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SeaPower Magazine articles submitted March 22

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council
    Ahoy Members and Friends, Below is the text of a future SeaPower Magazine article I worked on this past week. It was accompanied by captioned photos taken by
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 22, 2010
      Ahoy Members and Friends,
      Below is the text of a future SeaPower Magazine article I worked on this past week. It was accompanied by captioned photos taken by members Jefferys Wiener at our December 21 luncheon meeting aboard the SS JEREMIAH O'BRIEN and Roger Bazeley at our March 15 mini-fundraiser luncheon meeting at the Internatonal Maritime Center, Oakland. With some editing I will submit it elsewhere.
      Below that is a second article I wrote for the magazine  on Sunday accompanied by one photograph by friend and Sacramento Council member David Gagne.
      Heave Ho,
      #1 Sea Cadet CPO Davis Freitas, USNSCC and League Cadet Stephan Sobolev, USNSCC were the Pacific Merchant Marine Council 2009 Theodore Roosevelt Youth Award recipients. San Francisco Bay Area President Lorraine Hughey assisted. In addition each Cadet received NLUS challenge coins and NLUS memberships. VAdm. Jody Breckenridge, not shown, congratulated the Arkansas Division Cadets and presented each with her USCG Pacific Area challenge coin. The presentation occurred at the council's Christmas Luncheon Meeting aboard the SS JEREMIAH O'BRIEN in San Francisco December 21. CPO Freitas is a 2010 council director. Photo: Jefferys Wiener. 
      #2 Karen Feitas, Vice President - Youth Activities, accompanied by Seaman Kaitlynne Frietas, USNSCC, announced the 2010 Pacific Merchant Marine Council's Drum Roll for Toys for Tots at the March 15 luncheon meeting. Toys were collected in the decorated laundry basket and cash in the toy drum. Council President Phelps Hobart adding a gift to the basket wears a toy drum sticker on his jacket lapel. Karen is an Instructior with the council supported Sea Cadets Arkansas Division. Photo: Roger Bazeley.
      #3 President Phelps Hobart presents a check and NLUS plaque to IMC Community Relations Coordinator Adrienne Yee and IMC Program Coordinator Jim Lindgrin. Photo: Robert Bazeley.
      #4 #5 amd # 6 IMC Community Relations Coordinator Adrienne Yee and IMC Program Coordinator Jim Lindgrin with a check and NLUS plaque presented at the Pacific Merchant Marine Council's luncheon meeting at the Center, March 15. Photo: Robert Bazeley.
      #7 National Liberty Ship Memorial SS JEREMIAH O'BRIEN dockside, Pier 45, San Francisco. She is headquarters for the Pacific Merchant Marine Council. The council was chartered aboard December 11, 2006 and adopted her July 9, 2007. It consistently hosts luncheon meeting aboard and members participate in the ship's management, activities and events. Photo located at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Jeremiah_O'Brien.
      For photos 3, 4, 5, 6, I will have to forward them to you upon request.
      Pacific Merchant Marine Council On Course
      Chartered December 11, 2006 this new and unique council continues steady as she goes in support of our nation's maritime industry. Membership extends beyond the Pacific Coast to the East and Gulf Coasts as well as overseas. Each year its growth exceeds all others in the Pacific Central Region (PCR). Besides new members coming on board, retention is reflected in the council being recognized in 2009 for its 100% retention rate in 2008. The council has earned both newsletter and website Mackie Awards. President Phelps Hobart and the council are known on the world wide web. The council has 150 maritime links on its primary website and both are involved in several networks.
      One of those links is the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The council has picked up on the IMO's current theme, "2010 - Year of the Seafarer." All council activities and events center on maritime topics: cabotage laws, short sea shipping, marine highways, northwest passage, MSC and MARAD but in 2010 the focus is Seafarers. The March 15 luncheon meeting was a successful mini-fundraiser at and for the International Maritime Center (IMC), Oakland CA. Future quarterly luncheon meetings, on board the SS JEREMIAH O'BRIEN and elsewhere, will honor the members and retirees of United States maritime unions.
      It has adopted two vessels; in 2007 the still steaming National Historic Liberty Ship SS JEREMIAH O'BRIEN docked near Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco and March 15 the once great passenger liner SS UNITED STATES now securely moored and not open to the public on the Delaware River in Philadelphia. As to the Big U's future, the council is in convoy with preservation groups striving to prevent her from being cut up - maybe a floating hotel and restaurant, maybe an artificial reef.
      In 2009 the council bonded with the active Arkansas Division Sea Cadets based in San Francisco. Financial support for this unit previously had come solely from the Canadian Legion; now the council assists. Council leadership, Vice President Youth Activities Karen Freitas and three directors, are active in the unit's leadership. The Division has a merchant marine orientation. 
      Youth Activities also incorporates Toys for Tots. Already the council members have donated toys and financially to this program. Part of the success is council's 2010 Toys for Tots drum theme Mrs. Freitas devised. A toy drum for collecting contributions and a drum like laundry basket for the toys. Instead of a letter, little drum stickers were distributed to members for their refrigerators or personal bulletin boards.
      The council is active within the maritime community. It is the only council that has a national Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF) membership. Shortly after joining in 2008, the MCTF joined NLUS as a community affiliate member and NLUS joined the MCTF! The council is a member of the California Marine & Intermodal Transportation Advisory Council (CALMITSAC). Membership in this group is diverse with representatives from transportation sectors, unions, and environmental organizations. The chairman Robert Dockendorff and others are Pacific Merchant Marine Council members. Maritime trade conferences have council members in attendance.
      In 2009, the council became the sole NLUS member of the the Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Area (SMFX). The Exchange's Executive Director Lynn Korwatch is a council member. Phelps assists the Exchange with its calendar and anticipates having council representation on Exchange committees. The council is active within the region; the council was the first to contribute toward the region's sponsorship of the commissioning of the USCGC WAESCHE (WMSL 751) May 7. For National Maritime Day, World Maritime Day, San Francisco Fleet Week, and other occasions, the council is present and accounted for.
      Like a harbor pilot, the council appreciates its Advisory Board. Prominent Navy Leaguers such as Evan Baker, Joe Giambrone, Al Herberger, Dick Macke and chairman John Panneton are members. The council is steadfast in its advocacy for the US flag Merchant Marine - US owned, built, and crewed ships as well as our ports infrastructure. Just like the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, economic health and our national defense depend on this vital sea service.

