Out of the Darkness: TR Sailors Raise Suicide Awareness

150830-N-WD161-164 ARABIAN GULF (August 30, 2015) – Lt. Cmdr. Jason Duff, TR’s Psychologist, speaks during a Suicide Awareness Month walk held on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class D’Artanyan Ratley/Released)

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) took part in a suicide awareness walk on the flight deck  as part of the 10th Annual “Out of the Darkness” Community Walk, Aug. 30.

“The purpose of this walk is to generate awareness about depression and suicide,” said Lieutenant Commander Jason Duff, the ship’s psychologist. “It also serves as a time of remembrance for people who may have been lost to depression or suicide.”

The USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), took part in a similar event during their deployment this time last year, said Duff.

Sailors from the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD), the Second Class Petty Officers’ Association and all the chief petty officer selects volunteered to support the event.

“I helped hand out t-shirts to all the participants involved,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Kiara Dominguez, Carrier Strike Group 12’s CSADD president. “I think it was a really important opportunity for people to learn about suicide prevention and to know the signs of depression.”

150830-N-CQ428-192 ARABIAN GULF (August 30, 2015) – Sailors participate in a Suicide Awareness Month walk held on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jennifer Case/Released)

ASIST helped pass out t-shirts, paper cranes, which Sailors carried during the walk symbolizing long life and hope, and displayed a wall of remembrance.

“What the wall of remembrance was there for was to help us remember people who have gone through tough times and remember people who have thought of suicide, or attempted it,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman Jolando Lightner, the ship’s Suicide Prevention Coordinator. “It was there to give people an outlet to say positive words to Sailors who are maybe thinking about those things or give their own stories or words of encouragement.”

TR also hosted a mental health fair and ice cream social after the walk.

Representatives from the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP), office of psychology, deployed resiliency counselor, Command Religious Ministries department (CRMD) and Family Advocacy Program (FAP) showed their support during the fair.

“They had a table showing you how to manage stress,” said Yeoman Seaman April Coats. “I don’t know how to manage it sometimes and the littlest thing can get to me, so I liked that they had that out there. I think the number one thing is that if people are dealing with stuff on the inside, they don’t always want to be questioned. When I walked up to the table, they didn’t ask me why I was there. They were friendly and didn’t [pry]..”

In the United States alone, suicide took 41,149 lives in 2013, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“It hits home for me,” said Dominguez. “I’ve had a few family members who have self-harmed, and a couple who have committed suicide, so this was something I really wanted to bring awareness to because I think everyone should know that it’s not a joke and it’s never something to just brush under the rug.”

150830-N-WD161-265 ARABIAN GULF (August 30, 2015) – Sailors pose for a group photo after a Suicide Awareness Month walk held on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) . Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class D’Artanyan Ratley/Released)

The themes for Suicide Awareness Month are “Every Sailor, Every Day”, and; “One Small Act.”

“One small act can save a life,” said Duff. “That is so true. I see it every day. I see people walk their shipmates down here when that person is at a point where they really need help. It happens all the time. We do a really good job already out on the TR in terms of looking out for one another.”

TR and the ASIST team plan to host other awareness events including sunrise yoga on the flight deck, a suicide trivia night and a cake cutting event to continue to raise awareness throughout September.

“This is going to get people talking,” said Duff. “It’s going to bring it to the forefront, literally and figuratively bringing out of the darkness oftentimes very difficult topics. The idea is we don’t want to do it just for a day, or a few hours, or even just for a month. We want to be able to discuss it every day. We want people to be aware of this and we want people reaching out and looking out for their shipmates. That’s one of the best prevention and treatments out there; when people are tuned in and they know what to look for and how to find resources. That’s why this is so important for these Sailors.”

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anna Van Nuys, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

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TR Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

ARABIAN GULF – Sailors and Marines packed the aft mess decks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71), Aug. 29, to honor and remember fellow service members, past and present, during a ceremony for the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution’s passage, which marked the beginning of the Vietnam War.

The ceremony not only highlighted the sacrifice and commitment of Vietnam veterans but also recognized and honored the prisoners of war (POW) and those missing in action (MIA), who never made it home.

During the ceremony, guest speaker Chief Hospital Corpsman Alexis Alvarado, discussed the significant achievements of many Vietnam veterans while drawing attention to the sacrifice of those veterans who may not have achieved fame.

