Sailor wins again at Japan’s grueling Iron Dog competition, which Navy says is like CrossFit for handlers and canines

A Yokosuka master-at-arms has won U.S. Forces Japan’s Iron Dog competition for the second year in a row.

Petty Officer 1st Class Ashly Lester and her dog, Ttibor, recently competed against 17 other working-dog teams from across all services in the U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Forces, the Navy announced Friday.

The service described the May 17 challenge at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo as a series of “grueling tasks that to outsiders may seem more akin to a CrossFit competition or Ironman race.”

Canine competitors sniffed for explosive odors over three floors of a tower, extracted suspects from cars and ignored distractions like gunfire to complete handlers’ commands. Handlers completed physical tasks, including dragging 200-pound mannequins 50 meters and carrying their more than 80-pound dogs up eight flights of stairs.

The handlers’ veterinary skills were also tested through pretend situations such as helping a dog with an open chest wound or one that’s in shock. Lester said these skills translate directly to the battlefield.

“We are trained in basic veterinary skills so that if we were down range on a mission and something goes wrong, we’re not just sitting there asking ‘What do I do?’” she said. “We can at least do something [to help] until we can get the dog emergency care.”

Though it was the second year in a row that Lester took home the win, it was the first year for young Ttibor to compete. Lester used a different dog last year, but said she was impressed by how well the 2-year-old brown and blonde dog performed.

“He was doing things he hadn’t done before and he was doing them fluidly,” she said. “I was just so happy with him.”

Master-at-Arms Master Chief James Meares, who manages the military working dog program at U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., commended Lester, according to the Navy statement.

“Lester took the right ingredients for success: hard work, patience, perseverance and the fighting spirit of the Navy,” he said. “I know this achievement will inspire those around her.”

Lester said competitions such as Iron Dog pushes handlers and their dogs toward excellence.

“I know every rate says this about the Navy, that they have the best job, but I really love this job,” she said. “I think most of us that are in this program have the personality where we want to compete and we want our dog to be the best. And that’s just a good group of people to be around because you’re always pushing one another in some facet to be better.”

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© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Sub Base marks 76th anniversary of Navy’s victory over Japanese fleet at Battle of Midway

The mission of the submarines, including the one J. Deen Brown was on, was to form a semi-circle southwest of Midway to ensure that Japanese transport ships loaded with thousands of soldiers and equipment couldn’t reach and invade the island.

In recent years, Brown, 95, of Oakdale, has been the sole Battle of Midway veteran at the Naval Submarine Base’s annual commemoration of the event. Navy officials and a small crowd on Monday marked the 76th anniversary of the three-day battle, recognized as the turning point of World War II in the Pacific

“I feel sometimes like maybe I’m being a little spoiled. But it is an honor and I do appreciate very much the attention and consideration I’ve received,” said Brown, who turns 96 on Friday.

The battle, which started at 4:30 a.m. on June 4, 1942, happened six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, Japanese commander Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto wanted to lure what remained of the American fleet to Midway and destroy it, then invade and use the island as a base for attacking Hawaii.

“Our nation and Navy’s response was just as forthright,” said Capt. Paul Whitescarver, commanding officer of the base, explaining that on June 4, 1942, U.S. aircraft flying from three aircraft carriers – USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, and USS Yorktown – attacked and sunk four Japanese carriers, which had attacked Pearl Harbor.

“By June 6, 1942, Admiral Yamamoto and his Japanese forces were forced to withdraw,” Whitescarver said.

The battle was not the most challenging for submarines – that would come later in the war – but Brown and the rest of the crew assigned to the USS Trout (SS 202) had to frantically prepare the submarine to head to Midway. The submarine only had two working engines because it had been damaged two months earlier while supporting the Doolittle Raid, the first U.S. air raid to strike the Japanese home islands.

“We didn’t anticipate having to go to Midway,” Brown said. “It came as a very, very quick surprise.”

The submarine was getting ready to receive a radar system, cutting edge technology at the time, and had to repair the other disassembled engines while underway to Midway in rough seas with “a rolling and tossing ship,” Brown said.

Midway laid the foundation for the ultimate end of the war, Whitescarver said, noting that D-Day, when Allied troops invaded Normandy, France, two years after the Midway battle, was a “cornerstone to that end” and marks its 74th anniversary on Wednesday.

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© 2018 The Day (New London, Conn.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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These 5 Navy Men Took The Stage, And The Crowd Exploded As Soon As They Looked Up

Navy service members have a reputation for being tough as rocks. And they need to be resilient people because they are out on the open ocean for long stretches of time. Although Navy service members are often seen as tough and stern, they’re not like that every moment of every day. And every once in a while, they find a few moments to enjoy themselves and have some fun.

But the U.S. Navy Band seems always to be having some fun.

They are the Navy’s dedicated band after all and what could be more fun than playing music to honor the United States military and the people who join and risk their lives to protect American freedom and democracy? So when you see the Navy’s band, the “Sea Chanters” performing before the crowd, a smile will grace your lips. But when you see how talented they are, your jaw will drop. Especially when you recognize the song, they’re about to sing.

The video starts with five uniformed Navy men standing at the front of the stage all bowed forward at the waist.

And as soon as they pop up, the crowd goes wild because they’re singing a favorite song from the hit musical “Jersey Boys.”

According to the Sea Chanters’ website, “The ensemble performs a variety of music ranging from traditional choral music, including sea chanteys and patriotic fare, to opera, Broadway, and contemporary music. Under the leadership of Senior Chief Musician Adam Tyler, the Sea Chanters perform for the public throughout the United States. At home in Washington, they perform for the president, vice president and numerous congressional, military and foreign dignitaries.”

Lt. Harold Fultz was the visionary and music lover who formed the group back in 1956. He recruited the singers for the group from the Navy School of Music. He wanted a group dedicated to singing patriotic songs and chanteys to inspire the members of the government at the State of the Nation dinner.

Later, when the group became a hit, they expanded and began singing more songs than just patriotic verses. And as you’ll see in the performance below, show tunes are some of the most popular songs they perform while out touring the country.

“Throughout their history, the Sea Chanters have remained true to the Navy’s watchwords of pride and professionalism, and they continue to flourish as a vibrant ensemble,” their website added.

The Sea Chanters are not the only Navy music group. They also have other ensembles including Chamber Ensembles, Cruisers, Country Current, Commodores, Ceremonial Band, and the Concert Band. Talk about a division of the military that respects and celebrates with music!

The performance below comes from 2014. It has proved to have lasting popularity. And it occurred during the Concerts on the Avenue series that was hosted at the United States Navy Memorial.

If you’re a patriotic American and a fan of Jersey Boys, this Sea Chanters performance will know your socks off. Press play below to check it out today! to watch the talented service members.

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