June 29, 2013

Navy Pier

“Navy Pier, the popular tourist attraction in Illinois which had last been renovated in 1999 is about to get a new feel and look. The general consensus has been that the pier needs new ideas and should be made beautiful to attract year-round visitors. The boards responsible for Navy Pier approved a plan to renovate it in hopes of getting regular visitors as well as catering to the requirements of adults.


Navy Pier

Navy Pier was built at a cost of $4.5 million and it was the largest pier in the world when it was opened to the public in 1916. It was built with dual purpose in mind that of being a shipping yard as well as being an entertainment centre. During World War I the pier was used by soldiers, the Red Cross and Home Defense units. In honor of the Navy personnel that served there during the war, the pier was named Navy Pier in 1927.

Presently, Navy Pier offers several attractions including fireworks displays during summer, boats and cruises, rides and attractions, and entertainment. It hosts hundreds of free shows, concerts and special events for people of all ages at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the IMAX Theatre and at the Pepsi Skyline Stage. Spread over an area of more than 50 acres, Navy Pier has parks, promenades, gardens, shops and restaurants to cater to the needs of people.

Navy Pier Inc., a non-profit group set up to manage the pier site, and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, commonly called McPier have joined hands to celebrate the 100th birthday of Navy Pier in 2016. As per the estimates, this upgrade is likely to cost $155 million which will be used to expand the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, a redesigned Family Pavilion, changes to Festival hall and includes a hotel at the pier’s east end which will have more than 100 rooms.

Pier executives have promised to solicit public suggestions via social media and at navypier.com, a kiosk in the Family Pavilion. They also plan to conduct a six-month search for design teams to submit ideas for the pier’s public areas. McPier has agreed to provide $50 million in seed cash and the remaining amount will be raised through corporate sponsorships, donations and income from tenants and attractions.

If these plans are approved and renovations done on time, the Navy Pier will have a completely new look on its 100th birthday in 2016.”

Navy Pier renovation facts

Navy Pier Plans $155M Expansion, Hotel

Navy Pier

Navy Pier Closer to Renovation

Navy SEAL Movie

“The strongest, toughest guy I know is my cousin Tim; a big burly Irish brawler that doesn’t take “”No”" for an answer. A few years back, he went through NAVY Seal BUD/S orientation – twice. He rang out – twice. He said it was the hardest thing he had ever done. He is now an LAPD SWAT team member.


Navy SEAL Movie

Becoming a Navy SEAL is not just about being strong; though just to get in, one must swim 1000 meters in 20 minutes, run 4 miles in 31 minutes or less, do 70 pushups in 2 minutes, 60 situps in 2 minutes. And that’s just the beginning of a really tough 24 week program designed to weed out many and toughen those that remain. Becoming a Navy SEAL is about an inner toughness and heart that separates those with true internal strength from the others. Out of about 1000 candidates that start BUD/S training every year, only about 20% complete it. There is a saying on the SEALS website. “It’s not about winning; it’s about not quitting.”

What makes a Navy SEAL special beyond his strength and military training is his willingness to always put the team and the mission first. A SEAL chooses not to stand out or look for recognition, rather to blend into the background unless called to lead.

The Navy SEALS Ethos reads, in part:

“My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day. My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own. I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.”

Hollywood has always had the tendency to make macho type movies about the military. There are two in the works now on the SEALS. One, directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow called “Kill Bin Laden” and the other, “Act of Valor”. Let us hope that Hollywood can do justice to the SEALS this time. They certainly deserve it.|”

Navy SEAL Change of Command

The Navy SEALS, the U.S. military Special Forces responsible for killing Osama Bin Laden, have a new leader. Rear Adm. Edward Winters III transferred command of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Command to Rear Adm. Sean A. Pybus in a June 30th ceremony in Coronado, California. Rear Adm. Winters, who led the SEALS since 2008, will now serve as the deputy chief of the Office of Security Cooperation – Iraq.


Navy SEAL Change of Command

While commanding the SEALs over the last three years, Rear Adm. Winters oversaw a variety of organizational and operational changes. He developed four pillars that guided the SEALs through the last few years of conflict abroad: win the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan; prevent and deter future conflict; prepare for future conflict; and evolve and sustain the Force. Rear Adm. Winters viewed taking care of NSW families an important element of evolving and sustaining the Force. He made taking care of NSW families a priority, and he expanded many program designed to support these families while a member served. Winters explained that he believes that a Navy SEAL serves his or her best when, “foundation of information, accessibility, networking and empowerment is available to the entire NSW family.”

In order to support NSW families, Rear Adm. Winters elevated his Force Family Support Team director to the special assistant level. He also strengthened his Family Support staff and encouraged NSW families to use the NSW Family Support website, a site where NSW service members and their families can connect and get information about available resources, events and programs. When assuming command, Rear Adm. Pybus told Rear Adm. Winters, “I’m very proud to follow you here. I’m proud to follow the legacy you have built here and on the battlefield.”

