BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. John Richardson, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith visited Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor, April 24.
During the trip, they visited Submarine Group 9, reenlisted four Sailors at Deterrent Park, went to the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada (SSBN 733) for lunch and to visit with Sailors, and held an all hands call.
One of the Sailors who reenlisted was Electronics Technician (Navigation) James Evans, from Avon, Ohio, assigned to Submarine Development Squadron 5 Detachment Poseidon. During the oath, he placed his left hand on a 1938 Bluejacket’s manual that had belonged to his grandfather, who had served as a Yeoman on a steam-powered tugboat.
“This was not something I was expecting when I put in my reenlistment paperwork,” said Evans. “The Navy has given me a lot and I have a few more years to give to the Navy. When they told me I was going to have the opportunity to be reenlisted by the Navy’s top man, I jumped at the chance. It was a real honor. If I decide to go any further, it is going to take a lot of thinking to be able to top this reenlistment.”
Following the reenlistments, they went to have lunch and meet the crew of Nevada. Upon arrival, he pinned an enlisted submarine warfare device, or "dolphins", onto Electronics Technician (Nuclear) 3rd Class Sean Hill, from Tallahassee, Florida.
"It was an honor to be pinned by the CNO, former director of nuclear reactors, a submariner himself," said Hill. "It gives me great pride to say that I am now officially part of this submarine family."
The CNO had lunch with officers in the wardroom, while MCPON Smith enjoyed lunch with the crew. Then the group toured the submarine spaces.
"It was a joy and an honor to showcase the Nevada crews, both blue and gold, to the CNO, MCPON and their staff,” said Capt. Ryan Heilman, commanding officer of Nevada Blue. “It was a fantastic experience for us and we enjoyed the opportunity to hear things from the CNO regarding the bigger picture of the Navy, which we don’t always see in our day-to-day work.”
After the submarine tour, over 400 submarine Sailors attended an all-hands call with the CNO at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor movie theater.
“The people in this room right now, by every measure of human performance, are the smartest, most fit, and best looking Navy that we have ever had; and I am not just saying that to make you feel good, we have the scores to show it,” said Richardson. “You have had a lot of choices in your life and you chose to raise your right hand and join the Navy and volunteer for the submarine force. When the MCPON and I think about what our job description is, it really is to make sure that we are doing everything we can, every single day, to allow you to reach your full potential. We knock down obstacles, we create opportunities; we do everything that we can, then at the end of the day we get together to see how it went. We are not going to get it right on the very first try, but with feedback and good conversations, we get closer and closer every time. We have to make sure that we approach this as a team, and that you can trust us to act off of the feedback we get.”
Richardson discussed the importance of being ready to fight and how every job in the Navy contributes to our lethality. The MCPON ended the talk by elaborating the importance of every rate in the Navy.
“If I could just amplify one point that came up at the last all hands call, every rating that we have in the Navy, and every job and every skill that we have in the Navy contributes, one way or another to lethality,” said Smith. “Whether you turn a wrench, whether you fire a weapon, we cannot do what we do without you in the organization. We don’t have a lot of additional money and resources to throw at stuff that doesn’t matter; so if you are sitting here in this room please don’t ever doubt that what you do contributes to the fight one way or another. You need to remember that.”
The all-hands call then turned into a question-and-answer session, as Sailors asked questions regarding manning, parking, undersea dominance and training. Richardson also talked about what makes us the greatest submarine force in the world.
“Not only do we have the best technology, but we also have the best people and best training and the best organization,” said Richardson. “I can say that and you can take that as my word, but if we were able to go to a different room, at a difference clearance level, I can show you the evidence of that. So there is one thing that I can say with 100% confidence, and that is that we own the undersea domain.”
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.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 9, visit www.navy.mil/local/csg9/.