By Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Eric Stowe, Commander Destroyer Squadron Three One, Hawaii
Senior leadership assigned to Commander Destroyer Squadron Three One (CDS-31), Pearl Harbor returned to Navy Boot Camp at Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes, Ill., Dec 15.
Captain Wallace Lovely, Commander of CDS-31 and his Senior Enlisted Advisor, Senior Chief Eric Stowe, made the trip to attend the Division 073 Commissioning Ceremony. They offered guidance and mentorship to more than 80 recruits assigned to the division.
"I look forward to a long-lasting commitment in the development of our future Sailors,” said Capt. Lovely. “Being a part of this process and being able to address these new Recruits, now Sailors, has been one the highlights of my tour as Commodore. My vision is for the ships of DESRON 31 to continue sponsoring RTC Divisions in the future; from Boot Camp to the deck plates and beyond. I would like to involve all of the squadron's ships to support command leadership visits for RTC sponsored divisions in the future,” Lovely continued.
CDS-31 began sponsorship of Division 073 during the first week of the recruits’ arrival at RTC. During the eight weeks of training the division earned several pennants for completing task; included were two compartment readiness pennants, two marching pennants, two physical fitness pennants, and three academics pennants. The highlight of their success was earning the Hall of Fame Flag (Gold Pennant) scoring 4.83 on a 5.0 scale. This accomplishment is awarded to the division that finished with the highest scores within the Training Group. Division 073 graduated on 25 January 2012 with honors.
The Division LCPO, Chief Aviations Boatswains Mate (Launching and Recovery) Eric Durdle commented, “I feel the Commissioning ceremony meant so much for them knowing they had people in the fleet counting on them. Also the sponsorship flag that DESRON 31 presented, gave them a sense of pride to uphold when marching around base. I think they competed harder to try and impress DESRON with superior performance as a thank you for their sponsorship. Sponsor Divisions truly excel because they have something to relate to. The impact Commodore Lovely and Senior Chief Stowe made at the commissioning ceremony had a tremendous impact on their future.”
Although staff leadership was unable to attend the graduation, Commodore Lovely sent a personal letter. In his letter, he stated, “I told you to WIN. You took on that challenge and excelled. It’s not about how many awards that are bestowed upon you, it’s about each one of you knowing that you’ve given all that you have to the TEAM, that you were “All In”. The United States endures because the strength of its people- YOU! Upon graduation, your Honor, Courage, and Commitment will be woven into the fabric that was born over 230 years ago. With each new Sailor, that fabric gets stronger and more distinct. I have served in this great Navy for nearly 30 years. Six of those were as an enlisted Sailor. To this day, the one event I remember above all others was my boot camp graduation. It was the moment that I became something greater than I could have possibly imagined up to that point. Even after all these years, I am still humbled by the opportunity to serve my country in a capacity that is still greater than I am able to articulate.”
CDS-31 Senior Enlisted Advisor, Senior Chief Stowe, commented,
"Visiting RTC Great Lakes to commission the division was a rewarding experience for me. A special moment that stood out for me was listening to the Division Officer in Charge present his Commissioning speech. He was extremely motivating to the division and me as well. While Commodore Lovely was addressing the Division, I noticed one of the recruits shedding tears. I walked to him and asked if he was OK and his response was, "I'm just proud." Right then, I knew what we were doing by sponsoring them meant something special. I would love to do this again and recommend other commands to as well.”
CDS-31 is the Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) for seven guided-missile destroyers (DDG) and one guided-missile frigate (FFG) and approximately 2000 personnel based in Pearl Harbor. Additionally, they assume the Officer in Tactical (OTC) for Koa Kai, and Pacific Partnership.