Bark of the Boxer: November 2013


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USS Boxer's (LHD 4) November 2013 newsletter.

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Bark of the Boxer: November 2013

  1. 1. 13 A newspaper for Sailors and Marines of Boxer and 13th MEU November 27, 2013 Boxer’s Medical adds Psych Program to Team Story and photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Jennifer Gold USS Boxer’s medical department is literally a floating hospital, capable of handling most surgeries. The clinic has a radiology department with three X-ray technicians. It also has a blood bank, pharmacy, two laboratories, and more than 300 beds to hold patients. Within the medical facility is a dental clinic staffed with a dentist, a certified dental hygienist, specialized Hospital Corpsmen and operating rooms. Boxer’s medical staff has the physical aspect of patient care covered from top to bottom and thanks to Photo by MCC(SW/AW) Steve Zurell the arrival of a two-man psychiatric team the mental health care of Sailors and Marines is also covered. Lt. George Loeffler, a staff psychiatrist and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF/SW) Jake Skinner, a behavior health technician arrived aboard the amphibious assault ship two months ago adding a valuable resource to help Sailors and Marines during deployment. “We are here to support the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and help support the larger Operational Stress Control picture for the entire ARG /MEU [Marine Expeditionary Unit] across three ships,” said Loeffler, from New York City. “Our role is with the mental health aspect, improving performance, resilience, coping skills, and decreasing acute crises and medical evacuations. Mental health ultimately enhances fighting-force preservation.” They didn’t waste any time getting settled either. Immediately they set up classes and started seeing patients. Helping Sailors and Marines is their main goal. “I think I have the best job in the world,” said Loeffler. “I get to work with people on a real human level. Everyone suffers and I get to help them refocus on their strengths.” One of the classes offered is Sleep, Anger, Stress and Relaxation (SASR), a skill based program held daily in medical. It’s a group forum, where the door is always open to any Sailor or Marine who wants to attend, whether they have seen the doctor or not. Continued on pg. 2 Sailor of the week Who’s-Who on the Boxer Deckplates, pg. 3 Also in this issue, 13th MEU Warrior, pg. 4-5 Oil Kings, pg. 6-7 365 Program Shines Future Brass, pg. 9 A Lesson on Giving Back, pg. 10 Congrats to Gas Turbine System Technician (Electrical) Fireman Apprentice Anthony Zver, USS Boxer’s Sailor of the Week! Representing Assault Craft Unit Five, Zver hails from Spokane, Wash. 1
  2. 2. “I give them relaxation and meditation techniques,” said Skinner from Moore, Okla. “I also try to help them put humor into everyday situations.” Skinner, whose long term career goal is to be a detective, says his job lets him read his patients body language to get an understanding of their behavior and better help them. “It allows me to talk to my Marines who have PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder], relationship or family problems and be able to put the puzzle together on the outside and give them the tools to fill it in on the inside,” said Skinner. Skinner, who has been in the Navy for more than eight years, says his biggest drive for wanting to help people comes from past experiences. “I have had a couple of friends who committed suicide when they got back from deployment,” said Skinner. “I’d always say come talk to me, but what I said and what the chaplain said wasn’t enough. My drive is to never let that happen again.” Loeffler and Skinner both teach the SASR class, which also gives service members coping skills to help them handle the kinds of challenges they might face during deployment. “I’ve been really impressed with how adventurous the Sailors and Marines attending SASR are,” said Loeffler. Loeffler recently introduced self-hypnosis during his SASR classes as a new stress control technique. He explains it as a combination of diaphragmatic breathing, tactical visualization and meditation or in other words a mellow, trance-like state. “When I mentioned self-hypnosis I wasn’t sure how they would react,” he said. “But, other than a few comments like, ‘will you make me cluck like a chicken’ they really threw themselves into it.” Loeffler says that he gets to see patients grow and succeed but, he also learns from them too. “I think Sailors and Marines really enjoy the classes,” he said. “I know I do. I usually leave laughing. These classes are definitely the highlights of my day.” Another class he offers is called Resilience and Performance Optimization (RPO). It’s an interactive workshop for individual shipboard departments or divisions based on a program from the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control. The class is approximately six to eight hours in length and can be divided into several smaller classes. “Perhaps the biggest lesson is that stress is not the same thing as illness,” said Loeffler. “People can be stressed out, and it can make you feel terrible physically and mentally. But that doesn’t mean you’re sick; it means you need to work on dealing with stress. When you realize this it can be quite liberating.” The mental health teams’ goal is to teach these lessons to Sailors and Marines aboard to help them recognize stress in their lives and learn how to better handle it. “I see a lot of progress in the patients that we have seen,” said Skinner. “They are improving their coping skills and starting to identify their stressors and weaknesses as well as their strengths.” Boxer’s Senior Medical Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Jason Palmer, said service members aboard have many tools available to them to strengthen their stress management skills and improve their performance while at sea. “The addition of the psychiatric mental health team has made a significant impact on quality of care and health management aboard Boxer,” added Palmer. “Boxer is leading the way for implementation of enhanced mental health facilities.” 2
