The Scoop Deck

Navy Athletics to Aztecs: ‘I believe…’ should be a chant for all

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American soccer fans adopted “I believe that we will win” as a rallying cry for Team USA during July’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but as it turns out, the slogan dates back to 1998 at the Naval Academy, thanks to then-Midshipman 4th Class Jay Rodriguez.

According to ESPN, the chant debuted at the 1999 Army-Navy football game, lead by Rodriguez’s friend and academy cheerleader, Corey Strong. It’s been adopted by numerous teams since then, but if one university has its way, no one else will be using the slogan in the future.

San Diego State is vying for a trademark on “I believe…”, but that doesn’t sit well with the academy, a Naval Academy Athletic Association spokesman told Navy Times.

“The Naval Academy Athletic Association has launched legal opposition to San Diego State’s trademark claim, and not in a self-serving way,” Scott Strasemeier said. “We believe it is a universal chant, and it should stay that way.”

San Diego State filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office back in 2011 for the exclusive rights to use “I believe that we will win” as a slogan for Aztec basketball, according to a recent USA Today story. If all goes to plan, they could own the rights to the slogan by Aug. 25.

That’s a problem for some other teams, including the Utah State University basketball team, the Salt Lake Tribune reported July 17. The school owns a Utah state trademark for “I believe that we will win,” “I Believe,” “We Believe” and “Believe It,” which keeps other schools in their state from using the slogans, but an SDSU federal trademark would override Utah State’s rights.

SDSU’s filing will be up for opposition beginning July 22, giving other organizations 30 days to contest ownership of the slogan. Utah officials are determining what action to take, the Tribune reported, including legal recourse.

SDSU filed its application back in 2011, for use on clothing merchandise sold at its Aztec Shops. USA Today reported that, unless it’s defeated, the slogan will belong to the school by Aug. 25.

An Illinois company called Dormie Capital, Ltd. also filed for a trademark on “I believe that we will win” in July, but so far it hasn’t moved forward.

Ross’ crew ferries the essentials to new homeport

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Crewmembers aboard the destroyer Ross are eager to reach their new homeport — and stashed must-haves like bikes, above, in the ship’s nooks and crannies. / David Larter

ABOARD THE DESTROYER ROSS — Crewmembers are getting ready to head across the ocean for a homeport shift to Rota, Spain, and everyone has something they want to bring with them.

The ship left Norfolk on Tuesday but before they did, sailors found nooks and fan rooms to stow personal items to bring to the Old World with them.

Most of the ship’s tight spaces seem to be taken up by bikes. Word has is it that both the executive officer and the commanding officer stashed bikes on board. A couple of the officers were trying to rearrange tiny staterooms to accommodate guitars and amps.

The sailors have been busy loading stores and ammo but most are excited about the move. Those who didn’t want to move have largely transferred off the ship over the last year and a half.

The ship’s schedule has been jam-packed since the end of 2013 and it’s been hard for some to find housing in time to move their families and make all the arrangements that comes along with moving out of the country.

But when you ask them about Spain, most agree: they’re stoked. The ship recently returned from Operation Joint Warrior in 6th Fleet, a joint operation with the Royal Navy, and they had a five-day stop-over in Rota to scope out their new home. Most are eager to finally make the move.

On the way over, they’ll be breaking in their new fire-retardant coveralls they were issued Wednesday. For more on the Ross’ move, pick up a Navy Times issue next week.

Sailors mingle with TV stars at ‘The Last Ship’ premiere

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(From left to right) Producers Hank Steinberg and Brad Fuller, actors Rhona Mitra and Eric Dane, and  producer Steve Kane at The Last Ship's premiere June 4 in Washington, D.C.

(From left to right) Producers Hank Steinberg and Brad Fuller, actors Rhona Mitra and Eric Dane, and producer Steve Kane at The Last Ship’s premiere June 4 in Washington, D.C. (Paul Morigi,WireImage)

WASHINGTON — Cast members, producers, hundreds of sailors and even a few Coasties gathered here Wednesday night to attend the premiere of “The Last Ship,” a TV show in which the crew of the fictional destroyer Nathan James attempts to save the world from a deadly virus.

