GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- The Naval Station Great Lakes (NSGL) gate through which all friends and families of newly-minted Sailors arrive for recruit graduations was renamed in a formal ceremony, Nov. 9, for former Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) retired Adm. Vern Clark.
As CNO, Clark was responsible for most of the Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes recapitalization, including Battle Stations 21. His development of the RTC "Revolution in Training" molded the construction of the recruit barracks to include galleys, electronic classrooms and other innovations.
Addressing the recruits in attendance at the ceremony, Clark said, "Today, and the last dozen years, have been about creating a place that was worthy of you. I believe with everything that is within me that it is about serving the sons and daughters of America who have decided that they are going to serve our nation."
Clark also was responsible for creating Great Lakes-headquartered commands Naval Service Training Command; Commander, Navy Region Midwest; and Naval Station Great Lakes.
Earlier in the day, Clark had the opportunity to speak to graduating recruits, and their friends and family members, as the reviewing officer for the weekly recruit graduation. Clark also had the opportunity to see firsthand the results of the RTC recapitalization efforts at the USS Triton barracks, Battle Stations 21, and Freedom Hall during a tour of RTC.
Former Secretary of the Navy, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Gordon England was on hand for the ceremony honoring Clark. "You could not find a better person, a better leader, a better Navy leader, a better person to honor in America than Admiral Vern Clark," said England. "Vern Clark loves the Navy, he loves the people who serve ... and he especially loves the recruits who come in and join this great Navy and their families."
"The differences between the Navy of today and the Navy of 10 years ago are the work of Vern Clark," said Rear Adm. Rick Williamson, commander, Navy Region Midwest. "He took us from a slow and predictable force to a fleet that is more forward, more agile and everywhere, all the time. He is responsible for enormous changes in the way the Navy does business, all of which have made us a more capable, flexible force. He led us through challenging and unforgettable times in America's history. The Navy and our nation still benefit from his vision and there is every reason to believe that we will continue to enjoy those benefits. So, appropriately, it is here, where our Sailors don the cloth of the nation, that we honor this visionary."
"As the 27th Chief of Naval Operations, the CNO, from 2000 to 2005, Admiral Vern Clark set the U.S. Navy on a transformational course spanning nearly every aspect of the way Sailors train, exercise, deploy, and fight. Admiral Clark established clear priorities to improve readiness, to provide for future operations, and to align the Navy as a combat-ready force," said Capt. Randy Lynch, NSGL commanding officer.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Clark led the Navy through the initial phases of the global war on terrorism, launched in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
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