Friday, August 7, 2009

The Beginning of the Lasts

Today, I held my final Captain's Call onboard GONZALEZ. The first of my lasts...

"Since taking command of this magnificent ship, I have enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate many firsts – my first re-enlistment as Captain, my first Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pinning, my first Command Advancement, and more. But today is a I pinned on my final Surface Warfare Officer pins as Captain (congratulations Lieutenant Junior Grade Hess and Ensign Camp)...and today is my last Captain’s Call. It’s okay for those of you who want to cheer for that too. But not to worry, while we are underway next week, you can guarantee to hear me on the 1MC at least twice more, and I’m sure I’ll have a few things to say next week at Change of Command. I know I am a bit of a talkative guy.

I also know that I often do what Captain’s are not supposed to do. I often wear my emotions on my sleeve, for better or for worse. I don’t hesitate to speak my mind, and I look for the hero in every one of you, regardless of other circumstances. Like any other officer in command, I have made a lot of decisions over the last 18 months which have affected all of us to some degree. I want you to know that every decision I made, I made with the best of intentions for every one of us and for the ship. Some were not popular, and not all were liked by everyone, but that is often the case with the toughest decisions.

As this is the last time I will speak without an audience or the PCO onboard, mostly what I want to say is simply thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to be your Captain, and thank you for making my command tour more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined. Every command tour has good days and bad days, and as I told the Commodore last week, I wouldn’t trade a tough day in command for a good day not in command.

So, last or first, this Captain’s Call is going to be no different than any other. We’re going to talk our schedule, I’m going to tell you what I think about the challenges of that schedule, and we’re going to recognize a few folks for doing some good stuff."

And then I did just that. We re-read and formally presented the Class of 66 Award for BM2(SW) Deng who was augmenting USNS COMFORT's deployment and couldn't receive his award in person from the President of the USNA Class of 66 and then recognized our Search and Rescue Team who won the 2008 Surface SAR Crew Award. Following that our Chief's Mess presented our new Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Qualification board, and then we all signed our "66" photo for Mrs. Gonzalez (see the previous post).

7 days remaining in command...the beginning of the lasts. - CO

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