Saturday, April 30, 2011


This is MC2 Amara Timberlake and YN3 Sang Nguyen.  (YN is yeoman, or clerical staff) Until a few weeks ago, these two Sailors were assigned to USS Nimitz's media center.  They've been chosen to go IA, or Individual Augmentee.

  "Two of the shooting positions required me to lay on my belly in the dirt. What sucked about the dirt was that every time I laid down, so would my kevlar helmet and I (like most bullets) have not yet developed the ability to see through kevlar." -MC2 Amara Timberlake

Both are at Fort Dix, NJ, undergoing training to prepare them for one-year deployments to the sandbox.  Timberlake's an alternate to go to Afghanistan, and Nguyen's going to Iraq.

To say this is a change for them would be a gross understatement.  Read about their experience below, and witness The Transformation!

--- What stage of your training are you in right now?

Timberlake:  Unlike RTC or A-school our training is pretty unorganized and not really divided up into any fields of study or stages. We basically get into the the Army's Basic Combat Skills Training classes whenever and where ever we can. For example, Nguyen's platoon did hand-to-hand combat training last weekend but I won't get that training until tomorrow. We're both almost two weeks in now which leaves about 2 more to go here at Ft. Dix.

That's Timberlake in the front.

--- How different is your current environment?  Do you feel like a fish out of water right now?

Timberlake:  Fort Dix reminds me A LOT of Ft. Meade. lol. It's got the Class 6 Shoppette, the PX, and all of those brown little road signs that they had around DINFOS. This base is a lot bigger though because it's actually a joint base. It's call Joint Base Fort Dix-Lakehurst-Macguire. We don't do too much work with the Army, they facilitate most of our training but the one's in charge here are all Navy. The Air Force is here doing the same type of training for similar missions so we see them around often too.

Nguyen:  Not really, my class has it's own chain of command. It's like any other department. They put us in little platoon/division. It's nice to know who to go to if you need help. So far I think the Army and prior classes like our organization skills. The galley here (which the Army calls "DFAS") is free and delicious. The first day felt weird, couldn't pin point it to being surrounded by different branches or eating good food. Then I notice that I was eating with khakis, and I wonder why we don't do this now in the Navy.

Timberlake's off to a rough start with the battle rattle.

"The first two times I shot with the gas mask I hit nothing.  I couldn’t see through the sights on the gun because I couldn’t get my face close enough, because I had a giant, dirt filled gas mask on." 
-MC2 Amara Timberlake

--- Has your IA experience been what you expected?

Timberlake:  So far my IA experience has been completely different from what I expected. IA stands for individual augmentee. You are one Sailor that goes out to augment one Navy unit. So far I have been in all Navy barracks and the way the platoons are divided is much like the way departments and divisions are set up on a ship. We have two officers, a chief, and a handful of first classes, a ton of 2nds and two 3rds. ALL MC's. So I'm honestly finding it a bit frusterating that I have this long chain of command of people that I didn't come here with and won't necessarily be moving on with either. You know me, I just want to be an individual. 

 Nguyen:  Most of our days is just watching power points. whether it's about what we can and cannot do, diseases, weather, and a little language. We've done a little hands on training like Humvee rollover and MACP, which was my favorite. It reminded me a lot of my own gym. We've been knocking out our classes pretty quick and we might finish just a little early.

Nguyen on the way to the firing range.

--- So what's the next step for you guys?

Timberlake:  For me, I don't quite know what's next. My orders have me coming back to Nimitz May 11th, so I'm waiting on an Order modification to tell me otherwise. If I don't get the ORMOD, I will be going back to Washington while the rest of my training group moves on to Kuwait. I'll be on standby there with my equipment until August 19th. If they don't call me, I will return my equipment and go on with my life. If they do call me, I will most likely spend eight months in Afghanistan or be reassigned to a different mission. As you know, I REALLY don't want to come back to the ship. It's nothing against Nimitz honestly, I'm just really ready to do something different and I feel like this is it, right now.

Nguyen:  Tomorrow I start Humvee training and I can't wait to start driving!!! I think they are the coolest vehicle on the planet. You have to do all the pre reqs before you start for the Navy and Army (which i'm doing as we speak). Eventually we'll do the range and go out for 3 days and 2 nights for survival training. So after all the briefs, I think it'll get better.


Keep making us proud guys!  For more on her IA experience, check out Timberlake's blog here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Watch this video

MC2 Mark Logico just made a killer video. .. You know what?  I'm not saying any more.

I'm going to let it speak for itself.

MC2 took some time to fill us in on the project.  Read on below!


--- One Day in Six Minutes is a hit.  What gave you the idea?

The idea came to me when I saw MC2 Drew Geraci's Work.

