USFFC Deputy Commander Dives into Retirement
01 July 2021
Vice Adm. Dave Kriete, deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC), retired after 37 years of distinguished service, July 1.
Kriete was joined by family, friends and colleagues from USFFC and the submarine community in front of USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) at pier 12 on board Naval Station Norfolk.
USFFC Commander Adm. Christopher W. Grady served as the guest speaker, and praised Kriete for performing superbly in command at every level and taking his role as a mentor very seriously.
“Certainly, as we can all see, the Navy, the Department of Defense, the Nation, and indeed the world in many respects are where we are today because of his unparalleled knowledge and ardent pursuit of the mission,” said Grady. “You always kept the center of the universe—our Sailors, both active and reserve, civilian shipmates, and our families—at the forefront of your efforts. You never wavered from your commitment to providing them everything they need to remain resolute, ready and lethal on arrival.”
In addition to being USFFC’s deputy commander, Kriete also served as director Strategic Capabilities Policy, National Security Council, where he was responsible for presidential policy on all nuclear weapons related issues.
“I’ve never been in a bad command,” said Kriete. “The missions were sometimes similar, sometimes the missions were different. But every single one of them had awesome people that I worked with and we had tremendous degrees of teamwork. Just kind of eye-watering to think back about how a group of people would pull together to get whatever the mission was done.”
Kriete, a 1982 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, who also holds a master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University, stressed the importance of going to work every day with the right mindset.
“I’d say my advice is pretty simple. Come to work and just try to do your best every day at whatever it is that you’re asked to do, no matter where you are in the pecking order,” said Kriete. “The second thing is to find a way to contribute positively to your organization, your command, your work center, your division every day. Find something to contribute that makes the organization better—the team better. The third thing is find some way to improve yourself every day as well—reading, learning, talking, and listening. I think those are very simple keys to success.”
Kriete served in many capacities above and below the water line. His flag assignments include deputy commander, United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska; commander, Submarine Group 9 in Silverdale, Washington; deputy director, plans and policy, U.S. Strategic Command; and deputy director, force employment at USFFC. His operational assignments include command of Submarine Squadron 6 and USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740), aboard USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), USS Flying Fish (SSN 673) and USS Finback (SSN 670).
Kriete said amongst all of these different commands, one of his most memorable experiences was serving in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the weeks after.
“In the days and weeks after September 11, what I got to see firsthand was the way the workforce, military and civilian combined, was not going to let the fact that a piece of the building was still burning get in the way of doing their job to help support defending the country,” said Kriete.
In fact, Kriete said it would be the people that he will miss the most about serving in the U.S. Navy.
“Certainly we have great people in all parts of the Navy, at all ranks in all communities, at all levels,” said Kriete. “But it’s the way the people in the Navy, almost reflexively, will just work together to get whatever needs to be done, done, and to do it really well. That level of teamwork, mission focus, with strong leadership, or even often without any leadership, we just kind of do that naturally.”
When asked about his plan after retirement, Kriete said that he and his wife Kathleen were going to spend time decompressing a little, but mainly focus on what they would like to do next.
“I do want to find some way to keep serving,” said Kriete. “Not sure what that is, but that will be part of my thought process. For me, serving in the Navy has been an honor of a lifetime.”