USAF (Ret.) flew P-51s with the “Red Tail”  332nd Fighter Group 301st Fighter Squadron escorting B-17s and B-24s. He was shot down over Germany after flying 18 long range missions and was a prisoner of war for nine months. After the war, he became a science teacher and later an assistant principal in the Michigan school system. He is the author of Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW.

Tuskegee1

One of the original WWII Tuskegee Airmen, Philip Baham was drafted into the Army Air Corps at 21 years of age and served as crew chief assigned to the 377th Composite Group at Tuskegee Field.

Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough, PhD, is a Professor Emerita at Chaminade University and a lecturer at University of Hawaii Manoa. She is the wife of the late Romaine Goldsborough, another documented original Tuskegee Airman who served in the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II.

On the panel, also were: Mario Taryer, Tuskegee Airmen Hawaii Chapter vice president and Master Chief Dewayne Barnes of Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

For more information, call (808) 441-1007, email Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org or visit online http://www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, which depends on membership and donations for support. A Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, it is rated one of the top 10 aviation attractions nationally by TripAdvisor®. It is located at 319 Lexington Boulevard, Historic Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818.  www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Living History Day at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Another Success

History came alive at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor today Saturday, February 1, 2014, when visitors experienced the people, the aircraft, and the stories of Pacific aviation “stars” — from the early years of flight to today’s space age. Historical characters in period attire, a Pacific Warbirds T-6 flyover, the Nisei Veterans, musical performances, hands-on activities for the keiki, open cockpits to explore, and film screenings were featured.

Living History

Collected short films spotlighting the Asian-Pacific American experience were featured in the Museum’s Main Theater as part of the Smithsonian Young Historians, Living Histories Project. The two documentaries, researched and produced by students from Aliamanu Middle School on Oahu, explore the experiences of Pan Am Nisei stewardesses, and the life of Chinese American pioneer aviator Tom Gunn.

Living History Flyover tower

Living History Day activities also took place at Battleship Missouri Memorial, making this a full day of fun and learning on Historic Ford Island.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) private nonprofit organization that depends on memberships and donations for its Restoration and Education projects. Open 9am to 5pm daily the Museum’s two hangars and tower are located at 319 Lexington Boulevard, Historic Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818. Named “one of the top 10 aviation attractions” nationally by TripAdvisor, it is a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum. Main contact: 808-441-1000; http://www.PacificAviationMuseum.org

Multiagency Search Locates Missing Fisherman Adrift and Out of Gas Off the Big Island

A fisherman is safe ashore after his vessel ran out of gas and he spent the night adrift off the coast of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Wednesday.

Lost Fishermen
At 6:11 p.m. Wednesday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received a report from Hawaii Fire Department that a man was overdue from a fishing trip.

The fisherman was last seen Wednesday afternoon on his 17-foot fishing boat approximately 40 miles west of Kailua-Kona near a NOAA data buoy.

Watchstanders created a probable search area based on the limited available information and launched an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point at 10:20 p.m. The Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake, an 87-foot patrol boat, was also dispatched from its home-port in Honolulu.

The Hercules crew dropped two self-locating datum marker buoys to better calculate the probable drift of the vessel and to refine the search area using the search and rescue optimal planning system, a computer program which factors in numerous variables to give responders a better chance of finding someone lost at sea.

At 1:20 a.m., the Hercules airplane crew spotted a boat within the area of interest nine miles west of Kailua-Kona with an individual waving his arms to get their attention. The Hercules circled the boat until Kittiwake arrived at 4 a.m. to take the vessel in tow.

Kittiwake safely transferred the passenger and vessel to a Hawaii County Fire Department rescue boat who continued the tow to Keauhou Marina.

“We are thankful that the C-130 and Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake were able to locate the fisherman,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Bendle, search and rescue mission coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “It was a team effort that spanned multiple units including our partners at the Hawaii County Fire Department who searched the shorelines last night ultimately completing the tow and safely delivering the man to his family this morning.”