  3. 3. Photo by MC2 Kenan O’Connor Photo by MCSN Veronica Mammina Photo by MCSN Veronica Mammina Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike D. Stevens visit Boxer. 28 November 2013 Thursday Thanksgiving Dinner Steamship Round w/ Au Jus Spiral Ham w/ Raisin Sauce Roasted Tom Turkey w/ Cranberry Sauce Savory Bread Dressing Mashed Potatoes Candied Sweet Potatoes Clam Chowder Green Bean Casserole Corn on the Cob Crab Salad Hot Rolls Assorted Pies & Cakes Assorted Fruits Boxer Salad Bar 3
  4. 4. 13th MEU Warrior Lives to Protect Others Story and photos by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman (SW) Veronica Mammina On any given night in any city in America, police are likely to arrest suspects and bring them back to the police station. The next thing they know, the suspects are standing in front of a booking agent, or booker, in a sheriff’s department ready to sign up for a one-night stay in jail. The booker is a blonde haired, blue-eyed, athletic female who greets them and shows sympathy and kindness as they enter the building. She politely asks them questions upon their arrival and conducts searches for any contraband. She continues to remain professional and use her calmness as a tool to have the suspect keep composure and cooperate. The booker goes by the name of Catherine “Cat” Everard, currently a Marine embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), and what most people don’t know is that she’s an advocate of many forms of martial arts, selfdefense and helping others any way she can. “It all started when I was just a kid. I used to get picked on,” said Everard. “Since then, I wanted to learn how to defend myself.” Everard said she was put in a situation where she was forced to defend herself. One day, when she was a young girl, she got into fight and tried to escape it by going home. Her father denied her entry to the house because he wanted her to find a way to defend herself and solve her own problems. As a teenager, athletics played a significant part of her high school career as she played a number of sports including basketball, wrestling, volleyball, swimming and track and field. Everard’s drive to succeed granted her an opportunity to graduate a year early from high school. She then attended Metropolitan State University later that year in Denver where she continued to work out and practice martial arts more often. Everard trained in many martial arts styles such as Muay Thai, traditional Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other forms of jiu-jitsu. “After college, I met the Gracie Barra Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter, Fabio Costa and ended up attending some of his seminars in his gym in Atlanta where I practiced more jiu-jitsu with him,” explained Everard. “I learned a lot of awesome stuff.” With Costa’s support, Everard ultimately started her own jiu-jitsu class targeting women’s self-defense in her hometown, Grand Junction, Colo. using some of her newly learned skills. “To me, women are normally perceived as passive. But, times have changed and it would break my heart if someone I knew was taken advantage of and I didn’t help them,” said Everard. “I try to affect as many people as I possibly can in a positive way.” Everard worked for a number of security companies, a sheriff’s department, as an executive protective specialist and a personal fitness trainer. Needless to say, she has worn many hats in her 27 years of life all with one commonality: to protect and serve others. Today she wears the utility cover and serves as a corporal in the Marine Corps attached to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). “All of my previous job assignments were security-based and aimed at protecting others. I love to protect people,” said Everard. “And joining the military was always something I wanted to do.” Everard said humanitarian missions that she saw Marines participating in appealed to her most. “A few years ago, I remember watching TV and seeing 4
  5. 5. Marines directly helping all of the suffering people of Haiti during the disaster,” said Everard. “I thought it would be amazing to be a part of the relief efforts.” In addition to dedicating her life to helping others, Everard maintains her spiritual life, which helps guide her in the right direction. “I live my life through God,” revealed Everard. “I can only control from my head to my toes. From there, I can only hope to influence those around me.” Everard is also a certified Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) instructor and often trains Marines. Everard’s career goal is to become a 1st Sgt. in the Marines because she wants to deal with more of the welfare and development of Marines. Another goal of Everard’s is to teach women self defense skills that could one day mean the difference between life and death. Every Tuesday evening, a group of women gather at the far end of the ships hangar bay where Everard teaches a women’s self-defense class offering various fighting techniques. “The class is mainly for females who seek to learn how to defend,” said Everard. “And, it’s important to those who don’t because if they don’t at least try to learn, they’ll never know.” 5
