SUFFOLK, Va. – Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) Sailors, Department of the Navy (DoN) civilians, Joint Staff, Naval Network Warfare Command (NNWC), U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet South (FCC) and Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC) celebrated the Navy’s 243rd birthday together in the Information Warfare Hall of Heroes Auditorium, Suffolk, Virginia, Oct. 9.
The theme for the Navy's 243rd birthday is “Forged by the Sea.” The celebration served as an opportunity to honor the proud history of the United States Navy that traces its origins to the Continental Navy and established Oct. 13, 1775 when the Continental Congress authorized the procurement, fitting out, manning and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America.
More than 200 Sailors, DON civilians and guests which included the Mayor of Suffolk, The Honorable Linda Johnson; Monica Shephard, executive director, Joint Staff J7; Rear Adm. Andrew Loiselle, deputy director, Future Joint Force Development, Joint Staff J7; Director of Education at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum Laura Orr and Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Phillip Brashear, son of the first African-American Navy master diver Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Carl Brashear, were in attendance.
Vice Adm. Brian Brown, commander, NAVIFOR, delivered the ceremony’s opening remarks and introduced the guest speakers.
“Today, as we kick-off the Suffolk compound’s celebration of the Navy’s 243rd birthday, I’d like to take a few minutes to reflect on this year’s theme “Forged by the Sea,” said Brown. “Our Navy team has been forged, tempered, and toughened over 243 years of maritime service to our nation, upholding our solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. We are a maritime nation, and without question, we are squarely in a maritime era of world commerce, politics, and renewed great powers competition.”
In 1972, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, designated October 13 as the Navy’s official birthday, and directed that it be commemorated so as to “enhance [the] appreciation of our Navy heritage” and reinforce “pride and professionalism in the Naval Service.”
Orr, one of the guest speakers for the event, spoke about past Navy leaders, their ability to lead and how it shaped today’s Navy. “Only through remembrance can we attain the pride necessary to give our own modern fleet values and meaning.”
The other guest speaker, Brashear, spoke about growing up around the Navy through his father’s service and his early years in the Naval reserves. “Think of all the things my father had to go through in the Navy during his time. Several things he had to deal with was racism at the time he joined, he was poor, lacked education joining the Navy and had a disability later in his career. Though my father had to go through those things, he loved the Navy and today the Navy is in the forefront of equality, giving second chances and educating Sailors,” said Brashear.
Johnson expressed valuing our military presence here in the city and her gratefulness for all the sacrifices the military does. “I do what I can to come out here every year and support. I am humbled to be invited and celebrate this special day today. I enjoy the partnership we have with the military here in Suffolk,” said Johnson.
NAVIFOR' s mission is to support operational commanders ashore and afloat by providing combat-ready Information Warfare forces, which are forward deployable, fully trained, properly manned and capably equipped.
For more information about NAVIFOR, visit the command's website at http://www.public.navy.mil/fltfor/navifor/Pages/Default2.aspx, Navy News webpage at http://www.navy.mil/local/navifor or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/USNavyInformationDominanceForces.