BROTHERHOOD IN THE SKY

STORY BY MC2 JASON PASTRICK

At the height of the Korean War, nearly 9,000 outnumbered Marines shivered in the sub-zero temperatures of North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir Dec. 4, 1950.  Chilly winds combed the rough mountain terrain as eight F4U-4 Corsair fighter jets left the deck of the aircraft carrier, USS Leyte (CV 32).  Though outdated, each fighter was heavily armed and piloted by a Naval aviator seeking to provide support for their brothers-in-arms on the ground below. These young men, most in their early twenties, had little in common except for their love of aviation and duty to their country. One of these pilots was Jesse Brown.

jessebbrown2Jesse LeRoy Brown was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Oct. 13, 1926. As the son of a hard-working but poor sharecropper, Brown’s home provided few comforts. His house lacked the most basic of amenities such as electricity, running water, or an indoor toilet; life was anything but privileged. As a young boy, his days consisted of picking cotton with little reprieve from the sweltering sun.

 In the 1930’s, racial prejudice stood as a wall to the dreams of young black men in a community where segregation was regularly preached and practiced. Goals and aspirations were deemed unreal or unattainable simply because of someone’s skin color. However, as history would show, Brown shone in the face of adversity and became a trailblazer throughout his entire life.

Brown’s fascination with aviation began at an early age, as he would longingly watch the skies over the cotton field where he labored tirelessly each day. As a gifted athlete and student, Brown graduated second in his high school class and was able to attend college on a work-scholarship. As a personal challenge and against advice encouraging him to attend an all-black college, Brown instead attended Ohio State University, where only 1% of the students were black.

Undaunted and steadfast toward his dream of becoming a pilot, Brown enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1946 and was appointed as a Midshipman one year later. In flight school, he was the only black applicant among 600 cadets. Racial tension was strong in America and black service members were largely unwelcomed. Despite continued prejudices and harassment from his peers, on Oct. 21, 1948, Jesse Brown received his wings and became the Navy’s first African-American pilot.

030318-N-0000X-002.jpgOn Dec. 4, 1950, while conducting his 20th combat mission, Brown was shot down over the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.  His wingman, Lt. Thomas Hudner, a white man from Massachusetts, could see that Brown was still alive and crashed his own plane nearby in an effort to save him. Brown’s leg was trapped in the wreckage. Unable to get free, he slowly died of exposure in the blistering cold. Hudner sat with him until he was ordered to go. For his actions, Hudner received the Medal of Honor. Although Brown did not receive a commendation, his contributions to the segregated and desegregated U.S. Military were memorialized in several books and the frigate USS Jesse L. Brown (FF-1089) was named in his honor.

As the Navy celebrates Black History Month this February, Sailors across the fleet are encouraged to learn and recognize the crucial contributions from the African-American community to Naval operations. For more information about Jesse Brown, visit the Naval History and Heritage Command at http://www.history.navy.mil.


 

 

 

Ford’s Innovation Continues with Ship’s Whistle

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kristopher Ruiz

Since the early days of ship navigation, communication has been of the utmost importance to Sailors. In the past, Sailors have used flags, cannons, lights, horns, and musical instruments to relay messages and aid in navigation. The time-honored tradition of the ship’s whistle still holds a place aboard the Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced warship.

“The purpose of the ship’s whistle is to notify other ships in the area of our intentions and warn other ships in the event of a problem,” said Lt. Patrick Miller, Ford’s assistant navigation officer. “We can communicate with other ships strictly by using our whistle.”

Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is outfitted with electric whistles rather than the steam whistles that are found on Nimitz-class carriers.  Ford’s whistles are constructed from two Kahlenberg KPH-130C electric piston horns that have an audibility range of two nautical miles and produce an audio level of 143 decibels at 1 meter.  That’s greater than the sound a jackhammer creates (115 decibels) and greater than a jet taking off (130 db).

“The first time I heard one whistle I didn’t think it was too loud, but when both whistles were tested it’s really loud. It’s like having an air horn right next to you,” said Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Alexander Rios, an engineering department Sailor, and one of the electricians that maintains the ship’s whistles.

The ship’s whistle system is comprised of multiple manual controls and one automatic selector that is programmed to automatically deliver maneuvering signals. There are two different types of whistle blasts: a “short” whistle blast, which is one second long, and a “prolonged” blast, which is four to six seconds long. Different combinations of blasts represent different messages. For example, one short blast means, “I am altering my course to starboard,” whereas two short blasts mean “I am altering my course to port.”

