U.S. Navy Commissions Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121)

The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Arleigh Burke-class (Flight-IIA) destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121), May 14 in Charleston, South Carolina.

CHARLESTON, SC—Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro attended the ceremony. He began by thanking the Petersen family for their lifetime of service to the nation. “All of us join you in honoring Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr.” Del Toro also recognized the plank owners for bringing the ship to life.

Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (USMC photo)

The principal speaker was The Honorable Carlos Campbell, Naval aviator and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, who served alongside Petersen and relayed stories exemplifying the general’s strength and dedication. Recalling Petersen’s ethic, Campbell said “He received a frag wound, he was treated in the field, and returned to combat.”

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday also attended the ceremony. General David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, also attended the ceremony. “General Petersen was a man of many firsts,” said Berger. “There’s a saying that ships take on the characteristics of their namesakes, and if that’s true, then God help any adversary to ever confronts the Frank E. Petersen, Jr.”

Ms. Gayle Petersen, Lt. Gen. Petersen’s daughter, expressed thanks on behalf of her family and made a special recognition. “We would not be having this ceremony today if not for a gentleman named Robert Adams. When my dad was shot down in Vietnam he was rescued by Robert Adams.” Gayle continued, “I would like to thank all who had a hand in building this ship, from stem to stern.”

Guest speakers for the event included The Honorable Nancy Mace, U.S Rep. from South Carolina’s 1st District; The Honorable John Tecklenberg, Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina; Mr. George Nungesser, Vice President of Program Management, Ingalls Shipbuilding.

The ship’s sponsors are Mrs. D’Arcy Ann Neller, wife of former Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert “Bob” Neller, USMC (Ret.), and the late Dr. Alicia J. Petersen, Lt. Gen. Petersen’s wife at the time of his passing in 2015. Dr. Petersen passed away in September 2021. Both sponsors participated in the keel laying, mast stepping, and christening ceremonies.

Mrs. Neller thanked the families. “Our service members can’t do what they do without you and your love and support. To the officers and crew. A ship without a crew is like a body without blood. You will all make this ship come alive.” She continued. “The namesake of this ship was a warrior. He always went to the sound of the guns; he was always prepared and smart about the risks he took. You all need to be the same. Always be prepared. Work hard and when the time comes, you will be ready to go into the jaw of the tiger.”

During the ceremony, USS Frank E. Petersen’s commanding officer Cmdr. Daniel Hancock, reported the ship ready. Assisted by Lt. Gen. Petersen’s daughters, Gayle Petersen, Dana Petersen Moore, Lindsay Pulliam, and Monique Petersen, Mrs. Neller gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”​

U.S. Navy photo from the commissioning ceremony of the newest Arleigh Burke-class destroyer

“Our incredible crew takes a great deal of pride in their work. I can find no better warrior namesake than General Frank E. Petersen Jr. None of us who know his story have ever forgotten that we are the heirs of that powerful legacy, and like the General, we have committed ourselves to owning the fight and carrying his torch proudly forward,” said Hancock. “I wish to express gratitude and pride. It is my greatest professional honor to serve with each of my crew. I am proud beyond measure. “

Lt. Gen. Petersen continues a family legacy of service begun by his great grandfather. Private Archibald (Archie) Charles McKinney enlisted in 1863 and served in the Mass 55th Company E during the Civil War. McKinney’s trip home included traveling aboard a steamship, disembarking at the Port of Charleston.​

Frank E. Petersen, Jr's first star
Frank E. Petersen, Jr. receives his first star. (USMC photo)

The future USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. honors Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (USMC Ret.). Petersen was the first black USMC aviator and the first black Marine to become a three-star general. Petersen served two combat tours, Korea in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968. He flew more than 350 combat missions and had over 4,000 hours in various fighter and attack aircraft. Petersen passed away in Aug. 2015 at the age of 83.

Retiring in 1988 after 38 years of service, Petersen’s awards included the Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit with Combat “V”; Distinguished Flying Cross; Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V;” and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

— Source: U.S. Navy press release


Green Knights VMFA-121
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 | VMFA-121 ‘Green Knights’ (USMC photo)
The men and women who fly the F-35B (above) are fighter pilots standing on the shoulders of the late Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (USMC Ret) and other great Naval Aviators.
The F-35B Lightning II is the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter featuring a vertical lift fan and pivoting engine nozzle for vertical landings and short takeoffs on land or at sea.

