Commander, Submarine Group Two

RICHMOND, Va. (NNS) -- USS Virginia
(SSN 774) chief of the boat visited his
boat's namesake state and met with
Navy veterans in Richmond,
March 12-14.
(Photo courtesy of Richmond Navy

USS Virginia Chief of the Boat Visits Namesake State, Meets Navy Veterans

RICHMOND, Va. (NNS) -- The Virginia-class attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 774) chief of the boat visited his boat's namesake state and met with Navy veterans in Richmond, March 12-14.

Master Chief Electrician's Mate (SS) Cary Carroll visited with the USS Virginia Base Submarine veteran's chapter, the Richmond Navy League, and met with Navy veterans who reside at the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center located on the campus of the McGuire VA Medical Center during his three-day visit.

"This visit meant a lot to me in that I had the opportunity to connect with the Navy veterans who devoted their life to serving our country and to essentially thank them for their service," said Carroll, who bonded with the veterans by reminiscing over memories made during a lifetime of service. "It's also reassuring that our veterans are in the great hands of Sandra Rinicki and her staff. They obviously care greatly for their residents, and clearly understand their sacrifices."

The center is named for two Medal of Honor recipients, Col. Van Thurman Barfoot, who served in the U.S. Army and Col. Carl Sitter, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. During Carroll's visit, he met with former Cook 2nd Class George Bland who was on board USS West Virginia (BB 48) during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Carroll presented him and other veterans USS Virginia (SSN 774) Navy ball-caps that were donated by the crew.

Ed Gibbons, past president of the Richmond Navy League, who also served in the U.S. Marine Corps, joined Carroll and brought military-related T-shirts for the Navy veterans.

"I think the visit by Master Chief Carroll is really unique in that he is not only going out of his way to meet with these veterans to get to know them better," said Gibbons. "But he also took time to explain his experiences serving on submarines."

During his stop-over in Richmond, Carroll visited the Navy League office where he was welcomed by Council President R. Milton Owen, Dave Vachet, who retired from the U.S. Navy, and Thomas Hassell, Judge Advocate and past council president.

Virginia consists of 13 officers and 121 enlisted personnel and is the first in her class of the technologically-advanced attack submarines. She was commissioned Oct. 23, 2004.

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