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“Of the millions of Americans who served on active duty in the US armed forces during the Vietnam era, many were or went on to become famous in diverse fields such as politics, entertainment, sports and journalism,” said Alvarado. “We can name countless celebrities, but let us not forget those heroes who didn’t make it to the cover of People magazine or the “famous A-list.”

Heroes like Hospital Corpsman Third Class Maurice Caron Wayne, who rendered first aid to multiple Marines and saved three lives despite being struck numerous times by enemy rounds.

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According to the Defense POW/MIA Office, more than 58,000 U.S. service members were killed during the war that took place between 1955 and 1975 and more than 1,600 are still missing.

“Hero is a word sometimes heedlessly thrown about by the media. This carelessness depreciates the value of the word hero. Today, we revere and honor that word, and pay homage to those who went before us, to serve as the champions of freedom and democracy around the world.”

During the ceremony, Chief Logistics Specialist (select) Ahnas Akande gave a presentation on the meaning POW/MIA, which is displayed in all the mess decks and wardrooms aboard Theodore Roosevelt.

“The table before you is a place of honor. It is set for one,” said Akande. “This table is our way of symbolizing the fact that members of our profession of arms are missing from our midst. They are commonly called POW’s or MIA’s. We call them brothers. They are unable to be with us this evening and so we remember them,” said Akande, during the presentation.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Adjon-Alber Watkins, who attended the ceremony, said that he thought the ceremony was inspiring and that he thought it was very important that we honor and remember the sacrifices of fellow service members from the Vietnam War because it reminds him of why he joined the service.

“Remembering the sacrifice of those service members reminds me of a verse ‘There is no greater love than this: that a man lay down his life for his friend.’ John 15:13. This verse constantly reminds me not to be selfish and that my service to my country is about something larger then myself.”

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Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the TRCSG, which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 90) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Spears, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

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TR Celebrates Women’s Equality Day

ARABIAN GULF (August 26, 2015) – Sailors and Marines celebrated Women’s Equality Day on the mess decks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Aug. 26.
The celebration marked 95 years since passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Cmdr. Kim Donahue, the command Chaplain, spoke at the event to reflect on her experience with the progress of women in the military.

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“Since I‘ve been in [the military], women’s equality has been a given,” said Donahue. “When it comes to equality, if you’re really equal, you should be capable of pursuing an exciting demanding career. Then you should be able to continue on to take on more and more responsibility. And that’s been my experience.”

In 2000, Donahue was the first female chaplain onboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the same year Capt. Kathleen McGrath became the first woman to command a U.S. warship while deployed in the Arabian Gulf.

“I was very proud, and yet it didn’t matter. I had a job to do. It really doesn’t matter what gender I am. It’s my calling, my job, my profession. I was just thrilled to be on a carrier period,” said Donahue.

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After 17 years of service Donahue said she was honored to have the opportunity to speak to the younger generation of military women.

“Women have a lot of determination to join into something that is a predominantly male profession, which is war fighting,” said Donahue. “I think this is the case for most women in the military, myself included, that I never looked at myself as a pioneer. I just thought it was my right. It’s open to me, I want to do it and so I’m going to do it.”

Some of Donahue’s experiences throughout her civilian and naval career, as woman of many firsts, left an impact on the Sailors.

“I really liked the Chaplain’s story,” said Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Reshae Davenport, from Cleveland. “I thought it was very personal and impactful. I also liked the song that the choir did. It was really emotional and overall, it got me feeling spirited about the whole movement. It made me feel really proud about the history of women in the military.”

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Following Donahue’s speech, an all-female group from TR’s choir took to the stage, along with a cake cutting and video presentation.

Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the TRCSG, which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 90) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stephane Belcher, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

Join the conversation with TR online at http://www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt and http://www.Twitter.com/TheRealCVN71. For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.

Comedic Relief Arrives Onboard TR

ARABIAN GULF – (August 24, 2015) PJ Walsh, Danny Villalpando, Tom Foss and Reno Collier flew aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) to provide some comedic relief to the crew, Aug. 24.

The four stand-up comedians provided an evening of entertainment in the ship’s hangar bay. during a comedy show sponsored by Navy Entertainment.

