U.S. Department of Labor Announces Award of $47,600,000 In Training Grants to Help Homeless Veterans Re-enter the Workforce

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transitioning veteran shaking hands with employer

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the award of 163 Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants totaling $47,600,000. This funding will provide workforce reintegration services to more than 18,000 homeless veterans.

“While serving in the military, veterans learn many skills desired in today’s workforce,” said Secretary Acosta. “These grants will help thousands of homeless veterans reintegrate themselves into society and secure good jobs.”

Funds are being awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards; local public agencies and nonprofit organizations; tribal governments; and faith-based and community organizations. Homeless veterans may receive occupational skills training, apprenticeship opportunities, and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance.

This year’s HVRP awards provide 40 first-year grants totaling nearly $13,000,000. Previous awardees will receive first and second option year grants totaling $34,600,000.

Grantees under the HVRP program will coordinate their efforts with other federal programs, such as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program.

More information on the Department’s unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans is available at www.dol.gov/vets/. For more information about the Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), please visit veterans.gov or follow on @VETS_DOL twitter.

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Lake Forest, CA native participates in world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise

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Alvarado Landon

PEARL HARBOR – A 2011 El Toro High School graduate and Lake Forest, California, native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise known as the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

Lt. j.g. Landon Alvarado is an electrical officer aboard USS O’Kane, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A Navy electrical officer is responsible for electrical safety onboard the ship, as well as training new sailors in electrical safety.

Alvarado is looking forward to applying the lessons learned from Lake Forest to working in the Navy.

“My parents instilled the value of being a good person,” said Alvarado. “Taking the time to stop and talk to sailors can make a huge difference for them.”

As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring safety at sea and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

The theme of RIMPAC 2018 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” according to Navy officials. The participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.

“I’m looking forward to being able to sail with foreign navies,” said Alvarado. “We haven’t had that opportunity before so it will be a huge learning experience.”

This is the first time Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating in RIMPAC. Additional firsts include New Zealand serving as sea combat commander and Chile serving as combined force maritime component commander. This is the first time a non-founding RIMPAC nation (Chile) will hold a component commander leadership position.

This year will also feature live firing of a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from a U.S. Air Force aircraft, surface to ship missiles by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from a launcher on the back of a Palletized Load System (PLS) by the U.S. Army. This marks the first time a land based unit will participate in the live fire event during RIMPAC. RIMPAC 2018 will also include international band engagements and highlight fleet innovation during an Innovation Fair.

“I’m proud of being a division officer, and seeing my sailors work with each other and see them grow,” said Alvarado.

Twenty-six nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Alvarado and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“I’ve learned how much I can really accomplish without much guidance,” said Alvarado. “The Navy gives me the opportunity to take initiative. Serving in the Navy means I’m making a difference in the world, and that gives me a lot of pride.”

Additional information about RIMPAC is available at cpf.navy.mil

Source: navyoutreach.com

Sailor Spotlights! Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Theodric Michael and Airman Jaiden Salem

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Seaman Michael and Airman Salem

MARSEILLE, France- Seaman Michael, left, and Airman Salem, from Anaheim, Calif., prepare to hoist the national ensign on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Harry S. Truman is currently deployed as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe.

On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)

Source: outreach.navy.mil

 

Patriot Boot Camp wants to turn soldiers into entrepreneurs

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From the earliest moments of boot camp, budding soldiers learn about entrepreneurship. They learn how to operate in unknown terrain, how to listen to signals and, perhaps most importantly, how to make things happen with extremely limited time and resources.

Yet, when soldiers return home following a deployment, the transition to civilian life can be jarring. Even with those valuable soft skills, there aren’t many obvious jobs in the private sector for a combat engineer or a fire support specialist. Perhaps even more challenging, according to Josh Carter, is their lack of connections. “The biggest thing that veterans are facing is network — they don’t have a big network,” he said.

Carter is working to change that situation through Patriot Boot Camp, a series of programs under the Techstars banner that gives veterans the tools and connections they need in order to launch a startup. The nonprofit, which was founded by Taylor McLemore, Congressman Jared Polis and Techstars  founder David Cohen, hosts multi-day “boot camps” in cities across the country that are designed to quickly immerse participants into the life and thinking of startups. Since its founding in 2012, the program has held nine boot camps in cities like San Antonio, DC and Austin, with its next program in Denver later this year.

Carter’s own experience making the transition from the navy to the private sector is telling. He joined the service when he was 17 in the mid-90s, and over the following three years, traveled to 30 countries. The experience matured him, he explained, and on his return, he joined the telecom industry, starting his career climbing poles and eventually joining Twilio as an escalation manager and early employee. Twilio changed Carter’s life, encouraging him to pursue startups as his own career. “During that time I really got the bug to create something,” he said.

