SAN DIEGO - The director of Navy Task Force Energy (TFE) addressed Sailors and families aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during the ship's Family Day Cruise Jan. 12.
Rear Adm. Philip Cullom praised the crew for their leadership and sacrifice in serving the nation. The ship will depart San Diego in February to join forward deployed naval forces in Sasebo, Japan, replacing USS Essex (LHD 2).
"I am honored to be a part of today's celebration. I have been tracking the successes of this ship and its crew from across this country and have been repeatedly impressed by your legacy of accomplishments. That's why I'm here," said Cullom.
"As the crew for the 'Revolutionary Gator,' you have been on the cutting edge for doing your mission using innovation and efficiency for a long time. It is no wonder you've been recognized by numerous energy award programs, year after year, for your judicious use of energy. You are leading the way for the rest of the Navy and a spartan use of resources is clearly in the 'DNA and blood' of this command."
Among the award programs recognizing Bonhomme Richard's past accomplishments are the SECNAV Energy and Water Management Awards, Incentivized Energy Conservation (I-ENCON) program, and the coveted Battle "E."
"It is no surprise that this ship and crew have chased and achieved excellence in all of these endeavors, including the ultimate measure of battle effectiveness and preparedness, the Battle 'E'. You 'get it' that energy frugality is about combat capability. Your Spartan warfighting ethos will continue to give this command its competitive edge, particularly as we send you, some of our premier energy warriors, to the forward deployed naval forces in the western Pacific.
"But we understand you can't do it alone. We need the commitment of every individual in the Navy. That is why MCPON (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SS/SW) Rick D. West) is establishing an Executive Steering Committee made up of key senior enlisted leadership from all warfighting communities to advise Navy's Task Force Energy. It is also why the secretary of the Navy announced at the 2011 Naval Energy Forum that "starting now, energy is going to be one of the elements of getting the Battle 'E'." These are landmark decisions that enhance warfighting capability by linking energy to mission effectiveness, while also listening to those closest to the challenge," Cullom said.
Cullom said West formed the Executive Steering Committee in early 2012. The goal is to bring game changing ideas and best management practices from the deck plate to inform TFE on how to foster a Navy-wide culture of Spartan energy warriors.
"As director of Task Force Energy, I want to bottle the 'Revolutionary Gator' culture and give it to the rest of our Sailors and Marines," said Cullom.
The ESC will be led by Force Master Chief (AW/SW) Christopher Engles, commander, Navy Installations Command and include five Force master chiefs from across the Navy.
"Force Engles is the right leader for this job. Like you, he understands that energy efficiency is about having that competitive edge as a warfighter," said Cullom."
"I am impressed by the dedication of the Bonhomme Richard crew and their families," said Cullom. Thanks to their innovation, leadership and commitment, we will continue to be the most formidable fighting force for good the world has ever known," said Cullom.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus laid out five aggressive energy goals in October 2009 to improve energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence, and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.