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Naval Special Warfare Celebrates 60th Anniversary of SEAL Teams

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

SAN DIEGO, Calif. and NORFOLK, Va. (Jan. 7, 2022) – Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) rang in the New Year with a celebration of their own as this month marks sixty years since the establishment of the first SEAL teams.

Recognizing the need for an increase in special forces and unconventional warfare during the Vietnam War, President Kennedy directed the Secretary of Defense to increase and reorient U.S. special forces and unconventional warfare units in a speech to Congress, May 25, 1961.

“Our nation’s Naval commandos celebrate the 60th anniversary of the SEAL teams this week with President John F. Kennedy’s order to establish SEAL Team 1 and 2 in January 1962,” said Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander, NSWC. “We’re reminded of the legacy that set our standard and the heroes whose shoulders we stand upon today.”

Within eight months, preexisting Underwater Demolition Teams provided the manpower required to establish the first SEAL teams at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Coronado, California, and NAB Little Creek, Virginia, Jan. 1, 1962. Their mission was to conduct unconventional warfare, counter-guerrilla warfare and clandestine operations.

“As we urgently adapt and innovate to meet new threats and missions of greater complexity and risk, we honor the stewardship, integrity, grit and gallantry that the founding members of our community demonstrated in their service,” said Howard. “In marking this milestone, Naval Special Warfare also celebrates our authentic and timeless team – a team anchored on earned trust, candor, creativity and resilience – a humble team with an ironclad commitment to the nation and all we serve.”

The Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community’s history pre-dates the establishment of the SEAL teams by twenty years. In August 1942, the Amphibious Scouts and Raiders (Joint) and the Special Mission Naval Demolition Unit were established at Amphibious Training Base Little Creek, Virginia, to perform specific missions during Operation Torch – the allied invasion of North Africa – in November 1942.

“Our community is built upon the shoulders of the warriors who came before us,” said Capt. David Abernathy, commodore, Naval Special Warfare Group 1. “The high standards, unique capabilities, strength and diversity found across the NSW community today is a direct reflection of those first SEALs who paved the way.”

Capt. Donald G. Wetherbee, commodore, Naval Special Warfare Group 2, said that throughout the community’s 80-year history, naval commandos engaged in operations from the beaches of North Africa and Normandy, the islands of the Pacific, Korea and Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, to countless other areas of the world – on land and under the sea.

“Today’s SEAL teams, along with other components of Naval Special Warfare, represent a unique ability to access denied environments, providing scalable kinetic and non-kinetic effects that set the conditions to undermine adversary confidence and provide diplomatic leverage in competition, and higher end options in crisis and conflict,” said Wetherbee. “At the same time, the incredible leadership, cognitive attributes and character of our people remain the same as they did from day one of our community’s birth. I’m truly humbled to have the privilege of working with the men and women of Naval Special Warfare every day.”

From Scouts and Raiders, Naval Combat Demolition Units, Operational Swimmers, Underwater Demolition Teams, and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons of World War II to now SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and special development groups, Naval Special Warfare is a complex and humble community who is proud of its warfighting heritage.

NSW commands will celebrate this milestone all year long by hosting events and ceremonies, as well as releasing stories and social media posts that highlight the rich history of SEAL operators to honor NSW’s proud warfighting heritage, give insight into how special operators integrate with the fleet for distributed maritime operations, and highlight the capabilities NSW assets bring to the strategic competition.

Since 1962, Naval Special Warfare has been the nation’s premier maritime special operations force – a highly reliable and lethal force – always ready to conduct full-spectrum operations, unilaterally or with partners, in support of national objectives, and uniquely positioned to extend the Fleet’s reach, delivering all-domain options for Naval and joint force commanders.

For more news from Naval Special Warfare Command, visit www.facebook.com/NavalSpecialWarfare or www.nsw.navy.mil.

Courtesy Story by Naval Special Warfare Command

Navy Kicks off Maternity Uniform Pilot Program – Here are the Details

Monday, December 20th, 2021

WASHINGTON – Having a baby is a joyous time that can also be stressful and expensive. To relieve some of that stress, the Navy and the Department of Defense launched a pilot program to provide maternity uniforms at no cost to the Sailor.