He tried to build his own startup called Brightwork, which was a developer microservices API founded in 2015. The company went through Techstars Chicago, and Carter was hoping to build the kind of company he had seen at Twilio. But growth challenges early on proved insurmountable. “We were really struggling to figure out our target market and struggling to find investors, so it just sort of died,” he told me.

Continue onto Tech Crunch to read the complete article.

The National WWII Museum Honors WWII Women Air Force Service Pilot Bernice “Bee” Haydu

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Bee Haydu

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has awarded Bernice “Bee” Falk Haydu — WWII WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilot) — its 2018 Silver Service Medallion. The award is given to veterans and those with a direct connection to World War II who have served our country with distinction and continue to lead by example.

The Medallion was bestowed during a June 8 luncheon as part of the Museum’s annual American Spirit Awards, presented by Hancock Whitney. Along with Haydu, the Silver Service Medallion was presented to WWII veteran Lt. General Victor “Brute” Krulak USMC (Ret.) — who received the award posthumously — and his son, Vietnam veteran Gen. Charles C. Krulak USMC (Ret.), past Commandant of the Marine Corps and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Bee Haydu has been a champion of advancing the WASP legacy as the first women to fly military aircraft in the US Army Air Force during World War II. During the war, Haydu completed a seven-month training program and was on track to fly B-25s, but the WASP were disbanded in December 1944, prior to the war’s end. She is a member of the Aviation Hall Fame and her original WASP uniform is on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

As President of the WASP organization from 1975 to 1978, Haydu led the fight in Congress to acknowledge the WASP as veterans of World War II, as had been promised. And she won: President Jimmy Carter signed a bill in November 1977 recognizing WASP as WWII veterans.  In 2009, she witnessed President Barack Obama sign a bill into law awarding the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal.

Haydu has also been awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2014 and an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the Vaughn College of Aeronautics in Flushing, New York, in May 2015. She’s the author of “Letters Home 1944-1945: Women Air Force Service Pilots, World War II,” which includes letters she wrote to her mother during the war.

Her passion for flying continued even after the WASP run ended, and she went on to become a flight instructor, owner of a Cessna dealership and even part-owner of a flight school. She and her late husband, Joseph Haydu—also a pilot—continued to fly into their late 70s and owned 28 different types of planes.

“Bee Haydu is an American hero and aviation pioneer who served our country with distinction and honor during World War II,” said Stephen J. Watson, President & CEO at The National WWII Museum. “She and her fellow Women Air Force Service Pilots broke gender barriers in the military and became role models for the generations of women that followed. We were proud to present her with the Silver Service Medallion for all that she has accomplished.”

The American Spirit Awards recognizes individuals who best exemplify the outstanding qualities of the American spirit, including teamwork, optimism and determination. It is a multiday celebration that culminates in a formal awards gala on the Museum’s campus. Proceeds from the American Spirit Awards support educational programming at The National WWII Museum, including the ongoing development of classroom materials and professional-development opportunities for teachers in schools across the country, as well as online experiences that bring the Museum and its resources to students around the world.

Sailor Spotlight! Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth NuNez-Orona

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Elizabeth NuNez-Orona

LEMOORE, Calif.- A 1999 Katella High School graduate and Anaheim, California, native is currently serving with a U.S. Navy strike fighter squadron, which flies one of the world’s most advanced warplanes.

Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth NuNez-Orona is an aviation ordnanceman with the Kestrels of VFA 137, which operates out of Naval Air Station Lemoore. A Navy aviation ordnanceman is responsible for maintaining the weapons systems on the aircraft and uploading and downloading ordnance on the aircraft.

“Growing up I was taught that you have to hustle,” NuNez-Orona said. “You have to work for what you want, and nothing is free. It’s the same in the Navy.”

Members of VFA 137 work with the F/A 18 Super Hornet, one of the most advanced aircraft in the world. The Super Hornet takes off from and lands on Navy aircraft carriers at sea and is capable of conducting air-to-air combat as well as striking targets on land. It is approximately 61 feet long, has a loaded weight of 51,000 lbs., and a max speed of 1,190 miles per hour.

Operating from sea aboard aircraft carriers, the Super Hornet gives the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, at any time. The versatile jet has the ability to destroy targets located hundreds of miles inland, without the need to get another country’s permission to operate within its borders.