Whistles are also used to render “passing honors” between military ships and on occasions when ships, officials, or officers pass in boats or have passed. Passing honors between ships consists of sounding “attention” with the ship’s whistle and all persons on exposed decks rendering a hand salute.

Rios said there are many benefits of having an electric whistle compared to a steam whistle, but the biggest benefit is that it’s easier to troubleshoot and operate than the traditional steam whistle.

“Electrically wise it’s not a really complicated system and I see it as a simple system for us to use,” said Rios. “It’s just another example of the advanced technology that makes Ford a first in class ship.”

161216-N-XU135-002

161216-N-XU135-002 NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Dec 16, 2016) – Quartermaster Lydia Pandorf, a navigation department Sailor assigned to Pre-commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), simulates using the ship’s whistle inside the bridge. Whistles are used to send messages to other vessels by using different lengths and variations. Ford is outfitted with electric whistles rather than steam whistles that are found on Nimitz-class carriers. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher Ruiz)

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

Ford Sailors participate in Wreaths Across America

Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell

HAMPTON, Va. — Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Sailors participated in A Wreaths Across America Ceremony held on Dec. 17 at Hampton National Cemetery in honor of all veterans past and present.

“I’m a firm believer in always giving back to those who have served,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Zachary Perez, a volunteer from Ford’s weapons department. “I think it’s important as a military member to remember our brothers and sisters in arms. Being able to lay the wreaths is a small sacrifice on my part for the ultimate sacrifice they’ve paid.”

Wreaths Across America

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Dec. 17, 2016) — Petty Officer 3rd Class Zachary Perez, assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), places a wreath during a Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Hampton National Cemetery. More than 8,000 wreaths were placed at Hampton National Cemetery by community volunteers. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell)

Wreaths Across America is a nationwide wreath-laying ceremony that honors fallen veterans every December. This was the fifth year that Wreaths Across America was held at Hampton National Cemetery and more than 8,000 wreaths were placed on veterans’ gravestones by volunteers.

“It is important for everyone to come together as a community and participate in the annual Wreaths Across America activities because it is important for us to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by most of the individuals buried at the national cemeteries,” said Maribel Beckwith, the Wreath Across America location leader for Hampton National Cemetery.

Beckwith stresses the importance of community support and how Wreaths Across America is only as successful as the community allows it to be.

“It’s important for the community to know that this event will be held every year,” Beckwith said. “We want to continue, but we can only do so with community support. We encourage every organization, every church group, every business and every community group to sponsor wreaths, do some fundraising and please support.”

Ford’s color guard and choir also performed during the ceremony.

“Despite the cold weather and it being my first time to participate in this event, I felt proud to be able to honor our fallen heroes,” said Seaman Seth Anderson, a Sailor from Ford’s weapons department and member of the ship’s color guard. “In my opinion, having past and present military members attend shows the support we have for one another and how connected we can be.”

For more information on Wreaths Across America, please go to http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

Wreaths Across America

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Dec. 17, 2016) — Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) color guard and choir perform during a Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Hampton National Cemetery. More than 8,000 wreaths were placed at Hampton National Cemetery by community volunteers. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell)

160309-N-VT117-153

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Mar 09, 2016) — Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Sailors from Combat Systems department practice loading an inert-dummy RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile into the NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System launcher. Training with inactive and dummy rounds helps prepare these Sailors for later evolutions involving the loading of live ordnance. Ford is scheduled for commissioning in 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Grieco/Released)

160309-N-VT117-092

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Mar 09, 2016) — Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Sailors, assigned to the ship’s Combat Systems department, practice loading an inert-dummy RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile into the portside-aft NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System launcher. Training with inactive and dummy rounds helps prepare these Sailors for later evolutions involving the loading of live ordnance. Ford is scheduled for commissioning in 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Grieco/Released)

160309-N-VT117-092

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Mar 09, 2016) — Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Sailors, assigned to the ship’s Combat Systems department, practice loading an inert-dummy RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile into the portside-aft NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System launcher. Training with inactive and dummy rounds helps prepare these Sailors for later evolutions involving the loading of live ordnance. Ford is scheduled for commissioning in 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Grieco/Released)

PCU Gerald R. Ford Sailor Receives Dungan Award

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.”

bf3t0225-copy