Tyler Hlavac

USS Blue Ridge may soon head to sea after nearly 2 years of maintenance

All “major” work has been finished on the USS Blue Ridge after an extended dry dock and upkeep period, the Navy announced Monday in a statement that said the command ship is now officially “safe-to-train and safe-to-operate.”

Former Fitzgerald skipper’s Article 32 hearing slated for late May

Cmdr. Bryce Benson — who helmed the USS Fitzgerald on June 17 when it ran into a container ship off the coast of Japan, killing seven sailors — faces charges that include negligent homicide, hazarding a ship and dereliction of duty.

Air Force sends B-52 bombers over South China Sea during training

A pair of Air Force bombers flew over the South China Sea earlier this week, just days after Beijing showcased its military might in the region.

Navy launches ‘sophisticated and robust’ anti-sub drills with Thailand

The United States and Thai navies are drilling to counter enemy submarines in the latest sign of warming relations between the two allies.

Chinese aircraft carrier leads live-fire drills in East China Sea

China’s only operational aircraft carrier — the Liaoning — and an unspecified number of ships conducted anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare training that included detecting enemy aircraft with radar and launching jets and anti-aircraft missiles, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.

Navy to commission amphibious transport dock USS Portland on Saturday

The Portland — which will be homeported in San Diego — is the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious ship in the Navy’s inventory, and boasts the ability to embark more than 800 Marines and accommodate the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

‘Significant progress’ made on 7th Fleet’s manning issues, Navy official says

The head of the Navy’s Surface Forces says the service is solving manning shortages that have plagued the 7th Fleet, which experienced a pair of deadly collisions last year.

Navy launches new training and certification unit for Pacific ships

Naval Surface Group Western Pacific was stood up as a detachment in October but became a permanent command based out of Yokosuka — home of the Navy’s 7th Fleet — on April 11.

USS Milius to boost 7th Fleet’s destroyer numbers in late May

The USS Milius is scheduled to depart its San Diego homeport Friday and arrive at Yokosuka in late May, a Navy statement said. The assignment is part of the Navy’s goal of sending its most advanced and capable ships to the Pacific region.

Air National Guardsman’s dinosaur puppet re-enlistment video sparks outrage

The Tennessee Air National Guard is investigating a video that shows one of its members using a dinosaur hand puppet during a re-enlistment ceremony.

Yokosuka hospital makes changes to unpopular appointment policy

Naval Hospital Yokosuka has updated an unpopular policy that made it hard for civilians to get medical appointments.

British warship arrives at Yokosuka to enforce N. Korea sanctions, support free trade

The frigate HMS Sutherland – the first of three warships England plans to deploy to northeast Asia – pulled into port Wednesday. The vessels will “safeguard free trade, partake in joint training and exercises, and support UN sanctions against [North Korea].”

Truman strike group departs for Middle East, Europe deployment this week

The strike group, carrying 6,500 sailors and Carrier Air Wing One, will cruise alongside the German frigate FGS Hessen during the first half of the deployment. The German ship conducted a brief mission with the Harry S. Truman in 2010, the Navy said.

Navy confirms plan to deploy F-35Cs to Japan after 2021

The F-35Cs will be assigned to Carrier Air Wing 5 of the USS Ronald Reagan strike group. MCAS Iwakuni already hosts a squadron of Marine Corps F-35Bs flown by Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121.


Damage-control training takes on new meaning after deadly collisions

Recent accidents involving 7th Fleet ships — the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald — are still raw in the minds of instructors and students of the Navy's Surface Warfare Officers School Command Engineering Learning Site. The school keeps sailors proficient on firefighting and flood-control skills learned at basic training.

Carrier Air Wing 5 fighter squadrons moving to Iwakuni this week

A pair of Navy fighter squadrons are arriving this week at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, completing the transfer of the USS Ronald Reagan strike group’s fixed-wing aircraft from their old home base near Tokyo.

USS Theodore Roosevelt returns to Pacific after Middle East mission

The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier is back in the Pacific after four months in the Arabian Gulf launching strikes against the Islamic State and the Taliban.

Navy offers new bonuses to keep pilots in uniform

The Navy is offering aviators as much as $175,000 to stay in uniform as it struggles with a pilot shortage.