I've never met the guy but I've heard about him from several people, and I was curious. I loved his time lapse and high dynamic range work. Time lapse was something I just wanted to try out. I tested the technique on the roof top of my building first. When I found it was an awesome success, I decided to try it out again when I went on assignment to shoot USS Boxer. Then I started building on top of it. Soon I had a whole bunch of time-lapse videos I didn't know what to do with. It was probably a few short clips later I decided to make a music video out of it.

--- What brought you to the Navy?  What are you doing in Hawaii?

I joined the Navy in Oct 2003. I joined so I can be a US citizen. I was a Filipino immigrant with a permanent residence at the time.  I am assigned to Commander, Navy Region Hawaii for two years now. I am one of three MCs assigned here. It is technically my fourth duty station.

--- Do you have a photography background?  

I enjoyed taking photos when I was younger but I never thought it would be a career for me. When I enlisted, I entered in as an EA in the Seabee community. When I finally got my citizenship 2 years later, a Chief Photographer's Mate encouraged me to cross rate into Draftsman. Two months after successfully crossrating, the merger happened and I was an MC.

  Sample of MC2's work.

--- You shot time lapse on a camera used primarily for stills.  How did you manage to not run out of 
storage space?  Why not use a video camera?

Large memory cards 8G and a 2T portable hard drive. I limited the number of shots I needed and I downloaded often. Our office didn't have a video camera to begin with. So I was limited to what I already have which was a D300 and a D200.

--- The video looks great.  Can you give us details on the equipment/settings you used?

I used a Nikon D300/D200, various lenses and a tripod. As for software, I used Adobe Bridge, Photoshop, Quicktime Pro, iMovie '08 and GarageBand for the music.

For the Nikons, you'd want to use manual settings as much as possible. You want to control WB, focus, shutter speed, everything. The two cameras have an intervalometer, and you can set it to shoot on any intervals you want, every one second, two, 60, 2 minutes, etc...

Choice of intervals depends on your preference. I discovered, the faster the event the shorter intervals I have to make. You get to find this out on the field. You'll find that you'll be using a little more math than you're used to. I opted for a high image quality but the smallest image size. This way you can shoot more photos, and at the same time you don't have to resize your images on Bridge.

The guided-missile destroyer O'Kane makes its way out of Pearl Harbor on Feb. 27 as Hawaii prepared for a possible tsunami generated by an 8.8-magnitude earthquake near Chile. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 (SW) Mark Logico.

I used Bridge and Photoshop to process all my photos. The "Image Processor" (in Bridge) and "Photoshop Actions" are a powerful tools. It's difficult to explain it here but there are many tutorials out there on how these are used. Basically, You use these tools to resize, add filter, color correct, retouch, all kinds of stuff to all your photos without opening each image one at a time. Again MC2 Geraci's work clued me in the process.

I used Quicktime Pro to create the timelapse video clips, and I used iMovie to put all the clips together. You don't have to use iMovie of course, but Quicktime Pro is probably the easiest program to use to string photos into a time lapse. It's worth getting.

--- Tell us about your song choice.  Was it created solely for this project?

I'm not a musician. I asked around where I can get digital rights for any music. Out of desperation I turned to Garageband to create my own music. As it turned out it actually worked out for me. As you may already know, in a music video, timing is everything. When I create my music in Garageband, I set it to a 4 measure beat, which meant to me that each video clip should be an even numbered time duration. Each clip is cut to a 2 second, 4 second, 6 second clip. So when the music changes the video sequence changes with it.

--- What kind of obstacles did you overcome to get your footage?

This whole project was very time consuming, and once you decide to start shooting those photos, you have to commit to the duration. Switching from doing the timelapse and shooting regular photos was definitely difficult. I was doing this project on the side. No one other than my chief knew what I was doing so I got a lot of strange stares as I fumbled with my cameras. I suggest not mixing work with pleasure because there's a lot going on between the two.

Keeping the tripod still was another obstacle, especially out at sea when the ship rolls and I was faced with the elements. It rains a lot here in Hawaii, so I had a plastic bag over the camera sometimes. I had a great idea to setup a tripod on a RHIB boat. It was a great idea until I actually sat in one.

Acting skills.

--- Do you have any advice for the rest of us MCs?

Don't be afraid to break away from the status quo. I certainly didn't know how far this video went when I was making it. There will be a point in your career where you will get bored with the work that you do. Don't allow yourself to reach that point. Always find something new to try out. Find a project you haven't tried before. I didn't go out to remake the wheel with my video. There are thousands of time lapse videos out there. It just so happened the Navy didn't really have one.

