The USNS Harvey Milk, the first Navy ship named in honor of an LGBTQ rights leader, was christened and launched in San Diego on Saturday. Continue reading “Navy Ship Named For Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk Launched”
While the chief of Naval Operations has recommended Captain Brett Crozier be reinstated as commander of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, Navy officials are surprised Defense Secretary Mark Esper hasn’t signed off on the reinstatement.
Crozier was removed from his command after he emailed superiors with concerns for his crew regarding the coronavirus.
Crozier was dismissed by then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly after the letter leaked. At the time, Crozier was characterized as having sent the email to 20-30 people. It was later revealed he only sent his concerns to 3 admirals and copied 7 captains.
Modly resigned after he traveled to Guam to give a speech about the Roosevelt that berated Crozier as “stupid” or “naive.”
From the NY Times:
Capt. Brett E. Crozier should be restored to command of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, the Navy’s top officials recommended on Friday.
But Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, who was briefed on the recommendations, has asked for more time to consider whether he will sign off on the reinstatement of the captain of the nuclear-powered carrier.
Mr. Esper received the recommendation that Captain Crozier be reinstated from the chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael M. Gilday, and the acting Navy Secretary, James McPherson, on Friday. Defense Department officials said earlier that they expected to announce the results of the Navy’s investigation into the matter on Friday afternoon.
Mr. Esper’s decision to hold up the investigation has surprised Navy officials, who believed that the defense secretary would leave the process in the hands of the military chain of command.
As of today, the Navy reports 856 positive cases of coronavirus have been found among the USS Roosevelt crew, with 112 recovered and four in the hospital. One sailor died last week.
CNN offers this recap of the backstory and updates:
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) April 24, 2020
Captain Brett Crozier was removed as commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt last week for attempting to alert the Navy about mounting concerns about the spread of COVid-19 on his ship. Apparently, the Trump administration thought it “looked bad” for Navy captains going public with unsafe situations.
“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset: our Sailors,” Crozier wrote in a memo that three US defense officials confirmed to CNN. Video footage of Crozier being cheered by his crew as he left the Roosevelt went viral.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly (above) then traveled to Guam where the ship was docked on Monday to address the crew. During his speech, he called Crozier “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge. Hours later, he was ordered by Defense Secretary Mark Esper to apologize.
It would seem that wasn’t enough to stop the bad press, as Modly has now submitted his resignation for the dumb AF remarks.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned on Tuesday, a day after leaked audio revealed he called the ousted commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt “stupid” in an address to the ship’s crew, according to a US official and a former senior military official.
On Monday, Modly told the crew of the Roosevelt that their former commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in command or that he intentionally leaked a memo to the media, in which Crozier warned about coronavirus spreading aboard the aircraft carrier and urged action to save his sailors, according to remarks obtained by CNN.
According to Peter Baker of the NY Times, “After excoriating Crozier, Modly did not tour the ship, saw few of the crew and was gone in less than 30 minutes. Questions solicited for him were screened but he did not answer a single one.”
As of today, 230 sailors aboard the Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus.
Undersecretary of the Army James McPherson, a retired rear admiral and former judge advocate general of the Navy, has been named as Modly’s successor.
|Bryan Woodington kisses husband Kenneth upon returning home from deployment|
As is tradition in the US Navy, a lottery is held to determine which lucky spouse will get to receive the ceremonial ‘first kiss’ as sailors return home from a long deployment
Spouses can enter the raffle with the funds donated to charity.
Kenneth Woodington, who works in special education, was the lucky winner meaning he would be first to kiss his spouse, Bryan Woodington, when the USS The Sullivans returned from seven months in the Middle East.
Kenneth told News4Jax, “When he got off the ship, I lost all control, I just dropped everything and I just ran.”
“And I knew I was going to dip him,” added Bryan.
The kiss reminded many of the iconic 1945 Times Square kiss on V-J Day.
In the news report from News4Jax, you can hear the cheers from the crowd.
But some folks just got to hate. And so it was that the news station received some angry emails over broadcasting the same-sex kiss.
From some of the email comments:
How sad that your station has dropped to such a low as to show a gay couple kissing on your newscast. How many people are now trying to explain their young kids why 2 men are kissing, very disgusting.
I’ll never watch your news again!!!! So long, News4Jax.
I thought this was a ‘family friendly’ news channel.
However, the photo of the smooch was also posted to Naval Station Mayport’s Facebook page where the image received overwhelmingly positive response.
From the Facebook comments:
Times have changed when a Gay sailor can welcome home his partner without fear. Welcome home. Life is short love whoever you want to love
Duty, honor, country. Love whomever you want. Semper fi.
I’m not gay and this doesn’t offend me one damn bit. Why should it? Love is love for goodness sake!
Wish my man would kiss me like this!! Just saying…
This is so bad ass
Some folks trolled the few haters with backhanded comments about the weather and fashion sense:
This is digsuting. (sic) The weather should be ashamed of itself looking all gloomy.
This makes me sick to my stomach. White shoes after Labor Day
In the responses, over 500 viewers clicked “Love,” another 250+ clicked “Like,” and only four sad fools clicked “Angry.”
The Woodingtons, who are newlyweds, are aware of the negative comments, but say this moment can be a teaching moment in 2018.
“It didn’t really bother me,” Kenneth said. “Honestly, I’m the type of person who doesn’t really care that much about what people say.”
“My grandmother always taught me, she said, ‘You know some people have a different life and that’s just how they are and you just have to treat them as such, and treat them with kindness and respect,'” Bryan added.
For now, Bryan says that he’s more focused on happiness: “I gave him nothing but love and care and understanding right out the gate, so I think we just fell for each other really hard and we both knew what we really wanted.”