The fisherman was wearing a lifejacket, but was not equipped with other essential safety equipment such as a working VHF radio, flares and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Mariners should also file a float plan, which can provide critical information to first responders on where to search. Individuals should always stay with their vessel, even if capsized, as it improves their chance of being located.

The Coast Guard strongly encourages boaters to remain aware of their vessel’s fuel capacity and other limitations while operating offshore of the Hawaiian Islands, especially during times of severe weather and high surf.

For more information on boating safety, visit ww.uscgboating.org.

For more information, contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu public affairs officer at (808) 842-2657.

If additional imagery becomes available, it will be published in an updated release.

Senator Hirono Announces Four Big Island Students Selected as Class of 2018 Nominees to U.S. Service Academies

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced her nomination list of 32 students to the U.S. military service academies for the Class of 2018. The students’ applications are now being considered by the four academies for final selections.

Congresswoman Hirono Introduces Resolution Honoring Mother Marianne of Molokai (file photo)

Congresswoman Hirono Introduces Resolution Honoring Mother Marianne of Molokai (file photo)

Four students were selected from Hawaii Island. Hirono has nominated James Whalen of Makua Lani Christian Academy, Scott Takahashi of Waiakea High School, and Christopher Hutt and Phil K. Aganus both of Kamehameha Schools – Keaau.

U.S. Air Force Academy: James Whalen (Kailua Kona), Makua Lani Christian Academy
James Whalen is both a tremendous athlete and model student. Mr. Whalen is a varsity athlete in soccer, tennis, and cross country, and was selected for the Olympic Development Program State Selection Camp in 2011. He currently sits on the Honor Roll and has received the Principal’s Award for his academic achievements. Additionally, he has been a dedicated member of the Boy Scouts and in August of 2013 went to the Eagle Board of Review.

U.S. Military Academy at West Point: Scott Takahashi (Hilo), Waiakea High School
Scott Takahashi plans to commit his life to a career in the U.S. Army and follow in the footsteps of his father, uncles, and grandfather. After much research and consideration, has come to the decision that he would benefit most from the training and responsibilities provided to officers and academy cadets in order to contribute most to the Army and military as a whole. Mr. Takahashi participates in JROTC at his high school and was introduced to the idea of attending an Academy by his senior instructor during his freshman year of high school.

U.S. Naval Academy: Christopher Hutt (Keaau), Kamehameha Schools – Keaau
Christopher Hutt has decided that pursuing a career in the military through an education at a service academy is the path in life he wants to follow. He came to this conclusion under the influence of his family’s various roles in the military, specifically his father’s time in the U.S. Navy. Mr. Hutt has since joined the Civil Air Patrol and is frequently building his leadership capacity. He believes that the Naval Academy helps cadets to develop courage, leadership, and character.

U.S. Air Force Academy: Phil K. Aganus (Hilo), Kamehameha Schools – Keaau
Phil Aganus is interested in pursuing an education at the U.S. Air Force Academy, as he sees the school as a series of physical and mental challenges with the teachings and core values of leadership and service. Mr. Aganus would eventually like to become a pilot or engineer. He is a scholar and a varsity athlete in football (where he is also the team captain), soccer, and track and field, and won the Scholar Athlete award, something given to a student with both scholastic and athletic achievements.

The four military service academies are: the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

U.S. Representatives and Senators submit nominations to the four service academies. Each academy’s director of admissions then selects from the submitted lists of nominees who are measured on their scholastic achievement, leadership experience, school involvement, athletic and extra-curricular activities, community contributions and volunteer or employment experiences. Nomination does not guarantee appointment.