7th Fleet rings in 75 years in the Pacific with celebration Down Under

The fleet’s history stretches back to March 15, 1943, a year and three months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Former TOPGUN instructor tapped to lead Navy’s 5th Fleet

Rear Adm. Scott Stearney had been nominated to take charge of the epicenter of naval operations in the Middle East. He is also slated to lead Naval Forces Central Command and receive a promotion to vice admiral.

Cleanup wrapping up at Japanese lake where Air Force jet dropped fuel tanks

Navy divers have recovered all salvageable debris after an emergency forced a fighter jet to drop its fuel tanks into a Japanese lake last month.

US gives a half-dozen surveillance drones to the Philippines

The U.S. delivered six surveillance drones to the Philippines on Tuesday, bolstering the country’s ability to respond to a growing militant threat.

US, Japan conduct anti-submarine drills in the South China Sea

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and the destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer have been working alongside the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s JS Ise, a Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer, since Sunday, a Navy statement said. The warships are doing formation steaming, anti-submarine and air-defense training.

Navy commander wants ‘transparency’ on China’s defense spending after budget increase

While China’s actual defense spending remains opaque, the country has undertaken a decadeslong quest to modernize its military and expand its air and naval capabilities worldwide.

Navy aircraft carrier arrives in Vietnam for historic port visit

The USS Carl Vinson pulled into Danang Bay Monday, becoming the first American aircraft carrier to visit Vietnam since the war ended more than four decades ago.

Navy appoints new commander for Japan-based Task Force 70

The Navy has nominated an E-2C Hawkeye pilot to lead a troubled task force that includes the aircraft-carrier USS Ronald Reagan, its carrier wing and an armada of forward-deployed cruisers and destroyers.

Amphibious squadron leaders relieved after harassment complaints

The commander and deputy commander of the Navy’s Japan-based amphibious squadron have been relieved of duty, the Navy announced Sunday, Japan time.

US will return to Vietnam, Sri Lanka during Pacific Partnership mission

The Asia-Pacific’s biggest humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief preparedness mission is part of an effort to develop closer ties in the region.

Navy Poseidon aircrew finds fishermen stranded at sea for 8 days

After searching on Tuesday for three hours, sailors from Kadena Air Base spotted the survivors, who disappeared after a fishing expedition near Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia

Japanese fishermen to seek compensation after F-16 ditches fuel tanks into lake

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to Misawa Air Base’s 35th Fighter Wing dropped two external fuel tanks into Lake Ogawara after an engine caught fire shortly after takeoff on Tuesday morning. No one was injured in the incident, and the aircraft was able to return safely to the base.

Navy maps submerged wreckage of C-2A Greyhound that crashed last fall

Personnel aboard the research ship RV Petrel surveyed the wreck of the C-2A Greyhound Feb. 3-5 and determined that its cockpit and fuselage are resting in two sections on the ocean floor.

USS McCain’s former XO found guilty of dereliction of duty

The judgment for Cmdr. Jessie Sanchez, who served as second-in-command of the USS John S. McCain when it crashed into an oiler tanker east of Singapore, came during a series of nonjudicial punishment hearings held in the wake of last year's fatal collisions in the Pacific.

Theater-based sex-assault prevention training having an impact, Navy says

Navy officials credit a substantial drop in sexual assaults over the past few years to a contracted group whose performances address themes such as victim retaliation and male-on-male sexual assault.

Japan-based sailors suspected of buying, selling, using illegal drugs

The sailors, some of whom are assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan, are suspected of buying, selling and using illegal drugs, including LSD and ecstasy. The Navy is also looking into whether the sailors were buying and selling drugs online or distributing them to Japanese citizens outside Yokosuka.

Pentagon nominates Aquilino to take over US Pacific Fleet

If confirmed, Vice Adm. John Aquilino would be taking charge of a fleet stretching nearly 100 million square miles, nearly half of the Earth’s surface. Aquilino started his current position as head of Navy forces in the Middle East only five months ago.

Bamboo Vietnam Kitchen a healthy, delicious eatery option near Yokosuka

Hungry servicemembers looking for a tasty but healthy meal should check out a new Vietnamese restaurant near the Womble Gate at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Bamboo Vietnam Kitchen has been serving up plenty of delicious Vietnamese-style sandwiches and Pho soup since it opened in late December.