Rear Adm. Pybus most recently served as the commander of Special Operations Command – Pacific. He has participated in or commanded Special Operations in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Rear Adm. Pybus is a career SEAL officer – he received his commission in 1979 through the University of Rochester’s ROTC program and completed the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training shortly after with class 105. As the leader of the Navy’s Special Warfare division, Rear Adm. Pybus will oversee over 8,300 servicemen and civilians including 2,300 active duty SEALs, 600 special combatant craft crewmen, 900 reservists, 3,650 support personnel, and 880 civilian workers.

USS Carl Vinson to Host NCAA Basketball Game

The USS Carl Vinson is a United States aircraft carrier that has been working hard actively fighting terrorism related to 9/11. Recently the USS Carl Vinson gained a lot of fame due to its role in being the ship that buried Osama Bin Laden at sea.

University of North Carolina Tarheels Interloc...

Image via Wikipedia

The Carl Vinson may soon have another claim to fame and this time it has nothing to do with getting terrorists.

Officials from the Navy and Morale Entertainment are discussing plans to have a NCAA basketball game on the Carl Vinson.

Basketball games are not uncommon on aircraft carriers as it is a great way to stay in shape and pass the time while at sea. But if this deal goes through it will be a first in college basketball.

The history making game will most likely be between the Michigan State Spartans and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and it will take place on Veterans Day.

The whole idea for this exciting undertaking was formed in the mind of Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis. Mark had taken a few trips to Kuwait to visit American troops there and he became inspired.

If this game happens the ship will be prepared with two courts. One court will be set up on the flight deck and another one will be set up below the hanger deck. Two courts are needed since the flight deck is open and hence exposed to the elements, something that basketball players are not used to dealing with.

Beside the issue of weather, security for the event is of concern.

To help quell any potential problems tickets will not be sold to the general public. Some will be given to the participating schools and many will be given to service members.

In addition to the adventure of having a college basketball game on an active aircraft carrier, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson are going to be made honorary captains for the game as they were former stars of UNC and MSU respectively.

If this game is successful then it is possible that more college games will be played on aircraft carriers in the future.

Links to Read More:

Wikipedia entry for USS Carl Vinson

Michigan State Website

UNC Tarheels Website

News story at CNN.

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Blue Angels Cancel Millville Air Show

The US Navy Blue Angels have cancelled their performance at the Millville Airshow in Millville, New Jersey, which was scheduled for May 28 and 29.

The Blue Angels were the headline performer for the Memorial Day weekend airshow, which is part of Philadelphia Navy Week celebration of the Centennial of Naval Aviation.

Millville Airshow - Blue Angels Cancel

Blue Angels cancel their performance at the Millville Airshow.

The Blue Angels were given a safety stand-down order following an unsafe air manoever on May 22 at the Lynchburg Regional Air Show.

In addition to canceling their performance at the Millville Air Show, they have also cancelled Air Shows at the US Naval Academy, and their traditional flyover at the US Naval Academy graduation ceremony.

Strike Fighter Squadron 143 (VFA-143) will be replacing the Blue Angels at the USNA graduation, but it is unclear whether they will fly in place of the Blue Angels at the Millville Airshow.

Links

Blue Angels Announcement

Millville Airshow

Philadelphia Navy Week

Strike Fighter Squadron 143 (VFA-143)

US Naval Academy Graduation Flyover

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have announced that they will not be performing the flyover at the US Naval Academy (USNA) graduation and commissioning on May 27.

It is a long-standing tradition that the Blue Angels perform a fly-over at the graduation ceremony for US Naval Academy graduates, and there has been wide speculation whether they would perform as they are currently on a safety stand-down order due to unsafe manoevers at the Lynchburg Regional Air Show on May 22.

US Naval Academy Graduation Flyover

US Naval Academy Graduation

The USNA graduation flyover will now be performed by the Strike Fighter Squadron 143 (VFA-143), based out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia.

Links

Blue Angels Announcement

Blue Angels Cancel Naval Academy Air Show

The Blue Angels, or as they are officially known – the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, have cancelled their planned air show that was scheduled for May 24 and 25 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Blue Angels cancelled this air show because of a safety stand-down order issued by their commander in response to a low altitude manoever they performed at the Lynchburg Regional Air Show May 22 in Lynchburg, Virginia that was a little too low.

Blue Angels Cancel Naval Academy Air Show

Blue Angels Cancel Naval Academy Air Show

While the manoever did not result in an accident or crash, and no one was injured, it was too close for comfort so the Blue Angels have been grounded indefinitely, and will be in Pensacola, Florida, their home base, for additional training.

