Commonwealth of Virginia…

Staff Columnist

I got to thinking a few days ago about Virginia, one of our original “States”.  That’s because I was preparing for the first of two planned trips to Virginia.  The first to Virginia Beach and Norfolk, the  second to follow in two weeks to Charlottesville.

Before we get to those travels; can each of you name the other of America’s four commonwealths?  No looking it up on your phone!  That’s right, they are Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Massachusetts.

I was fortunate to visit Virginia for a two day flying trip late in August.  That was for a visit to our Son, Patrick who is now  stationed at the sprawling Naval Base Norfolk, and lives in Virginia Beach – a city of 500,000.  We were there to attend his

Change of Command Ceremony, at which he was fortunate to take command of the Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk.

I learned from the staff there that this marked the forty-third Change of Command since the Center was established at Sewells Point in 1919.

A précis on the ceremony (from the NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk);

“The Change of command ceremony is a time-honored naval tradition which formally announces to the officers and other personnel of the command the assumption of the responsibilities and authority of command by a new commanding officer.”

“A change of command ceremony is significant in many ways.  First, it represents the orderly and very visible transfer of authority and responsibility from one officer to another.  Such a tradition reflects the professionalism of the service and is a very real example of how change is accomplished in our democratic society.  It is a ceremony unique to our service and, surprisingly, unique to our nation.  An informal office relief is the norm in other navies.

Secondly, The ceremony marks a high point in he career of two individuals.  One has successfully completed his or her tour of command and can look back on a job well done.  The relieving officer is about to begin the tour of duty for which all previous assignments have prepared him or her to assume.  He or she is looking forward to the challenge and satisfaction of command.

Third, and most importantly, the change of command ceremony emphasizes that the essence of command is leadership.  It signifies that the Navy, and the nation, believe the individual placed in command possesses both the technical skill and the personal attributes to successfully accomplish the command’s mission.  The commanding officer must have the knowledge of his or her profession and the ability to motivate, guide, and inspire his or her subordinates to meet and overcome any challenge which might be encountered.”

So, with all in dress whites, Captain Patrick J. O’Connor, Supply Corps, U.S. Navy relieved Captain Kurt Waymire, Supply Corps, U.S. Navy as Commanding Officer.  They cut the traditional Navy cake.

We were all proud, especially this officer who had sworn Patrick in as an Ensign at Villanova twenty-four years ago.

From this sight overlooking the largest naval base in the world we were all reminded of the words of another modern officer,

“I can imagine a no more rewarding career.  And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think he can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction; ‘I have served in the United States Navy’ “

— John F. Kennedy

Remarks at the U.S. Naval Academy, 1963

Tags: , ,

Longboat Key News

2 Responses for “Commonwealth of Virginia…”

  1. Peter O'Connor says:

    Change of Command at Norfolk was held 26 August 2015.
    Thanks for asking.

  2. carmen brown says:

    What date is the pinning ceremony in Norfolk, Va. this Sept 2015?

Leave a Reply