  6. 6. OIL K The Engineering Oil Lab consists of seven personnel that are accountable for the fuel that USS Boxer uses to meet its missions requirement, as well as testing the water chemistry in the main propulsion boilers. During underway replenishments it’s the engineers that manage the flow of fuel as it’s received from the refueling ship at approximately 6,000 gallons per minute. From the commencement of receiving fuel, samples are taken and several tests are performed to ensure satisfactory fuel is received during the replenishment. bgg MM2 Jacob Velazquez tests fuel samples during a FAS MM2 Velazquez MM2 Jacob Velazquez collects fuel samples during a FAS MM2 Jacob Velazquez closes a valve during a FAS 6 MM2 Velazquez request pressure
  7. 7. KINGS Since deploying Aug. 23, 2013 Boxer has received 4,435,316 gallons of fuel during eight RAS evolutions. When not receiving or transferring fuel all personnel maintain the heart of the ship, which are the two V2M D-Type boilers in the main machinery rooms. Engineers test the water in the boilers for the right balance of alkalinity, phosphates, and chloride. It is the job of the engineers to keep the crew supplied with potable water, maintain the boilers and fuel to allow the ship to keep steaming without interruptions. MM3 Andrew Mariano poses for a picture MM3 Andrew Mariano pours samples into a measuring device MM3 Andrew Mariano visually inspects samples of fuel MM3 Andrew Mariano performs test in the oil lab 7
  8. 8. Get to Know the New “Fit Boss” Neil Roberts Colorado Springs, Colo. “FIT BOSS” Interview and photos by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert R. Sanchez Q: Are there any goals you have set for the gym and/or Boxer Sailors and Marines? A: As far as the gym goes, I want to provide a healthy, clean and functioning environment. All the machinery should be running and weights should be easy to go find. As for the personnel, I want to make sure they have access to all the information they can to make them stronger, faster and better. That goes for anything from nutrition to more sport specific things where competition is involved. Q: What role does the fit boss play aboard Boxer? A: The role of the Fit Boss on Boxer is pretty complex. It can be anything from equipment maintenance to making sure the gym is clean. As well as giving advice on weight lifting techniques, nutrition counseling, and workouts. Anything fitness wise, I will be able to answer your questions, or at least find out the answer for you. Q: Why do you think fitness is important for military members? Q: What qualifies you for the job? A: I think working out should be a focus. It is a healthy way to burn off that stress of not being able to be with friends and family. It keeps your mind occupied and kills time. It can also boost morale. A: I have a degree in Sports and Exercise Science. I also have one of the highest certifications in the United States as an Advanced Health Fitness Specialist through the American Council on Exercise. I am qualified to instruct Cross Fit, TRX, Pilates, and Spin. Q: Any advice for Sailors/Marines trying to stay fit? A: I would say research. Always strive to make your technique perfect. Strive to make you diet perfect. I would also say give up the supplements. Unless, you have your diet really dialed in, get off the Red Bulls, Monsters and supplements and start learning what you really need to do with your body. Q: How did you first become involved in fitness? A: When I was an infantry Marine, I was really active. However, after the Marine Corps, I got up to 300 pounds and it wasn’t healthy weight. I had to figure out how to get it off. I did get some of it off and when I got my degree, I found out how to get the rest of it off. My biggest motivation was to get myself right, so later I can help other people meet their fitness goals. Q: What about advice for eating healthy on the ship? A: There are plenty of options. There is a lot available that you can pick from, but you have to choose the better foods off the line. I see the sweets and high starchy food, but as adults, we have to make decisions on what is best. Q: How long have you been working with MWR? A: I’ve been working with MWR for a total of eight years. I was the fitness director for Okinawa, Japan’s MWR. I was there for about four years and ran the program for 25,000 Sailors and Marines. I have plenty of experience to bring to the crew. Q: Anything else you would like to add? A: I’m just really glad to be here. I hope people reach out and see me as a source. If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them. But also know that if you come to me with an idea, I’m going to ask how we are going to achieve it. If there is a program or competition you want to see set up, expect me to ask you to be involved in it. Q: Are there any events or competitions that you plan to hold in the future? A: I do have a lot of stuff on my mind for future events. Right now, I’m trying to get a feel for what the Sailors and Marines are looking for and where their interest lies. I want to talk to more people and hear what they have to say. 8
