A Naval Special Warfare unit preparing to return from its latest deployment is hoping to bring back two honorary members, and they’re looking for donations to make that happen.
Special Operator 2nd Class (SEAL) Sam Landoe and his team adopted two puppies, Logar and Falcor, during their time in Afghanistan. Now he’s working with a rescue organization to raise $6,000 to pay for their transport to the States.
Landoe teamed up with Guardians of Rescue to bring the pups home through their Mission No Buddy Left Behind program, which was featured on Anderson Cooper 360 last year.
“I can’t imagine what will become of these dogs that we love so much if we can’t bring them home,” Landoe said in a news release.
The plan is to send the dogs first to Washington to live with Landoe’s parents, then bring them to San Diego when he returns home.
“If just 600 people donated $10 each, we could make this a successful mission,” Guardians of Rescue Vice President Dori Scofield said in the release.
The team adopted Logar from a village elder, whom they were meeting with as part of their outreach efforts. Landoe noticed the puppy was dirty and malnourished, so he offered the elder some scrap wood in exchange for the dog.
Falcor came soon after, brought to the team by some Afghan locals in much the same condition as Logar before him. The unit taught them commands and made them a part of the family.
“We are just hoping that we can get the support we need to bring them home with us,” Landoe said. “They have been an important part of our tour here, and we want to keep them a part of our lives.”
The $6,000 cost of bringing the dogs home goes directly to Nowzad Dogs, a shelter in Afghanistan that facilitates stateside adoptions. The price covers transportation (over land and through cargo flight to the U.S.) and veterinary treatment, including rabies testing and vaccination, vaccinations for common canine viruses, flea and tick treatment, deworming and spay/neuter surgery.
For more information on donating to Logar and Falcor, visit www.guardiansofrescue.org
In an effort to reach young, impressionable sailors through their mobile phones, the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office has launched Pier Pressure, an iPhone/Android app that combines gaming and advice for making good choices when it comes to your time off.
Think Angry Birds meets middle school D.A.R.E. class.
“During the development of the Keep What You’ve Earned Campaign, we heard from young, enlisted sailors that the best way to reach them was through their mobile phones,” said NADAP director Dorice Favorite in a news release. “Pier Pressure will help sailors understand how responsible drinking can keep their careers on track, and alternatively, how abusing alcohol can lead to serious consequences.”
On the gaming side, Pier Pressure starts you off by letting you select one of five characters, three female or two male, with customizable hair and eye colors, all ranked seaman apprentice.
The day begins with a shift at the dock, loading ships in a certain amount of time before they head out. After work, you send a text to a friend and make plans for the night.
You can choose one of three canned responses to each text message. You can either decide to stay in, or go out and eat or drink. Sample conversation:
Friend: Do you wanna grab some food?
You: No, I think I’ll drink my calories tonight.
You get a $100 budget when you go out, which is actually just a game of shufflepuck. (That’s a blend of bowling with a hockey puck on a table, for the uninitiated.) You can order food and drinks, but a cab ride is $45, and your score is affected if you don’t get a safe ride home.
You earn points both for your expertise at ship-loading and shufflepuck, as well as your good choices. While moving throughout the app, the loading screens offer “pro tips.”
“You may notice the level of difficulty in the Harbor game increases based on your decisions the night before. Responsible choices will help you earn a promotion, while destructive choices may result in demotion. Choose Wisely!”
A leaderboard in the app lets you compare your scores against your friends.
The tools section of the app include a blood alcohol level calculator, a cab company search based on your location, and multiple Navy resources.
The idea for the app came directly from sailors, according to a release. Developed by contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, 110 sailors participated in testing the app.
“In the game, the choices you make at the bar affect your skill level at work the next day, which in turn affects your player’s evaluation reports,” said Mike Aukerman, alcohol program manager at NADAP. “Just like in real life, smart drinking choices help advance your career, while poor choices can get you separated from the Navy-a.k.a. game over.”
Tens of thousands of Iraqis served as translators for coalition forces during the Iraq War. But only one was deemed a “bad ass” by America’s deadliest sniper.
“Code Name: Johnny Walker,” the story of that translator’s journey — catching on with U.S. forces as a way to feed his family, serving alongside Navy SEALs, and beating the odds (click the link above) to reach the U.S. — will be turned into a movie, according to multiple reports. The book, co-written by “Walker” and Jim DeFelice, is on the tail end of the New York Times best-seller list for hardcover nonfiction.
DeFelice also co-wrote “American Sniper” with former Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Chris Kyle, who is credited with more sniper kills than any U.S. military member ever. Kyle, who was shot and killed a year ago at a Texas gun range, brought up the translator during a writing session, DeFelice recalled in a blog post.