The couple also says the Navy has been nothing but supportive to them as a family.
A spokesman for Naval Station Mayport, Bill Austin, told News4Jax this isn’t the first same-sex kiss and it is not an issue for the Navy. He said the maritime branch of the armed forces “has always been gender neutral and on the forefront of progress.”
Watch News4Jax’s report below.
Back in 2015, I reported on this couple, Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Sawicki and his boyfriend Shawn Brier, who shared a ceremonial ‘first kiss’ in San Diego.
I’ve wondered what or how the U.S. would technically respond if North Korea were to actually launch a ballistic missile attack on us.
I assumed there would be an intercept of some kind, but wasn’t sure what it would be. Fighter jets? Missiles?
The Diplomat has the details:
Days after North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido and landed in the northern Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Navy successfully conducted a complex missile defense test this week at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Kauai, Hawaii, according to a Raytheon company statement.
The Standard Missile-6, one of the U.S. Navy’s most advanced missile interceptors, intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target at sea in its final seconds of flight, after being fired from the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones. The principal objective of the launch was test to a new targeting software designed to enable the SM-6 to intercept a ballistic missile warhead descending from the upper atmosphere at extreme speed.
The endo-atmospheric interceptor uses a blast-fragmentation warhead to engage its target.
Watch CBS News’ report below:
President Trump may not have anything for LGBTs during Pride Month, but check this out fresh from the U.S. Navy:
The Navy joins the nation in recognizing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month throughout June.
ALNAV 006/17 encourages participation in all the heritage celebrations and special observances throughout the year. The Department of Defense (DoD) began observing LGBT Pride Month in 2012.
Initially established as “Gay and Lesbian Month” by Presidential Proclamation in 2000, LGBT Pride Month recognizes the accomplishments of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The LGBT community is part of One Navy Team that contributes their diverse talents, skills and service to the strength of the force.
“To remain the finest seagoing fighting force, the Navy needs men and women who are the right fit for the right job regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed or gender identity,” said Capt. Candace Eckert, Special Assistant for Inclusion and Diversity. “Our goal is to ensure that the mission is carried out by the most qualified and capable Sailors. If an individual can meet the Navy’s standards, they should be afforded the opportunity to be part of the One Navy Team.”
The Navy is committed to recruiting and retaining top talent regardless of race, class, sex or background. A diverse, inclusive environment allows diversity of thought and innovation to thrive.
In 2016, the DoD instituted a policy change allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military as their preferred gender.
For service members, repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2011 allowed gay, lesbian and bisexuals to serve openly in the United States Armed Forces.
The image above accompanied the news with this caption: Capt. Craig Clapperton, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), speaks about the importance of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) celebration. Theodore Roosevelt is currently moored and homeported in San Diego and is undergoing a scheduled Planned Maintenance Availability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex Millar/Released)
With all the Pride pics we’ve seen over the past few weeks, here’s a couple that are really quite remarkable and wonderful.
From the Navy Office of Community Outreach, I received these pics from Pride celebrations held onboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, which has a crew of nearly 6,000.
Top: PHILIPPINE SEA (June 25, 2016) Lt. Jon Fujiwara, from Westminster, Colorado, speaks to Sailors about being proud of who they are as individuals during a pride month observance event in the aft mess decks aboard the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). “It’s awesome to see everyone come out and support the community, and it was an awesome event,” said Fujiwara. The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jamaal Liddell/Released)
Bottom: PHILIPPINE SEA (June 25, 2016) Yeoman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Elexis Rogers, from Jacksonville, Florida, sings the National Anthem during a pride month observance ceremony organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Supporting Sailors (G.L.A.S.S.) association on the aft mess decks aboard the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The G.L.A.S.S. association organizes events for the ship including fundraisers, community relations projects and morale building events. The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jamaal Liddell/Released)
Both were accompanied by the following:
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.
Thank you very much for your support of the men and women in U.S. Navy, deployed around the clock and ready to protect and defend America on the world’s oceans.
|Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Sawicki and boyfriend Shawn Brier share ceremonial “first kiss”|
A San Diego man and his partner were the first male same-sex couple to be chosen for the ceremonial first kiss during the homecoming of submarine warship USS San Francisco.
The fast-attack submarine reunited with its home port at Naval Base Point Loma Monday afternoon while families lined the dock awaiting the arrival of husbands, sons, dads and brothers returning from a seven-month stint in the Western Pacific.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Sawicki and his boyfriend Shawn Brier were the lucky couple chosen to share the first kiss off the ship.
“Everyone was cheering for me when they announced it over email,” Sawicki said. “Everyone was very excited, very supportive, very happy.”
Via USA Today:
A Navy sailor returning from a six-month deployment emerged from his submarine, dropped to one knee and proposed to his boyfriend during the homecoming celebration in Connecticut for USS New Mexico.
About 200 people were gathered at the dock of the Naval Submarine Base New London where Machinist’s Mate Jerrel Revels proposed to Dylan Kirchner. Kirchner said he had thought about getting married but the proposal Monday came as a surprise.
“I didn’t really care everybody was around. It felt just like the two of us,” Kirchner told The Day of New London.
In addition to the Navy, the Marines have authorized LGBT servicemembers to wear their uniforms at San Diego’s Pride Parade this weekend.
Via press release from San Diego Pride:
As the city gears up for this weekend’s annual San Diego LGBT Pride festivities, Marines and sailors with I (First) Marine Expeditionary Force have received authorization to wear approved uniforms in the 39th annual Pride Parade on Saturday, July 13 at 11 am.
This follows authorization by the Department of Navy, Navy Region Southwest, authorizing active duty Navy servicemembers under its command to wear their uniforms in the parade.
Life after DADT – where our military service members can be proud of all that they are.
Feels good, doesn’t it?