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Good morning! Distinguished guests ... family ... friends ... shipmates … and members of the world-class Navy Supply team around the globe … welcome!
What an honor it is to join you … in person … here in Mechanicsburg for this ceremony. Three years ago … COVID forced us to conduct the change of command virtually … but today we’re back together. This is a testament to the resilience of our Nation … our Navy … and of this command.
Today marks a new chapter in the history of NAVSUP as we transfer absolute responsibility from Admiral Stamatopoulos to Admiral Epps.
It’s also an occasion for us to recognize the extraordinary Stamatopoulos family—his wife Alainie … and their children George … Alec … and Grayce … this your ceremony too. We celebrate with you this morning.
Now … someone once said … “behind every great leader … there is an even greater logistician.” That’s absolutely right … and I would just add that behind every great logistician is the team who turns strategy into execution and vision into reality.
So before I go any further… let me just offer my personal thanks to the outstanding civilian and military men and women of Naval Supply Systems Command. The work you do … each and every day … is simply astounding. You are the best in the world … bar none.
Without NAVSUP … there would be no U.S. Navy.
Without NAVSUP … we wouldn’t have the fuel or ammunition or repair parts we need for our aircraft, ships, and submarines.
We wouldn’t have the medical provisions we need to keep our personnel healthy … or to assist our fellow Americans in times of crisis.
And without NAVSUP… we wouldn’t have all that fresh food … or all those packages from home… that just seem to magically appear on deployment … in the middle of the ocean … and at our installations around the world.
NAVSUP achieves all of this … and more … while also providing quality of life services to our Sailors and their families.
It’s your resourcefulness … initiative … and dedication that keeps our Navy afloat and operational. You deliver whatever we need … whenever and wherever we need it … and you do it better than anyone. Take great pride in what you do … and know that it’s making a difference for our fleet … each and every day.
As I was reflecting on the history of this command … I was thinking about some of the key moments that defined the Navy Supply Corps.
In 1795 … President George Washington … on the recommendation of his Treasury Secretary … Alexander Hamilton … nominated Tench Francis Jr. to the position of Purveyor of Public Supplies … giving birth to the Supply Corps.
In 1842, Congress established the Department of the Navy Bureau of Provisions and Clothing … which subsequently became the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts in 1892.
And in 1966, this Bureau was decommissioned as part of a Department of Defense reorganization… and the Navy established Naval Supply Systems Command.
I mention these dates because I suspect we will look back on the period from 2020-2023 as another equally transformative period for this command … and that’s thanks to the leadership of Pete Stamatopoulos.
With an energy … passion … and focus that has become legendary … Pete has changed this entire organization … shifting its orientation and its mission in a way that only transformational leaders can do.
Let me offer just a few highlights:
He led and orchestrated the Naval Systems Supply initiative … making NAVSUP the end-to-end supply chain integrator … reducing fragmentation and driving coordination through unity of effort.
He helped fix and strengthen what was a broken naval supply chain.
He established a new battle rhythm to foster staff integration and bring together cross-functional expertise to solve problems with efficiency and effectiveness.
He benchmarked best practices from the most successful businesses on the planet … and adapted them to the Navy supply community.
He helped save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars … while also increasing our number of mission capable aircraft and ships.
He created a culture focused on producing data-driven outcomes and measurable results.
As the 49th Chief of the Supply Corps … he energized and mobilized what he calls the “supply vanguard” in commands around the world … charging them with the responsibility of improving our supply chains.
And foundational to it all … he stressed the importance of uncompromising integrity.
I think Pete accomplished all of this … less by what he’s said … and more because of who he is.
Now if you talk to anyone who knows Pete or has worked for him … there’s a common thread to the conversations. It’s not long before they use one specific adjective to describe him … and that word is … “intense.”
Indeed … Pete prides himself on being “aggressive” and “action oriented” … and these qualities have defined his entire career.
In fact, I have it on good authority that when Pete first wanted to become a Supply Officer … the detailer told him no. Pete said … “I don’t accept that answer. You’re going to have to tell me to my face.”
He then got on a plane … flew from San Diego to DC … slept in his rental car … and then the next day … found that detailer … who had a sudden change of heart.
The story illustrates how Pete possesses an intrinsic bias for action … which produces outcomes and results.