Kyle told the author that the translator was “the only Iraqi I ever trusted with a gun.” DeFelice continued:
During most of Chris’s time in Iraq, the Iraqi army was notorious for having traitors in its midst. The SEALs – and Chris – worked with them often, and they were of course armed, but there was never a high confidence factor.
“He saved my ass a bunch of times,” added Chris. “All of ours. Johnny Walker. He was a real bad ass.”
“What did he do?” I asked.
“Johnny was a terp. But he was a lot more than a terp. A lot more.”
The notion of this “Super Terp,” short for interpreter, stuck with DeFelice and led to the book, which could be coming to a theater near you in the next few years.
Kyle’s story, with Bradley Cooper attached to star and produce, also is set to reach movie houses, but there was a slight hiccup with a fairly major off-camera position.
And yes, the translator earned his nickname because of his beverage of choice. Order the book to learn more.
When Naval History and Heritage Command ran a contest last year asking sailors and civilians alike to submit ideas for a new logo, command officials were careful to make clear that the winning logo wouldn’t actually be the NHHC logo, but it would influence the final design.
The contest winner’s design focused heavily on the frigate Constitution, with a compass rose in the background. The runner-up’s work involved a quill, symbolizing how the sea service recorded its important information in the days before multiple databases, dozens of logins and passwords, and the occasional moth.
So it should come as no surprise that the final logo, right, ended up looking the way it did: Old Ironsides atop a quill, with compass roses spicing up the outer ring.
A news release put out before the official unveiling Thursday afternoon outlined further symbolism: “The circular, infinite, rope border reflects how the Navy’s actions and decisions today will be judged alongside those of the past,” for example.
“Together the elements of the logo capture NHHC’s mission – to reinforce naval history’s relevance to its leadership, the American public and sailors, past and present,” Capt. Jerry Hendrix, head of NHHC, said in the release. He was to unveil the logo officially at an all-hands call, but it’s already live and in living color on the Navy’s website.
What’s your verdict? Leave critiques in the comments below — the old logo is at right, for comparison purposes.
World War II history buffs should set aside a good part of Monday for some light reading.
Maybe some of Tuesday. In fact, don’t make any plans the rest of the month.
The “Gray Book,” a collection of communications from Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz that range from the Pearl Harbor attack to the days before Japan’s surrender, has been digitized and will be unveiled Monday as part of a live web program on the Navy’s official blog. The document — brittle from long-term storage and classified until 1972 — had been scanned previously, but better, searchable scans will offer easier access to the 4,000-page Pacific Theater saga, the Navy said in a Thursday news release.
The book, named for its original gray cover, has daily entries from Nimitz’ perspective for the duration of the war. Its pages “clearly reveal what Nimitz thought was important, which gives the reader a great deal of insight into how his experiences both operationally and at the Naval War College informed and influenced his prosecution of the war,” Capt. Jerry Hendrix, director of Naval History and Heritage Command, said in the release.
The war college’s library began the digitization effort, with NHHC’s guidance, in August 2012. Monday’s big reveal, which will include an online Q-and-A session with World War II history experts, also marks Nimitz’ 129th birthday. It’s set to start at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
Read more about the five-star admiral here.
Calling all amateur shipbuilders! The Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Norfolk, Va., is hosting its annual LEGO shipbuilding contest Feb. 8 for architects of all ages.
Adults and kids are invited to bring in their pre-made LEGO ships before 2 p.m. to be judged in the official contest. Winners will be chosen from each of five age categories, in addition to a “fan favorite” award voted on by attendees.
If you don’t have time to throw something together before Saturday, you can visit the free ship-building stations at the event. If you’re so inclined, you can even use provided diagrams to build accurate models of historic naval ships like the battleship Maine and the river monitor Onondaga.
The event is put on by Hampton Roads Naval Historical Foundation, the Naval Historical Foundation, and Bricks 4 Kidz, a company that teaches kids about architecture and engineering through building with LEGOs.
The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is located on the second floor of the Nauticus building at 1 Waterside Drive in Norfolk. The free event is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more info, check out the Hampton Roads Naval Museum online.
If you’re in New England this summer and looking for something more than a barbecue on Independence Day, why not take a cruise through Boston harbor on the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat?
A lottery for 150 open spots on the USS Constitution’s annual July 4 voyage went live Feb. 3, for the ship’s last turnaround cruise before it goes into a dry dock for repairs through 2018.
Guests aboard “Old Ironsides” will enjoy a three-hour trip around the harbor, complete with 21-gun salute exchange with Fort Independence on Castle Island in South Boston.
To enter, simply fill out a form and return it by email or snail mail by noon on April 15. An April 30 drawing will select the winners, who are allowed to bring one guest.
All attendees must be between the ages of 8 and 70 and in good enough physical condition to go up and down the ship’s narrow ladder wells, as well as stand for prolonged periods in rain or shine.