  9. 9. Boxer Profile Introduces Boxer CPO 365 Program Shines Future Brass Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert R. Sanchez The Chief Petty Officer (CPO) 365 program, aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), is helping first class petty officers (FCPO) prepare for the next step in their careers to trade their crows for anchors. The Navywide CPO 365 program is a year-round process that calls on chiefs to provide FCPOs guidance on what it takes to join their ranks. “It allows current CPOs to pass on their knowledge and experience to help us succeed and eventually become a chief,” said Yeoman 1st Class (SW) Juan Palma, from El Paso, Texas. “I have picked up leadership tools to implement in everyday situations.” Throughout the year, various subjects are covered such as career development boards, evaluations and awards writing, uniform and grooming standards, and equal opportunity. Along with professional development, Boxer’s CPO 365 program includes weekly group physical training. “The program prepares FCPOs for the responsibilities that come with wearing the anchors of a chief petty officer,” said Chief Information Systems Technician (SW/ AW) Cesar Nunez, from Bronx, N.Y., one of Boxer’s CPO 365 coordinators. “The topics are intended to stimulate their critical thinking skills, increase their understanding of fundamental Navy programs, and most importantly, enhance their ability to make a positive impact on war fighting readiness and Sailors.” CPO 365 consists of two phases. The first phase, which FCPOs are currently going through, begins every year on Sept. 17. All FCPO are encouraged to participate regardless if they are eligible for the chief selection board. Continued on pg. 11 Photo by MCSN Conor Minto 9
  10. 10. 13th MEU Marines Visit Children’s Shelter Story by the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit Public Affairs Djibouti, Africa contains a population of approximately 700,000, vulnerable to famine, drought and conflict in the neighboring countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Yet, everyday hundreds risk their lives, escaping violence and poverty to seek refuge in the more peaceful and politically stable environment the Horn of Africa has to offer. This is due in part to the international and U.S. forces, like Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier, which builds and strengthens partnerships to contribute to security and stability in the region. Thousands of refugees in the Republic of Djibouti are orphaned children anywhere between the ages of 7 and 17, and only a small fraction of them fallnto the devoted care of someone like Father John, who runs a shelter in the city and welcomed Marines and Sailors deployed with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to visit with the children for a few hours at his day shelter, Nov. 16. Father John said the shelter receives pleasant visits from many international forces personnel who seek selfless service and experience life at the shelter. The shelter is run by Caritas, an international, nongovernment organization (NGO) that aims to provide healthcare, promote education and support street children. The organization also tackles issues relating to women and works to provide medical care to expecting mothers. “Caritas [exist] to welcome street children,” Father John said.“When they come here, they spend three years at the shelter and go on to the local primary school to continue to learn how to write, to read and to count.” Marines and Sailors spent time teaching the children the English alphabet and how to spell various words with each letter. Photo by ABHAN (AW/SW) Joni Bills Marines and Sailors then participated in a spirited soccer match with the children in the shelter’s courtyard. “It sends a message to the community that we are their friends and that when Sailors and Marines come into their country we represent the goodness of America and we represent the idea that America cares about all people,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr.Darren Stennett, 13th MEU chaplain. Stennett partnered with Navy volunteers from Camp Lemonnier Chapel program to coordinate the visit. Project Hand Clasp also provided the shelter school, medical and recreational supplies.“It’s good for the Marines and Sailors to get out and see the community,” Stennett said. “I think it’s good for our Sailors and Marines to understand what it is like in the rest of the world. It broadens them as Sailors and Marines.” The 13th MEU continues its dedicated involvement to community relation projects while deployed with the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group as a theater reserve and crisis response force throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Photo by MC2 Kenan O’Connor Marines move boxes of supplies during a replenishment at sea. 10
  11. 11. Profile Boxer Profile Introduces Introduces Continued from pg. 9 “My goal for CPO 365 is to train FCPO to be better deckplate leaders,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) (AW/SW) Omar Lee, from Jacksonville, Fla., Boxer’s primary CPO 365 coordinator. “In turn, FCPOs can better train their junior Sailors that eventually will be taking their place. We train today’s Sailors to become tomorrow’s leaders.” The second phase begins as soon as the results for the chief petty officer selection boards are announced and is complete with the CPO pinning ceremony. Only the FCPOs selected for chief participate in the second phase. “CPO 365 is a great program and all FCPOs should take advantage of the time and effort provided by our CPO leadership,” said Palma. “CPO 365 has given me all the tools necessary to succeed and become a better leader. All I need to do now is put them to use.” Bark of the Boxer is... Public Affairs Officer MCC(SW/AW) Steve Zurell Editorial Staff MC1(SW) Brian Biller MC1(SW) Jennifer Gold MC1 (SW/AW/EXW) Jessica Vargas Layout and Design MC3 Robert R. Sanchez MCSN (SW) Veronica Mammina MCSN Conor Minto Contributing Media Staff MC2 Kenan O’Connor MC3 (SW/AW) Brian Jeffries MC3 (SW/EXW) Jarrod Schwartz MC3 Mayra Knight Special Contributor ABHAN (AW/SW) Joni Bills This newspaper is an authorized publication for military members aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4). Contents of Bark of the Boxer are not the official views of, or endorsed by the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the United States Navy. 11