Washington Navy Yard Shooting Updates on Twitter, Internet

A screen save from video coverage provided by the Washington Post live video feed outside the Navy Yard.

A screen save from video coverage provided by the Washington Post live video feed outside the Navy Yard.

As of 12:15 p.m., the Washington D.C. police chief said that one suspected shooter is dead but there is an active search for two potential additional gunmen.

The chief said it is an “active search” for two unconfirmed shooters, one white male wearing a khaki “uniform style” and a second black male in his 50s wearing an olive-drab “uniform-style.”

She said multiple victims are dead but declined to give an exact count. The Washington NBC News4 is carrying coverage live.

The U.S. Navy has provided telephone numbers for family members of those working in the Naval Yard. Family members looking for information about their loved ones can call 202-433-6151 or 202-433-9713. Some 3,000 worked in the building where the shooting reportedly started.

The Washington Post is carrying live coverage of outside the shooting scene and the search for two gunman at the U.S. Naval Yard. As of 11:30 EDT:

Police now believe two shooters, including one in fatigues, have killed four people and wounded eight others at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, throwing the region into fear and chaos during the morning commute.

At least one of the shooters is “down,” police said mid-morning, but it was unclear whether that means the suspect has been arrested or shot. They said the other suspect remains at large, and police believe they have pinned down one between the third and fourth floors of one of the buildings on the installation in Southeast Washington.

The U.S. Navy Twitter account, @USNavy, is telling family members to reunite at the Nationals Stadium parking lot B.

In addition to following live video feeds from the Washington Post, you can follow the Twitter hashtag #NavyYardShooting.

The NBC station in Washington DC, News 4, is also providing live coverage.

Blue Star Tribute to Neil Armstrong

The Blue Star Families website ask its members to take a moment and leave a comment to honor the passing of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

… the man who was a part of one of the greatest moments in our Nation’s history. Neil Armstrong was a Navy #vet who flew 80 missions in the Korean War. He embodies every trait of a hero and will continue to inspire us all for decades to come.

Women Serving Aboard Submarines: “Very Successful”

WASHINGTON (May 28, 2012) President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet the U.S. Navy’s first contingent of women submariners in the Blue Room of the White House. The 24 women serve on ballistic and guided-missile submarines throughout the Navy. Also attending are Adm. Mark Ferguson, Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), left, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus and Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Leon Panetta. (White House Photo by Pete Souza/Released)

The status of the U.S. submarine fleet since bringing women aboard got its first public review Thursday during a roundtable held at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.,  just months after women began serving on U.S. submarines. The Stars and Stripes:

Vice Adm. John Richardson, commander of submarine forces, said the integration process has been “very successful.” Twenty-four women have already reported to guided missile and fleet ballistic missile submarines and about 20 more will report each year. Fast-attack submarines, which are smaller and would require more modifications to allow women aboard, are still men-only.

One of the first women aboard was Lt. Rebecca Dremann, an openly gay naval officer and a smoker – two other adjustments made in the past year. In 2011, smoking aboard submarines was banned and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was dropped allowing gays to serve opening.

“I’m a total culture shock to the submarine force and they handled me just fine,” Dremann said Thursday after a roundtable hosted by the Navy to discuss the integration of women into the submarine force.

You can read more coverage of the roundtable discussion on the integration of women in Stars and Stripes.

The 24 women submariners visited the White House on Wednesday meeting with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and top brass.

A Military Family Builds Community: 52 Dinners, 52 Guests

A January dinner, Sen. Susan Collins (second from left) visits with Sarah Smiley and her sons Owen, Lindell and Ford, one of 52 planned during the yearlong deployment.

Imagine inviting someone different into your home every week for a year – a school teacher – a cancer survivor – a senator – a police chief – University of Maine Hockey team members.

That’s how the Smiley family is marking the year-long deployment of their husband and dad,  Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Smiley, with 52 dinners, 52 guests.

The Smiley family has made a video and the U.S. Navy made it public through Twitter:

Sarah Smiley’s website has a fantastic page of reader submitted  tips for dealing with deployment:

  • A Lollipop Tree: We went to the craft store and bought a Styrofoam globe, a stick and a flower pot with the green arrangement foam. Then we put a small lollipop in the globe for each day my husband would be gone (6 months is a lot of lollipops) and every night my son could take one out.
  • Picture This: When my husband went on deployment the first time, we took pictures of him in all of his favorite spots in the house. The day he left I placed all of his pictures in their designated areas so that I would never feel like he was gone.
  • Counting Trash: The first time my husband was deployed we hadn’t yet had our daughter. Instead of dwelling on the number of days he was going to be gone, I counted the number of times I had to take the garbage out. It sounds weird but starting at 26 instead of 180 really worked nicely.