Pete’s energy and passion also fuel a growth mindset that motivates him to continuously learn—and he never stops. On a Friday, Pete will encounter a problem he doesn’t know much about. Over the weekend, he activates what he affectionately calls “our special power of reading” … a power he may have encouraged many of you to use as well. And by Monday … he’s as smart on the subject as anyone. But it doesn’t stop there … because what was a journey of learning soon becomes a journey of teaching … and he makes everyone better.
Pete’s drive and focus have also enabled him to bring to NAVSUP an operational ethos that reflects his warfighting mindset.
Ultimately … he understands that for our Navy … the stakes are too high to tolerate complacency or settle for the status quo.
Underneath it all … Pete exudes a genuine enthusiasm and an abiding passion for the Navy and for our supply team. As he frequently says, “I’m still just LT Stamatopoulos … digging into my job … leading Sailors … and filled with wonderment.”
Now earlier, I mentioned that behind every great logistician is his or her team. Today … Pete and Alainie have some very special teammates here in the audience.
Pete’s mom, Sally is here from San Diego … along with Pete’s brother, John. And Pete’s mother-in-law, Angelica, is here from Athens, Georgia. A very warm welcome to you all.
Pete and Alainie’s children are also here. Their son George is a Surface Warfare Officer now serving aboard DDG-118 … the mighty USS DANIEL INOUYE (IN-oh-way).
Their son Alec is a senior at Belmont University in Nashville … where he’s studying Audio Engineering and Philosophy.
And their daughter Grayce … a rising 7th grader … is an avid swimmer … basketball player … and I’m told … amazing shopping companion for mom!
George, Alec, Grayce … your parents are incredibly proud of you. It’s not easy growing up as a military child … and we recognize the unique challenges and experiences you’ve had while you’ve supported your dad’s career. Thank you for your sacrifice … and for your service … not just as members of the Stamatopoulos family … but as members of our greater Navy family as well.
Now … there’s one more person I’m proud to recognize … Alainie. What an extraordinary mother and partner you’ve been throughout Pete’s Navy journey.
Alainie is absolutely incredible. People who know her well describe her as one of the most genuine … kind … and caring people you’ll ever meet. And the moment you meet her … you know it’s true.
Throughout her life … she has been an avid equestrian and dressage competitor … a teacher for “at risk” kids … a highly successful fundraiser … a sports medicine trainer … and a founder of a thriving non-profit.
But if you ask Alainie … she’ll tell you that the most important thing in her life is their children … and raising them has been her “biggest passion and her greatest accomplishment.”
Alainie also describes how … in over 28 years of marriage … living overseas in Bahrain … and through countless moves around the country … the Stamatopoulos family has only grown closer together. As she says, “military families support each other and we stick together; WE ARE STRONG!”
Alainie … you have been that source of strength for your family. On behalf of a grateful Navy and a grateful Nation … thank you for your service and sacrifice.
It is difficult to say farewell to such an extraordinary family and such a transformational leader.
When an organization undergoes the kind of culture change it has under Pete’s direction … it’s important to make the transition … and pick the right leader to continue Pete’s groundbreaking work.
Ladies and gentlemen … we are incredibly fortunate to have exactly the right leader in Admiral Ken Epps. There is simply no one better suited to lead NAVSUP now.
Prior to this assignment … as the Commander of Weapons Systems Support command … Ken led what we call the “foundry for force generation, sustainment, and readiness.” He understands the intricacies of the Navy supply chain … and he knows precisely what it will take to lead NAVSUP.
Throughout his career … he has established a reputation as someone with a seemingly endless capacity to process vast amounts of information … rapidly align action across the entire enterprise … and drive meaningful results.
Perhaps above all … Ken is a consummate team builder. As those closest to him will testify … his currency is connections.
He fosters relationships with people to mentor and inspire them … and to collaborate with them in solving even the toughest readiness and sustainment challenges.
Ken congratulations on your assumption of command today … and on becoming the 50th Chief of the Supply Corps. You have earned the admiration of this community … and you have earned the Navy’s trust and confidence. Continue the work that Pete started. Make us more combat ready. Lead with character and with competency for the high-end fight. And keep integrity as the foundation of this command.
Ladies and Gentlemen … in closing … the standard for all commanding officers and others in authority is written in law. They are required to demonstrate exemplary conduct ... to safeguard the morale … the physical well-being … and the general welfare of those under their charge.
And they are expected to be the example of virtue, honor, and patriotism. We have been fortunate to have such an example in Pete Stamatopoulos.
Pete … may God bless you … your family … our Navy … and our many voyages to come.
Thank you all very much.
Adm. Mike Gilday
27 June 2023
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