WATERS OFF THE COAST OF JAPAN – (Oct. 6, 2016) Sailors assigned to the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) participated in a farewell ceremony for departing Command Master Chief (CMC) Thaddeus T. Wright, Oct. 6.
It was a routine departure for most members of Shiloh’s crew when the ship departed Yokosuka, Japan for patrol, but for one Sailor it was his last aboard the Navy cruiser and perhaps his last underway ever.
Shortly after leaving port, Wright said, “This ship was home. I am so fond of the AEGIS system, working in Seventh Fleet, and our BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) mission. What we do is so critical to our national defense. It was a privilege to be part of such an elite team.”
At the farewell ceremony, Lt. j.g. Ryan C. Dallas spoke fondly of seeing Wright walking down the pier at three a.m. on his way into work to help a Sailor call family stateside.
When recalling his experience on a forward-deployed ship, Wright told the Wardroom and Chief’s Mess, “Shiloh is the tip of the spear in Seventh Fleet. Being forward-deployed is very tough. At times, it was overwhelming for me, but the rewards have been just as great. I will miss this.”
The evening of his departure Wright boarded an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the “Warlords” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51. He wasn’t expecting it, but just before takeoff all hands lined up on the portside rails. The crew rendered one final salute to their Command Master Chief while he was in the air.
Wright had one special sea story to share before he left Shiloh for the last time. He said, “The Captain lowered the Ensign with me this evening. We folded it together, and he gave it to me as a parting gift. This Ensign was flown at sea during some of the most critically operational missions in Seventh Fleet. This is an example of the special relationship a Commanding Officer has with his Command Master Chief. I could not have gone out any better.”
Many members of the crew consider Wright as the embodiment of Shiloh, and his departure felt as though a part of the ship’s spirit had gone. He could always be counted on to put Sailors at the top of his priorities. It was not uncommon to see them lined up outside of his office with issues or sometimes for much needed mentorship. He was known for surviving on a minimal amount of sleep because he dedicated and sacrificed so much for the crew.
Shiloh is on patrol off the coast of Japan in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.