Sarah Smiley is a syndicated columnist, author, and military wife. Sarah and her husband Dustin have three children: Ford (10), Owen (8) and Lindell (4). Dustin is a Lt. Cmdr. in the Navy. They live in Maine.

Iran Thanks U.S. Navy for Freeing Fishermen from Pirates

The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) responded to a distress call from the master of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai, who stated he was held captive by pirates. Kidd's visit, board, search and seizure team, detained 15 suspected pirates, who were reportedly holding the 13-member Iranian crew hostage for several weeks. Kidd is conducting counter-piracy and maritime security operations while deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The Iranian government has officially thanked the United States for the USS Kidd rescuing an Iranian fishing boat and 13 Iranians who had been seized and held captive by pirates more than 40 days ago.

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

The Iranian foreign ministry thanked the United States for rescuing its sailors, but Iranian news outlets linked to the Revolutionary Guard called the move a publicity stunt.

You can read the full article HERE.

The search-and-seizure team from the USS Kidd gave the Iranian mariners food, water, and medical care.  The pirates were taken into custody by the USS Kidd boarding party until Friday morning, when they were transferred to the USS John Stennis “where the matter will be reviewed for prosecution,” according to a statement.

In the meantime, the U.S. Navy has released photographs of the rescue.

ARABIAN SEA (Jan. 6, 2012) A Sailor assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd’s (DDG 100) visit, board, search and seizure team greets a crew member of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai. Kidd's visit, board, search and seizure team detained 15 suspected pirates, who were holding a 13-member Iranian crew hostage for several weeks, according to the members of the crew. Kidd is conducting counter-piracy and maritime security operations while deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

And here’s a 17 second video of photographed from one of the helicopters on the rescue mission.

Marines to Track Head Injuries in a New Data Base

The Neurocognitive Assessment Tool (NCAT) will allow unit medical personnel to record TBIs and suspected concussions into the Medical Readiness Reporting System, a comprehensive database. Above, a Marine onboard an Army medevac helicopter reacts after he was wounded in an IED strike near Sangin, Helmand province, on June 4. File Photo/The Associated Press

Aiming to improve diagnosis and medical treatment, the Marine Corps will begin collecting data Jan. 1, 2012 on all Marines and seamen with concussions and possible Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

The data will be recorded in a comprehensive database and all Marines and seamen will be tracked while they remain in the service according to the Marine Times:

“We want to ensure the health and safety of our Marines and sailors. If they are exposed to an event, we want to make sure they receive the proper treatment” before they return to full duty, officials said in a response to questions provided by Capt. Greg Wolf, a Marine Corps spokesman at the Pentagon.

“Their commanders can maintain visibility on them, no matter where they go within our Corps,” officials said. “Once a Marine or sailor becomes a civilian, there will be an institutional record to assist with future health care.” – The Marine Times.Com

In addition to recording new head injuries, the database will include prior events that could have caused TBI because many symptoms may be delayed before showing up. You can read more details HERE.

USS Enterprise Celebrates 50 Years of Service

USS Enterprise. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

A tribute video posted by the United States Navy to celebrate it’s prized aircraft carrier – the USS Enterprise (CVN 65)  50th year of commissioned service.

The Enterprise is the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier and the eighth U.S. vessel to be named Enterprise. The Enterprise commemorates a name that has been a continuing symbol of the struggle to retain American liberty, justice and freedom since the first days of the American Revolutionary War.

Some of the ship’s nicknames include: the Big ‘E’, the Lucky ‘E’, the ‘Grey Ghost’ and the ‘Galopping Ghost’.

New Destroyer Named After WWII Admiral Spruance

USS Spruance (DDG 111) arrives at Naval Air Station Key West Friday, Sept. 23 in preparation for its formal commissioning ceremony to be held Oct. 1. The ship, named in honor of Adm. Raymond Spruance, commander of Carrier Task Force 16 during the World War II Battle of Midway, is commanded by Cmdr. Tate Westbrook of Murfreesboro, Tenn. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael K. McNabb/Released)

Navy Admiral Raymond Spruance will forever be remembered for his decisive leadership at the Battle of Midway, a pivotal American victory during World War II.

And the admiral’s legacy will continue with the commissioning Saturday in Key West of the USS Spruance, the newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missle destroyer. This is the second Navy ship to carry his name. USS Spruance (DD 963) was the lead ship of Spruance class destroyers serving from 1973 to 2005.