Top Gun: Petersen

General Brown formally installed as 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS)―proclaiming himself “proud, yet humbled,” General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. was officially installed August 6, 2020 as the Air Force’s 22nd Chief of Staff (CSAF), becoming the first African American in history to lead a military service as its highest ranking officer.

In remarks following the formal “Change of Responsibility” ceremony in which he took over from retiring General David L. Goldfein, the 21st Chief of Staff, Brown acknowledged an array of people who influenced his life. Among them were his wife, Sharene, and his parents, as well as a list of Air Force colleagues, including Goldfein and other “extraordinary leaders.”

Yet, cognizant of the moment in history, Brown also noted, “Today is possible due to the perseverance of those who went before me serving as an inspiration to me and many others.

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“Those like the Tuskegee Airmen, Benjamin O. Davis Jr., Chappie James, African American leaders across our Air Force and military, past and present, to include today’s special guest, Ed Dwight, America’s first African American astronaut candidate,” he said.

“It is due to their trials and tribulations in breaking barriers that I can address you today as the Air Force Chief of Staff.”

Brown, who previously served as commander of Pacific Air Forces, was elevated to his new assignment during a solemn, socially distanced, 90-minute ceremony that focused on his achievements while also honoring Goldfein’s 37-year service in the Air Force and his four years as chief of staff.

Among those paying tribute were Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Department of the Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley. The ceremony also honored Goldfein as Esper presented him with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

Esper honored Dawn Goldfein as well, presenting her with the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award.“Gen. Goldfein, Dave, our Airmen thrive in today’s environment because of your strong leadership and your steadfast commitment to upholding the core values of the Air Force – integrity, service, and excellence, each and every day,” Esper said. “The United States of America is safer because of you. Thank you for your lifetime of service to our great nation.”

Moments later in remarks to the new Chief of Staff, Esper said, “In returning to the Pentagon, General Brown brings with him more than 35 years of service distinguished by a depth of expertise and experience that makes him exceptionally qualified to be our nation’s next Air Force Chief of Staff.

“I am confident you will take the Air Force to greater heights and I’m excited to watch you lead.”

In her remarks, Barrett offered similar praise for Goldfein’s service and accomplishments. Like others she expressed confidence that Brown has the correct mix of experience and temperament to lead the Air Force to a bright and dominant future.

Brown, she said, “brings a wealth of joint leadership experiences and global perspectives to his new role as 22nd chief of staff of the Air Force. Embodying the Air Force core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do, General Brown has the right character, experience, and perspective to lead the United States Air Force.”

Like Goldfein and those who came before, Brown as chief of staff is responsible for ensuring the Air Force is trained, ready and equipped to accomplish any mission at any time.

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Yet he’s also taking the reins of an Air Force in transition, one moving from a decades-long priority on combating and containing terrorism to a new era of Great Power Competition. As part of that new focus, the Air Force and entire U.S. military must be trained, ready and properly equipped to confront, deter and if necessary, defeat, challenges from Russia and China. It also comes at a time of heightened challenges from North Korea and other geopolitical shifts across Asia.

In his remarks, Brown said he would work to build on Goldfein’s accomplishments while also adding his own imprint to assure that the Air Force remains the most advanced, professional and lethal in the world.

“I am committed to addressing today’s challenges while preparing for the future so we can better compete, deter, and win,” he said, surrounded by an unmistakable lineage of historic aircraft, including a gleaming chrome-plated P-51 Mustang, a fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II and a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter.

“To do so, we must no longer defer, but must accelerate the needed change and tough choices we’ve often discussed. We must develop and empower leaders and provide the quality service and quality of life where our Airmen and families can reach their full potential,” he said.

Adding a dose of realism, Brown said, “No doubt there are challenges ahead that will be difficult, but not impossible. I look forward to working with the Joint Chiefs, providing our best military advice to address challenges the joint force faces today and will face in the future.”

As he noted in March when he was nominated to be chief of staff, Brown said again that he will continue to be guided by what he described as his “four tenets” of leadership – execute at a high standard; be disciplined in execution; pay attention to the details; and have fun.

In his farewell remarks, Goldfein like Brown listed those who influenced and shaped his career. Among others, he singled out Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, calling him his “wingman.”

“Of all the decisions I made as chief, the best by far was hiring Chief Wright,” he said.

Goldfein also thanked his wife, Dawn, saying it was a “blessing” to have her “side by side” with him for his entire Air Force journey.

“For the past 37 years, she adjusted her dreams so I could follow mine,” he said.