The stars walked the blue carpet at the Newseum in downtown Washington, D.C., while sailors mingled at a reception in the lobby to music from a Navy band to celebrate the opening of a drama where the U.S. Navy is the world’s last, best hope.

The Navy’s Office of Information-West played a key role in the show’s creation, producer Steve Kane told Navy Times, and he was happy to see it all finally come together.

“A lot of the last ship is really a meditation on leadership,” he said. “It’s a story about a captain trying to keep a ship together, and it’s a story about the sailors, trying to figure this thing out.”

The cast was able to spend time with real sailors and officers to learn about shipboard life, and when it came time to shoot the pilot, the Navy offered up the destroyer Halsey as the show’s set. The cast and crew spent three weeks filming in port in San Diego and another three days underway with the ship.

Guests look on as stars walk the blue carpet June at the premiere of The Last Ship in Washington, D.C. (Navy photo by MC1 Xander Gamble)

“We were able to talk to real ship captains about what they would do, and also real sailors about their life at sea,” he said. “Our goal was to, in a kind of super dramatic story, ground it in the reality of the Navy.”

Actor Adam Baldwin, who plays Nathan James’ executive officer Cmdr. Mike Slattery, said he’s pleased with the feedback he’s gotten from sailors. He was able to attend a screening of the pilot in the mess on the dock landing ship Oak Hill during New York’s fleet week in May.

“You couldn’t really hear too well, people were still clanking around with their food, but at a certain point, the crew was able to key in on the story itself and there were a few things, little nitpicky things they were able to see,” he said. “If we can win over sailors, then we’ve succeeded. You are our core audience.”

Baldwin said his co-starring relationship with Eric Dane, who plays ship commanding officer Cmdr. Tom Chandler, is a lot like the CO-XO relationship they act out on film.

“The XO and captain relationship is something that I was unaware of before I stepped onto this ship,” he said. “And what I’ve learned is that it’s an equal-among-peers relationship, with the captain having the final say. That’s my role as a supporting actor and that’s my role as the XO.”

Dane told Navy Times that the two have a running gin rummy game they began at the beginning of the season.

Eric Dane, a.k.a. Cmdr. Tom Chanlder, attends “The Last Ship” premiere June 4 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

“We’re going to carry it on with the same two decks of cards as long as the show runs,” he said. “God willing, it’s five seasons, and we’ll have a ratty deck of cards at the end of the run.”

And what would a Navy show be without a SEAL and a love story? Actor Travis Van Winkle plays Lt. Dan Green, whose embedded team handles much of the dirty work as the ship’s crew tries to survive. Like his castmates, Van Winkle spent time with special operators to get a feel for their bearing.

“And what I found out is, these guys, they’re so soft, they’re so gentle,” he said. “They’re so creative and they’re so articulate. I expected them to be these hardened war veterans who had seen all this action, and they really surprised me with their grace.”

He also picked up what he described as a “look of knowing” that SEALs have, “knowing that at any second they could do whatever they wanted to you. I tried to just breathe that in as much as I could.”

Van Winkle’s Lt. Green is also tied up in a love affair with a female lieutenant junior grade on board. He took to heart the idea that their relationship had much wider implications than their feelings.

“One thing that happens is, how much do my personal matters get in the way of my service?” he said. “And I think when it comes to their service, that’s the big issue. They’re there to serve their country. In the show, I’m there to help do what I can do save the world. So whatever gets in the way of that, I need to choose what I focus on wisely.”

Despite the technical challenges of fictionalizing the Navy, producer Hank Steinberg said he wasn’t nervous at all about showing the pilot to a theater full of men and women in uniform.

“I think it shows the Navy in an incredibly flattering, heroic light,” he said. “I know because we’ve been working with the Navy all along, and they’ll tell us when they’re not happy. And they’re happy.”

The Last Ship premieres on TNT at 9 p.m. on June 22. Click here to see the trailer.

VIDEO: Top Coast Guardsman on push for new museum

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Adm. Bob Papp, who recently retired as the Coast Guard’s top officer, has made it his “pet project” to open a National Coast Guard Museum to highlight the service’s history in New London, Connecticut — near the Coast Guard Academy.