Announced Dec. 15 in NAVADMIN 284/21, this pilot program will test the idea of issuing expectant mothers maternity uniforms, fully hemmed with all required sewn-on accoutrements and shipped at no cost to the Sailor. The program will officially commence January 2, 2022.

“The pilot will run for the next four years and expires on Sept. 30, 2026. Program can support up to 400 Sailors annually starting in calendar year 2022.” said Robert B. Carroll, head of the Navy Uniform Matters. “It’s open on a first-come, first-served basis to officers and enlisted in the active and reserve components worldwide. Following years may support more Sailors consistent with both pilot demand and funding we’ve been provided.”

Sailors will be issued the uniforms with no costs coming out of their pockets, shipped to them free of charge from the Navy Exchange. However, Sailors will be required to turn the items in once their maternity period is over. Participating in the program more than once over the four years is allowed.

Issued maternity uniforms will be the Navy Working Uniform Type III and Service Khaki for E7 and above, and the Navy Service Uniform for E-6 and below. Service Dress Whites and Blues dependent upon the Uniform needed and the Cardigan Sweater will also be issued.

Only the main uniform items, such as blouses, shirts and pants will be issued along with hemming and all required sewn-on accoutrements attached as required.

Participation starts with Sailors routing a request through their chain of command. Once approved, their local Navy Exchange (NEX) uniform shop will measure each for their uniform items. Sailors then forward the request and measurements to the points of contact listed in the NAVADMIN, who review the Sailor’s record for final approval.

Once final approval is done, the Sailor’s information is forwarded to the NEX Call Center by the Uniform Matters Office team. The NEX Call Center will contact the participants directly.

The complete process, details and points of contact are in NAVADMIN 284/21.

Navy uniform policy updates result from Fleet feedback, uniform working group discussions; command sponsored requests and direction from Navy leadership.

From MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

Competitors Show Off Innovative Thinking at HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

SAN DIEGO – This year’s HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned competition, held Nov. 16-19, virtually brought together nearly 1,000 competitors in the first of a series of public-facing technology challenges designed to accelerate the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Task Force, forging valuable partnerships between the Navy, industry and academia to create new, high-end unmanned capabilities.

Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), this technology competition encouraged creative “hackers” to help meet the needs of the Fleet by developing and integrating unmanned and autonomous systems at scale.

Chief of Naval Research, Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, helped kick off the event, speaking about innovating in the Navy, including the notion of “the small, the agile, the many.” The idea behind that is they look at small, attritable autonomous platforms and build them quickly and at scale, to complement the larger, expensive platforms that form the bulk of the Fleet and Force. For more information about their new vision, read their press release: ONR Chief Unveils New Vision to Reimagine Naval Power.

“The centerpiece of my strategy to reimagine naval power as Chief of Naval Research is built on a few key themes. First, we are living in a time of incredible technological change, and we must meet the moment with bold action. Second, we will introduce the idea of Strategic Hedge against an alternative future. Third, we have a plan to synthesize the most creative and potentially game changing ideas of the last three decades into a plan of action,” said Selby. “Finally, we conclude with a call to action, which all begins with exploring digital challenges at HACKtheMACHINE.” 

Although participants competed virtually, event organizers and Navy personnel were on-site in San Diego to oversee and facilitate the competition, which was streamed live via YouTube and StreamYard.

There were three tracks for participants to compete in: Hack the Pilot, Detective Bot and Top Model. Each challenge fell into a different focus area – maritime cyber, data science and digital engineering, respectively – to appeal to a broad range of talents and skill sets. The Navy’s Cybersecurity Office (PMW 130) sponsored and developed the challenges for the Detective Bot track, as a way to pursue artificial intelligence/machine learning (AL/ML) tools that can distinguish benign from malicious code.

PMW 130 provided a dataset with thousands of malicious and benign code samples to see who can take inefficient AI/ML techniques developed with unlimited resources ashore and adapt them to efficient and effective cyber solutions on smaller afloat and autonomous platforms.

“The competitors at this year’s HACKtheMACHINE had to solve some really tough challenges,” said Mike Karlbom, PMW 130 Technical Director of AI/ML. “We were excited to welcome so many different participants, who were able to show off their data science skills and creative thinking in these tracks. This event shows the importance of bringing together smart people, from a variety of backgrounds, to drive innovation and collaboration.”