“Strike Fighter Wing, U. S. Pacific Fleet, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, is the heart of Naval Aviation,” said Capt. James S. Bates, Deputy Commodore, Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific. “The sailors assigned to SFWP always exceed expectations and produce amazing results through team work and dedication to their department, squadron, the U.S. Navy and their family. Naval Aviation is a challenging occupation, but our sailors work day in and day out to provide fully mission capable aircraft and fully qualified aircrew to ensure leadership is able to answer national level tasking. I am humbled to be able to lead the sailors of SFWP and I am proud to call Lemoore my home.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, NuNez-Orona and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“I am looking forward to mentoring the sailors within this command,” said NuNez-Orona. “I retire in a year, so I want to make sure I leave something good behind.”

NuNez-Orona is proud of receiving a Volunteer Service Medal for cleaning up Kings County and helping youth ministries in the Lemoore area.

“Serving in the Navy means preserving our rights and freedoms,” NuNez-Orona said. “It means giving back to a country that gave my parents a good opportunity when they came here from Mexico.”

Source: outreach.navy.mil

D-Day: How technology helped win the Normandy invasion and World War II

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Courage. Devotion. Duty.

They are the words most often used to describe the brave Allied troops who landed on Normandy 74 years ago and helped win World War II.

Not to be forgotten, though, is this word: Technology.

World War II was won not just with courage, devotion and duty, but with American and British technological advances that gave Allied troops the upper hand in many facets of battle.

The most famous and fearsome: the Manhattan Project atomic bombs that led to the surrender of the Japanese in 1945. But there were many others.

Radar helped the Allies know what was coming at them from the enemy.

Bombsights employing complicated gyroscope technology allowed planes to pinpoint bomb attacks. Before World War II, pilots simply dropped bombs by hand and hoped for the best.

Nylon, the synthetic material invented by DuPont for women’s stockings, was used to make parachutes, glider tow ropes, aircraft fuel tanks and flak jackets, according to Smithsonian magazine. Some people dubbed it “the fiber that won the war.”

But one of the most crucial bits of technology, the one that helped the Allies launch the surprise attack on Normandy, was the hull of a boat — the Higgins boat.

You have probably seen pictures of this hulking nautical miracle, the one that carried troops right onto Normandy’s beach.

It was built by a wily, hard-drinking inventor named Andrew Higgins, the man Dwight D. Eisenhower once credited with winning World War II.

“It is Higgins himself who takes your breath away,” Raymond Moley, a former FDR adviser, wrote in Newsweek in 1943. “Higgins is an authentic master builder, with the kind of will power, brains, drive and daring that characterized the American empire builders of an earlier generation.”

Continue onto the Washington Post to read the complete article.

Flag Day—Celebrating America’s Freedoms

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American Flag

“That the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.” This was the resolution adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The resolution was made following the report of a special committee which had been assigned to suggest the flag’s design.

A flag of this design was first carried into battle on September 11, 1777, in the Battle of the Brandywine. The American flag was first saluted by foreign naval vessels on February 14, 1778, when the Ranger, bearing the Stars and Stripes and under the command of Captain Paul Jones, arrived in a French port. The flag first flew over a foreign territory in early 1778 at Nassau, Bahama Islands, where Americans captured a British fort.

Observance of the adoption of the flag was not soon in coming, however. Although there are many claims to the first official observance of Flag Day, all but one took place more than an entire century after the flag’s adoption in 1777. The first claim was from a Hartford, Conn., celebration during the first summer of 1861.

In the late 1800s, schools all over the United States held Flag Day programs to contribute to the Americanization of immigrant children, and the observance caught on with individual communities.

The most recognized claim, however, comes from New York. On June 14, 1889, Professor George Bolch, principal of a free kindergarten for the poor of New York City, had his school hold patriotic ceremonies to observe the anniversary of the Flag Day resolution. This initiative attracted attention from the State Depar tment of Education, which arranged to have the day observed in all public schools thereafter. Soon the state legislature passed a law ma king it the responsibility of the state superintendent of public schools to ensure that schools hold observances for Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial = Day and Flag Day. In 1897, the governor of New York ordered the displaying of the flag ov er all public buildings in the state, an observance considered by some to be the first official recognition of the anniversary of the adoption of the flag outside of schools.

Another claim comes from Philadelphia. In 1893, the Society of Colonial Dames succeeded in getting a resolution passed to have the flag displayed on all of the city’s public buildings. Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, a direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin
and the president of the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, that same year tried to get the city to call June 14 Flag Day. Resolutions by women were not granted much notice, however, and it was not until May 7, 1937, that Pennsylvania became the first state to establish the June 14 Flag Day as a legal holiday. Flag Day is a nationwide observance today, but Pennsylvania is the only state that recognizes it as a legal holiday.

