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USS Tortuga Embarks CLR 3, Prepares for Recovery Assistance in Thailand

Forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) departed from White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa Nov. 19, after embarking components of Combat Logistics Regiment (CLR) 3 in preparation to offer recovery assistance in distressed areas of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Tortuga and the embarked Marines will transit to Thailand and act as an afloat force staging platform to provide support and ease the suffering of the Thai people if requested.

LPD 22 Completes Acceptance Trials

The future USS San Diego (LPD 22) finished acceptance trials at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., Nov. 17, completing the final major milestone prior to the shipyard delivering the San Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship to the Navy in December.

San Diego is the sixth ship of the class to be presented to the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) for acceptance.

HELLFIRE team sustaining fight, cutting costs

As equipment is transitioned out of Iraq, perhaps none is more critical than the HELLFIRE missile system. Since the drawdown began, more than 750 HELLFIRE missiles have been shipped to the 402nd Army Field Support Battalion-Qatar, where they are serviced, tested and repaired by the HELLFIRE Forward Test and Repair Facility.

The HELLFIRE team returned nearly half of those missiles back into theater combat stocks, said Lt. Col. Michael Brown, director of Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, for the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade.

Range reconnaissance equips commander with knowledge for future training operations

The commander stepped from the vehicle into the open air and surveyed the scenery. A vast expanse of rolling mountain ranges and deep ravines crowded with towering trees stood before him. The view, as eye-catching as it may have been, was not the center of attention. It was the vacant buildings in his near vicinity that were the main point of interest for the commander.

USS Essex, Stethem Arrive in Bali

Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) arrived in Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 20, for a port visit during their deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.

The visit to Bali will provide Essex and Stethem Sailors and Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) an opportunity to participate in several exchanges in the local community.

Raids, from ship to shore

The mission is received: terrorist forces and a large amount of weapons have been identified in a town neighboring a previous objective.

Six hours later, the Marines are ready. Their gear has been checked and rechecked. All personnel for the mission have been identified and accounted for. Their roles, responsibilities and the scheme of maneuver have been briefed twice-over.

Assault Amphibious Vehicles carry the Marines through water to land, before finally arriving at the town. Security sets in — nothing comes into or goes out of the town, except the Marines.

Japan, U.S. Naval Ships Complete Dynamic Koa Kai Training

Hawaii-based Destroyer Squadron 31 completed a week of dynamic training as ships returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Nov. 17-18, from the latest Koa Kai exercise in Hawaiian waters.

It was the first time U.S. Navy ships were joined by a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) surface ship for a Koa Kai exercise. The JMSDF helicopter destroyer JS Kurama (DDH 144) participated in the exercise that began Nov. 10.

U.S., Canadian defense leaders call F-35 crucial

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AFNS) -- Calling it crucial to the defense of North America, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Canadian Defense Minister Peter G. MacKay emphasized that both nations are committed to developing the F-35 joint strike fighter.

At a news conference here in conjunction with the Halifax International Security Forum, the defense leaders said budget pressures should not stand in the way of fielding the next-generation fighter jet.

Panetta said he's seen media reports that the U.S. is not committed to the joint strike fighter.

Forward observers train for close air support missions

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Forward observers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, participated in the Joint Fires Observer training course Nov. 7 through Nov. 9 here. The course curriculum covered calls for fire and field artillery aspects and key points regarding close air support on the battlefield, said U.S. Air Force Maj. Scott Downey.