Launched in 1797 as the third ship in the U.S. Navy’s fleet, Constitution defended the new American nation until 1855, defeating five British warships during the War of 1812. Later, she served as a training ship for the Naval Academy during the Civil War.
Constitution officially retired in 1891 and became a museum ship in 1907. Today she resides in Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard with 60 active-duty officers and enlisted sailors, who put on ceremonies, educational outreach and other special events.
The Navy’s collection of wartime art has almost skipped a generation — a problem you can help solve.
Art curators with Naval History and Heritage Command have plenty of pieces from World War II and the Korean War — everything from paintings by official Navy artists to cartoons drawn on notebook paper. Vietnam and Desert Storm are well-represented in the Navy Art Collection, as well, but there are few works from current sailors.
So, do you fill your downtime with doodles? When the ship needs a mural, does everyone in the room turn to you? Do you hope the characters you’ve drawn on the XO’s whiteboard will someday lead to a regular gig as a cartoonist for a publication of note? (It’s happened before.)
If so, take a picture of your work and send it to Gale Munro, head curator of the art collection, at email@example.com. You’ll hear back if it’s a fit for the collection. The criteria are simple, Munro said in a Navy news release — that curators “can foresee a use for it in an exhibit and that it is in tolerably good condition.”
Examples: Cartoons from active-duty sailors could be displayed alongside those drawn during World War II, or paintings of modern ships in action could be used in a traveling NHHC exhibit, which stops at local museums as a way of “showing people the great things the Navy does,” Munro said.
It’s a small way to make history, and to continue a legacy of Navy art that dates back quite a few years.
See about the Navy Art Collection, and some samples from throughout history, here.
For most media outlets outside the Annapolis, Md., area, intense coverage of the Naval Academy athletic program begins sometime in early December and ends immediately after the ritual gridiron-based thumping of a rival service academy of note.
But a promotion by the school’s athletics-marketing arm has earned national attention in recent days: Fans who beat the school mascot, Bill the Goat, at rock-paper-scissors before a Feb. 5 men’s basketball game against Boston University will earn free admission.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Fans can throw hands with the mascot from 6:15 to 6:45 for the chance to win a $10 general-admission ticket ($5 for children). Already have a ticket? You can win one for a future game if you crush scissors, cover rock or cut paper.
Writers at CBSSports.com, The Washington Post, SB Nation and The Sporting News love the concept, with Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo! Sports even interviewing the athletic department’s associate director of marketing, Chris Grosse, who came up with the idea.
1. “Rock is for Rookies,” according to the report, and since it’s unlikely that a goat has regularly engaged in rock-paper-scissors events in the past, the smart play is clearly paper.
2. However, Bill could play dozens if not hundreds of games before you line up against him, which would make him a wily RPS veteran. In that case, the experts recommend scissors.
3. However, if everybody else is playing paper or scissors against Bill, expect the goat to adjust his strategy accordingly. So the smart player would select rock.
4. However, the RPS folks, using an extensive analysis of tournament-level matches, say scissors get thrown the least number of times. So, “When all else fails, go with paper.”
That should just about clear things up.
The Mids (7-12, 2-6 in the Patriot League) visit American University tonight.
Three culinary specialists with the amphibious dock landing ship Oak Hill prevailed Friday at the fourth annual Best of the Mess competition in Virginia Beach, Va.
Six teams of Navy cooks went spatula-to-spatula at the event, put on by the Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund, bringing their best dishes to fit this year’s Taste of Tuscany theme, according to a Navy news release.
Teams from the carriers Abraham Lincoln and George H.W. Bush; Naval Station Norfolk, Va.; Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.; Submarine Force Atlantic and the Oak Hill created an appetizer, entree and dessert for the contest, with certain ingredients required — bacon, parmesan or pecorino cheese, lentils, fennel and balsamic vinegar.
Each three-man team had an hour and a half to cook enough for 400 guests, and a panel of professional chefs graded the meal on food quality, presentation and interaction with guests.
The team from Oak Hill — Culinary Specialist 1st Class Eric Moore, CS1 Cynthia Cruz and CS2 Cameron Tirabassi — came out on top, followed by SUBFORLANT and Lincoln.
Oak Hill also claimed the People’s Choice Award, based on a popular vote, with special consideration for the best-decorated table.
The event raised $20,000 for CPOSF, which awards higher-education scholarships to dependents of Navy chiefs.
Retired Chief Storekeeper David Mazzaferro, the organization’s president, said Best of the Mess raises morale as well as funds.
“It gives the culinary specialists an opportunity to show off their skills and training in a way that they cannot do onboard their ships and bases,” he said.
Defending champions Naval Station Norfolk handed the Best of the Mess trophy over to its new caretakers, but hoped to take it back next year.
“It stung a little to leave without the trophy that had been displayed so proudly in our galley, but its absence will only push us to work harder for next year,” CS3 Engelee Gilmore said.