Author Mark D. Faram

Mark Faram has been covering the U.S. Navy and the sailors in it for nearly three decades. He specializes in fleet operations, personnel, cultural and historical issues. Faram previously worked for Navy Times. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer and again in the Navy Reserve from 1999 to 2005. He also served in the Virginia and Maryland National Guard in the 1990's, deploying to Bosnia in 1995 with the 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Navy News
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After three months of electrical repair work, the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman is now ready again to head to sea and is expected to deploy in the near future, Navy officials announced in a Nov. 12 press release.

Navy News
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The Navy’s current 6th Fleet commander lives with great power competition every day. It’s front and center, as her sailors are operating every day in the same waters, seeing a resurgent Russia modernizing its fleet and pushing out beyond its borders — making its presence known as they operate and exercise often or near the same locations where the US and NATO forces are.

Navy News
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On Board the USS Gerald R. Ford — The skipper of the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft carrier says the ship has”absolutely” turned the corner and is now ready to work towards full operational status.

After a 15-month stint back in the shipyard where the ship was built, most of its plethora of new technology is now up and running.  The ship is now ready to begin advanced trials as the crew and the Navy will now learn how to take Ford’s high-tech gear to the next level and earn a spot in the deployment rotation.

Navy News
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The Navy was kept in the dark by Huntington Ingalls’ leadership about the severity of engineering issues with Advanced Weapons Elevators on the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford according to Navy’s top civilian official speaking with reporters Sunday at Naval Station Norfolk.

Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer minced no words after being questioned about the Ford’s struggles and recent lawmaker comments about the ship shortly after arriving back ashore from a several hour visit to the ship, which is undergoing trials off the Virginia Coast.

Navy News
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The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford headed back to sea this morning, its first trip to open water in nearly 16 months.The ship has been undergoing her post shakedown availability at the Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, after being towed to the yard “dead stick” on July 15, 2018.

Navy News
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On Board the USS Bataan – As the Bataan amphibious ready group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit ramp up for deployment, the Navy and Marine Corps team onboard the three ships is getting tight.

These sailors and Marines are not only learning high end naval warfare at sea, they’re also staying connected to the traditional amphibious bread and butter missions, too.

That’s essential for a force that must be as adaptable as a Swiss Army Knife. They’re learning much more, their leaders say, though security prevented them from getting into too much detail.  But what they’re most proud of is with every step, this “Blue/Green” team is emerging as a tight-knit naval fighting force that’s more integrated than any such “Gator” team in recent memory.

Navy News
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The Navy has set Dec. 9 as the start date of the service’s annual quality control check of retirement eligible chief petty officers.That’s when, for the ninth time since 2009, the service will convene a Senior Enlisted Continuation Board in Millington, Tenn. The panel’s mandate is simple — cut out any “deadwood” should any be found in the in the Navy’s collective chief’s mess that includes active, reserve and full-time support communities.

Manpower and Personnel
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Effective immediately, getting bumped up a paygrade for taking orders to hard-to-fill jobs is here to stay. Called “Advancement-to-Position” or A2P, the program was first announced as a pilot program for junior sailors in April. Navy officials are now saying those tests were so successful they’ve made the idea a permanent program.

Navy News
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Beards are a hot button issue – sailors want them – Navy leadership says they can’t have them.

Now the last bastions of beards in the Navy –  “permanent no shave chits” issued for medical reasons,  are being be thrown overboard, too.

Instead, the service will expand treatment options for sailors with skin issues caused by shaving.

It’s not that the service hasn’t considered again allowing beards – they have.

The Navy has studied beards many times since 1985, the last time beards were allowed throughout the ranks. Each time, the conclusion is the same — they pose a significant safety hazard in shipboard environments. That’s why facial hair, other than mustaches, will stay banned in the Navy.

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