Last week I had the honor of being the guest of the Surface Navy Association during its annual National Symposium. It was one of the proudest moments of my life, and I will always cherish being recognized by the community I admire so much.
The SNA was created in 1985 to, “…promote greater coordination and communication among those in the military, business and academic communities who share a common interest in Naval Surface Warfare and to support the activities of Surface Naval Forces.” Its annual symposium and convention series began three years later, and the two icons with whom I shared the stage, CAPT Charles Smith and RADM William Walsh, were instrumental in developing the organization into what it is today.
The Surface Navy Association emphasizes pride and professionalism among Surface Warriors, while at the same time embracing the rich heritage of life at sea. After all, “those who go down to sail the sea in ships” were America’s first Sailors. Over the years, a palpable sense of espirit de corps was instilled among the members of the Surface Navy, and you see it in the spectacular performance of today’s fleet. And you can feel it when you walk around a room full of Surface Warriors. Today’s SWOs and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialists are the best in the world, and everyone knows it.
Last week, the SNA recognized many heroes from the Surface Navy, acknowledged stellar leadership achievements by some of our most impressive fleet Sailors, and highlighted literary and photojournalism accomplishments by some incredibly talented men and women. Each of the recipients was given a minute or two to say thanks, and each of them repeated the same mantra – they were just doing their job, and were honored to be recognized. The SNA brochure summed it up well: “These individuals are not the complete list of those worthy of such recognition. They are representatives of all of our heroes, past and present, who have served their Navy and their Nation on the surface ships of the Fleet.”
It was my chosen profession when I joined the Navy, and as long as these professionals patrol the world’s oceans, our nation will never bow to anyone.
The Surface Navy and the Surface Navy Association are our heroes of the week.