There are so many things an MC can do creatively, but because of operational duties there is this mindset, almost an illusion, that certain products are the only thing that is expected of us. We are expected to BE creative, for crying out loud. BE creative! Do something different and challenge yourself.


Thank you for your time MC2.  We look forward to your next piece!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Front page

A Mr. Damon Moritz recently visited the media department on the Nimitz.  He came from the Pentagon and was very interested in our Drydock series.  After a 3-day visit, he returned and wrote an article about Wolfe, Wray, and I.  Check it out below!

Navy Imagery Insider: March-April issue

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Many names (by Alexandra Rose Snyder ... Snow)

At MC 'A' school.

Alexandra Snow and I went through 'A' school together.  I think I stood my first quarterdeck watch with her.  Trouble seems to hang around her. And she's got quite a story.  This one's more of a love story, a bit tamer than the ones she may tell you herself.  Oh yeah, and she's added to her name. 

I wonder if I should still call her Snow.


At a youth soccer volunteer event.  That's me back there!

In my last year of high school, my English teacher assigned all of her students the task of coming up with a detailed five year plan. Nowhere on mine did I state that I wanted to be a wife, mother and U.S. Navy Sailor by my 22nd birthday. However, life has a way of surprising us.

I joined the Navy for a variety of reasons- perhaps the most prominent being boredom with my former position as a staff journalist at a tiny weekly paper on the coast of Washington State. Shortly after graduating boot camp and transferring to Mass Communication Specialist "A" school at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) on Fort Meade, MD, I was sent temporarily to Defense Media Activity in Washington D.C. while I awaited the start of class. It was there that I fell in love- with D.C., with being an MC and with another Sailor- MC2 Jonathan Snyder.

Shortly after returning to DINFOS, we learned that I was pregnant with our first child, spurring a whirlwind of changes and excitement.  After graduating "A" school, I accepted orders to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD and moved in with Jonathan as we prepared for and awaited the birth of our daughter Natalie Amelia.

 Yeah it looks like you're having a real tough time there Snow.

Being pregnant was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. I was physically and emotionally drained by the time I entered the third trimester. The Navy has an old saying, 'a baby didn't come in your seabag', and although my direct chain-of-command was very supportive throughout my pregnancy and subsequent maternity leave, I learned that this still holds very true today, because having a baby doesn't excuse you from coming to work everyday, completing your tasks and maintaining military bearing and uniform standards.

Holding her for the first time.

Our daughter was born Sept. 5, 2010. I immediately realized that the love I felt for every other important thing in my life held no comparison to the raw emotion that welled up inside of me every time I looked into her tiny face. It also made me realize, as I looked at her father- covered in spit-up and holding that swaddled bundle in his arms- that there was no one I would rather spend the rest of my life with. Our new life would be filled with worries about our daughter, hopes, dreams and disappointments for the future, but we'd get through them together.

Jonathan and I were married on Jan. 2, 2011. Since then we have learned that Jonathan cannot re-enlist in the Navy due to our job field being overmanned. He is now slated to retire from military in August after eight years of service. He will immediately transfer to the criminal justice field as a police officer- a job with a set of worries similar to the ones the wife of a Sailor, Marine, Airman or Soldier's experiences everyday.

'Will I see my service member again?' 'Will my child(ren) grow up without a father?' 'Can I suffer through this life without them?'

It's easy to take for granted the liberties that military service brings- a good income, job security and the chance to make a difference. Looking back, the Navy has given me the most valuable things in my life. This organization has introduced me to my husband, which gave me my daughter. It has paid for the Bachelor's Degree I am set to complete next year. It offers a consistent, safe child care facility for Natalie right at my place of work. I will be forever grateful for the security it brings to my family.

The Navy is like a marriage- a partnership that you have to commit to and push through- good and bad. Just like a successful partnership, if you're good to the Navy, it will usually be good to you.
Five years ago, the Navy and a family were not in my life plan. Now, they are my life. 



Monday, April 11, 2011

Take a deep breath (by Marty Carey)

And hold it all the way through this post.  GO!



Navy Diver 2nd Class Alan Dewitt, assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two (MDSU‐2), attached to Commander Task Group (CTG) 56.1, begins his descent to the bottom to perform a MK 16 MOD 1 familiarization dive. The “Mark 16” is a re‐breathable underwater system used for bubble‐free operations. MDSU‐2 is attached to CTG 56.1, to provide maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Martin L. Carey / NOT REVIEWED)

The "Mark 16" is a lot like a Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, or SCUBA as you're familiar with, except a few differences. When the diver exhales, the air is re-circulated back into the device, sending the air through a series of filters. When the exhaled air passes through these filters, it is scrubbed of CO, replaced with O2, and sent back to the diver to be breathed again. By sending the air back through and not releasing it in the water, like in normal SCUBA, it allows "bubble-free" diving operations, allowing the diver to be more stealthy, should the mission require.