In the Hack the Pilot track, participants were provided with an auto piloting system and challenged to test and identify all vulnerabilities in the code base.

In the Top Model track, participants were given a set of mission goals and asked to build a simulation scenario of a wide-area search. Then, they created model-based solutions for defined situations within the created model. Finally, they determined whether their created solutions could outperform a heterogeneous collection of objects combatting the scenario.

Also at the event, PMW 130 announced the winner of their third prize challenge in the Artificial Intelligence Applications to Autonomous Cybersecurity (AI ATAC) Challenge series. The winner of the challenge and the $750,000 prize was Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK), a data platform leader. Their submission, Splunk® SOAR, had the best performance based on the criteria of the challenge, which focused on enhancing the Security Operations Center using AI and/or ML tools to automate the detection and prevention of advanced persistent threats and other cybersecurity campaign activity.

A technology competition run annually by the Navy since 2016, HACKtheMACHINE events have been previously held in five cities nationwide: San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Seattle and New York. This year’s Unmanned challenge took advantage of a virtual setting and focused on AI/ML and digital engineering to accelerate the process of reimagining naval power.

The next HACKtheMACHINE event is scheduled to be conducted live in Miami, Florida in April 2022.

From Lily Chen

Royal Australian Navy Rolls Out Multi-Cam Uniforms

Friday, November 19th, 2021

The RAN began their rollout of the Maritime Multi-Cam Pattern Uniform in the warmer tropical areas of the Northern Territory and North Queensland last month and is expected to be delivered to all other units by the end of 2022.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Salvage Divers of the USS Cole, the Untold Story of the Navy Divers Who Recovered the Fallen, Help Save the Ship

Sunday, October 17th, 2021

Detachment Alpha of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 aboard the USNS Catawba with the USS Cole and the MV Blue Marlin in the background. Photo courtesy of Mike Shields.

On the morning of Oct. 13, 2000, Chief Warrant Officer Frank Perna and his team of US Navy divers were sipping cappuccinos at an open-air coffee shop, enjoying a beautiful Italian morning in the Port of Bari, when the distinct ringtone of Perna’s cell phone cut the casual banter and light mood.

The divers, deployed with Detachment Alpha of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 aboard the USNS Mohawk, turned their attention to their officer in charge as he picked up the phone and listened intently. Mike Shields, now a retired master chief master diver, could tell the call was serious.

“I understand,” Perna said into the phone before hanging up. “We will be ready.”

Less than 24 hours earlier, the USS Cole, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer, was docked in Yemen’s Aden harbor for a planned refueling when al Qaeda suicide bombers in a small boat packed with at least 400 pounds of explosives steered their craft into the Cole’s left side. The blast ripped a 1,600-square-foot hole in its hull, killing 17 American sailors and wounding 39.

Aqueous Film Forming Foam flame retardant floats on top of the water, preventing any fuel from igniting near the damaged left-side hull of the USS Cole in October 2000. Photo courtesy of Mike Shields.

A skilled diver with extensive experience in underwater salvage and recovery operations, Perna had worked on several high-profile dive operations. He participated in salvage and recovery operations for Trans World Airlines Flight 800 and the USS Arthur W. Radford after its collision at sea with a Saudi Arabian container vessel.

Perna looked up at his team, who stared back with anticipation.

“The USS Cole was damaged from an explosion while in port,” he told them. “We are going to Yemen to assist the crew in recovery and salvage of the ship.”

The 12 men who composed Detachment Alpha launched into planning and preparing for a daunting mission: They would locate missing sailors, assist in stabilizing the ship, recover evidence, and perform structural inspections of the Cole after a terrorist attack.

“We immediately started pulling resources and gear to support several different diving and salvage scenarios,” Shields told Coffee or Die Magazine recently. “Because we were going to be somewhat isolated in Yemen, we knew everything we brought had to serve several purposes.”

The USS Cole (DDG-67) is towed by the Navy tug vessel USNS Catawba to a staging point in the Yemeni harbor of Aden to await transportation by the Norwegian-owned, semi-submersible heavy-lift ship MV Blue Marlin. US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Don L. Maes.

