Author Bill McMichael

Hampton Roads Bureau Chief

Reaching 100 years of age is remarkable enough. But the Navy made it extra special for a former Navy Seabee Dec. 2. Retired Capt. James R. Mims, the nation’s oldest living Seabee, was made an honorary member of Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 by the unit’s top sailor, Command Master Chief (SCW) Johnny DeSarro, during Mims’ 100th birthday party, held at the Oaks Country Club in Richmond, Va.. Mims also received a U.S. flag flown over the Capitol building, a birthday greeting from President Obama and a very cool commemorative paddle. Mims has experienced some remarkable moments in his life. In…

Retired Master Chief Rudy Boesch earned more than a few laughs Friday during his remarks at the East Coast SEALs’ celebration of the SEALs’ 50th anniversary (the West Coast SEALs marked it two weeks ago), both centered around his post-SEAL Team 2 days. The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act helped spark the 1987 formation of U.S. Special Operations Command. That same year, Boesch, coming up on 26 years as a member of SEAL Team 2, was one of three senior military enlisteds called to Coronado to interview with Gen. James Lindsay, the command’s first commander-in-chief — as the position was…

Adm. William McRaven, the nation’s top special operator, and Navy spouse Adrienne Howard will join first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden for tonight’s State of the Union address, the White House announced today. The invitations honor veteran Navy SEAL McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, who as commander of Joint Special Operations Command had operational control of the Obama administration’s signature moment in the war on terror — the May 1, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout — on the occasion of the SEALs’ 50th anniversary, being marked this week.  It also honors Navy spouses…

At least seven teams of Navy culinary specialists from Mid-Atlantic Region are sharpening their knives for Wednesday’s big 2012 “Top Chef” galley cook-off at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story. (Blog entry aside: Isn’t that the most ungainly possible name for a military base? Sure hard to fit on the front of an HQ, much less say.) The competition, which is not affiliated with the Bravo TV show, has a great angle going. Each team, consisting of two military chefs ranging in rank from E-1 to E-6, will have a variety of ingredients to choose from — the…

A retired Navy air traffic controller was arrested in December for operating a pirate radio station he ran out of his Fort Myers, Fla., home, AP reported Monday. According to the AP, community activist Albert Knighten now faces a felony charge of operating a radio station without a license — ahead of the government taking applications this fall to legally operate such bare-bones broadcast outlets, the result of a 2010 change in the law. Knighten knew he was breaking the law but says the risk was worth it, according to the story. Operating in a poor neighborhood, he provided the…

The temperature would rise to near 60 in Hampton Roads Tuesday, but winds gusting to 37 mph made it feel 45ish — and it always feels colder down at the Naval Station Norfolk waterfront, where the frigate Nicholas left around 10 a.m. How windy was it? The line handlers had to go hatless: The chop also made for a tricky getaway: And off they went: Nicholas will be joining other U.S. and partner-nation ships in support of Navy Maritime Interception Operations, according to Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

There’s something utterly incongruous about the setup, but a Chinese company is opening a luxury hotel on board a retired Kiev-class Soviet aircraft carrier. That’s right. One of these: Has bedrooms like these: And lounges like these: Crazy, no? The country that starved or killed millions in the name of communist purity and military dominance collapses, sells a carrier (in 1996) to a company in China (a former enemy) that, in 2004, turns the carrier into a tourist attraction — a military theme park that features a hotel aimed at a “high-end clientele.” This is begging for a Hollywood script.…

The U.S. Navy is obviously downsizing and by many accounts losing some darn good sailors in the convoluted process — all due to the ongoing economic downturn and pressure on overall defense spending. Staunch ally Great Britain is facing the same sorts of pressures and trimming its forces. Meanwhile, the military of another strong ally, Australia, is struggling to recruit enough able bodies — so much so that according to this report, the Royal Australian Navy has sent a delegation to Britain to hunt for engineers and submariners who’ve been cut from the force. One study cites a need for…

A Navy lawyer has been helping mentor five young Afghan law students from Balkh University while preparing to take part in the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition. Lt. Megan Romigh and Department of State Foreign Service Officer Jeff Arnold joined a USAID team that provided “support and mentoring” to the team in late 2011, according to Arnold. “I’m a New Yorker,” Romigh says on the tape. “I lived in Manhattan on 9/11. So it was very important for me to come here and especially with this team in particular, to actually work so closely with these Afghan…

The Navy this week met with another six families who live in Lincoln Military Housing units in Hampton Roads to review mold inspection reports prepared by an independent licensed and state-certified contractor, Marine Chemist Service, Inc., according to Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. No results have yet been made public. The inspections stem from complaints by more than a dozen families in the region about mold infestations and resultant health issues in their privately managed dwellings — complaints they say did not draw an adequate response until two families went to a local TV station, which reported the issue and drew interest…

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