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
“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.
“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
“I have had a
couple of friends
suicide when they
got back from
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.”
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
“I’ve been really impressed with how adventurous
the Sailors and Marines attending SASR are,” said
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
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
health teams’ goal
is to teach these
lessons to Sailors
and Marines aboard
recognize stress in their lives and learn how to better
“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.”
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
w/ Au Jus
w/ Raisin Sauce
Roasted Tom Turkey
w/ Cranberry Sauce
Savory Bread Dressing
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Corn on the Cob
Assorted Pies & Cakes
Boxer Salad Bar
13th MEU Warrior
Story and photos by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman (SW)
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
MM2 Jacob Velazquez tests fuel
samples during a FAS
MM2 Jacob Velazquez collects fuel samples during a FAS
MM2 Jacob Velazquez closes a valve during a FAS
MM2 Velazquez request pressure
Since deploying Aug. 23, 2013 Boxer has received 4,435,316 gallons of fuel during eight
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
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
Get to Know the New
Colorado Springs, Colo.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.