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Chief of Staff
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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (AIRLANT)
Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT)
Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic (SUBLANT)
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)
Navy Munitions Command Atlantic (NMCLANT)
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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)
Adm. Daryl Caudle
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command
26 May 2023
Remarks as delivered.
Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, families and friends.
First, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all of you for being here and sharing the experience of this very special event.
Synonymous to how service members will always run to the scene of a casualty, patrons of New York City always show up to support their military. You truly honor the Armed Forces by being here.
Let me tell you, there is nowhere else I would rather be on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, than as the Presiding Officer for our country’s single greatest resource in the most powerful city on earth, to reaffirm our oath to the United States and its Constitution.
For those unfamiliar with this ceremony, today you will witness experienced Sailors, both supervisors and leaders, renew their commitment to service and accept increased responsibility as they move forward in their careers.
Before I begin, I want to thank the family members and friends of those being promoted or re-enlisting today. I know it means so much to have your support.
Thank you. Sincerely, I want to thank you for being here to support your uniformed service member. As I can say without any hesitation, in my 37 years of service, I would not be here without the love and support of my family, my parents, my friends, and my wonderful wife Donna.
You are the strong foundation that lifts us up to be able to fulfill our mission with pride and confidence.
Everyone gathered here must understand that families must also be ready. You play a very important role as vital, no –
– members of the team.
We won’t be able to stand ready to face challenges without a strong foundation at home. Families must be self-reliant, supportive of each other, and resilient.
Your support at home enables our service members to go to sea and deploy across the world to protect the people of this great nation – a deed that New Yorkers and Americans everywhere truly cherish.
I can tell you with utmost certainty - these service members would not be where they are today without your help, reassurance, encouragement, and support from family, friends, and loved ones.
It is your strength, love, and determination that give us the opportunity to continue our service to this great nation – to renew our oaths and commitments.
Your resilience is more than enough to endure the long, difficult, and sometimes dangerous days at sea or ashore. And it is you that we return to when our time in uniform comes to a close, passing the watch onto the next generation of warfighters.
We recognize you serve this nation every bit as much, if not more, than the ones in uniform – and we understand the countless sacrifices you make on our behalf – and so, as senior leaders in our armed forces, thank you, thank you for helping us fulfill our vital mission.
Donna and I are so proud to be able to share this moment with you.
How about a round of applause for our families and friends…
Now, for those joining us here today who may not know this group personally, let me tell you a little bit about the men and women who stand before you.
These folks hail from across the country, each one with their own distinctive set of experiences and backgrounds. Despite the many differences making each one a truly unique American, they share some key things in common:
They volunteered to a life of service.
They had choices but chose a life of sacrifice.
They walk a long, winding road that less than one percent of our fellow Americans will ever know.
They chose to don the cloth of a nation, to face adversaries head-on who are committed to rewriting the international, rules-based order.
They are the backbone of the Fleet – and because of them, we have indisputably the greatest maritime force the world has ever known –
hands down, no exception.
You and those like you across the military are our ultimate competitive advantage against the malevolent forces we see today - adversaries who are intent on disrupting the peace and prosperity that our forbearers fought so hard to secure.
Your legacy is defined by an esteemed list of Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen whose
Honor, Tradition, and Excellence
upheld the highest standards on which our nation succeeds, and forged those unbreakable bonds of partnership, peace, and prosperity across the world in defense of the American people, our partners and our allies.
Being here in New York City, I would like share the remarkable story of one your own, a naval Officer whose persistent acts of extraordinary valor brought honor to his hometown, but also to his Navy and his country.
VADM John Duncan Bulkeley was born in New York City in 1911, and grew up across the Hudson in New Jersey on a farm in Hackettstown. In a town with a population of about 2,500, he had to rely on his instincts and resiliency to be resourceful. It worked, he went on to commission into the Navy after graduating from the Naval Academy in 1931.