Papp sat down for an exclusive interview with Navy Times at the groundbreaking ceremony there in May. Check it out:

VIDEO: Fish vs. special warfare boat operators in new recruiting ad

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The folks at Jalopnik get credit for this discovery. Stay tuned until the final frame:

YouTube Preview Image

Sure, the special warfare combatant-craft crewman recruiting ad’s got the traditional blazing guns and the rousing soundtrack, but what’s your take on the twist? Too silly for a serious riverine outfit, or a memorable image suited for what’s becoming a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it youth culture?

Also, how long until the request-for-proposals goes out for the AquaKiller 3000 Automated Networked Geosynchronous Lightweight Ergonomic Ray (ANGLER)? At some point, you have to take the fight to the fish.

The video went up Friday on YouTube and already has more than 13,000 views.

Poll: The Navy is the least prestigious service

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Ships from the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group simulate a strait transit. (Photo by MC2 Justin Wolpert)

Ships from the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group simulate a strait transit. (Photo by MC2 Justin Wolpert)

American adults overwhelmingly consider the Marine Corps the “most prestigious” service, according to a Gallup poll released Friday. What about the Navy, you ask? Of the four Defense Department services, It came in dead last.

Whatever, America, if you want think the Marine Corps is distinguished service, go right ahead. (You’re welcome for the Osama bin Laden thing, by the way. You know that was a Navy SEAL team, right?)

While the rest of the services are receding back into garrison or desperately seeking ways to get on ships, nothing will change for the Navy. It will still be forward. Sailors will still be working their tails off, providing Western Civilization with ballistic missile defense, facing down America’s adversaries and protecting the sea lanes where more than 90 percent of the world’s trade is transported. (Full disclosure: the author is a Navy vet who served four years in the fleet.)


And the hits keep coming. The poll of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and up, also reported the Navy is also seen as the least important service, with only 17 percent of respondents (the well-informed ones) saying that it was the most important. The Army topped that list with 26 percent of respondents ranking it as most important.


The founding fathers seemed to think that a Navy was important, according to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which gives congress the authority to “provide and maintain a navy” while only allowing them to “raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.”

Our colleagues at Marine Corps Times first spotted this. You can check out their post here, and be sure to read the comments (“The prestige is the highest in my Corps because we strive to maintain and carry on that prestige” and “Because you can join the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force but you must become a Marine.” are among the best.)

By the way, if you want that epic display of sea power for your desktop image, left click for a full resolution JPG.

Arlington at 150 — Celebrating America’s Heroes

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Arlington at 150

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Arlington at 150 — Celebrating America’s Heroes.

Since the first military burial on May 13, 1864, Arlington National Cemetery has become the final resting place for more than 400,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and their families. Those who on Sept. 11, 2001, died only a few hundred yards away at the Pentagon are buried here, as are the Challenger astronauts. Fifteen thousand soldiers from the Civil War — Union and Confederate — rest in Section 27 and Section 13, known as the Field of the Dead. Four thousand freed slaves, many identified only as “Citizen,” and two presidents also are buried at Arlington. Section 60 is the final resting place of many service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, giving their “last full measure of devotion.”

As the nation celebrates Arlington’s 150th anniversary this Memorial Day, the Military Times takes an in-depth look at the time-honored and revered cemetery, weaving in personal stories of veterans, their families and little-known ceremonies and traditions. The project is rich with photos, videos, including an interview with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and an interactive map that highlights notable memorials and burial sites at Arlington.

Click on the photo above to view Arlington at 150.

Graduating female mids excited to end wear test of common cover

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Female mids at the Naval Academy wear the male combination covers as part of their uniform. Wear-testers said the covers are ill-fitting, bulky and headache-inducing. (U.S. Naval Academy)

For as long as women have been in the Navy, they’ve been wearing a different cover than the one issued to men. That is, until last year, when the service began wear tests on a combination cover, using the Naval Academy midshipmen as research subjects.

“I hate it,” an unidentified graduating female midshipmen told Navy Times at the academy’s commissioning ceremony Friday. “Almost everyone I know hates it.”

