Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Pastrick
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – (November 30, 2016) A Sailor assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) received the Chief Aerographer’s Mate John R. Dungan award for fiscal year 2016.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Matthew Euler, from Peru, Illinois, was nominated by his peers for his exceptional performance in the fields of meteorology and oceanography in support of fleet operations.
The Dungan award recognizes individuals who demonstrate excellence and make significant contributions to the Aerographer community. Nominees for the award were selected based on their leadership, performance, special accomplishments and expert application of weather sciences.
“Senior Chief Euler is everything you could want in an Aerographer’s Mate and senior enlisted leader,” said Cmdr. William Richmond, Ford’s senior intelligence officer. “He’s a critical member of the Chief’s Mess and his local community. He always keeps a positive attitude, and he serves as a role model for us all.”
Euler was instrumental in establishing and leading a first-in-class meteorology and oceanography (METOC) center aboard Ford. Euler has also been recognized for his dedication in the civilian sector as well. Most recently, he has received the American Weather Association Most Accurate Forecaster award for 2016.
“I’ve just always had a great passion for the weather,” said Euler. “We know how severe it can be, and how quickly weather can change. We need to be as accurate as possible to ensure the safety and welfare of the crew.”
Like many senior enlisted leaders, Euler prides himself on mentoring junior Sailors assigned to his division.
“More than anything, [Euler] has taught us that we’re Sailors first, and weathermen second,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Blain Allen. “Sure, I can predict the weather, but I can also fight a fire and support my shipmates in other ways too.”
Euler is slated to receive the award on Dec. 9, surrounded by friends and family in Washington D.C.
“It takes a group effort, and I’m fortunate to have such a dependable team,” said Euler. “It’s an honor to have your name attached to something you’re so passionate about. I’m absolutely humbled to be in the Navy and love my job.”
by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kristopher Ruiz
Newport News, Va. – Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus visited Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Oct. 13 to meet with Sailors and Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding shipbuilders on board the Navy’s first-in-class aircraft carrier.
Mabus’ visit on board Ford coincided with the 241st birthday of the U.S. Navy.
“There’s no navy that has ever existed that comes close to this Navy,” said Mabus. “We’re going to make sure that the Navy has as bright a future as its storied past.”
Mabus highlighted the Navy’s efforts in supporting renewable energy, the importance of relationships with partner countries, the vital trust between the U.S. Navy and the American public, and the significance of aircraft carriers.
“This ship will protect America for half a century,” Mabus told Ford Sailors.
Mabus took time to answer questions and pose for photos with crew members.
“It was an honor to welcome SECNAV and have him speak with Ford Sailors on the Navy’s birthday,” said Capt. Rick McCormack, Ford’s commanding officer.
McCormack noted that over 100 Ford Sailors are deployed on ships around the world, to include two Sailors aboard USS Mason (DDG 87) and three Sailors aboard USS Nitze (DDG 94).
The Nitze conducted targeted strikes against three radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory on Yemen’s Red Sea coast. The targeted radar sites were involved in recent missile launches threatening Mason and other vessels operating in international waters in the Bab al-Mandeb and the Red Sea.
“The thing I am most proud of are the Sailors and Marines serving today,” Mabus said, adding “Nobody can touch our Navy, and it’s our job to make sure it stays that way.”
Story and photos by Petty Officer Third Class Sean Elliott
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (October 12, 2016)—Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) held a Hispanic Heritage Month festival in Newport News, Oct. 11.
Sailors from Ford’s Multicultural Heritage Committee presented an interactive experience to educate fellow Sailors on different cultures from many Hispanic countries.
“Our primary objective is to educate and to let people express themselves in ways not normally seen,” said Chief Petty Officer Michael Payne. “This [festival] is a good way for people to come out of their comfort zones and learn something.”
The festival was held at nearby Huntington Hall and included booths designed by Ford Sailors showcasing different aspects of Hispanic culture. Ford Sailors attending the festival had the opportunity to observe and learn about different Hispanic cultures by participating in sports, games, and tasting traditional Hispanic food.
“Each Sailor running their booth brought a touch of their own religion, holidays, or traditions to explain to us why it is important to them,” said Petty Officer First Class Derico Callaway.
Ford’s Multicultural Heritage Committee regularly plans events spotlighting different cultures and invites all Ford Sailors to take part in the celebration and learn new information.
“Today, I learned about Day of the Dead, a holiday when the deceased are remembered,” said Petty Officer Third Class Keishunda Ellislee. “The Hispanic Heritage Month festival was awesome.”
By Seaman Connor D. Loessin
Sailors assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) participated in the local Norfolk Photo Shoot Off, at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott, Sept. 29, through Oct. 2.
The program, open to military and civil service photographers, offered multiple competition categories centered on this year’s theme: symmetry.