A career surface warfare officer, Bulkeley found himself in the Philippines in command of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three in August 1941, just four months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The citation for his Medal of Honor reads:
“From 7 December 1941 to 10 April 1942, he led his squadron damaging or destroying a notable number of Japanese enemy planes, surface combatant and merchant ships, and in dispersing landing parties and land-based enemy forces during the four months and eight days of operation without benefit of repairs, overhaul, or maintenance facilities for his squadron, is believed to be without precedent in this type of warfare.
His dynamic forcefulness and daring in offensive action, his brilliantly planned and skillfully executed attacks, supplemented by a unique resourcefulness and ingenuity, characterize him as an outstanding leader of men and a gallant and intrepid seaman.”
You know what’s funny, he did all that in his first 12 of 55 years in the service to his country. He continued to command Patrol Torpedo Boat Squadrons across the Pacific and eventually supporting the Normandy D-Day invasion in June 1944.
He continued his service serving as Destroyer Division One Hundred Thirty-Two during the Korean War and was pulled out of retirement to be the President of the Board of Inspection and Survey due to his high standards and history of resourcefulness.
He retired in 1988 as a Vice Admiral and was buried in Arlington National cemetery in April 1996.
You follow in the wake of Sailors like John Duncan Bulkeley, and countless others who contributed to our motto of serving with honor, courage, and commitment. We would all do well to measure up to the high standards they set.
His legacy lives on in the Guided Missile Destroyer 84, U-S-S Bulkeley, currently serving at the ‘tip of the spear’ in the Forward Deployed Naval Forces in Rota, Spain. This fine warship was commissioned just up the Hudson at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum only three months after 9/11.
9/11 MEMORIAL SITE
In just a few moments, whether you’re re-enlisting or promoting, you will renew your oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States – an oath that all who wear our nation’s cloth pledge.
Personally, I can’t think of a more significant or symbolic place than right here – lower Manhattan, at the 9/11 Memorial – to re-commit yourselves to service to our great country.
You all know the story of what happened here almost 22 years ago. In fact, many of you either joined or chose to continue serving because of the tragedy that occurred here.
It was an attack without precedent, perpetrated by violent extremists who thought they could intimidate us enough to shake our resolve and encourage our retreat from the world stage.
This memorial exists so we never forget what happened here and the nearly 3,000 people who perished.
Your decision to stand before us on these hallowed grounds and once again re-affirm your commitment to your nation stands in the face of what the perpetrators of that attack were trying to achieve.
You are sending a clear message that America cannot be shaken, we will not be bullied – and that not just today, but any day, is the
absolute wrong day
to test our resolve.
PURPOSE OF THE OATH
Now, regarding the oath…
Throughout our lives we take a few oaths – to our spouse, perhaps to our God… and, for those who choose to serve in uniform, to our Constitution.
These oaths are the bedrock of what we stand for as individuals, as families, as citizens, and for this one, as warfighters.
I want to bring your attention to the fact that this oath is different than the others – it’s different because, in this oath, you give a public statement of commitment not to a person, a country, a flag, or a political party… but to an idea. An idea codified in the Constitution of the United States of America.
Our Constitution is where the
of America is brought to life, and today you are re-committing yourselves to upholding all of the ideals that America stands for.
It ensures we remain true to the Constitution’s fundamental purposes and guiding principles ratified by “
we, the people
So, when you pledge to “
bear true faith and allegiance
” to the Constitution, you swear to defend the very ideas and beliefs of our nation. This is tremendously powerful.
I would submit that this is a prime factor for why we are the greatest military the world has ever known.
President Kennedy once said,
“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Actions, ladies and gentlemen, your actions, like VADM Bulkeley, are the true measure of our worth. I know you will continue to make us proud.
And so, in closing, I want to thank you for your willingness to recommit to your oath to protect and defend our liberty. Thank you.
fleet week new york
Adm. Daryl Caudle
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