The next day, the hand-picked team of Navy divers landed in Yemen with all the necessary dive systems to support the numerous planned and unplanned tasks of diving into and under a critically damaged ship. They loaded their gear onto two flatbed trucks and departed the airport with a sketchy Yemeni military escort. As they passed through several military checkpoints, Perna and his team began to feel the gravity of the situation.

When they arrived at the port, most of the team went to work setting up gear and readying a dive site near the ship while Perna and his senior leaders went to assess the damage. The sight shocked them. The ship was blackened by the explosion, listing slightly to the left, and without electrical power. The only light was from the green glow of the pier lights.

“Our first glimpse of the ship that night will be forever fixed in our minds,” Perna told Coffee or Die.

As Shields took in the damage and saw the Cole’s battle-weary crew members sleeping on mattresses scattered randomly on the ship’s weather decks, his shock turned into determination.

Sailors from the USS Cole rest on the helicopter deck in Yemen, Oct. 13, 2000, the day after a suicide bomber attacked the ship in the port of Aden, Yemen. US Navy photo by Jim Watson.

“Get in the water,” he thought. “Get the Cole back.”

On the morning of Oct. 15, 2000, the divers began the first phase of their mission. Several sailors were still missing in the flooded spaces below, and the men of Alpha Detachment had to get them out and repair or salvage what they could as soon as possible.

With flooding in the ship still posing a significant threat to electrical and engineering spaces, time was not on Alpha’s side. They determined which areas of the ship to search, identified a centralized location to set up a dive station, and planned how to safely enter the spaces they needed to reach. They boarded the Cole, set up gear, and began diving from inside the flooded spaces.

With the utmost care and respect, the Navy divers recovered missing Cole sailors. When a sailor was recovered, the divers paused their work to observe a moment of silence and honor the dead. They draped a flag over each fallen soul and escorted them down the pier to be taken back home.

“It’s a very heavy feeling in your heart to see one of your own covered in the flag,” Perna said. “It’s hard to check your emotions and refocus attention back to the task at hand, but you’ve got to push it back down because we’re doing a dangerous job.”

Gunner’s mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Don Schappert prepares to enter the lower levels of the flooded engine room assisted by hull maintenance technician Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Husbeck. Photo courtesy of Mike Shields.

In addition to recovering the fallen, Alpha had to stop the flooding into the only engine room that was still operational. Reaching the damaged area required navigating through 50 feet of razor-sharp mangled steel, reduced visibility, and a thick layer of engine fuel building on the surface of the water. To get in and out of the water, the Navy divers had to travel through a layer of oil that they worried might catch fire if something sparked. The team deployed a fire retardant over the surface as a preventive measure.

Shields, who was familiar with the layout of the Cole from conducting routine maintenance on the ship the previous year, was one of two divers who suited up, went below the surface through an auxiliary shaft, and made their way slowly to the engine room. They couldn’t see anything and kept bumping into loose gear and debris floating around the spaces.

Making things even worse, the divers’ life-giving tether lines of air, communication, and light power — their “umbilicals” — were constantly hanging up or snagging on unknown obstructions. With every valuable foot gained, the divers had to stop to free themselves.

“We were blindly feeling around for landmarks that would take us to where we thought the flooding was coming from,” Shields recalled.

Using memories of what the engine room would have looked like, Shields and his dive buddy felt around and found landmarks to orient themselves by, eventually finding the cause of the flooding. They filled it with a 3-inch braided ship’s mooring line covered in a thick layer of electrical putty.

“We filled in the crack and effectively stopped all flooding,” Shields said.

Stopping the flooding saved the ship from sinking and prevented what could have been a total loss.

Mike Shields descends into a flooded engine room through a ventilation shaft on the USS Cole in October 2000. Photo courtesy of Mike Shields.

The next day, the Cole’s diesel generator stopped running, and members of the dive team had to locate and secure the damaged piping and reroute pressure through alternate channels back to the generators. Navigating underwater in the damaged area again proved challenging. Bulkheads were blown inward, all non-watertight doors had broken from their hinges, filing cabinets lay scattered across the deck, and visibility was reduced to less than 3 inches.

