By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) LaTunya Howard, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn. – The Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson spoke to more than 600 Sailors during Navy Personnel Command’s (NPC) Navy Birthday Ball at Memphis’ Peabody Hotel Oct. 9.
“Navy birthday celebrations tend to run together for me,” said Ferguson. “By my count, this is my 36th since joining the Navy. Whether this is your 36th Navy celebration or your first, what this evening is about is the joining of generations in a celebration that commemorates our love of the sea, our history as a maritime nation, and of the great Navy we are honored to serve.”
On Oct. 13, the Navy celebrates 235 years of service. Sailors can reflect on the vital work they perform through sea power to provide security and prosperity to the Nation.
“The satisfying moment for me was the recognition of the two Pearl Harbor survivors attending, Lt. Cmdr. Howard Lee, United States Navy (USN) retired, and Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Stanton Caudle, USN retired,” said Cmdr. Doug Rhoads, Head, Post Selection Board, who along with Lt. Billie J. Farrell, NPC, Career Progression, coordinated the event. “The theme, ‘Return to Heritage,’ the guests and even the location seemed most appropriate.”
Ferguson said that active-duty today are the trusted custodians of the Navy’s heritage. “I remember my first deployment, when my wife and I numbered our letters before sending them, to make sure we read them in order when they arrived weeks later, often out of order. Today, our Sailors are often in near-instantaneous contact with home via email and other social media on the Internet. It truly is a new and amazing world.”
Ferguson said the one element that unites our veterans of yesterday, our Sailors of today and Sailors of tomorrow is heritage. “Our heritage is preserved and honored in our Naval traditions.”
“The sentiment that binds us tonight is as strong today as it was in 1775 when our Navy was founded,” said Ferguson. “I am honored to be counted with you; we who have made the choice to stand up and say yes I will serve.”