Then, to Brown, Goldfein said, “As I took the chiefs walk for the final time (on Aug. 5), I could not be prouder that a true warrior, leader and personal friend will be taking his first walk of the chief tomorrow as chief of staff of the Air Force.

“Congratulations to both of you,” Goldfein said. “The future of our Air Force has never looked brighter!”

― U.S. Air Force

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U.S. Navy graduates its first Black female fighter pilot

NAS KINGSVILLE, TX — The U.S. Navy’s first Black female fighter pilot has earned her wings, according to the service. The Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), Rear Admiral Robert D. Westendorff, USN, celebrated LTJG Swegle for her achievement writing:

BZ to Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle on completing the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus. Swegle is the U.S. Navy’s first known Black female TACAIR pilot and will receive her Wings of Gold later this month. HOOYAH!”      — CNATRA via Twitter

navy_madeline-swegle-1stfemal-tacair-pilot

CNATRA trains and qualifies more than 1,000 naval aviators and naval flight officers each year for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and international partners. CNATRA is also responsible for the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.

Student Naval Aviator LTJG Madeline Swegle, USN, is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron (VT) 21 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas. In our cover photo, she is shown after exiting her T-45C Goshawk training aircraft following her final flight completing undergraduate Tactical Air (Strike) pilot training syllabus on 07 July 2020.

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Upon graduating from the TACAIR training program on 31 July 2020,  LTJG Swegle will move on from training aircraft to Navy tactical planes, like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet or the F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter ( shown above).

LTJG Swegle,  a 2017 graduate of the United States Naval Academy (USNA), follows a path forged by the late pioneering Navy Captain Rosemary Mariner, who became the Navy’s first female tactical pilot in 1974. Mariner went on to become the first woman to command a naval aviation squadron.  Earnng her wings in 2001, United States Marine Corps Captain Vernice Armour was the first African-American female naval aviator in the Marine Corps and the first African American female combat pilot in the U.S. Armed Forces with two tours in the Gulf.  bt

— Sources and photos: U.S. Navy and DoD

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Tuskegee Airman receives promotion to Brigadier General

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WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Celebrating a 100th birthday is monumental in itself, but for retired Col. Charles E. McGee, shortly after this celebration he would reach yet another milestone in his successful career.

On Feb. 4, he found himself in the Oval Office at the White House being promoted to brigadier general by President Donald Trump.

“At first I would say ‘wow,’ but looking back, it would have been nice to have had that during active duty, but it didn’t happen that way,” McGee said. “But still, the recognition of what was accomplished, certainly, I am pleased and proud to receive that recognition and hopefully it will help me carry on as we try to motivate our youth in aviation and space career opportunities.”

McGee’s successes started early on in his career, when on June 30, 1943, he earned his pilot’s wings as one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the decorated unit of African American Airmen famous for not only their combat successes, but the impact they had on the cultural shift in the military.

His military career spanned across three decades, where he flew 409 combat missions during three different wars – WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War. While serving, McGee was presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.

charles-mcgee_tuskegee-airAfter he retired in 1973, McGee has continued to leave his mark in history. In 2007, he was presented the Congressional Gold Medal by former president George W. Bush, and in 2011, he was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Then in 2019, the Tuskegee Airmen’s legacy was cemented in the naming of the T-7A training aircraft, the “Red Hawk,” in a tribute to the airplane they flew.

“Charles McGee is a genuine American hero whose courage in combat helped save a nation, and whose legacy is felt to this day across the entire U.S. Air Force,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “It was an honor to witness his promotion and to thank him yet again for paving the way for today’s Air Force. The Tuskegee Airmen continue to inspire generations of Americans.”

The evening after he was promoted, McGee attended the State of the Union as a guest and was recognized by Trump. “General McGee, our nation salutes you. Thank you, sir,” Trump said.

Trump wasn’t the only one to recognize McGee this week; on Sunday McGee, along with three other veterans, each 100 years of age, participated in the coin toss at the Super Bowl in Miami.

He has credited all these achievements to a simple formula.

“I’d like to pass on what I call my four ‘P’s’ — perceive, prepare, perform, persevere — dream your dreams but get the good education to accomplish the desires and needs of the country,” he said. “Always seek excellence and always do your best in things that you do. Finally, don’t let the negative circumstances be an excuse for not achieving.”