There is no end date given for their stand down order, so it is not clear whether they will do a fly-over at the U.S. Naval Academy, as is a long-standing tradition, or whether they will perform at the Millville Airshow, part of Philadelphia Navy Week, which is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend on May 28 and 29.

Links and Resources

Blue Angels Press Release

Blue Angels Website

Millville Airshow

Philadelphia Navy Week

Navy SEAL Dog Used in Raid to Kill Osama bin Laden

A Navy SEAL dog was used in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

While we have learned a great deal of information about the gear, vehicles, tech – and even some of the tactics that the Navy SEAL Team Six used in their raid, we are only now learning that they had a four-legged member of their team along for the mission.

While the exact breed of the Navy SEAL dog is not known, many experts believe that it is either a Belgian Malinois or a German Shepherd Dog.

Navy SEAL Dog

A Navy SEAL dog was part of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Believed to be either a belgian malinois or a german shepherd dog.

We know that the dog fast-roped out of the helicopter attached to one of the SEALs, and that these Navy SEAL dogs have even done parachute jumps as well.

Also, the dog was equipped with special vest or body suit that had special equipment and accessories attached to it, like a video camera to provide forward surveillance to the SEAL team – in a sense the SEAL could see what the Navy SEAL dog was able to see.

There have been rumors that these special-ops dogs also were outfitted with titanium teeth, allowing them to rip through body armor.

Beyond the sheer ferocity of a dog like this, they are trained for invaluable tasks in a special operation like this.  This SEAL dog was probably used to track Osama bin Laden, and lead the SEAL Team Six members to him as quickly as possible.

For more info:  New York Times article

More info about the Belgian Malinois.

More info about German Shepherd Dogs.

Military Working Dogs/K9 in the Navy

SEAL Team Six Q&A

Since the news broke that the Navy SEAL Team Six killed Osama bin Laden in a daring raid on his Abbottabad fortified compound, there has been in incredible surge of interest in finding out more about this elite group of Navy SEAL operators.  So, we’ll start with some basic questions and answers, and if your questions isn’t answered here, just post your questions in the comment section.

In no particular order:

Q.  Is there a SEAL Team Six movie, or are they featured in any movies?

A.  Not yet, but you can bet your sweet ass that this daring feat is going to be made into a movie!  There is a new book by ex Navy SEAL sniper Howard Wasdin called ‘SEAL Team Six:  Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper’.  There has been speculation that this may be optioned to make into a movie, but his time as a SEAL would not include the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout.

UPDATE:  There is a movie from 2008 called ‘Seal Team VI’ about the SEAL Team Six insertion into Iraq 4 days prior to the start of Operation: Desert Shield, and IMDB lists it as being inspired by actual events.

Q.  Who are the Navy SEAL Team Six members that killed Osama bin Laden?

A.  Their names have not been released, and even if I knew (which I certainly do not) – there is no way I would post it here!  The names of the Navy SEAL Team Six, along with all Navy SEAL members and members of any Special Forces unit are highly classified.  These operators work in the most sensitive areas and on the most important missions.  If their identities were made public it could jeopardize their safety, or that of the missions they are on.

There has already been a call to publicly recognize these brave men as the heroes that they are – through the awarding of medals in a public ceremony.  I’m all for it – but nothing has been announced yet.  How do you feel about this?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Q.  What about famous or past members of the SEAL Team Six?

A.  Read up on Richard Marcinko.  This guy is Le-Gen-Dary.
SEAL Team Six
Q.  Will members of SEAL Team Six be at Fleet Week in New York City?

A.  Wow?!  That’s a good one!  Well, first of all – see the previous question.  No one knows who they are, and it is likely that they are in for some exhaustive debriefing and other work to finish up this historic mission.  Fleet Week NYC is coming up very soon (May 25 to June 1) and wouldn’t it be cool to go and meet the guy that killed Osama bin Laden?  Hell yeah!

Q.  How do you join the Navy SEAL Team Six?

A.  Want to join this historic band of badasses?  Well, first you have to join the Navy.  After you’ve joined the Navy, you have to be accepted to join the SEALs.  The entrance requirements are:

  • Male
  • U.S. citizen
  • 17 – 28 years old
  • Pass the Physical Screening Test
  • Pass the dive medical physical
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery with the required scores
  • Be eligible for a Secret-level security clearance.

( Source:  Navy.com )

Q.  What kind of training do Navy SEALs get?

A.  Every Navy SEAL goes through BUD/S, which stands for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training, and includes:

Phase 1 is 8 weeks of physical conditioning, which ends with Hell Week.

Phase 2 is 8 weeks of diving and underwater training.

Phase 3 is 9 weeks of Land Warfare training.