Full List – Senator Hirono’s Class of 2018 Academy Nominations:

U.S. Naval Academy

  • Anna Cochrane (Kapolei), Moanalua High School
  • Michael B. Compton (Kailua), Le Jardin Academy
  • Christopher Hutt (Keaau), Kamehameha Schools – Keaau
  • Kristen Kadooka (Kailua), Kalaheo High School
  • Maximo Mejia (Honolulu), Roosevelt High School
  • Zachary Moore (Kailua), Le Jardin Academy
  • Kanoeala Nakoa (Honolulu), Kaiser High School
  • Drew Olice (Aiea), Radford High School
  • Kaila A. Wang (Honolulu), Honolulu Community College
  • Joseph D.K. Yokoi (Kaneohe), Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama

U.S. Air Force Academy

  • Phil K. Aganus (Hilo), Kamehameha Schools – Keaau
  • Jennifer Borzilleri (Kapolei), Island Pacific Academy
  • Conner Chung (Honolulu), Sacred Hearts Academy
  • Jason C. Evans (Kaneohe), Kalaheo High School
  • Marissa Goo (Kapaa), Kapaa High School
  • Trent Hori (Kahului), Maui High School
  • Keoki Massad (Honolulu), Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama
  • Devon H. Miller (Aiea), Grammar School at Leeds (England)
  • Harmony Pacheco (Honolulu), Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama
  • James Whalen (Kailua Kona), Makua Lani Christian Academy

U.S. Military Academy at West Point

  • Iain J. Armitage (Kula), Kamehameha Schools – Maui
  • Shiloh Begley (Kapaa), Kapaa High School
  • Andrew Drake (Kaneohe), Kalaheo High School
  • Ethan Finberg (Kula), Seabury Hall
  • Jensen Fontanilla (Honolulu), Iolani School
  • Seamus Hurley (Wahiawa), Saint Louis School
  • Erin K.G. Lindsey (Kula), Kamehameha Schools – Maui
  • Bradley Pierce (Kailua), Le Jardin Academy
  • Scott Takahashi (Hilo), Waiakea High School
  • Gabriel K. Yarbrough (Kailua), Kalaheo High School

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

  • Nathan Fields (Mililani), Leilehua High School
  • Erin Scheidt (Waipahu), Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama

“Tuskegee Airmen” Hangar Talk Scheduled for Saturday, February 8 During Black History Month

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will welcome Hawaii’s own Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham, Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough, and a panel of Black History experts, as they discuss the stories and the legacy of the first African-American military aviators who served during WWII. The Hangar Talk, “Tuskegee Airmen Then and Now” is Saturday, February 8, 2014, 2 to 4pm in the Museum Theater.

Members of the Tuskegee Airmen (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Members of the Tuskegee Airmen (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The panel discussion will begin at 2pm, followed by an audience question and answer session. A Meet and Greet with the panelists will follow at 3pm. The event is free with regular Museum admission and free to Museum Members.

One of the original WWII Tuskegee Airmen, Philip Baham was drafted into the Army Air Corps at 21 years of age and served as crew chief assigned to the 377th Composite Group at Tuskegee Field. Despite facing the racial injustice prevalent throughout his career, Mr. Baham continued to serve his country, achieving the rank of TSgt in the newly formed United States Air Force. Mr. Baham received a number of medals and commendations for his service. He is a founding member of Hawaii’s Artis-Baham-Goldsborough Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen and is a volunteer docent at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough is a Professor Emerita at Chaminade University and a lecturer at University of Hawaii Manoa. She is the wife of the late Romaine Goldsborough, another documented original Tuskegee Airman who served in the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II.

For more information, call (808) 441-1007, email Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org or visit online http://www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Cruise Ship Crewmember

The Coast Guard suspended the search Wednesday for a 34-year old male Filipino crewmember reported overboard from the cruise ship Grand Princess approximately 1,133 miles northeast of Hilo.

The Grand Princess

The Grand Princess

The SLDMB is used in search and rescue missions and is equipped with a GPS sensor. Upon deployment in the water, it transmits its location periodically to the Coast Guard to assist with developing search areas.