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“We really appreciate those guys coming out and sharing their time with us,” said Capt. Craig Clapperton, TR’s commanding officer. “It’s a great way to bring a little touch of home to the ship.”

The show opened with Villalpando, who gave his comedic views on marriage, children and the most common theme of the night: the heat in the Arabian Gulf. Villalpando also thanked the Sailors and Marines for their service and sacrifice while on deployment.

“You guys are true super heroes, not only for what you do on this ship, but for doing it in this heat,” said Villalpando. “That makes you true champions.”

PJ Walsh brought his energetic brand of humor to the stage next. A former Sailor and Marine, Walsh told jokes about his experience in the military as well as his experience visiting service members deployed overseas.

“I met PJ in 2007 during my last deployment,” said Yeoman 2nd Class Steven Strickland. “It was great seeing him again, and I’m glad that we’re able to have entertainment come aboard.”

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Collier followed Walsh on stage. His jokes about weight, divorce and drinking received a big response from the crowd.

“[Collier] was definitely my favorite,” said Marine Cpl. Michael Wood. “It was an amazing show, and I wish it could have been longer.”

After his performance, Collier spoke to the crowd about his participation in the charity organization, A Soldier’s Child, that arranges birthday celebrations and offers college scholarships to the children of deceased service members.

“If you know anybody who could use our organization, you can visit our website or you can come talk to me after the show,” said Collier. “I want to thank you guys so much for serving our country and thank you so much for having us here.”

The final comedian of the night was Foss. He entertained the crew with witty one-liners and added TR to the list of Navy ships that he has performed on, bringing the total to 11. Foss has also entertained service members across the U.S. and in 23 other countries.

Following the show, the four comedians held a meet-and-greet in the hangar bay. The Sailors and Marines onboard gave one last round of applause before lining up to meet the entertainers.

“It was a really great show,” said Logistics Specialist Seaman Hannah Reissmann. “[Navy Entertainment] picked good people to come to the ship. They all appreciate what we do, and PJ has been there so he really gets what it’s like out here.”

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Taylor L. Jackson, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

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Sailor Pursues His Culinary Dream While Serving Active Duty

ARABIAN GULF – In an impromptu break in protocol during Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12’s change of command aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Rear Adm. Andrew Lewis meritoriously promoted Frederic Gilmore to petty officer first class, July 21 in what was another step forward in an unlikely Navy career.

A culinary school graduate, Gilmore had years of food industry experience and a passion for the culinary arts, but he had little aspiration for a military career until the economic recession altered his plans.

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Looking for greater opportunity, the Bronx native enlisted to be a culinary specialist, but life at his first duty station, the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), was not all smooth sailing.

“My first [food service officer] kept me in line the whole time, but he had to move me away from the habits that I had,” said Gilmore. “I had a big mouth on me and I thought that I knew it all. It was a good experience [the first couple of years in the Navy] because once I learned that my first and second classes were there for me and not trying to work against me then I was more open to suggestions and the way the Navy did things.”

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Gilmore began his career in the culinary field at about 18 years old. He continued working in the food industry for seven years, holding jobs in various restaurants between New York and New Jersey. He attended Johnson & Wales University for a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, which he later completed at a hometown culinary school in Asbury Park, New Jersey. When he entered the Navy, Gilmore could be hot-tempered, his discipline was lacking sometimes, and as an older Sailor he found it especially difficult to adjust to Navy life.

“The guys we get nowadays are young so we can train them the way that we want to,” said Gilmore. “You get a guy in the military that has a lot of experience and he’s going to be set in his ways and so then he won’t be as open to suggestions.”
Gilmore worked hard to adapt to the Navy and his efforts did not go unnoticed.

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Before his food service officer transferred from the Wasp, he wrote Gilmore a letter of recommendation to work in the flag mess community after which Gilmore received orders to serve on the CSG 12 staff. Gilmore welcomed the challenge, ready to commit to meeting the high expectations of working in a flag mess.

“I don’t believe in staying too complacent,” said Gilmore. “Monotony will kill you, in my opinion, so you have to go out and do something new. I would definitely say you have to change up your routine sometimes. That being said, for me, I change up the way I carry myself and what I am going to do, the type of food I am going to do, what I am going to learn, the type of jobs I want to do.”

