March 10, 2017
On February 27-28, a JINSA National Leadership delegation got a first-hand look at a wide range of warfare capabilities of the United States Navy Surface Fleet aboard the USS San Antonio and USS Nitze. Naval Station Norfolk supports the operational readiness of the US Atlantic Fleet, providing facilities and services to enable mission accomplishment.
The fact-finding trip was led by JINSA Board of Advisor member and 2016 Generals and Admirals Program participant VADM Carol Pottenger, USN (ret.).
Members from our delegation came from across the country to interact with both senior U.S. naval officers and enlisted sailors. They toured the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport ship and the USS Nitze, an Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer. JINSA Chairman David Steinmann remarked,
The young sailors I met on those ships make me proud to be an American. And there is one moment I will never, ever forget. I spoke with as many of the young sailors as I could - thanking them for what they do for all of us. I shook hands with one sailor, wearing a sidearm and posted as security at the entrance to the pier at which the Nitze was moored. I thanked him for his service and he looked me right in the eye and said, "Thank you for your trust, sir."
RADM Pat Piercey, Naval Surfaces Forces Atlantic joined the delegation for a working lunch and briefed them on the current state of the U.S. Navy surface fleet and the importance of the stated goal of a 355 ship fleet by the U.S. Navy. RADM Piercey also discussed his experience while visiting Israel for work and the impact it has had on his life.
USS San Antonio CAPT Darren Nelson and Executive Officer CAPT Edgardo A. Moreno gave the delegation a hands-on tour of the amphibious transport ship from top to bottom. We were able to witness first-hand the size and capability of this amazing ship.
USS Nitze CDR Paul Kaylor briefed the delegation on the critical work the crew of the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer does to keep America safe.
The main purpose of the Norfolk Naval visit was to better understand the mission of the U.S. Navy's surface fleet, as well as the needs of the dedicated sailors that staff some of the world's most advanced weapons. This knowledge will allow our leadership to more effectively advocate on behalf of the Navy and the surface fleet in their communities and for the U.S. Navy leadership and sailors to know that they have a friend and supporter in JINSA.
While in Norfolk, a portion of the delegation visited Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), inspected the carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) which is being built, and viewed USS Gerald R Ford (CVN-78), soon to be delivered to the US Navy.
The group received briefings by NNS President Matt Mulherin, VADM Mark Fox, USN (ret.) and other senior NNS staff on the critical work they are doing in building and refurbishing our carrier fleet.