Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson speaks to U.S. Navy Sailors and attendees during an Honors and Heritage ceremony celebrating the Navy's 240th birthday at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Jeff Troutman)

PEARL HARBOR - Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson visited Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Oct. 13 on his first overseas tour as CNO, engaging with Sailors and leadership and celebrating the Navy's 240th birthday.

During his visit, Richardson discussed current naval affairs, policies and the Navy's ongoing commitment to the Pacific region.

"It's my personal responsibility to ensure that we provide the maximum possible return on the Nation's investment in the Navy," said Richardson. "Some of our Navy's most advanced capabilities are being debuted right here in the Pacific."

During Navy Birthday celebrations, Richardson noted Pearl Harbor's deep connection to Navy heritage and Sailors.

"It's particularly wonderful for me to be here to participate in the celebration of the 240th birthday of the U.S. Navy," said Richardson. "The power of the commitment our service members have when they take the oath to serve in the U.S. Navy - the power of the idea of what the United States of America represents - is symbolized here at Pearl Harbor, with the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri, to remind us of the freedoms we have and the sacrifices we've made."

Richardson attended an honors and heritage ceremony at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center during the celebration of the Navy's birthday.

The ceremony featured the traditional ringing of the USS Arizona bell, which was tolled eight times to signal the end of the watch, and the end of the current birthday year. After a reading of the Navy's traditional heritage message, the bell was rung a ninth and final time to signify the start of a new watch and the beginning of a new year in the Navy's history.

Richardson addressed the crowd and thanked the service members in attendance for their commitment to their country and for their continuing role in the Navy's heritage.

"When I think about the 240 years our Navy has been in existence, the thing that strikes me is that this marks 240 years of dedicated professionalism," said Richardson.

Richardson is currently on his first overseas trip as the CNO. The destinations will include Hawaii, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Bahrain, and Italy.

Richardson became the 31st CNO, Sept. 18, serving as the Navy's most senior officer, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a principal advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Defense and the President.