PEARL HARBOR – Sailors stationed aboard the guided missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) were visited by Commander, Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Oct. 12.
Rowden directly oversees material and personnel readiness of surface ships in the Pacific Fleet.
His first stop was John Paul Jones, where he toured the ship and addressed the Sailors during an all hands call where he discussed mission readiness as it pertains to global events.
“You can pick up the newspaper, you can open your web browser on any specific day, and you’re going to find bad things that are happening around the face of this Earth,” said Rowden, “whether it’s in the western Pacific or it’s on the Korean Peninsula, Arabian Gulf, North Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, you name it. It seems to me—and I’ve been doing this business now for about 34 years—it’s been up and it’s been down and it’s been up in the threat perspective, and from Tom Rowden’s perspective, what I see—especially over the last few years—is threats are going up. There are a lot of destabilizing influences out there. So the other thing we have to keep running in the back of our minds, as we’re testing the latest and greatest combat systems is that if it hits the fan, the President can say, ‘Okay let’s button them all up and send them wherever it is they need to go’ and we have to be ready to go because the first line of defense of any maritime nation is the navy.”
Communications Officer Ensign Addison Lewis, assigned to John Paul Jones, said he appreciated the chance to hear the admiral speak.
“It was an opportunity for us to show the admiral both our readiness as a ship as well as our deficiencies,” said Lewis. “It also gave the crew here a better insight into the big picture of things. We do everything on a day-to-day basis and we kind of lose track of the whole bigger Navy picture. So it was nice of the admiral to come in and talk tactics and talk warfighting as opposed to painting and maintenance and stuff like that. It was a good reminder.”
Rowden’s concluded his visit with a question and answer discussion with the Sailors.
“We continue to be the strongest Navy on the face of the Earth because of all of you. We continue to deter that aggression out there, and in my mind, that’s what it’s all about. It’s certainly being able to be ready to go to war if that’s what the President and the nation need us to go do, but the reality of it is in my mind, it’s being so good that all of those adversaries out there wake up every single day and they say, ‘Today’s not the day. Today’s not the day we’re going to go up against them’ and every day that happens, we win. And every day that happens, they lose, and I think that’s what we have to keep in our minds.”
Ship visits like these provide Rowden an opportunity give thanks to the crews and discuss surface combatant community initiatives, as well as receive feedback directly from Sailors on the deckplates.
“I think we’re a very capable ship,” said Lewis, “so I think just going forward, keeping the big picture in mind is the biggest thing. Perhaps the junior officers and the junior enlisted will get a better idea of why they’re doing certain things on the ship.”