As part of the AMVER program, the container ship Horizon Reliance along with the Grand Princess’s sister ship Star Princess assisted in search efforts.

More than 4,900 square miles were searched.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu were notified at approximately 12 a.m. Tuesday that the 34-year old was overboard.

“Suspending a search is always an incredibly difficult decision to make,” said Lt. Justin Gear, a command duty officer of the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center. “It’s done with much deliberation and after a concerted effort to ensure that the Coast Guard has conducted a thorough search and saturated all probable locations for a survivor. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and loved ones.”

USS John Paul Jones to Replace USS Lake Erie; USS Preble Also Moving to Hawaii

The U.S. Navy announced Jan. 7 that USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) will swap homeports with USS Lake Erie (CG 70) this summer. USS Preble (DDG 88) will also leave San Diego for Hawaii this summer to replace the decommissioned frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57).

I got this coin a few weeks ago when I went on a tour of the USS Lake Erie

I got this coin a few weeks ago when I went on a tour of the USS Lake Erie

Moving the two guided-missile destroyers to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will provide updated, advanced Aegis capabilities to Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific (CNSGMP). It will also allow Lake Erie, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, to proceed to San Diego for a scheduled extended docking ship repair availability (EDSRA).

James and Phyllis Tucker Vow Renewal 118

Lake Erie is expected to replace John Paul Jones as a rotational Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) deployer out of San Diego once the EDSRA is complete. John Paul Jones and Preble are Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers that perform key roles in support of a carrier strike group, expeditionary strike group or surface action group. John Paul Jones is currently the most technologically advanced ship within the BMD program and will be used in that capacity to support the Navy and Missile Defense Agency testing program. Recently, the ship was updated with the latest Aegis BMD capability to engage ballistic missiles with the SM-3 missile.

James and Phyllis Tucker Vow Renewal 049

DDGs are capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence. These combatants operate in a network centric warfare environment and execute multi-mission tasking to include air, surface, undersea, space and cyber warfare. DDGs coordinate with units of a task group to conduct naval operations and execute the Maritime Strategy under a naval component commander.

James and Phyllis Tucker Vow Renewal 038

USS Reuben James, the last remaining guided-missile frigate homeported in Hawaii, was decommissioned July 18, 2013 after nearly 30 years of distinguished naval service.

Maintaining the most technologically advanced ships supports the United States’ commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

Man Overboard! Search for Overboard Cruise Crewmember Underway in Pacific

The search is underway for a crewmember reported overboard from a cruise ship approximately 1,133 miles northeast of Hilo, Tuesday.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center were notified at approximately 12 a.m., regarding a 34-year-old male Filipino national who was reported overboard from the Grand Princess.

The Grand Princess

The Grand Princess

The crewmember was last seen at approximately 10:26 p.m., Monday.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barber’s Point is currently on scene and the cruise ship has changed course and is searching for the missing passenger.

As part of the AMVER program, the container ship Horizon Reliance is assisting in the search along with the Grand Princess’s sister ship, Star Princess.

AMVER, sponsored by the Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.
Weather conditions on scene are winds of approximately 20 mph, seas of 7 feet and a water temperature of approximately 70 degrees.

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District external affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

A Private Tour Aboard US Navy Ship the USS Lake Erie

On Monday, December 23rd, I was given the opportunity to get a private tour aboard the US Navy Ship the USS Lake Erie with James and Phyllis Tucker (my uncle and aunt) that were celebrating their 50th anniversary and renewing their wedding vows the following day.

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie.

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie. (Click to enlarge)

I began the day with giving them a tour of Pearl Harbor.  One thing I learned is that if you want to catch that first boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial… you need to be at Pearl Harbor very early.

At Pearl Harbor.  USS Arizona Memorial in background. (Click to enlarge)

At Pearl Harbor. USS Arizona Memorial in background. (Click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, we arrived at Pearl Harbor around 8:00 and when we got our tickets to go out to the USS Arizona the time of our departure was 12:45 in the afternoon so instead of visiting the Arizona Memorial we just cruised around Pearl Harbor.