So to summarize, these divers were practicing using the "Mark 16" in calm-pool waters, prior to going out into the open sea. It helps keep the divers prepared for real-world operations, should they need to dive with this type of equipment in support of the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.


Navy Diver 1st Class Dean Bates, assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two (MDSU‐2), attached to Commander Task Group (CTG) 56.1, simulates an equipment failure by breathing from a different regulator as part of an MK 16 MOD 1 familiarization dive. The “Mark 16” is a re‐breathable underwater system used for bubble‐free operations.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Martin L. Carey)


Senior Chief Navy Diver Anthony Mabry, the Master Diver for Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two (MDSU‐2), attached to Commander Task Group (CTG) 56.1, watches while the diving supervisor prepares a diver to perform a MK 16 MOD 1 familiarization dive. The “Mark 16” is a re‐breathable underwater system used for bubble‐free operations.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Martin L. Carey / NOT REVIEWED)

I can't talk about this one.

Catching rest after running hard all day, and hanging out with Anderson Bomjardim's family.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mustang Anna (by Anna Wade)

After only roughly a year in the fleet, and at age 21, my buddy Anna Wade just got accepted into NAPS, or Naval Academy Prep School.  It's a big deal, and as soon as I found out (a fleet-wide notice was sent) I knew I had to get the scoop from her.


Our Chief of Information, Rear Admiral Moynihan, sent this notice out:

Team PA,

Please join me in recognizing a career milestone for one of our teammates.

MCSN Anna Wade, who is assigned to NPASE East but is currently embarked in
USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) as an independent deployer in support of Enterprise
Carrier Strike Group, has been selected to attend the Naval Academy
Preparatory School (NAPS) in Newport, R.I., with the class convening July
2011. Upon successful completion of NAPS, she will join the Naval Academy
Class of 2016.

Selection to NAPS is extremely competitive. It is a testament to both the
outstanding performance of our shipmate and to the incredible talent we have
in the MC community. MCSN Wade is the first in recent memory from our
community to earn this honor.

This is a great career opportunity for one of our very best, and while her
loss will be felt by the PA/VI community, our Navy is gaining a great

Please join me in congratulating MCSN Wade and wishing her well as she
begins her journey toward becoming an officer.


Dennis Moynihan
Chief of Information


Slaughter:  You're going to be an officer!  How do you feel? 

Wade:  I FEEL AMAZING.  Life is at its peak right now.

Slaughter:  What is academy prep school?  How is it different from Officer Candidate School?

Wade:  The age limit to go to the academy is 22 (or 23) don't quote me on that. But, it's different than OCS although it's at the same place. It lasts a year while OCS is only a few months. At OCS you already have your degree and then do officer and a lot of leadership training. At NAPS, you take math, science and English courses to prepare for four years at the academy.

Slaughter:  What have you been doing out in the fleet to earn you the recognition that got you this academy spot? 

Wade:  I've honestly been working my butt off since the day I got out of 'A' school. I always knew what you do there doesn't have anything to do with your career. The person you choose to be out in the fleet right off the bat will make you who you are in the long run. I chose to do great things from the start and I made it my every day goal to prove I was motivated and hard-working. I worked hand in hand with several 0-5 and aboves during Joint Warrior this summer. I was chosen for that because of my motivation to do well, and from there on I hit the ground running.

Slaughter:  You've been chosen to be commissioned after a relatively short time as an enlisted Sailor.  Do you feel you have enough experience under your belt to move on to this next phase?

Wade:  Yes, I do. It's been a short time, but I have already been on 5 ships. I got out of 'A' school in July, but over the past 10 months, I have had enough life and leadership experiences to last me a lifetime.  I've seen a lot, I've been through a lot, and I've learned the basic foundations of what good and bad leadership is. I am going to be in school for a while, and I'll have a lot more experience than most of  the new ensigns in my class. I'll be older, wiser, and hopefully more knowledgeable about fleet life than most people in my class. I am thoroughly prepared mentally. I think the only thing left for me to do is get in excellent physical shape and prepare for 5 years of beat downs.

Slaughter:  What advice do you have for those who want what you have? 

Wade:  Stay positive. Stay motivated. Don't take criticism personally, take it seriously. Learn from your mistakes. Work out, stay fit, eat well, and stop drinking monsters! Start with the small changes in life and realize that you can't accomplish everything right off the bat. Big goals are always fundamentally accomplished through short term and smaller goals.  Change your attitude so that you can accomplish your long term goal of  getting what you really want.

Your pal,

Anna Wade


There you have it.  Motivation, mental discipline, and physical health.  Keep rollin Wade!