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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…

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…

No matter what the service, military rescue swimmers are a pretty remarkable bunch. In addition to being skilled at their normal rating duties, they’re able — and willing — to be lowered into some pretty hair-raising situations that most normal folks would regard as out of the realm of possibility. The Atlantic waters looked to be fairly calm when the dock landing ship Gunston Hall conducted a man-overboard drill last week, as you can see: That’s a long way down, though. In addition, the water temperature was on the cool side. According to the National Oceanographic Data Center, the average…

By custom, the surface warfare officer with the earliest Officer of the Deck qualification is recognized as the Navy’s “Old Salt” — an award initiated in 1988 by the Surface Navy Association. On Friday, that distinction will be bestowed on Adm. John Harvey, commander of Fleet Forces Command, in a ceremony aboard the amphibious transport dock ship San Antonio at Naval Station Norfolk. The current Old Salt is the recently retired Adm. Mike Mullen, who stepped back into civilian life Sept. 30 following four years as the nation’s top military officer and 43 years of service. There was no interim…

East Coast aviation buffs should mark their calendars for Saturday, Dec. 17, when the 108th Celebration of Powered Flight will be held at the Wright Brothers National Monument in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Well, it’s probably not exactly the 108th celebration … no one likely paid any attention to such things for a few decades. But this event does promise to be special. It starts at 8:30 a.m. and, weather permitting, there’ll be a military aircraft flyover at exactly 10:35 a.m. — precisely when the Orville Wright “powered” off a 60-foot monorail guide and flew the brothers’ biplane a total…

On May 7, 1970, the Beatles released their last single: “The Long and Winding Road.” Last week, the amphibious transport dock Ponce, launched 13 days after the song and commissioned in July 1971, completed its own long journey, coming home for the last time after four decades of service. Those years were filled with significant events. Ponce helped evacuate nearly 300 mostly U.S. and British Westerners from Lebanon during the 1976 civil war, and supported 6th Fleet air strikes on pro-Syrian militia positions in defense of U.S. Marines ashore. It supported military disaster relief in Florida following 1992’s devastating Hurricane…

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