Checking out WWII displays.

Checking out WWII displays.  (Click to enlarge)

At 10:30 I had an appointment set up with a Public Affairs Officer to meet with them at the Navy’s Pass and ID Gate.  We arrived their shortly after 10:00 and let them know that we were waiting for them at the location agreed upon.  My Uncle, Aunt and I then climbed into a Navy van where we were lead into the confines of Pearl Harbor.  I had not told my Uncle or Aunt what we were about to do previously, however, I did tell them to be prepared and wear some walking shoes.

Life on board a Navy ship requires a lot of walking and going up and down ladders and stairs.

Life on board a Navy ship requires a lot of walking and going up and down ladders and stairs

As we arrived at the USS Lake Erie my uncle said “That’s a big ship!”.  At this point I broke the news to them that we were getting a private invitation aboard the ship and I don’t know what they were thinking but I know my uncle was pretty excited about it.

Signing in to the ship and showing ID.

Signing in to the ship and showing ID

We signed in with Navy personnel fronting the ship and showed them are identification so that we could get boarding passes and then quickly made our way aboard the ship.

Learning first hand about the capabilities of the ship.

Learning first hand about the capabilities of the ship

We met Lt. Hillenbrand on board the ship and he told us that he would act as our escort around the boat.  We started at the front of the ship where Lt. Hillenbrand talked to us about the fighting capabilities of the ship and a little history about the ship.

"That's a big gun" said James Tucker.

“That’s a big gun” said James Tucker

USS Lake Erie (CG-70) is a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy, named after the U.S. Navy’s decisive victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. She is the first U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned in Hawaii.  Lake Erie’s motto, “Courage, Determination, Peace,” honors the memory of the men who fought the Battle of Lake Erie and Mrs. Margaret Meyer. Courage to fight, Determination to win, with Peace as the ultimate goal.”

We had the first hand opportunity to see the upkeep of the ship that is done by the sailors as folks were grinding away rust and painting the ship… some folks literally using small brushes to get in the tiniest of spots.

The Commander of the Ship told us “If we take care of the ship… the ship will take care of us”.

The Commander of the Ship told us “If we take care of the ship… the ship will take care of us”

At ll:00 we made our way to the entrance of the ship as Lieutenant Commander Troy Noonen was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his time served aboard the ship as this would be his last day on the ship after serving on her for since May of 2011.

The Commander gives Lt. Noonen a certificate for his time aboard the ship.

The Commander gives Lt. Noonen a certificate for his time aboard the ship

Seeing Lt. Noonen off of the ship:

Lt. Noonens last moment on USS Lake Erie.

Lt. Noonen’s last moment on USS Lake Erie

We then continued on with our tour of the ship where we got to see the helicopter pad and where they store the helicopter and they explained how the helicopter was brought inside of the ship when not in use.

The helicopter pad.

The helicopter pad

We then moved to the bridge of the ship where we got to see where the ship is steered from… of course my uncle wanted to sit in the “Captain’s Chair”!  They talked to us about the general characteristics of the ship and how it was steered and what each seat was for within the bridge.

"You think the Captain would mine if I sat in his chair?"

“You think the Captain would mind if I sat in his chair?”

My uncle, aunt and I all learned a lot about the ship on our brief time above her.  I of course couldn’t get off the ship w/out landing another coin for my collection!

At the helm of the USS Lake Erie

At the helm of the USS Lake Erie

Here is a video of what they did back in September:

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) successfully conducted a flight test today of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, resulting in the intercept of a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (8:30 p.m. EDT), a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles to engage the target. The first SM-3 that was launched successfully intercepted the target warhead. This was the first salvo mission of two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles launched against a single separating target. Official U.S. Navy Video courtesy Missile Defense Agency www.mda.mil

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Navy Issues Record of Decision for Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement

The U.S. Navy has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS).