Bernard J. Cigrand, a school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, reportedly spent years trying to get Congress to declare June 14 as a national holiday. Although his attempts failed, the day was widely observed. “Father of Flag Day” honors have been given to William T. Kerr, who was credited with founding the American Flag Day Association in 1888 while still a schoolboy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Both President Wilson, in 1916, and President Coolidge, in 1927, issued proclamations asking for June 14 to be observed as the National Flag Day. But it wasn’t until August 3, 1949, that Congress approved the national observance, and President Harry Truman signed it into law.

Source: va.gov

Where to Live When You Leave the Military?

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Transitioning Veterans

The day will come when you decide to leave the military. You might have spent many hours thinking about where you want to live and when to get out. Now it’s time to get practical. When deciding where to live after your military separation, it’s helpful to consider:

  • Your family’s wishes
  • Career opportunities
  • Education
  • Cost of living

Talk with Your Family

The decision about your next home will affect the entire family, so include them in every step of the process. Think about the following:

  • Career and educational opportunities—Does your spouse want to pursue a career? Now’s the time to provide that chance. What about the kids? Where are the best schools? Base your decisions on what will be good for the whole family.
  • Extended family—How close do you want to be to your extended family – “See you tomorrow” close or “See you on holidays” close? As you think about this, take a careful look at your hometown and evaluate the job market, schools, and cost of living.
  • Career Goals—A new job might determine where you live after military separation. Connect with the Transition Assistance Program and get tips and information to help you with your job search. (You have six months to a year to take advantage of your final relocation benefits, so don’t feel rushed into moving before you find a job.)

Find the Best Places to Live

After you’ve narrowed your search to a handful of cities or states, you can dive a little deeper. Make a list and prioritize what is most important to you, like job opportunities, schools, climate, or cost of living. Then, do your research to find the best match.

The following can help you make the military to civilian transition a little easier:

  • Take advantage of resources like the Relocation Assistance Program and the Transition Assistance Program—Contact program representatives early on to discuss potential places to live. Staff and volunteers can give you information on real estate and rentals in the area and provide chamber of commerce material.
  • Search websites—Many websites can help you find the best places to live by letting you arrange the importance of categories like education, crime rates, climate, and housing costs. You can narrow your search by preferences or compare your favorite cities.
  • Find local information—Search for an area’s information by visiting community or chamber of commerce websites, talking to real estate agents, and reading the local newspaper.
  • Identify unique, personal preferences—Some preferences can’t be factored into a test on a website. You may want to live close to a military installation so you and your family can take advantage of military benefits, or you may want to move near a particular reserve unit where you can train in a specialized area.

Make the Decision

You’ve done the background work—now is the time to make your decision. No outcome is guaranteed, but careful evaluation will help you choose the best option for you and your family. At this point, you might want to:

  • Weigh your options—Write down the available choices and assess the pros and cons of each. Use your list to help you look objectively at options.
  • Prepare for mixed emotions—Be prepared for different kinds of feelings as you make the change from military to civilian life.
  • Visit the transportation management office—As soon as you’ve made your decision, visit the transportation management office. Your installation office will schedule your final move. The earlier you visit, the more likely you can get the move dates you want.

Access Military Support

Your relocation benefits include one final move from your last duty station within the time and geographic limits listed below. If you live in installation housing, you may be allowed one move out of housing into the local community and another final move within these limits. Check with your installation’s transportation management office for details on benefits specific to your final move.

  • Retirement—You may be moved anywhere within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) or to your home of record outside the United States within one year of your retirement date. (This is called a home of selection.)
  • Involuntary separation (honorable discharge)—You may be moved anywhere within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) or to your home of record outside the United States within one year of your separation date.
  • Voluntary separation (honorable discharge)—You may be moved to your home of record (or an equal or lesser distance) within 180 days of your separation date. If you choose a destination of greater distance, you will be obligated to pay the additional costs.
  • General discharge (under honorable conditions)—You may be moved to your home of record (or an equal or lesser distance) within 180 days of your separation.

If you or another veteran is without a home or facing eviction or foreclosure while transitioning out of military service, the Department of Veterans Affairs can help. Call 877-4AID-VET (424-3838), or chat with them online to be connected to the homelessness prevention resources department.

Finding a place to call home after you separate from the military is one of the first big steps to civilian life. Fortunately, you have access to a number of benefits and resources that can help you with this transition. Educate yourself with the right information and you’ll be enjoying home sweet home soon.

Source: militaryonesource.mil

Memorial Day: 5 things you didn’t know about the holiday

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Memorial Day 2018

Read up on five interesting things to consider while we’re gathering, celebrating, and paying respects the men and women who died serving this country. Many Americans see Memorial Day as an opportunity to relax in the yard, gather with friends, or plan a weekend getaway — and it very much is. But at the same time, it’s important that we never lose sight of the day’s significance.