Media department Sailors, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kiana A. Raines and Petty Officer 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell, took first and second place respectively in the “Hackman Challenge,” a category for military and civil service photographers.
In addition to the “Hackman Challenge,” Raines took first place in the “Chip Shot” category, the best overall single image from the competition.
“The Norfolk Shoot Off was a great event that I will remember for a very long time,” said Raines. “I met the best military photographers and learned an incredible amount from them.”
The event provided attendees a training experience boasting Emmy Award winning presenters, nationally recognized speakers, visual designers, book authors and lifetime educators who support the program.
“As a division officer for Ford’s media department, I am proud that my Sailors participated in this event in order to refine their professional skills while taking both first and second place,” said Assistant Public Affairs Officer Ensign Corey T. Jones. “Photography is a powerful artistic medium capable of conveying meaningful, complex stories to a global audience, and the amount of skill required to capture a winning image should not be underestimated.”
Legacy military photographers educated active-duty participants on the history of photography in the military and provided mentoring that the armed service members will carry with them throughout their career.
“For me, it was definitely a way to challenge myself and it forced me to go out into the world and look at things differently,” said Campbell. “I learned a lot and that in itself is a personal win.”
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Connor D. Loessin
HAMPTON, VA.—Fifty-seven Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) chief petty officers were pinned to their new rank, Sept. 16.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Steven S. Giordano, guest speaker for the ceremony, reaffirmed the importance of this milestone.
“I would like to congratulate all of our newest chief petty officers across the Navy and all their family members,” said MCPON, who offered the following advice to newly promoted chief petty officers. “Be leaders. Continue to develop our Sailors, take care of our Sailors, and take care of their families. Educate them the right way so that they can make smart choices, so that they can be successful in life… If we can build that, our Navy is going to be extremely effective and continue to be the great Navy it is today.”
During the pinning ceremony, the new chiefs had their new rank insignia pinned to their collars by their friends and family. The insignia is a fouled anchor, symbolizing the trials and tribulations that every chief endures on a daily basis. Attached to the anchor is a length of chain and the letters U.S.N. The “U” stands for unity, the “S” stands for service, and the “N” stands for navigation. The chain is symbolic of flexibility. The anchor itself embodies the hope and glory of chief petty officers.
“I’m overwhelmed with happiness,” said Chief Information Systems Technician Gregory Charles, after being pinned. “I love it, I love it, I love it. I thank God and I appreciate everybody, all the shipmates, the Chief’s Mess. I’m truly grateful to be here.”
The ceremony was the conclusion to Phase Two of the CPO 365 program, which is a year-round training and development course for first class petty officers to become chief petty officers.
“Phase Two is a six-week process dedicated to honing leadership skills for the new chiefs who are our reliefs,” said Senior Chief Operations Specialist Michael Bengtson, Ford’s Phase Two lead. “It focuses on accountability, decisive decision making, and teamwork.”
At the end of the training process, the Sailors are ready to lead.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the 57 new chiefs who joined our mess today,” said Ford’s Command Master Chief Donnie Novak. “They are trained, motivated, and eager to assume their new responsibilities. They are an impressive addition to an already strong Navy-wide Chiefs’ Mess.”
By Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Media Department
If you were playing a game of Jeopardy and the category was the history of Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), would you know the response to the following clue?
This trivia-loving Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) was the first Sailor from the crew of Gerald R. Ford to appear on Jeopardy.
The correct response would be: Who is Lt. Barbara Colberg?
The daughter of a submariner, Colberg majored in Economics and Spanish at Ohio State University, and earned her law degree from the University of Virginia. She chose to serve in the JAG Corps and was the number two officer in Ford’s legal department.
“The absolute best thing about being assigned to Ford was getting to work with such an amazing crew,” said Colberg. “JAGs don’t often get the opportunity to work with Sailors outside of the Legalman rating, so being able to meet so many incredibly hard-working, motivated, and talented Sailors across a variety of different ratings was a privilege and a joy.”
“She’s a phenomenal officer – insightful, and mature beyond her rank,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Cutchen, head of Ford’s legal department.
A long-time fan of the popular game show, Colberg, now assigned as a Legal Assistant Attorney in Newport, Rhode Island, was thrilled to be selected for competition.
When the segment aired Sept. 14, there was no shortage of Shipmates from her former command cheering her on.
Colberg had a strong showing in categories ranging from awards for writing to languages to geography. After correctly answering the Final Jeopardy question, Colberg ended the game with $25,559. The impressive showing earned her second place.
Just for fun… Colberg nailed the response to the Final Jeopardy clue. Do you know the answer?
20TH CENTURY SCIENCE TERMS
This 4-letter word was introduced in London in 1905 by Dr. H.A. Des Voeux of the Coal Smoke Abatement Society.
Response: What is SMOG?