A Navy ship at Pearl Harbor last week.

A Navy ship at Pearl Harbor last week.

Following several years of research, environmental analysis, and public involvement, the Navy has chosen Alternative 2, the Preferred Alternative described in the HSTT Final EIS/OEIS, to accomplish the Proposed Action. This alternative includes establishment of new range capabilities, adjustments to the types and levels of training and testing and modifications to existing capabilities.

The Navy’s Proposed Action is to conduct training and testing activities – which will include the use of active sonar and explosives – throughout the in-water areas around the Hawaiian Islands, off the coast of Southern California, in the transit corridor between Hawaii and Southern California, and at Navy pierside locations. The Proposed Action also includes sonar maintenance and gunnery exercises conducted concurrently with ship transits as well as pierside testing conducted as part of overhaul, modernization, maintenance and repair activities at Navy piers located in Hawaii and Southern California.

“This EIS was developed with the best available science and will enable the Navy to continue training and testing in Hawaii and Southern California while minimizing potential injury to the environment, as we have safely done for more than 60 years,” said Alex Stone, senior environmental planner for the U.S. Pacific Fleet and HSTT EIS project manager. “This training and testing is essential for the fleet to fulfill its mission of defending the nation and the global commons and leading America’s rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

The Navy prepared the EIS/OEIS to assess potential environmental impacts from its training and testing activities and to support authorizations, permits and consultations required under the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and other relevant statutes.

The ROD is now available to the public. The document and the HSTT Final EIS/OEIS can be found online at www.HSTTEIS.com.

 

Shart Attack Victim Recovering on Oahu After Being Bitten in South Pacific

The victim of a shark attack is receiving medical treatment in Oahu after the Coast Guard conducted a long range medevac from the South Pacific Monday.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Air Station Barbers Point traveled 2,386 miles to rendezvous with a fishing vessel for patient transfer. The Hercules aircrew consisted of a Kalawao Rescue in-flight care team including an emergency physician, 10 units of blood, medical supplies and medications.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Air Station Barbers Point traveled 2,386 miles to rendezvous with a fishing vessel for patient transfer. The Hercules aircrew consisted of a Kalawao Rescue in-flight care team including an emergency physician, 10 units of blood, medical supplies and medications.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center received notification Friday from the U.S. flagged vessel Friesland that a crewmember was in need of urgent medical care following a shark attack. The 35-year-old Portuguese national entered the water to untangle fishing net from a submerged object when he was attacked, suffering severe injury to his arm. The attack occurred 740 miles southeast of Tarawa Atoll in the Republic of Kiribati.

A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and recommended the crew apply a tourniquet and treat for shock. An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew was launched from Air Station Barbers Point Sunday with a six member surgical team from Kalawao Rescue to conduct the medevac. Kalawao Rescue is a Hawaii-based disaster medical team that provides initial and follow-on medical response to major emergencies and disasters. They brought with them 10 units of blood, medical supplies and medications.

The Hercules flew 2,386 miles to Tarawa and waited for the patient who was flown to shore by helicopter. The patient was then transported to Oahu where he was transferred to awaiting emergency medical technicians in stable condition at Air Station Barbers Point Monday.

The Coast Guard regularly conducts long range medevac and missions across the Central and South Pacific. The HC-130H is scheduled to be replaced by the new HC-130J which will provide increased speed and mission capability to the Pacific region.

Coast Guard Icebreaker Visits Honolulu

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star made a scheduled port call to Honolulu Friday as it transits to conduct missions in the Antarctic.