Adm. Raymond Spruance. Photo courtesy of the History.Navy.Mil website.

Born in Baltimore, July 3, 1886, Spruance graduated from the Naval Academy in 1906. His Navy career was extensive, including command of five destroyers and the battleship Mississippi. Spruance led Task Force 16, with two aircraft carriers, during the 1942 Battle of Midway, where his disposition of forces and management of aircraft was crucial to a victory that is regarded as the turning point in the Pacific war with Japan.

He later directed campaigns that captured the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and defeated the Japanese fleet in the 1944 Battle of Philippine Sea. After commanding the Pacific Fleet in 1945-46, Spruance served as president of the Naval War College until retiring in 1948. In 1952-55, he was ambassador to the Philippines. Spruance died at Pebble Beach, Calif., Dec. 13, 1969.

Designated DDG 111, the new destroyer is a multi-mission ship that carries Tomahawk cruise missiles, a 5-inch gun, sonar systems and two helicopters. It is powered by four gas-turbine engines and is capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Spruance’s granddaughter, Ellen Spruance Holscher, was scheduled to serve as the ship’s sponsor and give the traditional first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Emotional Cycles of Deployment: An Army Mom’s Overview

Contributor Tracie Ciambotti and her son Josh on his deployment day, June 2011, at Fort Carson, CO.

Every traumatic event we encounter in life triggers a cycle of emotional responses; military families experience this emotional roller coaster continuously due to the frequency of deployments.

The Army’s website, US Army Hooah4Health, outlines the following 7-stage cycle that military families go through with each deployment:

Stage 1 – Anticipation of Departure: Begins when the service member receives an order for deployment and ends when he or she actually leaves.

Stage 2 – Detachment and Withdrawal:  Final weeks prior to deployment

Stage 3 – Emotional Disorganization:  First six weeks of the deployment

Stage 4 – Recovery and Stabilization:  Two months into the deployment to a few weeks before the end of deployment

Stage 5 – Anticipation of Return:  Final weeks of deployment

Stage 6 – Return Adjustment and Renegotiation: First six weeks post deployment

Stage 7 – Reintegration and Stabilization: Up to six months post deployment[1]

This model was updated in 2006 by Jennifer Morse, M.D., Navy CAPT (Ret), San Diego, CA because of the increased occurrence of deployments that military families experience.

Josh and Alison, his wife, when he returned from his second deployment in Iraq--August of 2009.

The detailed description provided in this model pertains to the service member and his or her spouse and children—there is no mention of parents in this emotional cycle.  As the mother of an Army sergeant, currently serving his third deployment, I can personally testify that parents go through an emotional roller coaster too.

Through a series of posts on this topic, I will share a personal look into the stages of the deployment cycle from the perspectives of various members of my military family: a mother, a wife, and the soldier.  I hope to generate an understanding of the challenges faced by the entire family as we experience deployments together.

[1] Morse, J., (2006).The new emotional cycles of deployment. Retrieved pdf June 28, 2007 from the U.S. Department of Defense: Deployment Health and Family Readiness Library: San Diego, CA

Freedom Is Not Free, Military Families Pay the Price Daily

On Monday, we celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence  on July 4, 1776 by delegates of the original thirteen colonies.  The first Independence Day celebration occurred on July 4,1777 although our freedom was not fully achieved until September 3, 1783 when the United States and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Paris and ended the Revolutionary War.

America’s first freedom, the dissolution of Britain’s rule over us, was accomplished because men were willing to leave their families to fight and die for this great cause.    Now, 235 years later, every freedom that we cherish and sometimes take for granted  is defended by the men and women of our Armed Forces.  Without the sacrifices and selfless acts of these brave heroes, life as we know it would not exist.

My thoughts on July 4th were on the images of deployment day: the line up of duffel bags at Fort Carson representing families that were about to say good-bye, small children clinging to their daddy’s leg while he was giving mommy that last hug, my son’s final embrace with his wife just after he and I shared ours.

Deployment day at Fort Carson for Tracie's son.

I tearfully relive the moments standing side by side with Army wives as we watched our men disappear into that gym.  Our families are just a fraction of the many military families that are currently separated by deployments.

I am reminded of the anguish on the faces of two mothers on the day their fallen hero sons were laid to rest here in Denver.  I think of the two wounded warriors and their parents that are part of our Colorado Military Families Ministry group and what they have gone through.

July 4th is a day to celebrate our nation’s freedom, but let us not forget to honor the heroes and their families that endure the burden of defending that freedom.

A special thanks to all of our men and women in uniform and their families–you are the reason we celebrate Independence Day.

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