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NAVFAC Southeast Executive Officer Retires

15 June 2022

From Susan Brink

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southeast Executive Officer Capt. Tom Bestafka retires after 26 years of dedicated military service.

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southeast Executive Officer Capt. Tom Bestafka, a Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officer, was presented the Legion of Merit medal along with many gifts and accolades, June 10, during his retirement ceremony at the ceremonial hangar onboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida, as family, friends and co-workers gathered to celebrate his 26 years of dedicated service.

Guest speaker NAVFAC Southwest Commanding Officer Capt. Michael Oestereicher spoke of Bestafka as a colleague, fellow CEC officer, and friend.

“It’s a big day and we are here to recognize Capt. Tom Bestafka and the over 26 years of service he’s given the Navy and the nation,” said Oestereicher. “When Tom asked me to be his guest speaker, I was humbled, honored and to be honest a little worried if I was up to the task to do this amazing Navy family the justice they deserve.”

Oestereicher went on to share several of Bestafka’s career highlights including being selected to serve as the flag aid and deputy executive assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Fleet Readiness and Logistics (OPNAV N4) and deploying to Afghanistan, serving as the Detachment Officer in Charge, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) THREE.

Oestereicher noted that Bestafka’s final job was most appropriate for him to serve NAVFAC Southeast as the executive officer. He brought all of his past experience which helped him lead a 2,000 plus employee organization. “He is invested in people, he is an administrative tyrant, which I believe to be a great quality that others will appreciate later in their career.”

“There is only one thing that is harder than serving three years as an XO, that is three years as a CO,” claimed Oestereicher

NAVFAC Southeast Commanding Officer Capt. Miguel Dieguez presented Bestafka with the Legion of Merit medal (Gold Star in Lieu of Second Award) for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service from July 2019 to June 2022.

The citation read Bestafka instituted a safety culture through innovative programs, varied communication, and constant oversight which were highlights of the prestigious honor of earning the Fiscal Year 2021 Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award, Medium Industrial category. This along with his extraordinary leadership, keen judgment and loyal devotion to duty uphold the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

“During three years as XO, your inspiring leadership, uncompromising devotion to accountability, and commitment to excellence ensured the successful delivery of NAVFAC products and services during an exceptionally dynamic period of change, personnel challenges, and fiscal pressures,” said Dieguez of Bestafka’s leadership.  “Your contributions will have a profound and lasting positive impact on infrastructure readiness across the Region and significantly contributed to NAVFAC Southeast’s phenomenal success during your three years here.” 

 A letter to Bestafka from the State of New Jersey’s Governor Phillip D. Murphy stated, “You have demonstrated commitment to the people of the United States and established a standard of professionalism that will be difficult to equal. You bravely served our country during multiple historic events, such as working one block east of Ground Zero during 9/11 in 2001 and having “boots on the ground” in Afghanistan when the United States Forces killed Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011.”

“I must first thank God, without whom none of this is possible and without whom I am nothing,” said Bestafka.

Bestafka thanked his family for their support over his career, a career that involved 13 moves and four deployments. He is excited to spend as much time with his wife and kids this summer as he can until he moves forward with the next chapter of his retirement.

Bestafka explained that the retirement ceremony is not about him, “it is about me thanking as many people as I possibly can who have helped me, in some ways small, in some large, to be the man I am today and to be recognized in some way for my small contributions to this nation and the Navy that I love so much.”

His final comments were directed toward the military and civilians at NAVFAC Southeast. “The bottom line is that the things we do each and every day matter, and what matters is that we do it well to support our warfighting brothers and sisters.”


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