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SILVERDALE, Wash. - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley visited strategic-deterrent units in the Pacific Northwest, March 3.
Upon arriving to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Milley met with a select group of enlisted Sailors for a luncheon and also surprised a Sailor from the gold crew of USS Michigan (SSGN 727) by serving as her reenlisting officer.
“Today was unexpected and very cool,” said Fire Control Technician 2nd Class Karie Davis, from Minneapolis, Minnesota. “The perspective of the most junior people is what sets morale, so it’s nice the Chairman is interested in what junior Sailors have to say. He didn’t sit down with chiefs and officers today; he sat down with first and second class petty officers. You can really tell he cares.”
After the reenlistment ceremony, Milley toured Trident Training Facility Bangor, which provides off-crew and team training for submarine crews and submarine support personnel, followed by Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific, which is responsible for the assembly, delivery and maintenance of Trident missile systems.
“Among all of our national security assets, the strategic deterrent force is the backbone on which the enduring defense of our nation relies,” said Milley. “It is inspiring to me personally to have met with the submarine forces I did today who are at the leading edge of our national defense.”
Milley also toured the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Alabama (SSBN 731).
“It was a brilliant experience for the crew to be able to demonstrate to the Chairman their pride and enthusiasm with respect to how we master our craft of strategic deterrence,” said Alabama (Blue) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brian Murphy. “Our ability to put these ships to sea despite their age; to maintain a credible, survivable, reliable strategic deterrent is paramount, and the fact that he was able to take time out of his busy schedule to come down and give thanks to individual crew members really means a lot. And it’s another visible reminder of how important this leg of the strategic deterrent triad actually is.”