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Top PhotoPresident Donald J. Trump participates in the promotion pinning ceremony for State of the Union Gallery guest and Tuskegee Airman, retired Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, Feb. 4, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House photo above by Shealah Craighead)

— By Staff Sgt. Jeremy L. Mosier, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao to Deliver Keynote at CES 2020

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Secretary Chao to discuss innovation and the safe integration of new technologies

ARLINGTON, VA — The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® announced U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao will deliver a keynote address at the upcoming CES® 2020, the world’s largest and most influential tech event. Secretary Chao is scheduled to speak on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 11:30 AM in the Las Vegas Convention Center room N257 in Las Vegas, NV.

CES 2018Secretary Chao returns as a CES keynoter, following a keynote address during CES 2018. She will discuss the current state of innovation and recent DOT initiatives to support the safe integration of new technologies into our country’s transportation systems. The vehicle tech section at CES is larger than many stand-alone car shows, with more than 160 vehicle tech exhibitors – including 10 major automakers. CES 2020 will also showcase the latest in drones, self-driving vehicles, smart cities, resilience technologies and more.

Chao-DOL-DOT“As the highest-ranking U.S. transportation official, Secretary Chao is driving the Administration’s initiatives to safely advance the transportation industry through tech innovation,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “We welcome Secretary Chao back to the CES keynote stage and look forward to hearing the DOT’s latest initiatives that will provide a roadmap for the industry – in the U.S. and abroad – and help to further improve public safety.”

Secretary Chao served as U.S. Department of Labor Secretary from 2001 – 2009. She is the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to the President’s Cabinet in American history. Secretary Chao previously served as Deputy Secretary of Transportation; President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America; and Director of the Peace Corps.

Secretary Chao joins other confirmed CES keynote speakers, including NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino; Daimler’s Ola Källenius; Delta Air Lines’ Ed Bastian; Samsung’s Hyun-Suk Kim; and Quibi’s Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg.The CES Keynote Schedule will be updated regularly as additional keynote speakers are announced. More than 1,100 visionaries and thought leaders are expected to speak and share insights on premiere technologies at CES 2020. Visit the CES Featured Speakers page to see the latest.

Owned and produced by CTA, CES 2020, the global stage for innovation, will run Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada and provide access to the most transformative tech across various marketplaces, such as 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart home, smart cities, vehicles, digital health and more. Industry leaders and rising stars will come together to pioneer future innovation driving the ever-evolving tech industry. Visit CES.tech for all CES updates and register for CES 2020.

About CES
CES® is the largest, most influential tech event in the world – the proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators. This is where the world’s biggest brands do business and meet new partners, and the sharpest innovators hit the stage. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, CES features every aspect of the tech sector. Learn more at CES.tech and follow CES on social.

About Consumer Technology Association
As North America’s largest technology trade association, CTA® is the tech sector. Our members are the world’s leading innovators – from startups to global brands – helping support more than 18 million American jobs. CTA owns and produces CES® – the largest, most influential tech event in the world.

— Sources: CES.tech

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FAA Statement on Boeing 737 Max

FAA-logo

WASHINGTON—Federal Aviation Administration

The FAA is ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft (PDF) operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory. The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today. This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning, led to this decision.

The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. An FAA team is in Ethiopia assisting the NTSB as parties to the investigation of the Flight 302 accident. The agency will continue to investigate.

— Photo credit: Boeing

Delta Outage may have been Self-Inflicted

ATLANTA—The airline had cancelled more than 650 flights by 5:00 PM EDT as of Monday, August 8, 2016.  Just days before National BDPA’s Technology Conference in Atlanta, the outage triggered massive delays world wide.

Mashable reports Delta’s so-called power outage likely occurred in an unconventional manner.   Georgia Power, regional provider of electricity to millions of customers in Georgia where Delta’s headquarters is located, reported no outages. Mashable also reports aviation experts observed the outage occurred in the early hours of the morning during off-peak travel times in CONUS, normal times to conduct tests.

The likely cause may have been normally scheduled “back-up” power tests that went south very fast when switching from primary to alternative power sources and back.  This did not occur properly and Delta’s main power to computer systems were not restored in a timely manner. Delta’s check-in systems remained offline and associated mobile apps subsequently failed.

Could this week’s outage be classified a “cyber” event?  Are continuity of operations and disaster recovery plans (CoOP/DR) thoroughly tested?   Read more

Source: Mashable.com
Photo courtesy: Delta Air Lines, Inc.

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For additional information  and updates from this week’s National BDPA Technology Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, visit: BDPA.org or follow  bdpatoday on Twitter.

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