With that in mind, here are five interesting things to consider while we’re gathering, celebrating, and paying respects the men and women who died serving this country.

#1. We’re all aware that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, but Congress has also established an exact minute of remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance Act, which was adopted in December of 2000, encourages every citizen to pause each Memorial Day at 3:00 p.m. local time to remember the brave men and women who died serving this country. In addition to any federal observances, Major League Baseball games usually come to a stop during the Moment of Remembrance, and for the past several years, Amtrak engineers have taken up the practice of sounding their horns in unison at precisely 3:00 p.m.

#2. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Memorial Day is celebrated in late May because that’s when flowers are likely to be blooming across the country. It was Union General John A. Logan who — after serving in the Mexican-American War and Civil War — proposed that Congress institute May 30th as Decoration Day (the predecessor to Memorial Day) to allow citizens to decorate the graves of deceased veterans with fresh flowers. (It’s also believed that Logan settled on the date because it wasn’t already the anniversary of any significant battles.)

#3. The Ironton-Lawrence Memorial Day Parade in Ironton, Ohio, is recognized as the oldest continuously running Memorial Day parade in the nation, beginning all the way back in 1868. However, the oldest (and first) Memorial Day parade in the country was held a year earlier in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. (It’s also worth noting that both the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., and the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade in Queens, N.Y., bill themselves as the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation.)

#4. “Taps,” the bugle call typically performed at military funerals as well as the annual Memorial Day wreath ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was actually adapted from a separate Civil War bugle call known as “Scott Tattoo,” which was used to signal lights out. The new melody later became the preferred accompaniment at military funerals after Captain John Tidball of the Union Army alert nearby Confederate troops to their location.

#5. Despite rising gas prices, AAA estimates that 41.5 million people will be traveling on Memorial Day weekend, with 36.6 million of them traveling by car and clogging up the freeways. Leaving a little earlier on Thursday won’t help to ease drivers’ burdens, either: Transportation analysts working with AAA say drivers will be experiencing the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday and Friday, and “congestion across a greater number of days,” in general, “than in previous years.”

Source: Fox News

Anaheim, CA native serves aboard one of the U.S. Navy’s first “Stealth Ships”

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BATH, Maine – A 2010 Colton High School graduate and Anaheim, California, native is serving as part of the Pre-Commissioning Unit for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Fireman David Bernal is assigned to DDG 116 in Bath, Maine. As a fireman Bernal is responsible for maintenance of the ship’s electrical distribution systems. “I enjoy the camaraderie with the sailors in the division that I work in,” said Bernal.

DDG 116 is currently undergoing tests and trials in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Navy from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works. Arleigh Burke class destroyers measure approximately 500 feet long and are powered by four gas turbines that allow the ship to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and ballistic missile defense, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute a variety of missions.

“Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain, received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his element leader, the first African American naval aviator to fly in combat, Ensign Jesse L. Brown,” said Cmdr. Nathan W. Scherry, commanding officer, PCU Thomas Hudner. “On 07 May 2012, Secretary Mabus announced that DDG 116 will be named in Captain Hudner’s honor. Today, as the Navy’s finest 300 Sailors crew the 66th Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, they do so with a tremendous amount of honor, pride, and sense of duty. We are extremely honored to be able to carry Captain Hudner’s values and legacy forward so that they are never forgotten. We are proud to be able to carry out our missions in defense of our country’s freedom and values, and humbled to be part of the Hudner family.”

Bernal has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.

“Growing up, I learned the values of hard work and taking with you as much as you can from your job so you can move on to the next chapter in your life,” said Bernal.

With a crew of over 300 sailors, each crew member’s job is important to the smooth operation of the ship. The jobs range from weapon handling to navigation.

Bernal has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My older brother served in the Marines for five years and did a tour in Afghanistan,” said Bernal. “I’m proud to carry on his name doing my part serving in the military.”

Bernal’s proudest accomplishment was graduating boot camp.

“We had several dropouts in my division throughout the eight-week course. Completing boot camp gave me the confidence needed to know I can complete anything in life I set my mind to,” added Bernal.

Close living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest ships, Bernal and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means being a part of something bigger than myself,” said Bernal. “I have a great sense of pride and honor serving my country, and it makes my family proud.”

The construction of the ship is over 98% complete. The ship is scheduled for commissioning in late 2018 in Boston, Mass. For more information about the commissioning, visit usshudnerddg116.org.

By Ricky Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller