Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russ Smith visited Hampton Roads, Virginia to take part in a NATO Symposium, meet with Sailors in the region, and visit two of the area’s major shipyards, Apr. 14.
WASHINGTON (NNS) – U.S. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith visited Hampton Roads, Virginia, April 14, to take part in a NATO Symposium, meet with Sailors in the region, and visit two of the area’s major shipyards.
As part of the Combined Joint Operations from the Sea (CJOS) Center of Excellence (COE) Future Maritime Warfare Symposium, CNO gave remarks to representatives from 24 of the Alliance’s maritime nations.
“Without a doubt, what brought us here today is our ironclad unity,” said Gilday. “It’s our partnerships, our friendships, and our mutual desire to forge a more peaceful and prosperous world. Together we are ensuring presence where it matters, when it matters.”
Participants discussed topics that ranged from the requirements to ensure resupply across the Atlantic during a conflict, to the ways in which artificial intelligence and machine learning can assist command and control in the maritime domain.
While in Hampton Roads, CNO and MCPON also met with Sailors and leadership at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two Strike facility and visited Norfolk Naval Shipyard where they saw several ships and had lunch with Sailors aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).
“CNO and I always enjoy the opportunity to meet and speak with Sailors,” said Smith. “Particularly, focusing this visit on our shipmates working hard in the shipyards to complete repairs and necessary maintenance to get their ship back out to sea to do what we do best, provide critical maritime security from the sea.”
The trip also included a stop at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HHI) Newport News Shipbuilding where they visited the submarine construction complex to see modules and assemblies from the 12 Virginia-class submarines currently under construction. They also saw the facilities where the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is under construction and USS George Washington (CVN 73) is undergoing final outfitting and test activities in its refueling and complex overhaul.
“It was important for me to come here and see the work being done first-hand,” said Gilday. “No doubt, Virginia class submarines and our nuclear powered aircraft carriers will be important parts of our future naval force. I’m excited to see these ships come to life over the months and years to come, and I don’t want anyone to forget the fact that our Sailors are depending on the quality of work done here and need to leave ready for the fight.”
The Hampton Roads area has the largest concentration of fleet headquarters administrative and communication facilities outside of Washington, D.C. It is home to more than 82,000 personnel and several major tenant commands: U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Joint Staff Hampton Roads, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command, Naval Submarine Forces, Atlantic, and Naval Reserve Forces Command.