The Navy divers spent a lot of time rerouting valves controlling pressure, fuel, oil, or air to their secondary and tertiary systems to help offset the ship’s left-side listing. With the major flooding stopped and the Cole stable, the team focused on reviewing and assessing the massive opening the blast had ripped in the left side of the ship’s hull.

“It was nothing less than devastating,” Perna said. “The most disturbing sight was the extensive damage inside the ship. The blast from the explosion had torn 30-35 feet into the center of the ship.”

The explosion was so powerful that the deck had blown upward and fused onto the bulkhead where an office once sat. Crew members who’d been eating on the mess decks reported that the blast’s power created a visible wave that traveled across the deck.

The divers created a staging area just aft of the blast area on the Cole’s left side so they could easily access the outside space and assist the FBI and several other agencies in gathering information and documenting evidence for future investigations.

Hull maintenance technician Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Husbeck, left, and engineman Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Shields, right, conduct dive operations in a flooded engine on the USS Cole. Photo courtesy of Mike Shields.

Outfitted with thick rubber wetsuits, dive knives, and iconic yellow Kirby Morgan MK 21 diving helmets, divers splashed into the hot Persian Gulf water and entered the blast area.

“Everything was surreal about diving on board and into a ship with an extensive hole in the side of its hull,” Perna said. “The fact that you can dive inside the ship, turn around, and see the sunlight cascading into the enormous space is beyond explanation.”

On Oct. 17, 2000, Navy divers prepared to search the flooded main engine room, which suffered extensive damage in the blast and was essentially a total loss. Confirming primary and secondary routes with engineers and the crew, Perna and his team devised a plan to move through the ship’s ventilation-shaft system to access the previously unreachable space.

Before entering the cramped shaft, divers wrapped fire hoses around their umbilicals for protection, modified their gear to slim down their profiles, and slipped into wetsuits to protect themselves from the environmental hazards of fuel, oil, and razor-blade-like steel. The divers inched their way to the main engine room, a feat Perna and Shields likened to John McClane crawling through the ventilation shafts of Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard.

Damage to the USS Cole. Photo courtesy of Mike Shields.

Watching closed-circuit video systems, engineers from the Cole and the USS Donald Cook guided the Navy divers as they moved through sheared bulkheads, buckled decks, broken pipes, and wires that created an immense “spider web” of destruction. Metal shavings sparkled as the divers’ lights scanned the engine room.

“We could feel the change in densities between fuel and water,” Perna recalled. “Everything fouled our umbilicals in the engine room. Pieces of broken equipment fell from the overhead as we disturbed their delicate balance.”

In that unforgiving, stifling space, the men of Detachment Alpha recovered three more missing sailors.

Over the following 10 days, from Oct. 18 through Oct. 28, the Navy divers recovered personal items from the flooded spaces and sifted through the fine sand on the seafloor for anything that might have belonged to the fallen. They searched every flooded compartment, including areas deemed too dangerous to enter safely, recovering all remaining missing sailors and assisting FBI investigators in collecting evidence. The divers inspected every inch of the blast area, looking for evidence of the explosive device. The FBI was keenly interested in anything that might help its investigation to identify the terrorists or the composition of the bomb.

A diver descends a ladder in the flooded engine room. Photo courtesy of Mike Shields.

The Navy divers also worked to mend damaged areas of the Cole and helped prepare the ship for its journey back to the United States. They relieved pressure in the main structural supports by drilling holes at the ends of the significant cracks, alleviating stress and preventing the damage from spreading. Once the necessary repairs were made, the team prepped the ship for a journey out to sea.

The challenge was to keep the ship from listing over to the left side. The Cole’s crew worried that the repairs made to stop the flooding might be damaged once in the open ocean.

“We had the idea to hedge our bets and have some contingencies in place if something happened,” Shields said.

The USS Cole is towed from the port of Aden, Yemen. Photo courtesy of the US Navy.

They ran several hydraulic pumps to the critical spaces and had discharge lines over the side in case a space started to fill with water.

On Oct. 29, the USS Cole slowly moved away from the pier with a small crew aboard to monitor the ship. Supported by tugboats and a tow line from the USNS Catawba, the Cole made the journey from the coast of Yemen to the MV Blue Marlin, a 700-foot-long Norwegian heavy-lift transport ship 23 miles out at sea.

