Pacific Fleet makes the Web a family affair
- By Bob Brewin
- Nov 09, 1997
The Pacific Fleet's operations span more than half the globe stretching from the coasts of the Americas to those in Asia and on to Africa. Thanks to a crash effort started a year ago the majority of the Navy and Marine Corps units in the Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) are just a mouse click over the horizon.
Close to 300 Navy units have established a World Wide Web beachhead with sites ranging from the massive link- and fact-filled pages operated by Chief Chris McIntire Webmaster for the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) page at www.cpf.navy.mil to the site operated by the frigate USS Lewis B. Puller (www_salts.icpphil.navy.mil/ships/lb_puller/). The latter is named in honor of the legendary Marine and is a fine place to visit on Nov. 10 the 222nd birthday of the Marine Corps.
The CINCPACFLT and Puller Web sites meet the public affairs mission of having Web pages serve as windows to a curious world. PACFLT also has required Web pages to serve as a command information medium "with our most important audience [being] the Navy family " McIntire said. "We made sure every time we talked with commands about how they could use the [Web] we let them know it was another effective way to get information to families."
The Puller site uses its home page to bring online the old Navy "Familygram " which are chatty letters from commanders. The site also features a Familygram button.
CINCPACFLT from its headquarters in Hawaii has adapted the Familygram philosophy to the Cyber Age by offering myriad links to health care providers chaplains and base ship and squadron home pages as well as chat rooms for sailors' spouses and Marines all bundled in a separate Web site dubbed "Navy Familyline" (www.cpf.navy.mil/navyfamily/main.htm). The Familyline page offers quick and easy access through a series of button bars arrayed on the side of the page to other pages including a PACFLT directory links to Navy sites and online periodicals.
The meat of the site is found under buttons labeled "Getting Help" and "Spouse Chat." Click on "Getting Help" and you quickly zip to a directory of online resources that include sites for the Tricare medical program the Navy and Marine Relief Society the Navy Wifeline Association the Navy locator the Bureau of Personnel and a button that simply says "E-mail for Help!"
Click on the "Spouse Communications" button to enter spouse chat rooms but you need the right kind of Uniform Resource Locator to obtain access. These pages are private and the sites would not accept my commercial URL. The care and thought evident on Familyline shows that PACFLT has invested a lot of effort into putting the Web at the service of its personnel and families.
Another site that recognizes the whole family is operated by the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center in San Diego which uses a portion of its Web page to help personnel manage the worst part of moving: tracking household goods which somehow never quite make the trip from Guam to Texas on time. Check out this people-oriented FISC site at www.sd.fisc.navy.mil/hhg/persprop.html.
No one - at least anyone with a day job - can check out almost 300 PACFLT Web sites. But anyone who wants to cyber-surf the fleet should check out the organization chart on the PACFLT home page (www.cpf.navy.mil/pages/cpforgan/cpforgan.htm). What is something as old-fashioned as an organizational chart doing on a Web page? Move your mouse over it and you'll discover this is an actively wired diagram. Every box is a clickable link that will zoom you from Seabees in California to deployed Marines on the USS Belleau Wood in the Western Pacific. No one can really master the Pacific but the PACFLT Web sites have truly bridged it.