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, home-ported in Seattle, made a scheduled port call in Honolulu, Friday, as it transits to conduct missions in the Antarctic. The Polar Star departed Seattle Dec. 3 for Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze for the first time since 2006 with the vital task of resupplying the National Science Foundation Scientific Research in McMurdo. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle)

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, home-ported in Seattle, made a scheduled port call in Honolulu, Friday, as it transits to conduct missions in the Antarctic. The Polar Star departed Seattle Dec. 3 for Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze for the first time since 2006 with the vital task of resupplying the National Science Foundation Scientific Research in McMurdo. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle)

The Polar Star departed Seattle Dec. 3 for Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze for the first time since 2006 with the vital task of resupplying the National Science Foundation Scientific Research Station in McMurdo.

For more than 50 years Coast Guard icebreakers have deployed to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze. They will assist by creating a navigable shipping lane through the layers of ice in McMurdo Sound. Approximately eight million U.S. gallons of fuel will be sent to McMurdo residents through the channel and be delivered to Winter Quarters Bay. This fuel allows the Station to remain manned and ready during the freezing winter months.

This past summer Polar Star conducted sea trials in the Arctic to test all of the ship’s equipment and train the crew prior to embarking to Antarctica this winter. During the summer trip, Polar Star spent weeks in the Beaufort Sea north of Barrow, Alaska, testing propulsion machinery, conducting emergency drills and qualifying crewmembers in individual watchstations.

With a tumultuous schedule leading up to Polar Star’s Deep Freeze Deployment, the crew have not only overhauled many vital pieces of equipment from the bridge to the engine rooms, but have successfully completed a number of assessments to achieve their fully reactivated status.

Polar Star is a 399-foot polar class icebreaker with a 140-person crew. The cutter is recently out of a three-year, $90 million overhaul, which is part of the Coast Guard’s plan to reactivate the heavy icebreaker.

 

Pearl Harbor: Then and Now

Firsthand accounts of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, with combined photographs taken during the attack and modern day locations where events took place.

 

Vintage Warbirds Make Historic Landing on Ford Island Runway – Navy Assists With Fly In

In preparation for their December 7th flyover ceremonies at the USS Arizona Memorial and for Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s 7th Anniversary gala fundraiser tonight, two vintage warbirds made a historic landing on Ford Island Runway today at 9am. Navy runway #04/22 has been closed to air traffic for years. The Navy assisted in this fly in today.

Warbirds1

At approximately 9am, Bruce Mayes of Pacific Warbirds piloted his North American SNJ T-6 Texan on to the Ford Island Runway  followed by Harry Greene in his Boeing Stearman PT-17, landing about 9:15am.

Warbirds4

Both warbirds will be standing guard at Hangar 37 tonight at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s 7th Anniversary fundraiser gala “Some Enchanted Evening.” 450 guests are expected to attend. Loretta Ables Sayre will entertain. Dan Cooke is emcee. The event is to raise funds for the Museum’s Education and Restoration projects.

Warbirds3

“We’re honored to have these great warbirds gracing our event tonight,” said Museum Executive Director Ken DeHoff. “It’s a wonderful sight to see them in the air over Ford Island and landing on historic Ford Island Runway.”

Warbirds2

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, which depends on membership and donations for its support. A Smithsonian affiliate Museum, it is also rated one of the top 10 aviation attractions nationally by TripAdvisor. Located at 319 Lexington Boulevard, Historic Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818. 808-441-1000.

 

Coast Guard Locates Boaters Who Were in Possible Distress Off Kauai

Two boaters who were in possible distress off Kalalau Beach, Kauai, were located safely ashore Tuesday.

The Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received the initial report at 6:30 p.m. Monday from a concerned hiker who observed two people in a small inflatable boat with an outboard engine striking a reef just off the beach. The boaters then attempted to hand paddle their black 8-foot inflatable boat out to sea toward Haena Beach Park. The boaters were observed unsuccessfully attempting to restart their engine. They were later able to restart their engine and returned to shore.

Coast Guard Station Kauai coordinated efforts with the Kauai Police and Fire Departments to check boat ramps and landing areas along the coast. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point was launched at 10:30 p.m. and began searching. The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, home ported in Honolulu, arrived on the Napali Coast at 6 a.m. Tuesday to join the search effort.

