Category Archives: Armed Forces

Where Sailors and innovation meet

Like any other organization, the Navy is not perfect. Many times Sailors ask why things must be done a certain way. Often, they’re convinced they know a more effective way. Sometimes, they’re right. The Innovation Lab, better known as the iLab, gives Sailors a chance to take those ideas and possibly turn them into reality.

“We believe that [for] many of problems that Sailors are experiencing right now, there are solutions,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Keithley, iLab’s military advisor. “Unfortunately, they’re nascent inside of the Sailors’ heads, and getting to the point of actually developing a prototype and testing that idea is rather difficult. What we do here is try to take in these ideas, show it to our staff here at [Submarine Force Pacific], and propose how we can proceed forward with it.”

Established in 2016, the iLab is located at the Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific. Although the room is small in size, it’s jam-packed with the latest virtual and augmented reality technology. The iLab team also offers tours in hopes of inspiring Sailors to come up with and share ideas to improve the fleet.

“We offer tours to Sailors. We’ve had foreign navies come through and tour the iLab. It’s a good chance to take a tour that is more exciting than a typical tour; where you actually get to play with some things that aren’t commercially available and see some of the cutting edge stuff that you may not see in the fleet for a few years.” — Keithley

Featured technology at the iLab include: a virtual map for the undersea environment; a 3D display that allows users to use a special pen to practice maintenance on equipment used on ships; and a system that virtually places users in aircraft, ships, or submarines using holographs.

Sailors who have been through the tour seem to respond well to direction the iLab is setting.

“I love virtual reality aspect of things,” said Sonar Technician Submarine 2nd Class Griffin Reidel, an iLab visitor. “I have my own virtual set at home and it made me interested that the Navy is taking time and investing into virtual reality.”

He has his own ideas as well, such as developing a technology that helps measure how much radiant noise a submarine releases through the water.

“We’ve had about 550 Sailors through the iLab in its first nine months of operations,” said Chris Bretz, iLab’s team lead. “We got about 70 or 80 ideas, [and] the staff has reviewed and picked half a dozen to focus on and build out as prototypes. The mission of the lab is exactly that; capture ideas from the Sailors [to fix] their problems that they see in ship’s operations, training and maintenance, and apply cutting-edge technology to make it better, faster, cheaper and more effective.”

ne prototype that is being tested is an unmanned aerial vehicle can track Sailors who accidently fall into the ocean while out to sea.

The personnel at the iLab have high hopes of implementing the ideas developed into the fleet, and see value in using augmented and virtual reality for training purposes.

“Money, overall, is tight,” said Bretz. “Augmented reality [and] virtual reality offer an alternative, or at least a compliment to brick and mortar training. Building a $5 million dollar building may have been possible in the past but it’s not today. With augmented reality [and] virtual reality solutions for training delivery, you can have 20, 50, [or] 100 Sailors [train] for no more money. Instead of having the Sailors come to the facility to do the training, it can be taken to the Sailors at their locations.”

Sailors can send in their ideas by contacting the iLab staff at

Source: US NAVY

Lake Jackson, Texas native serves aboard USS George H.W. Bush



Lake Jackson, Texas native serves aboard USS George H.W. Bush

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joshua Treadwell, Navy Office of Community Outreach

A 2008 Brazoswood High School graduate and Lake Jackson, Texas, native is serving on one of the world’s largest warships, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.




Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory Harris is a machinist’s mate aboard the Norfolk-based ship, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and one of only ten operational aircraft carriers in the Navy today. Named in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, the carrier is longer than 3 football fields, at nearly 1,100 feet long. The ship is 252 feet wide and weighs more than 100,000 tons. Two nuclear reactors can push the ship through the water at more than 35 mph.

As a sailor with numerous responsibilities, Harris said he is learning about himself as a leader, sailor and a person. He added that it is an exciting time to be in the Navy, and serving aboard a ship is something he never expected to be doing just a few years ago.

“I’ve learned a lot of leadership skills on board this ship,” said Harris. “My team of young sailors amazes me everyday.”

“I fix anything on board that requires refrigerant,” Harris explained. “We have to cool off equipment that is vital to keeping the ship working properly.”

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS George H.W. Bush. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,500 or so form the air wing, the people who actually fly and maintain the aircraft.

“I never cease to be impressed with the type and quality of work that goes on aboard this ship each day,” said Capt. Andrew J. Loiselle, the carrier’s commanding officer. “The USS George H.W. Bush team is filled with highly qualified young adults – in many cases, 19 and 20 years old – and they’re out here running a complex propulsion system safely, serving as air traffic controllers, operating sophisticated electronics, launching and recovering aircraft when we’re underway, and keeping this floating city alive and functioning. I can’t express how proud I am to be a part of this team. They performed at the highest level, day in and day out during our recent 9-month combat deployment and are continuing to do so here at home. Their professionalism, dedication and commitment to excellence are second to none.”

USS George H.W. Bush, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea. Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship. The planes land aboard the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft. All of this makes the George H.W. Bush a self-contained mobile airport and strike platform, and often the first response to a global crisis because of a carrier’s ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Harris and other USS George H.W. Bush sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do as kid, serve my country and learn critical job skills,” said Harris.


“Why Being There Matters”

On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.