BANGOR, Wash. — The Navy’s 31st Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. John Richardson, visited Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor, Nov. 15.
During the trip, he paid a visit to the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) to tour the submarine and speak with Sailors.
“Kentucky is honored to have the CNO onboard and excited to show him our ship,” said Cmdr. James Hurt, commanding officer of Kentucky’s Gold crew. “We’re happy to know strategic deterrence continues to be important to our senior leadership. It confirms for us that strategic deterrence is the Department of Defense’s number one mission.”
While onboard, he pinned an enlisted submarine warfare device, or “dolphins”, onto Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) Fireman Joshua Suh, from Los Angeles, California, and reenlisted three Sailors; Missile Technician 2nd Class Robert Albury, from Glendale, Arizona, Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Joseph Korn, from Agra, Oklahoma, and Fire Control Technician 3rd Class Brent Peterka, from Pierson, Florida.
“It is not every day that you can say that you got reenlisted by the Chief of Naval Operations, a four-star Admiral,” said Albury. “It means a lot to me that he would take time out of his busy schedule to visit our boat to see us, to see how we are doing, especially with everything that is going on in the world, it means a lot that he cares that much.”
Kentucky Gold is currently going through a routine maintenance refit period to prepare for their upcoming patrol.
“I take a lot of pride in this boat and the amount of work that we do, and the CNO coming down to recognize it, feels great,” said Korn.
Following the submarine tour, more than 900 Sailors, Marines and civilians attended an all-hands call with the CNO at the Naval Base Kitsap Bangor gym.
“We are here in Bangor, Washington to get a look at the fleet,” said Richardson. “We started on the ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky, which is one of the absolute stealthiest, most survivable legs of the nuclear strategic deterrent triad. These submarines have been on patrol 100% of the time since 1960, serving as the bedrock for the nation’s defense. So it is an honor to be here.”
Richardson discussed the current forward deployed status of our Navy. He explained that there are currently a lot of navies out there fighting for our title of being the best Navy in the world, and stressed the importance of each person doing their part to hold on to that title. This is accomplished through accountability, responsibility and ownership.
“This individual responsibility goes all away up to me and I have to make sure that you have the resources that you need; the money, the equipment, the people, and I am committed to doing that; I’ve got your back,” Richardson said. “Whatever obstacles stand in your way that prevent you from being the best that you can be at your job, let me know, I am ready to knock those down. If we all come to work every day saying, ‘you know what, I am going to be the best in the world at what I do,’ we will retain the title of being the best Navy in the world.”
The all-hands call then turned into a question-and-answer session, as Sailors asked questions regarding sequestration, submarine incentive programs, cross-rating possibilities, women in submarines, and future improvements and funding for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Richardson also talked about the competition of talent, confident watch standing and stressed the importance of sleep.
“We are really learning a lot about the detrimental effects of not getting enough sleep,” said Richardson. “You should be getting six to eight hours of sleep, and from a policy standpoint we have that in place, but execution of that policy resides with you and your leadership. Be part of that solution, be a small unit leader. Watch out for your people and their sleep. If you don’t, you pay a tremendous price in performance, decision making, and the whole thing.”
Richardson became the 31st CNO Sept. 18, 2015, serving as the Navy’s most senior officer, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a principal advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of Defense and the President.
NBK is the nation’s third largest naval installation and the largest naval organization in Navy Region Northwest, composed of installations at Bremerton, Bangor, and Keyport. NBK serves as the host command for the Navy’s fleet throughout the West Puget Sound, in support of surface ships and submarines.
Navy news article by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda R. Gray