The Coast Guard advises all mariners to carry safety equipment to include a VHF radio, flares and life jackets. For more information about boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.

 

USS Nimitz Returns to Pearl Harbor for Brief Stop

Just a few days shy of the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor, Sailors and Marines manned the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as they entered the harbor Dec. 3.

Nimitz in Pearl Harbor

Passing by the USS Arizona memorial, the crew on board Nimitz paid tribute to their fallen comrades in the hallowed waters below.

“It really is surreal,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Daniel Routhier, assigned to the “Wolf Pack” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75, one of eight squadrons assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, embarked on Nimitz.

Routhier, who has experienced paying honors to Arizona before, said doing so gave him an immense amount of pride in the Navy, and in being able to continue the tradition of saluting the memorial.

Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Michalle Boyce manned the rails of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) while passing the Arizona in 2004, and has volunteered to do so with every opportunity she has since been given. Boyce’s grandfather served on the USS Oklahoma during the attack, and being able to render a salute to the Sailors lost in the Dec. 7, 1941 attack has become a point of personal pride.

“Every time I stand up there I feel goosebumps when we pass the Arizona,” Boyce said. “It is a very powerful experience.”

Nimitz, along with embarked Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11, CVW- 11 and Destroyer Squadron 23 made the brief stop while headed home after an eight-and-a-half month deployment to the U.S. 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibilities (AORs).

“I am especially proud of our crew, and all the work they have done over the duration of this deployment,” said Rear Adm. Michael S. White, commander, CSG 11.

Upon departing Pearl Harbor, Nimitz is scheduled to continue east toward San Diego, before returning home to Everett, Wash., before the end of the year.

For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.

 

Kona Comedy Shows to Support the Wounded Warrior Project

Humpy’s Big Island Alehouse & The Frisky Seal announced plans to host a 2-night, 2-show comedy festival featuring 5 stand-up comics from around the islands to assist service members who have been injured in the line of duty. All proceeds from the Big Island Comedy Fest! will be donated to the nonprofit organization Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), and will support a full range of programs and services for this generation of injured veterans and their families.

Comedy Show Benefit

Over 47,000 servicemen and women have been injured in the recent military conflicts. In addition to the physical wounds, it is estimated as many as 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war including combat-related stress, major depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment.

WWP’s 18 programs and services are uniquely structured to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment and engagement.

2 shows: Fri. Nov. 29, Sat. Nov. 30 – 7:30pm – Featuring 5 comedians each night from the islands: Michael C. Hall of Oahu, Chino LaForge of Maui, Kaleo Naiga of Oahu, Aaron Sheehan of the Big Island, Kristen Sprague of the Big Island –  **SPECIAL GUEST (FRIDAY NIGHT SHOW ONLY): Sandy Choi of the Big Island

Big Island's own Sandy Choi

Big Island’s own Sandy Choi

Tickets: $25 presale, $30 at the door. There is a 2-drink minimum with a portion going to WWP. Also a silent auction will be auctioning off products and services from local businesses with all proceeds going to WWP. Tickets can be purchased at Humpy’s,  Frisky Seal,  Soundwave Music in the Old Industrial Area and Music Exchange in the King Kamehameha Mall.

Humpy’s Big Island Alehouse hosted a lanai sunset dinner for 10 Wounded Warriors in October, and is a proud supporter of our troops putting themselves in harm’s way. Event organizer, John Ruiz Jr., is a volunteer and fundraiser (and USAF veteran) for the Kona VFW Post 12122, and the West Hawaii Special Olympics delegation. A 5-year Special Olympics’ coach, and is co-organizer of the 2012 & 2013 Special Olympics Bus Pull Competition.

Humpy’s Big Island Alehouse and the Frisky Seal are the paramount pubs in Kona for beer lovers. Now it’s the place for comedy too!

About Wounded Warrior Project TM

The mission of Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP) is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org