NORFOLK (NNS) -- Adm. Bill Gortney retired aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) during a ceremony held on the ship's flight deck June 13.
The ceremony marked the end of Gortney's 39 years of military service.
"I must open with a deep 'thank you' to the crew of the USS George Washington and their captain," said Gortney. "To be able to conduct this time-honored ceremony on the deck of a warship which I spent most of my career means so much, not just to me, but to my Navy family."
During his career Gortney amassed more than 5,360 mishap-free flight hours, completed 1,265 carrier-arrested landings and commanded at various levels throughout the Navy. Gortney served as commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and also commanded forces in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, providing support to maritime security operations and combat operations for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He most recently served as commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command.
"I am honored to have served with the very best of the youth of America represented by the Sailors and Marines who surround us today and who represent all the Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians I had the opportunity to work with," said Gortney. "The retirement ceremony is about us, the Navy -- an honorable and noble profession. This is not my retirement, but a ceremony honoring the Navy, the professionalism and the families that make the Navy great."
During the ceremony Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson awarded Sherry Gortney, wife of Bill Gortney with the Distinguished Public Service Award for her service and support to military members and their families.
"No one accomplishes this alone; we are all supported by a strong team at sea and at home," said Richardson. "Sherry, like Bill, you too have made a life of public service. This is a celebration for all of us, but no one more than you. You have made a tremendous impact on our Sailors and our families."
Washington is homeported in Norfolk after serving seven years in Yokosuka, Japan, as the Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier.
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