The female “bucket” hat has come into question recently, as Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has pushed to make male and female service members’ uniforms more, well, uniform — starting with unisex covers.

“I’m excited that I don’t have to wear it once I’m in the fleet,” the female mid said.

She explained that on top of its general discomfort, the cover limits the hairstyles women can use. A low bun works all right, she said, but she can’t put her hair in a French braid or twist, like she could with the female cover she wore before this year.

She said she has nothing to hide, as far as being a woman, and doesn’t see why she needs a cover to look more like the men.

The Brigade of Midshipmen and a few Navy musicians were the first to test the combination cover last year year. Feedback was overwhelmingly negative, according the Navy’s survey.

However, the service is pushing forward with combo covers, in addition to unisex uniforms for junior enlisted sailors, to include the iconic ‘Dixie cup’ cover.

USS Stephen Colbert? Mabus signs off — with a catch

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Navy Secretary Ray Mabus spent about five minutes with Stephen Colbert on Thursday, but the two entertainment icons — one’s taking over for David Letterman next year, the other had a role in “Battleship” – packed a lot of big issues into one quick interview. A sampling:

  • Post-service careers: Colbert asked Mabus, who left uniformed Navy service as a lieutenant junior grade, whether he ever wished he could go back in time to his former self and say, “Hang in their, buddy — you get to boss these people around later.”
  • Recruiting and retention: Mabus offered his favorite recruiting poster tagline, which appears under a photo of a fighter-filled aircraft carrier: “Sometimes we follow the storm to the shore, sometimes we are the storm.” (We think he meant this one.) Colbert, who hosted Mabus as part of New York’s Fleet Week celebration, deemed the slogan “a great pick-up line” for sailors visiting the Big Apple.
  • Force structure: No stranger to stirring up controversy among Washington elite, Colbert asked Mabus the question Pentagon budget-watchers dare not ask: “Do we need the other branches of the military, or can the Navy just handle all of it?” Mabus was quick to loop the Marine Corps into the discussion, calling the sea services “the greatest fighting force the world has ever known.” He laughed off a follow-up question by Colbert: “How does the Army feel about that?”
  • Climate change: While Mabus stressed the increased worldwide instability that could be brought about by global warming, Colbert cut right to the point, noting that higher sea levels will mean “more ocean for you to Navy in.”
  • Ship naming: Colbert’s name already appears on a treadmill aboard the International Space Station and almost appeared on a Hungarian bridge after that country, perhaps unwisely, opened the naming rights up to an online vote. The host suggested a USS Stephen Colbert, but Mabus pointed out a snag that also helped cost Colbert the bridge — he’d have to be dead first. Colbert immediately channeled his inner “Princess Bride” and asked if you had to be “super-dead, or just a little dead?” Mabus promised that exceptions to could be made, which most everybody had already figured out.

Watch the full episode, including Colbert’s take on the ongoing Veterans Affairs Department scandal, here.


Top Navy SEAL’s life advice: ‘Make your bed’

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A screen grab of Adm. Bill McRaven’s speech at the University of Texas’s commencement address this weekend.

Adm. Bill McRaven is a bad-ass — and fount of good advice.

Head of the Joint U.S. Special Operations Command, he is a 36-year SEAL who has been at the tip of the spear in the war on terror since 2001. He has commanded a squadron in the fabled Naval Special Warfare Development Group, better known as SEAL Team Six, and he oversaw planning and execution of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

He is also the most mysterious and guarded Navy four-star. While Admirals Greenert, Gortney, Locklear and company frequently appear in the media and before Congress, McRaven shies away from the spotlight. In fact, outside the special operations community, he rose all the way to four-star without attracting much notice until Operation Neptune Spear.

But students at the University of Texas at Austin got a rare treat last weekend when McRaven delivered their commencement speech. McRaven, a 1977 UT grad, riffed on the school’s motto (“What starts here changes the world.”) to deliver the 10 lessons he learned during his SEAL training. Among them: If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”

He closes the speech with the classic SEAL metaphor for failure: ringing the bell. “Don’t ever, ever ring the bell,” he says.

Take some time to watch below, or read the text here.