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Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Tracy Veltre Riker, a native of South Brunswick, New Jersey, was selected to the federal senior executive service and promoted to the position of director, Fleet Installations and Environmental Readiness at U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) Command onboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia, June 8, 2020.
Her department is responsible for the environmental planning and compliance for ships at sea, and acts as advocates for any installation or shore issues that may impact the fleet. As a Department of the Navy civilian since 2014, she worked as the environmental resources and planning section head, and was the principal advisor to the USFF environmental readiness division head; however, she was previously stationed at the command as a commissioned officer. “If you are determined to do something, you can do it,” said Riker. “You need people that support you and you need really good mentors. I was fortunate to have all those things.”
Active Duty Navy Career
She commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps in July 1992. During her 21-year naval career, Riker served as trial counsel, legal assistance attorney, and defense counsel at Naval Legal Service Offices in Washington D.C., Bremerton, Washington, and Norfolk, Virginia. Riker served in several operational law billets, which include being a staff judge advocate aboard destroyer tender USS Samuel Gompers (AD 37), Commander, Amphibious Group (CPG) 2 where she deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and U.S. 5th Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, during Operation Desert Strike. She also served on several legal staffs including Naval Submarine Base Bangor, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, and Submarine Forces Atlantic. She retired in 2013.
Among her many achievements at USFF, Riker also helped pioneer the U.S. Navy’s Stewards of the Sea: Defending Freedom, Protecting the Environment outreach program.
“I will say that the Stewards of the Sea program is probably one of my proudest accomplishments,” said Riker.
The program raises awareness of the Navy’s environmental policy and initiatives, and aims to increase support for its training and basing activities among public, scientific and regulatory communities. It is now a national program that has reached hundreds of thousands of visitors through the permanent, portable, and traveling exhibits.
The advice Riker would give to women in the Navy is that you don’t have to choose between having a family or having a career. “Don’t feel like you are going to have to pick a career over a family. You can have it all, and you should want it all,” said Riker.
Awards and Degrees
Riker has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), and is authorized to wear various other service medals and ribbons.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, a Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall Law School and a Masters in Environmental Law from the George Washington University Law School.