Remarks as prepared:
Good Morning. Distinguished Guests, General Officers, Flag Officers, Senior Enlisted Leaders, Sailors, and Friends and Family of Sailors.
Once again, thank you for joining us this morning.
Our Sailors and our Navy civilians among you in this room are representative of the more than 600,000 of our total Navy Team - Active Duty, our Reserves, and our Navy Civilians. Tens of thousands are deployed today across the globe - some are in harm’s way. As we enjoy this ceremony at the Navy Yard, I know you join me in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers.
Secretary of Defense Esper, thank you for joining us this morning. Sir, thank you for your enthusiastic leadership and for all you are doing for our entire joint team, uniformed and civilian, and our families.
Secretary Spencer, thank you for officiating this morning. I know there’s no other place you’d rather be than with us. We are very appreciative of all you do for our Navy, our Marine Corps, our Sailors, Marines, our Navy civilians, and their families. Sir, Thank you
I would like to express my deep gratitude to a number of my foreign counterparts who traveled long distances to honor us with their presence. To all of our allies and partners, I am committed to continuing to build lasting partnerships to advance maritime security to the benefit of the global community.
We recognized most of our special guests earlier, but I’d like to acknowledge our former CNOs and their spouses. It is an honor for Linda and me to follow in your footsteps.
I’d also like to recognize my Naval Academy classmates who travelled long distances to be here today. Some, I’m told, wanted to be here in person and confirm for themselves that this is really happening.
I’d also like to recognize my mom and dad. My mother is here. My father is with us today in spirit. Phenomenal parents – and all those two words represent. Together, they raised five children – my sister, Mary Joy, and my three brothers, Mark, Dave, and Brian – who are here today with their wonderful families. And they are joined by so many other family and close friends. It means so much to have you here. Thank you.
And the most important people in my life, my wife Linda, and our sons, Brian and Michael. I would not be here without their love, their sacrifice, and their support. And while I know you’d expect me to say that, we all know, especially me, that it’s absolutely true. I owe them everything.
Coming from an assignment on the Joint Staff, I’ve spent the past weeks getting re-blued back into our Navy. In a word, it has been UPLIFTING. I believe our Navy’s strategic direction is rock solid and that our Navy is in great shape. We are recruiting and retaining a high-quality force, we are providing well trained combat-ready forces forward, around the globe. We are modernizing our Navy at a scope and pace not seen in decades.
I can say all that, in large part, due to the leadership of our 31st CNO. Admiral and Mrs. Richardson – John and Dana – thanks for your nearly four decades of selfless service. You have given so much – and accomplished so much – all of it quietly and humbly, yet so effectively. All of it, while at the same time, raising five terrific children. In a few minutes, you’ll walk between the sideboys, piped over the side one last time. And when you do, you always have the respect, the appreciation, and the admiration of our entire Navy. The Gildays included.
For those not familiar with our traditions, it is customary for the incoming officer at events like this to be brief. So, I’ll close by telling you all how humbled I am to be your Chief of Naval Operations. My focus in the coming years is to move forward – with a sense of urgency – in sustaining our readiness, modernizing our force, and taking care of our most important weapons system – our Navy Team and their families. We will question our assumptions. We will think differently about the competition we are now in. We will be the Navy the nation needs now and we will build the Navy the nation needs to fight and win in the future, always guided by our core values of honor, courage, and commitment.
I am proud to be your CNO, but I am prouder still to wear the uniform as a Sailor in the United States Navy. Thank you and God Bless.
Adm. Mike Gilday
22 August 2019
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