HSC-25 Detachment 6 returns from deployment
On Nov. 7 Helicopter Sea Squadron 25 Detachment 6 returned to Guam after completing an eight-month deployment on the USS Essex. While on deployment the crew supported Operation Cobra Gold 2006 a U.S.-Thai annual joint training exercise aimed at developing interoperability strengthening relationships between services and enhancing cross-cultural understanding among participating nations. The detachment also participated in both Exercise Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercise which were held simultaneously and helped strengthen military operations and friendships between the U.S.and the Philippines.

As part of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing U.S. Pacific Fleet HSC-25 is the Navy’s only forward-deployed vertical replenishment squadron providing deployed ships a rapid safe and versatile means of re-supplying diminishing stores.

Sailor dies following USS Frank Cable Accident
On Dec. 7 Jack B. Valentine a machinery repairman fireman assigned to the USS Frank Cable’s engineering division; died at Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston Texas from injuries he sustained when a steam pipe ruptured in the engineering spaces of the Guam-based submarine tender on Dec. 1 According to a release from the Navy.

The accident occurred after the ship had returned from sea to Apra Harbor. Personnel were conducting routine preventive maintenance checks of steam safety valves when the No. 1 boiler experienced a major steam leak into a firebox which ruptured an exhaust plenum and sent pressurized steam into the Fire Room.

Eight crewmembers were initially taken to Naval Hospital Guam. Two were treated and released and the other six were flown to the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu where they were met by the Burn Special Medical Augmentation Response Team. After initial treatment the six were then taken to Brooke Army Medical Center for specialized burn trauma care.

A memorial service was held for Valentine on Dec. 10 at the U.S. Naval Base Guam Chapter.

Four of the five remaining sailors at the Brooke Army Medical center remain in serious condition while the fifth was released for outpatient follow-up. The damages to the Frank Cable are being assessed on Guam and the incident is being investigated.

MSS-7 holds change of command ceremony
Mobile Security Squadron 7 held a change of command ceremony on Dec. 15 at the squadron’s compound on U.S. Naval Base Guam. During the ceremony Cmdr. James McGrath III relieved Cmdr. Erich Diehl who assumed command in March 2005. McGrath was previously assigned to staff of U.S. seventh Fleet in Japan. The guest speaker was Rear Adm. Donald Bullard commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. Diehl will report to U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk Va.

The mission of MSS-7 is to protect designated Department of Defense high-value assets against terrorist attacks in locations where U.S. force protection infrastructure does not exist or requires augmentation.

Agat and Santa Rita lose water while Navy renovates water treatment plant
Agat and Santa Rita were without water from 5 a.m. on Dec. 18 through midnight on Dec. 19 as part of the ongoing renovations of the Navy’s Water Treatment Plant. The Navy’s Treated Water Reservoirs were affected during the outage due to the lack of replenishment normally provided by the treatment plant. In order to mitigate the impact of the outage the Navy asked its residents to implement water conservation measures.

According to the Navy this and future outages are necessary to facilitate Navy Water Treatment Plant upgrades which will improve treatment processes modernize process control instrumentation and provide redundancy which will result in better more reliable water service to Navy customers.

MSS-7 sailor earns new warfare device
According to a Dec. 14 release from the Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Carl Hurtt master-at-arms assigned to Mobil Security Squadron 7 will be the first to don the Navy’s newest warfare qualification the Expeditionary Warfare device. The new qualification recognizes sailors who have successfully completed the Expeditionary Warfare program which focuses on several skills to include weapon qualification and maintenance marksmanship land navigation and field communications.

Hurtt was pinned the warfare device by Rear Adm. Donald Bullard commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command; on Dec. 15 on U.S. Naval Base Guam.

Navy holds groundbreaking ceremony for military working dog facility
U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas held a groundbreaking ceremony to commence the construction of a military dog facility on Dec. 20 on Andersen Air Force Base. The facility will consist of more than a dozen indoor and outdoor kennels an obedience training course of approximately 22 500 square feet and exercise and break area for the canines and an administrative and operations building.

The project was awarded to Reliable Builders Inc. in February. Completion is scheduled for June 2007. The total award price is $2.77 million.

U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard continues to monitor removal of fuel from grounded fishing vessel
According to a Dec. 31 release the Coast Guard in cooperation with the Hawaii State Department of Health and the Robinson family are continuing to monitor the removal of fuel from a grounded fishing vessel the Wahine Kepaloa II at Kawaihoa Point near the southern tip of Niihau. The vessel ran aground on Dec. 29. The two men onboard were airlifted off of Niihau by the Coast Guard and neither were injured.

The 44-foot Wahine Kepaloa II remains aground on the beach in a rocky area. The vessel is breaking up and the Coast Guard Captain of the Port has federalized the case in order to remove oil and hazardous materials from the vessel.

A Coast Guard pollution investigator reported no signs of pollution and no visible impact to marine life or birds in the immediate area after a comprehensive assessment earlier today.

National Guard

Air National Guard members return to Guam
Sixty Air National Guard members returned on Dec. 15 after serving in Operation Jump Start.
Air National Guard to hold awards banquet

The Guam Air National Guard Family Readiness Group and the Guam Air National Guard Top Three will be hosting the annual Enlisted Awards Banquet on Feb. 3 to recognize the outstanding air guardsmen and women. Nominees are selected on having distinguished themselves as the best in their respective unit. There are four categories for which the airmen can be nominated: 2006 Airman of the Year; 2006 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; 2006 Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; and 2006 First Sergeant of the Year.

Bordallo visits soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center
On Dec. 9 Madeleine Z. Bordallo Guam’s delegate to Congress passed out gifts to children families and service members as Mrs. Clause at a Helping Our Heroes Foundation Christmas Party at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. according to a release from Bordallo’s office. About 25 wounded servicemen and women and their families gathered in the Red Cross center at Walter Reed for a home-cooked meal and holiday activities. MBJ