During my time in command of Fleet Forces, I’ve spent a lot of time visiting our Fleet units and talking here about the unique capabilities I’ve observed our Sailors bringing to the fight every day.
During Operation Unified Response, we saw firsthand what it truly means to be a ready force – from our initial response and through weekly updates to my personal observations while I was on station discussing all the great things our Sailors were doing to assist the Haitian people.
We got a good look at the USS TEMPEST, RIVGRU 1 and NECC, the extremely capable crew of USNS SACAGAWEA and observed our Seabees building an Elevated Causeway System; a capability that is unmatched by any Navy in the world.
I’ve checked in from CENTCOM while spending Thanksgiving with our Sailors in 2009 and 2010 (more photos here), paid a visit to our Sailors at JTF GTMO, and had the great privilege of spending time with a truly inspirational group of men and women at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
We learned about the importance of flexibility with the HSC-22 Sea Knights, the rapid deployment capabilities of the Airborne Mine Countermeasures squadron HM-14, and got an up close and personal look at the E-2D, E-6B (TACAMO), and F/A-18 in action.
I released (and shared with you) a series of “Practices of Successful Commands (I, II, III, IV)” messages to emphasize the importance of programs that I believe have the greatest influence on our Sailors, their families, and our Navy.
We saw the “Mighty Memphis” off on her final patrol, welcomed USS PONCE home from hers and paid a visit to the very talented Sailors of USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT to observe all the hard work carried out during her RCOH to get her ready for the next 25 years of her operational life.
We talked about the battles of Leyte Gulf, Savo Island, USS CONSTITUTION vs. HMS GUERRIERE, and followed the truly remarkable voyage of the USS OREGON (BB 3).
When Secretary of Defense Gates announced the disestablishment of SECOND Fleet, our staffs put together the right plan and worked hard to bring the two organizations (USFF and C2F) together on schedule and with no impact to Fleet operations.
As the CNO’s Executive Agent for Individual Augmentees, I’ve consistently used your feedback, here and on the USFF Staff Page, to work to improve the service, processes and support we deliver to our IAs and their families.
As the CNO’s Executive Agent for Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection (ATFP), I released my SERIAL guidance to assess the effectiveness of our program and make the changes needed to make ATFP a permanent part of our culture.
Last October, DRRS-N officially replaced SORTS; we worked to put the program on a path to sustainment and updated you along the way. We discussed the concept of readiness and the importance of being a global Navy, talked about what it takes to keep the Fleet in the fight (then and now), the importance of investing in our ships and our people, and looked at the many initiatives we’re taking to improve maintenance and Surface force readiness.
We had many frank discussions about the importance of changing our culture to prioritize operational readiness (through technical excellence) and ensure that, although there are things we will do less, we must never do less well.
And finally, we honored the legacies of VADM Samuel Gravely, Corporal Jason Dunham, and BMCM Carl Brashear, and said goodbye to our shipmate, Chief Bob Feller.
All these things that we do every day – from the combat operations in Afghanistan to the largest humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort ever supported by our Navy – would not be possible without our Sailors.
Our Sailors, dedicated professionals who always get the job done.
Our Sailors, held together by the common bonds of sacrifice, service and loyalty.
Our Sailors, the common element behind every success of our Navy.
Our Sailors, the heart and soul of our Navy.
I’ve never been more proud of the men and women I serve with today. Everything we do today always comes back to our Sailors, the true strength of our Navy and the real power of our platforms.
All the best, JCHjr