      #1 Council presidents, Carey Barnecut, Lake Merritt, Phelps Hobart, Pacific Merchant Marine, and Sam Sause, Alameda, along with Oakland Council member Janelle Sahr pause for a photo at the Navy League's information and recruiting table on the Hanger Deck of the aircraft carrier USS HORNET (CV12/CVA12/CVS12) Museum in Alameda Saturday, March 20. The ship took the opportunity to salute the Navy League during it monthly open house and living ship day. Photo: David Gagne.
      NLUS Membership Recruiting a Challenge in the San Francisco Bay Area
      USS HORNET Museum Provides Recruiting Opportunity
      Like other once bustling centers of Navy activity, the San Francisco Bay Area has experienced a precipitous closing of naval facilities and departure of ships and aircraft. With one unique exception, the ten Navy Navy League councils around the Bay have also experienced losses. Not just in adopted units, but in membership as well.
      Some league members were possibly members for the wrong reasons - they enjoyed shipboard time underway, visiting the base clubs, and using base sport facilities such as the golf course. San Francisco had a history of being a Navy town, now if more than one Navy ship makes a port call during Fleet Week it is considered fortunate. The Blue Angels return annually for the occasion, but even that is in doubt. A Navy ship was to be commissioned in San Francisco but for various reasons it was commissioned elsewhere.
      Phelps Hobart servers as the Pacific Central Region's Vice President - Membership. He serves on the national NLUS Membership and Marketing Committee as well. He has been recognized nationally the past three years for his NLUS recruiting; his Pacific Merchant Marine Council has led the region in membership growth since receiving its charter in 2006. Last year it was recognized for being the only council with 100% retention. Nevertheless membership throughout the region remains a constant challenge.
      Working with Rebecca Moeri Membership Coordinator for the aircraft carrier USS HORNET (CV12/CVA12/CVS12) Museum in Alameda, arrangements were made to have the ship's open house and living ship day Saturday, March 20, feature the Navy League. The word went out throughout the region and all day long Navy Leaguers came aboard and toured the ship. An NLUS information table was set up on the hanger deck, decorated, and people came by, chatted with council representatives, and went home with handouts and membership applications. 
      Next to the Navy League table were tables for the Sea Cadets. The HORNET serves as home to Sea Cadet unit Grey Ghost Division and League Cadet Training Ship Kearsarge. These two units are the first in the nation to be granted permanent assignment to any U.S. Naval vessel. The cadets drilled, formed for inspection, and trained as usual. The Division underwent its annual inspection.
      Also aboard were officer recruiters and Naval Academy Midshipmen. They, along with Blue and Gold team members and alumni, hosted an Academy Forum for perspective plebes and their parents. 
      As the day personnel left, Boy Scouts, their scoutmasters, and parents were forming up on the dock to come aboard for an treasured overnight shipboard experience. Plans are in the works for Sea Cadets units throughout Northern California and Nevada to have a full weekend aboard this summer as part of the region's Pass in Review evolution.
      The Military Sealift Command has closed its Alameda office though its ships along with Maritime Administration transports remain with skeleton crews. They are positioned ready to load and depart with full civilian crews within forty-eight hours. MARAD has a "Gateway" administrative office in San Francisco. At the north end of San Francisco Bay is a fleet of inactive ships in various states of preservation. Among them battleship USS IOWA (BB-61) is more likely to be converted to a museum ship at the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard than return to active duty. For many of the others, it is simply a matter of time and funds to dispose of them.  
      Still prominent in the San Francisco Bay Area is the United States Coast Guard. The Commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area/Defense Forces West as well as the 11th Coast Guard District are headquartered at Coast Guard Island, Alameda. District shore, aviation, and afloat units operate out of the Bay Area. The first of the Deepwater Cutters, BERTHOLF (WMSL 750) was commissioned here August 4, 2008 and the second WAESCHE (WMSL 751) will be commissioned May 7. Virtually every Coast Guard unit is adopted by one council or another. The Pacific Central Region presents a host of District 11 annual awards.
      The traditions of the Navy League continue on within San Francisco Bay Area councils. They continue to keep elected officials and the public informed of the necessity for strong sea services. They assist the Coast Guard, and the remaining Navy and Marine Corps recruiters, the operational support centers, and the reserve units. And they continue to take advantage of membership recruiting opportunities such as that provided by the HORNET.

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