When the Cole reached the Blue Marlin, the Blue Marlin partially submerged its lower deck and floated it under the damaged Cole. Once in place, the ship slowly rose to the surface, gently lifting the Cole from the ocean and resting the mighty ship on the Blue Marlin’s deck.

The MV Blue Marlin transports the USS Cole from Yemen following the attack on the ship in 2000. Photo courtesy of the US Navy.

With the Cole on the Blue Marlin, Shields and his divers checked the ship for flooding once more and found that their work had held. Shields gave the thumbs-up to higher, climbed the side railing, and dove into the ocean, swimming back to his team on the Catawba.

The entire docking evolution took nearly 24 hours to complete. With the Cole securely aboard the Blue Marlin’s deck, they made the trip back to the United States.

The Navy divers’ contributions were instrumental, Perna said. In a small amount of time, the team got the diesel generator back online, rerouted the ship’s air system, set up and operated emergency dewatering equipment, and provided air recharging service to the FBI and explosive ordnance disposal divers.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Cole arrives for a scheduled port visit to Souda Bay, Greece, July 19, 2012. The Cole, home-ported at Naval Station Norfolk, is on a scheduled deployment and is operating in the US 6th Fleet area of responsibility. US Navy photo by Paul Farley.

“No one person can accomplish them alone,” Perna said. “I was grateful to have such a fine and experienced diving and salvage team. I am indebted to and extremely proud of the divers in Detachment Alpha who made it all possible.”

The Detachment Alpha divers safely conducted 37 dives with more than 76 hours of subsurface work during the Cole operation. The ship was fully restored to service within 18 months of the attack in Yemen. The men of Detachment Alpha played a vital role in the operation that ensured the USS Cole’s ability to sail freely today.

A US sailor visits the USS Cole Memorial on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the ship. Seventeen sailors were killed, and another 39 were wounded in the attack. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert.

The Men of Detachment Alpha:

CWO3 Frank Perna
ENCS (MDV/SG) Lyle Becker
BMC (SW/DV) David Hunter
ETC (SG/DV) Terry Breaux
HMC (DV) Don Adams
HT2 (DV) Don Husbeck
GM2 (SS/DV) Roger Ziliak
STG2 (SW/DV) Donald Schappert
IS3 (DV) Greg Sutherland
EN2 (DV) Mike Shields
BM2 (DV) Mike Allison
GM3 (DV) Sean Baker

This is reposted with permission from Jayme Pastoric

SCUBAPRO Sunday – US Navy Birthday

Sunday, October 10th, 2021

On 13, OCTOBER 1775 the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution creating official establishment the Continental Navy. They voted to outfit two sailing vessels, armed with ten carriage guns, as well as swivel guns, and manned by crews of eighty, and to send them out on a cruise for three months to intercept transports carrying munitions and stores meant for the British army in America. Dudley Saltonstall, Abraham Whipple, Nicholas Biddle, and John Burroughs Hopkins were named commanders of the new service by Congress. The 24-gun frigates Alfred and Columbus, 14-gun brigs Andrew Doria and Cabot, and three schooners, the Hornet, Wasp, and Fly, were the Navy’s first ships. Commissions were also given to five first lieutenants, including future American hero John Paul Jones, five second lieutenants, and three third lieutenants. Throughout the War of Independence, the Continental Navy sent to sea more than fifty armed vessels. The Navy’s squadrons and cruisers seized enemy supplies and carried correspondence and diplomats to Europe, returning with needed munitions. They took nearly 200 British vessels as prizes, and some of the British Isles themselves, contributing to the demoralization of the enemy and forcing the British to divert warships to protect convoys and thier  trade routes. But with the end of the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Navy was disbanded. Then with threats to American merchant shipping by Barbary pirates from four North African States, in the Mediterranean, President George Washington signed the Naval Act of 1794 the act authorizing the construction of the Navy’s first six frigates ? Congress passed a resolution to establish a national Navy that could protect U.S. commercial vessels from attacks by the Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean and nearby Atlantic waters.

