Posted by: arbeam | November 25, 2014

Presidents Corner: December 2014

Larry SalterHello Navy Leaguers. December and the holidays are upon us—where did the year go? December is my last full month as your Council President. We have accomplished much this year and with Tim Katona returning as President, next year will be every bit as successful as his Presidency last year—an Outstanding Council kind of year. I am not going anywhere and will remain active as the Immediate Past President and support Tim and the 2015 Officers to the best of my ability.

Many of you missed a great Marine Corps uniform pageant at our annual November Marine Corps Birthday recognition luncheon. I know it was on a different day (rescheduled due to Veterans Day falling on the second Tuesday of November) and there were some gate issues, but the attendance was embarrassing low. There were more Marines than members.

The Veterans Day Celebration on Tuesday November 11th at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds was another huge success. Thanks John Gardner for heading up the committee and making it such a great event. Sandra and Earle Smith, the retired event coordinators did not look so retired. Thank you for your continued commitment to the Veterans Day Event and the Navy League.

Our guest speaker for December is Captain Mark Geronime, the new Commanding Officer of NAVFAC NW. The Captain will give us an update on the Explosive Handling Warf (the largest MILCON project in the Navy), progress on the build-up of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and other construction projects around the region. This is the Captains first encounter with Navy League since taking over the command in July—please come and welcome him.

The December luncheon is also an important event in the life of your Council—the Annual Meeting. We will give a quick review of the year and will have minutes of board meetings available to review for anyone who would like to look at them. Dave Ellingson will also be available to answer any budget questions you have. And most importantly, we will be voting in our 2015 slate of officers.

The Board of Directors proposes the follow­ing slate of candidates for election as 2015 Officers: President: Tim Katona, Vice President (2 Positions): Kevin Torcolini, Bob Lamb, Secretary: Ruth Bond, Treasurer: Dave Ellingson, JAG: George Rose. We will induct the new officers and board members at the January luncheon.

USS Washington LogoAs you may already know, the USS Washington is being built at Newport News Shipyard. The Washington State Navy League Councils have committed to coordinate the festivities surrounding the Commissioning Ceremony (late summer/early fall 2016). Our Council stepped up to be the lead Council which will involve lots of work. Rear Admiral Mike Sharp, USN (retired) is leading the commissioning committee with help from me, Alan Beam, Kevin Torcolini, and Kathy DiMaggio. This steering committee is just the beginning of the support needed to pull off an event of this size. We will be looking for more volunteers.

USS Washington CO COB

As a member of the Commissioning Committee, I was able to participate in two events last week that were firsts for me.   Unfortunately due to airline weather delays and schedule changes, RADM Sharp was not able to attend. Ken Sparks from the Lake Washington Council was also in attendance. The Captain of the USS Washington (CDR Jay Schnieder), the Chief of the Boat (Command Master Chief Adam Burchette ), and the Newport News Virginia Class Construction Supervisor provided a once in a life time tour of the Washington section under construction as well as other Virginia Class submarines under construction. We were climbing up scaffolding and climbing over submarines—it was awesome! Much of the technology was way over the head of this MBA, but to see how they build submarines today was truly fascinating.

USS Washington Initials

On Saturday I attended the Keel Laying Ceremony at Newport News Shipyard—another first. Not the Keel Laying Ceremony of yester year—submarines are tubes, built in sections and then welded together—no keel. None the less, the tradition is upheld. I had the opportunity to meet the ships sponsor—Ms. Elizabeth Mabus, and her father, the Secretary of the Navy. I was also able to meet many of the crew and the Captain gave me an opportunity to address the crew at a scheduled quarters.

The next event will be Christening Ceremony in a little over a year from now followed by the Commission Ceremony. It was truly an honor to represent the Council and the Commissioning Committee at this significant event in the life of the USS Washington.

The Board voted to adopt the USS Washington and the CO was pleased to accept our invitation. We hope to get the Captain and COB out for a number of visits over the next 19 months. He is very keen to establish a relationship with the State that his ship is named after.

Thank you for all you do to support Navy League, Larry

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