If you complete all of BUD/S, there is an additional 3 weeks of basic parachute training, followed by the 28 week SEAL Qualification Training (SQT).

This is only the beginning of the training that a Navy SEAL operator receives, as they are constantly training depending on the mission they are preparing for, and on new weapon systems and tactics.

Q.  What kind of workout do Navy SEALs do?

A.  Lots of running, swimming, and low-tech calisthenics like sit-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups.  For more information on the Navy SEAL workout, check out their Physical Training Guide.  The training guide is only the tip of the iceberg, however.  If you want the full scoop on how to condition your body to perform at the highest level, as demanded by Navy SEAL training and operations – you’ve got to read the much longer and more comprehensive US Navy SEAL Physical Fitness Guide.

Q.  What is the Seal Team Six Workout?

A.  They do the same workout that the rest of the SEALs do, but they eat Al Qaeda for breakfast.

Q.  What kind of workout do I need to do to prepare for BUD/s, to prepare to join the SEALs?

A.  You need to learn about these types of workouts:  Long Slow Distances (LSD), Continuous High Intensity (CHI), and Interval (INT) workouts.  You’ll be doing lots of running, swimming, calisthenics, strength weight training, and core exercises.  The SEALs wrote a guide to help you prepare, since physical conditioning is so important to your success at BUD/S and as a SEAL:  Navy SEAL Physical Training Guide.

Q.  Where can I find photos of Navy SEALs in action?

Check them out here:  Navy Seal Photos (Coming Soon.)

Q.  What equipment does the Navy SEALs use?

They use different equipment depending on the specific needs of the mission, but it has been reported that the Navy SEALs equipment for the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound included:

  • MH-60 Helicopters
  • 5.56mm M4 Carbine
  • 5.56 mm M16 Assault Rifle
  • 9mm SIG Sauer P226 pistols
  • Thermal Imaging
  • Facial Recognition devices
  • Helmet mounted video cameras
  • a Navy SEAL dog

Q.  What was SEAL Team Six’s code word for Osama bin Laden?

A.  The code word that SEAL Team Six used to identify Osama bin Laden was ‘Geronimo’.  No one is quite sure why they used this, but Geronimo was the name of a legendary Apache Indian warrior chief.  When bin Laden was confirmed killed, a SEAL Team Six member radioed back:  ’Geronimo, EKIA’.  EKIA stands for ‘Enemy Killed in Action’.

Q.  What is the official name of SEAL Team Six?

A.  The official name of SEAL Team Six is United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), which is often referred to as DEVGRU.  It is one of two Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units (SMU), the other is Delta Force.

Q.  Where is the SEAL Team Six headquarters?

Dam Neck Annex, Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia.

Q.  What are some of the SEAL Team Six missions?

SEAL Team Six History (Known; brief):

  • Operation Honey Badger
  • Operation Urgent Fury
  • TWA Flight 847 Hijacking
  • Achille Lauro Hijacking
  • Operation Just Cause
  • Operation Desert Storm
  • Operation Restore Hope
  • Operation Gothic Serpent
  • Manhunt for Serbian War Criminals
  • Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Baraawe Raid
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Maersk Alabama hijacking
  • Death of Osama bin Laden

There are probably many more missions that we don’t know about, as all missions are classified and the details of which are rarely learned by the public.

Q.  Why are Navy SEALs called seals?

A.  SEAL is an acronym for SEa, Air, and Land – therefore they are called SEALs.

Q.  How much does a Navy SEAL make each year?

A.  A typical Navy SEAL salary is about $54,000 a year, based on a E-7 pay grade (Navy ranks are called ‘grades’ for enlisted personnel) and about 12 years experience.  This salary is a base and does not include such things as signing bonuses, benefits, housing and other allowances, or incentive pay for things like hazardous duty, flight, sea-pay, parachute, etc.  With more experience, or with certain special weapon or skill specialties a SEAL can earn upwards of six figures ($100,000).  It should be noted that these guys don’t do it for the money.  With their qualifications and experience they could earn much more in the private sector.  The risks that they take, and the singular dedication that it takes to become a SEAL and constantly train for the missions.  They do it for their commitment and dedication to protecting America and freedom.

Any more questions out there?

I will post more questions as I get time, but in the meantime, what questions do you have about the Navy SEAL Team Six?

Osama Bin Laden Buried At Sea From Deck of USS Carl Vinson

Osama Bin Laden was buried at sea, dumped from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, after being killed by Navy SEALs from SEAL Team Six in a daring raid on his fortified compound in Abbottabad.

USS Carl Vinson buries Osama Bin Laden at sea.

USS Carl Vinson buries Osama Bin Laden a

Since no country would take his body for a land burial, his body was dumped from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, Navy aircraft carrier, while underway after a brief ceremony in accordance with Muslim religious practices.