US Naval Special Warfare SEALs Enhance Interoperability through Specialized Training in Cyprus with Cypriot Underwater Demolition Team

Monday, September 20th, 2021

Limassol, Cyprus – As part of a bi-lateral training exercise in Cyprus the Cypriot Underwater Demolition Team (MYK) is hosting U.S. Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Europe (NSWTU-E) beginning 07 September 2021. This is one of a series of training events throughout the Eastern Mediterranean directed at building cohesion between NATO allies and partners while increasing readiness in the face of multiple threats to the peace and stability of Europe.

“You can see the very real demonstration of cohesion we build during exercises like this with partners like Cyprus,” said the Naval Special Warfare Officer-in-Charge. “We simply cannot accomplish the mission alone – by exchanging tactics and ideas, we build cohesion necessary to defeat any challenge.”

NSWTU-E is currently training with members of the MYK on maritime operations. Joint training in the eastern Mediterranean is essential in maintaining interoperability and strong relationships with our ally and partner nations, ensuring stability throughout the theater.

Special Operations Command Europe participates in multiple exercises within Europe throughout the year not only with the NATO allies, but important partners such as Cyprus, providing an option to commanders allowing for discreet mission sets in any condition, climate, and terrain.

Story by Capt Margaret Collins DuTart, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe

Photos by Sgt Patrik Orcutt, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe

NEXCOM Participates in Virtual Textile and Clothing Technology Workshop

Monday, September 6th, 2021

The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM), its business line Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility (NCTRF) and its parent command, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) executed its first virtual webinar from Aug. 25-26, highlighting textile and uniform technology area. The workshop encompassed over 100 participants within industry and academia.

A number of NEXCOM leaders participated in a variety of information sessions and a panel discussion titled, ‘Demystify doing Business with Clothing and Textiles for NAVSUP, NEXCOM and NCTRF.’ NEXCOM leadership who participated in the two-day webinar included Laurra Winters, Director, NCTRF; Navy Cdr. Terri Gabriel, Deputy Commander Uniform Programs; Rich Honiball, Executive Vice President, Global Merchandising and Marketing Officer; and serving as keynote speaker, retired Navy Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, CEO, NEXCOM.

Serving for nearly 30 years in uniform as a Navy Supply Corps Officer, Bianchi shared with the group his sentiment and the importance of a safe, comfortable and functional uniform. “One can say that the readiness of our Navy warfighters intrinsically starts with the uniform that’s on their back and the gear they carry,” stated Bianchi. “There is plenty of ongoing research and development being accomplished in the areas of seamless knitting, cold weather gear experimentation and NWU Type III design refinement—just to name a few. But make no mistake, all of the advancements in uniforms and protective gear has at its foundation a strong partnership with industry, in particular the clothing and textile industrial base.”

The two-day webinar featured discussions on new and emerging technologies, as well as concepts and the importance of the textile industrial base to military uniforms and gear. The workshop was hosted by the Naval-X Northeast Tech Bridge, 401 Tech Bridge, the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network and the North Carolina Military Business Center. The group discussed opportunities for small business development, to address current capability gaps in textiles for uniform and protective clothing, and collaboration areas with industry and academia. NEXCOM’s participating leadership emphasized their commitment to establishing and maintaining close relationships with industry leaders and explained that such forums can help accelerate the connection.

Bianchi described two recent examples of successes where industry and NCTRF partnered to improve the safety and function of uniform and organizational components for the Navy fleet— the steam suit for submariners resulting in a new design and materials currently transitioning and the I Boot-5 for Navy warfighters which will meet the requirements to be worn in a variety of Navy environments.

“Events like this collaborative workshop serve an important role in highlighting the importance of building military/industry partnerships,” explained Bianchi. “I am optimistic about the future of clothing and textiles…whether research, design, testing, commercial manufacturing, or academia, all play a very important role to ensure our Navy warfighters never enter a fair fight—we always want the advantage, and are truly the world’s best Naval fighting force because of everyone’s contributions!”

Quick Facts

The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM), its business line Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility (NCTRF) and its parent command, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) executed its first virtual webinar from Aug. 25-26, highlighting textile and uniform technology area. The workshop encompassed over 100 participants within industry and academia.