Gidget Fuentes

About Gidget Fuentes

Gidget Fuentes is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She has spent more than 20 years reporting extensively on the Marine Corps and the Navy, including West Coast commands and Pacific regional issues, and most recently was a senior writer and the San Diego bureau chief for Marine Corps Times and Navy Times.


Recent Posts By the Author


Delayed by Pandemic, Marines Send Smaller Force to Darwin to Test New Marine Warfighting Concepts with Aussies

Delayed by Pandemic, Marines Send Smaller Force to Darwin to Test New Marine Warfighting Concepts with Aussies

U.S. Marines with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin receive COVID-19 test at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin in NT, Australia on June 18, 2020. US Marine Corps Photo

This year’s deployment to Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory, hasn’t gone as initially planned. Travel restrictions and quarantining requirements due to the novel coronavirus drove the Marine Corps to send a smaller, 1,200-member force for the rotational deployment program, now in its ninth year. That’s less than half the size that deployed in 2019, the first time Marine Rotational Force-Darwin reached its 2,500-personnel maximum. Read More

First F-35C Pilots Graduate from TOPGUN

First F-35C Pilots Graduate from TOPGUN

Three F-35C Lightning II, attached to Commander, Joint Strike Fighter Wing, the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, the “Rough Raiders “Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 and the “Grim Reapers” Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 complete a flight overhead Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Feb. 1, 2019. US Navy photo.

Two F-35C pilots are the first naval aviators to graduate from the TOPGUN course flying the fifth-generation Joint Strike Fighter, the Navy announced. Read More

Skydiving Plane Rolls into Parked MV-22B Osprey at San Diego Airfield, Damaging Both

Skydiving Plane Rolls into Parked MV-22B Osprey at San Diego Airfield, Damaging Both

Marine MV-22B Osprey after being struck by a Twin Otter skydiving plane on May 30, 2020. City of San Diego Photo obtained by USNI News

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A civilian Twin Otter airplane rolled and crashed into a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey parked on a ramp at an airfield and caused extensive damage to both aircraft, according to officials and an incident report. Read More

Retired Navy Captain, CPO Plead Guilty to Bribery Charges in Latest 'Fat Leonard' Development

Retired Navy Captain, CPO Plead Guilty to Bribery Charges in Latest ‘Fat Leonard’ Development

Undated photo of Leonard Francis

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A retired Navy captain who collected nearly $91,000 in favors for sharing classified U.S. 7th Fleet ship schedules and steering logistics contracts to a foreign defense firm will plead guilty, according to federal court records. The plea marks the latest conviction in the Glenn Defense Marine Asia corruption investigation. Read More

More Marines Arrive in Australia After COVID-19 Screening; 13th MEU Leads Mideast Ready-Response Force

More Marines Arrive in Australia After COVID-19 Screening; 13th MEU Leads Mideast Ready-Response Force

Marines with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin arrive at RAAF Base Darwin in Darwin, NT, Australia, June 2, 2020. US Marine Corps Photo

Marines are on the move this week, with the latest contingent arriving in Australia for the resumption this summer of the rotational forces to Darwin and the command element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit taking the helm of a Middle East-based response force. Read More

Beyond Mercy: Navy's COVID-19 Hospital Ship Missions and the Future of Medicine at Sea

Beyond Mercy: Navy’s COVID-19 Hospital Ship Missions and the Future of Medicine at Sea

USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrives in San Diego on May 15, 2020. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated to correct the spelling of CNA analyst Joshua Tallis’ last name.

Public excitement and relief greeted the March arrival of the Navy’s hospital ships in Los Angeles and New York City for their COVID-19 relief mission. But the excitement faded as the ships treated fewer than expected COVID-19 patients and left for their homeports with muted fanfare. Read More

How USS Makin Island, Fleet Medical Team Responded to COVID-19 Outbreak on USS Kidd

How USS Makin Island, Fleet Medical Team Responded to COVID-19 Outbreak on USS Kidd

Amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8) underway in the eastern Pacific on April 20, 2020. US Navy Photo

When a COVID-19 outbreak hit USS Kidd (DDG-100) last month, the Navy sent a medical team with specialized lab equipment to the guided-missile destroyer to test for novel coronavirus among the crew. An outbreak at sea could easily and quickly overwhelm a warship’s small medical department, in this case an independent-duty corpsman and two hospital corpsmen in a crew of about 330. Read More

Naval Health Researchers at Center of Fleet's Battle Against COVID-19

Naval Health Researchers at Center of Fleet’s Battle Against COVID-19

NHRC Operational Infectious Diseases lab technician aliquotting specimens for COVID-19 testing within the biological safety cabinet. US Navy Photo

SAN DIEGO — Before leaving Southern California last week for predeployment training, the crew of aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) spent most of April isolated to prevent a viral outbreak before their scheduled deployment. Read More

Navy MQ-4 Triton Flying Operational Missions From Guam

Navy MQ-4 Triton Flying Operational Missions From Guam

Navy MQ-4C Triton taxis at Andersen Air Force Base on April 29, 2020. US Navy Photo

Almost three months after arriving in Guam, a pair of MQ-4C Triton autonomous, unmanned aircraft have integrated into fleet operations and training flights and stretched the Navy’s maritime domain awareness across the Indo-Pacific, according to the Navy. Read More