Engineering issues delay USS Sterett’s departure to Western Pacific

The USS Sterett, which departed Naval Base San Diego along with the USS Dewey on Feb. 6, returned to port after sailors heard unusual noises in the ship’s main reduction gear, Naval Surface Forces spokesman Lt. Andrew DeGarmo told Stars and Stripes on Thursday.

USS Ronald Reagan sailor arrested, accused of sexual assault in Tokyo

A Navy official said that the alleged victim was not a Japanese national.

Navy hands out more punishments to sailors after deadly collisions

The executive officer, command master chief and one officer from the Fitzgerald, as well as an enlisted sailor from the McCain, were found guilty of dereliction in the performance of duties for their role in two deadly collisions last year.

Navy awards $14M contract to renovate Okinawa Marine barracks

The work will upgrade the 35-year-old, four-story quarters for single, enlisted servicemembers at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Naval Facilities Engineering Command said in a statement.

Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force gets new commander

Rear Adm. Brad Cooper assumed command of the Navy’s amphibious forces in the Pacific during a ceremony this week on Okinawa.

Lamb stars in tasty offerings at Tohoku Jinka in Yokohama’s Chinatown

In the back alleys of Yokohama’s famous Chinatown, hungry diners can explore China’s regional cuisines.

Navy’s oldest deployable warship comes out of Yokosuka dry dock after 19 months

The USS Blue Ridge, which serves as the flagship of the Yokosuka-based 7th Fleet, received numerous upgrades designed to extend its life another 20 years.

Naval Surfaces Forces commander retires early amid fallout from deadly collisions

The head of the Navy’s Surface Forces retired early from the service last week amid continuing fallout after a pair of ship collisions last year killed 17 sailors.

Navy asking Pentagon to increase paternity leave time

The recommendation stems from the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the Pentagon to increase non-chargeable leave across the services. It is subject to approval by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Ex-cashier gets 2-year sentence for stealing $100K from Yokosuka base casino

Cynthia Lopez Creseni, a 60-year-old Philippine citizen, was sentenced Jan. 12 by a U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. She will be returned to her home country after her incarceration.

Navy plans more promotions, bonuses for sailors as service expands

The service recently abolished high-tenure limits and stopped letting sailors leave before their scheduled separation dates.

Navy looks at increasing tour lengths for sailors assigned to Japan

The Navy wants sailors to spend more time on their overseas assignments, the service’s personnel chief said.

USS Wasp arrives in Japan to boost amphibious, stealth-attack capabilities

The USS Wasp has arrived at its new homeport in Japan, bolstering the 7th Fleet’s amphibious and stealth-attack capabilities in the Pacific.

USS Wasp joins 7th Fleet after wrapping up relief efforts in Caribbean

Navy officials announced that the amphibious-assault ship will soon pull into Sasebo Naval Base — an arrival that was delayed after the Wasp was diverted to the Caribbean in September to assist with disaster-relief efforts.

Carl Vinson strike group departs San Diego for Western Pacific

More than 6,000 sailors have left the West Coast for the tension-filled Western Pacific on a regularly scheduled deployment.

Navy finds plane that crashed into Philippine Sea in November, killing 3 sailors

The Greyhound is about 18,500 feet down, which would make the aircraft recovering operation the deepest ever attempted, the Navy said.

Yokosuka hospital stands by rule that limits access for civilians

Patients who are not active duty or dependents of servicemembers are restricted to making same-day medical appointments on a space-available basis, a change hospital officials say was required to meet access-to-care standards.

New unit will decide if 7th Fleet ships are ready for action, CNO says

The Navy’s top officer said a recently created unit will make the calls on whether warships in the region are capable of deployment.

CNO: Bigger Navy, upgraded ships needed for ‘unprecedented’ N. Korean threat

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson visited sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at Yokosuka Naval Base. The threat from North Korea was a popular topic as Richardson answered sailors’ questions.

Many sailors unfazed by end of Navy’s ‘early out’ program

Sailors in Japan seem unfazed by the cancellation of a Navy program that allowed some to leave the service up to two years prior to their scheduled separation date.

