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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)
ADM Daryl Caudle
USS George H.W. Bush
ADM Daryl Caudle
07 December 2021
Admiral Richard, General VanHerck, distinguished guests, fellow Flag and General Officers – thank you for being here today on the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
With me here are three extraordinary leaders with whom I have had the distinct pleasure of serving with on numerous occasions. They are great friends, mentors, and bosses.
I want to thank you, C-N-O, for his trust and confidence in me to serve as your Fleet Forces Commander.
Admiral Richard, General VanHerck – I greatly look forward to working for you as your Navy component commander. What an amazing privilege, incredible honor, and special opportunity to do that. Also, I want to thank the Officers and Crew of the BUSH for making this such a memorable day – Donna and I couldn’t ask for a better venue.
I’d like to thank my Parents – Mom, who passed away a few years ago and I know is watching down today and always present with us; and my dad for coming back to Norfolk for my promotion and change of command. He will be 91 next week.
Thank my sister Melody and her husband Gary for coming and for bringing dad. Thank my brother Donald and his wife Carol who are not here but will watch online later.
Thank our daughters – Gillian (husband Luke – new Marine Corps officer and soon to be granddaughter Ember), Morgan (husband Jordan – onboard USS RAMAGE and grandson Gray), Noel (and fiancé Billy), and Haley (with boyfriend Grant).
Thank you to some special guests:
My cousin Steve Culler and his wife Judy from Winston-Salem – I’m sorry about how the Wake Forest – Pitt game turned out.
Donna’s cousin Debbie Reardon and friend Angie from Roanoke, Virginia
My high school buddy and college roommate at NC State – Tim Muse and his wife Sheri from Winston-Salem. I’m so honored to have you here today.
And to my wife Donna: Our journey together has been so special to me. Because of you, I am standing here today. You support me, empower me, and make me a better leader, husband, and father. I love you sweetheart.
I know for a fact Donna looks forward to continuing to serve Fleet Families – improving quality of life, readiness, and resiliency through her dedication to serve and support.
I want to thank Chris and Christine personally for welcoming Donna and me to U-S Fleet Forces. We have a long history together that began in the Pacific, then moved to Naples, Italy, where we combatted ISIS and Russian out-of-area deployers in 6th Fleet, to most recently, in which I served as his Submarine Force Commander here in Norfolk.
Chris has promoted me to 2-Star, 3-Star, and today, to 4-Star Admiral. Unless they bring back the rank of Fleet Admiral, I think we may have topped out. But who knows?
Chris and his incredible wife Christine are a power couple. Everyone in this ship and listening online knows this. They are both true servant leaders within the Navy and the greater community. Their selfless efforts have made a profound impact to the Hampton Roads area, the Navy, and the Joint Force.
Admiral Grady has developed an incredibly well trained and disciplined military and civilian staff. His amazing accomplishments over the past three years – and for many of you much longer - have significantly increased the capability and capacity of this command to lead our Fleet during peacetime operations and at war.
Admiral Grady is the architect, designer, and creator of the concept of the “Foundry” as that term applies to the readiness, enablers, capabilities, and generation of our Fleet Forces.
I am committed to building on his Foundry concept; however, with a renewed bias for action.
Famous American author Napoleon Hill once wrote, “Action is the real sign of intelligence.” This idea will underpin my command philosophy.
Our direction from the Secretary of Navy and the CNO is clear – we are in a maritime era with readiness at a premium. We must focus our efforts on increasing the lethality and capability of not only our Navy, but what we bring to the Joint Force.
We will aggressively compete, deter, defend, and posture our Fleet to end decisively all conflicts on terms favorable to the U-S.
My 3-Star Commanders – Vice Admirals Kilby, Dwyer, and Houston are, and will, be the fighting and maneuver arms of the Atlantic Fleet design.
My three primary lines of effort will be:
First: Deter strategic attacks against the homeland to ensure continuity of government and operations.
Second: Consistently, predictably, and affordably generate and flow ready forces to the point of need.
And finally: Set the conditions for, and enable our Fleet, to maneuver with purpose and effect in and through all domains from the seabed to space.
From the Foundry – the action verb will be centered on how we “forge” our assets.
We will forge with competency, accountability, empowerment, and teamwork. Specifically, we will forge: tough, resilient, and skilled warriors. Ready, trained, and capable, ships and air forces. Dependable, reliable, and assured infrastructure - from piers to hangers, and from barracks to base services.
And we will forge our shipyards and maintenance activities to deliver our combat ships on-time, on-pace, and on-budget with first time quality, craftsmanship, and pride.
From the Fleet – the action verb will be targeted on how we “fight.”
We will hone our fighting skills through rigorous assessment, creative innovation, synergistic integration, and relentless execution.
Make no mistake about it – we will deliver and fight the most lethal, feared, and respected naval force in the world.
To do so, we will practice and demonstrate our integrated and synchronized capabilities through the continuum of training and development events - from unit level certification, to fleet battle problems, to large scale exercises – all designed to illustrate unquestionably that our Navy can, and will, fight at the global level as three fleets working harmoniously together.
We will “Own the Atlantic” – meaning three things:
First, the homeland will be defended.
Second, we will operate our forces without seams or artificial boundaries through command-and-control structures that are nimble, agile, responsive, and mission based.
Finally, our adversaries will think more than just “not today” – with respect to attacking the U-S – but, it was the absolute “wrong day” to confront our Navy.
Admiral Grady – I want to thank you for developing the best staff in the Navy. The way you have built the combined Active Duty, Reserve Component, and Civilian team to work together effectively and efficiently to support the Commander’s decision cycle is eye-watering.
Donna and I will work tirelessly to continue the tradition of success and the culture of excellence that Christine and you have instilled and developed by harnessing and leveraging the incredible knowledge, talents, and abilities of our seasoned staff, the leaders in this room, the Sailors on our waterfront, and the spouses and families who support our Navy – as they are the foundation of our values and purpose.
The late General Colin Powell once said, “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
Admiral Richard, and General VanHerck – be confident that the Fleet Forces team and I are resolved to diligently solve your toughest problems while standing ready to deter, defend, and defeat any adversary.
To my Commanders here today:
Keep up the great work and the momentum.
Prepare your ships, planes, and crews.
Prepare yourselves – be ready, be bold, be decisive
To the Sailors in my area of responsibility:
You’re never a victim. Approach problems from a solution-centric position of self-sufficiency, a culture of critical self-assessment and of problem resolution, and a warrior ethos built on grit, tenacity, and absolute lethality.
Be biased for action. Remember our “special sauce” compared to the other Services is our ability to maneuver in contested environments - from the drydocks in our shipyards, to the littorals of our peer adversaries – we will navigate our own success.
I look forward to getting out to the Fleet to meet as many of you as possible to see firsthand the challenges you face each day.
Admiral Grady, my sincere thanks and gratitude for your leadership and mentorship – you’re a tremendous role model. I’m humbled to step into this role.
Your leadership and vision have set me up to solve our nation’s most challenging defense problems and shape the future force in this critical era of strategic competition.
Donna and I wish Christine and you the very best.
Thank you all – and may God bless our Navy and our Nation.
From the Foundry to Fleet, we are and always will be Forged to Fight!
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