Nurtured from an uncertain start, Gilmore’s career has blossomed into a successful one. Not only is he now a first class petty officer, he has also obtained orders to work in Washington D.C. for the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), a prestigious billet in the culinary specialist field.

“It’s going to be a challenge and it’s going to be different. I am going to have to keep working on those things I’ve been working on like my [attitude] but it’s a challenge I want. A challenge to take on for my career and it’s something that I definitely strive for,” said Gilmore.

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When asked whether or not Gilmore could see himself making a career out of the Navy, he explained that it is still a matter that he is taking his time on.
“I say that I will do 20 [years] but I would also like to open up my own deli or gym in Jersey,” said Gilmore. “I have a business plan for that option. If I get out at 41 years old I know that I have that plan for myself. If I stay in the Navy I know I want to put on khakis so first I want to become a chief and then after that probably go the officer route.”

One thing remains certain and that is Gilmore’s passion for the culinary arts. Whether it is making a career out of the Navy or returning to the civilian world to open up his own business, Gilmore knows his talents have a lot to offer and he has the drive to match.

Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the TRCSG, which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 90) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

Join the conversation with TR online at http://www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt and http://www.Twitter.com/TheRealCVN71. For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.

Navigation: Now and Then

Weary eyes gaze over the dreary haze gray creeping over an expanse of empty blue. Standing watch on the bridge, staring out onto this barren scene they are able to perceive a wealth of underwater topography, ghostly artifacts resting on the seabed and all manner of life floating, swimming and sailing nearby. They can define the ship’s location, identify nearby landmarks and passersby.

“I love my job, I get to stand here navigating the ship and have this beautiful view on the bridge, it’s a wonderful experience,” said Quartermaster 2nd Class Christopher Lewis. “I enjoy everything I do. You could say QMs drive the ship, so I could say I drove the aircraft carrier during flight ops and in and out of port.”

Navigation department’s quartermasters aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) combine traditional forms of navigation with new technologies to help ensure the ship is where it matters when it matters.

“The most important input, I think, is GPS [global positioning system]. It gives us a picture of where we are anytime, anywhere. Voyage Management System (VMS) shows where the ship is and where the ship is headed,” said Quartermaster 2nd Class Meghan Carter. “That’s our main navigation tool now. We are required to use it as our primary source of navigation. If I am going to give the OOD [officer of the deck] any info it has to come from VMS.”

Piloting the ship requires QMs to collect, process and disseminate geographic information to the OOD for safe transit.

“Using VMS alleviates a lot of the stress when going through strenuous areas because you can see exactly where you are,” said Carter. “The paper chart represents where you were, not where you are, so you have to rely on past information. So that makes it a little stressful.”

VMS also supports accountability and procedure. The supplemental system also reduces the likelihood of human error.

“We are a direct representative of the navigator,” said Carter. “On the bridge we assist the OOD with our plan of intended movement and course and speed recommendations.”

Quartermasters still employ the more traditional approach of measuring and tracking observable atmospheric elements and celestial bodies.

“I have been on sea duty for five years, so I like to do the celestial stuff because that is not something we usually do every day,” said Carter. “I love that stuff. It blows my mind to think about how they figured out how to use the sun and the stars to navigate. We still use the Nautical Almanac to compute sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset.”

The Nautical Almanac is a publication describing the positions of celestial bodies to assist navigators in determining their position.

“We do a daily azimuth, the difference between true and magnetic north, to get our gyrocompass error,” said Lewis. “We put a bearing circle on the gyrocompass repeater to reflect sunlight onto the repeater to get a bearing to the sun.”
Predetermined functional zones ensure safe navigation. These designated safe zones, or operating boxes, are where TR can most efficiently execute her mission.

“Canal transit and pulling in and out of port can be stressful,” said Lewis. “Our navigation team is really knowledgeable. Our senior chief and our LPO [leading petty officer] they have done this a thousand times, so there isn’t too much stress. Our team is really experienced, we make it look easy.”

The frothy wake of where quartermasters have been is plain to see, but what lies over the horizon remains to be seen.

Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG), which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 90) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

Join the conversation with TR online at http://www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt and http://www.Twitter.com/TheRealCVN71. For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.