After delay, USS Fitzgerald finally departs Japan for repairs in Mississippi

The crippled warship attempted to leave Yokosuka on Nov. 23, but was sent back days later to repair two new punctures in the ship’s hull caused by steel support structures during loading.

Pentagon picks commander to lead naval forces on Korean Peninsula

The Pentagon has named a new leader to oversee naval forces on the tension-heavy Korean Peninsula.

Families welcome USS Ronald Reagan home to Japan after ‘tough’ fall deployment

The USS Ronald Reagan returned to its homeport in Japan Monday after a fall patrol highlighted by a rare tri-carrier exercise and a plane crash that killed three sailors.

Navy blames poor training, leadership for USS Lake Champlain collision

A U.S. ship assigned to protect an American aircraft carrier off the Korean Peninsula collided with a commercial fishing boat after losing track of it on radar and attempting "improper and untimely maneuvers" in an attempt to avoid a wreck, the Navy said in report released Thursday.

Three USS Ronald Reagan fighter-jet squadrons relocate from Atsugi to Iwakuni

Three USS Ronald Reagan fighter-jet squadrons arrived at their new home Tuesday, the latest step in transferring the bulk of Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Carrier Air Wing 5 to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.

USS McCain back on course to Japan after new damage diverted it to Philippines

The collision-damaged USS John S. McCain is finally on its way to Japan after repair and weather issues forced a diversion to the Philippines last month.

USS Fitzgerald returns to Yokosuka after suffering damage during loading process

The crippled USS Fitzgerald was forced to return to its homeport Monday after suffering further damage while being loaded onto a heavy lift vessel for its trip stateside.

Navy calls off search for 3 sailors missing after plane crash in Philippine Sea

The Navy announced the end of the search in a statement Friday morning, saying U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft covered nearly 1,000 square nautical miles over two days searching for the missing sailors.

Collision-damaged USS Fitzgerald departs Japan to receive repairs stateside

The Fitzgerald will be taken to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., for fixes and upgrades. A deadly collision on June 17 between the USS Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged merchant ship killed seven sailors.

Crews continue to search for 3 missing sailors after plane crash in Philippine Sea

Search-and-rescue efforts continued Thursday for three sailors missing after a Navy aircraft went down the previous afternoon in the Philippine Sea.

3 missing after Navy aircraft crashes into Philippine Sea

A C-2A Greyhound carrying 11 crew members and passengers crashed in waters southeast of Okinawa during a training exercise Wednesday. Eight people have been rescued and the search continues for the other three.

Vandals strike vehicles, homes affiliated with the US military on Okinawa

A number of U.S. military affiliated vehicles and apartment buildings were vandalized over the weekend, shortly after a fatal vehicle accident involving a Marine and a Japanese national.

USS Benfold collides with Japanese tugboat during towing exercise; no injuries reported

No injuries were reported after a U.S. warship collided with a Japanese commercial tugboat Saturday in Japan’s Sagami Bay.

Futenma relocation necessary for dealing with N. Korean threats, Hagerty says

“Considerable progress” is being made on a controversial project to relocate a large Marine base within Okinawa, the United States’ new envoy to Japan said Friday in Tokyo.

Sasebo-based sailor accused of trying to steal car outside Japanese convenience store

A U.S. sailor was in Japanese police custody Tuesday after officers said he made a drunken attempt to steal a vehicle parked outside an off-base convenience store the previous morning.

Navy shows off its airpower during rare tri-carrier drills near Korean Peninsula

The four-day drills, which kicked off on Saturday, involve the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz, and are aimed at demonstrating the Navy’s “unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.”

Rare 3-carrier strike group exercise kicks off Saturday near Korean Peninsula

The four-day exercise involving the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt strike groups will “demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.”

USS Chafee wraps up drills off S. Korea as Trump arrives on peninsula

U.S., South Korean and Australian warships finished a two-day exercise off the Korean Peninsula Tuesday aimed at intercepting and searching unauthorized merchant vessels.

Littoral combat ship USS Coronado departs Singapore after 14-month deployment

The Navy’s only overseas littoral combat ship is heading home after a 14-month rotational deployment to Southeast Asia.

Report details death, destruction, heroism after McCain collision

A Navy report details death, destruction and heroism on the USS John S. McCain after an Aug. 21 collision with an oil tanker killed 10 sailors near Singapore.