Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Steven Giordano visited Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) Sept. 21 to thank staff members at Navy Region Southeast and station personnel for their efforts during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The CNO met with the team members of Navy Region Southeast's Regional Dispatch Center and Regional Operations Center where he expressed his gratitude and praised the staff for their hard work and dedication to the mission during the two recent hurricanes.
"Thank you for everything you did and do every day," said Richardson.
"Thank you for responding so well to this huge storm - set of storms. I think the Navy has done a great job responding and we continue to learn lessons on how to better the response during these emergency operations."
The visit included a meeting with Commander, Navy Region Southeast Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar and a round table with Navy Region Southeast commanding officers and senior officers about hurricane emergency response, damage to installations, as well as recovery and cleanup efforts throughout the Southeast Region.
During an all-hands call at Patrol Squadron (VP) 30, the admiral thanked VP aircrews for their assistance in providing surveillance of Texas and south Florida following Hurricane Harvey and Irma and their current missions over the Caribbean after Hurricane Maria recently devastated many of the islands.
He also mentioned the superb efforts of Helicopter Maritime Strike squadron aircrew for search and rescue operations and providing emergency supplies to those in need.
"These are realtime, very tough missions but you are hammering it," said Richardson.
"We have the best warfighters - you are humanitarians and ambassadors. Thank you for all you are doing out there."
The admiral continued by acknowledging all those who assisted in quickly getting NAS Jax reopened after Hurricane Irma hit the area Sept. 10-11.
Sailors asked the CNO a variety of questions relating to their careers, quality of life issues and those affecting the fleet. Some topics included uniform requirements, 24-hour childcare, extended paternity leave, mission readiness, training and the status of the budget.
"I felt that the CNO was very approachable and that by allowing us to ask questions and listening to us really boosted morale," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Tyler Simonson of the NAS Jax Executive Department.
Richardson also personally thanked NAS Jax Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society Director Monika Woods and her team for providing funds for families in the local area who evacuated during Hurricane Irma and displaced families from NAS Key West. The staff has assisted 458 families, providing more than $240,000 in assistance.
The CNO and MCPON continued on to NAS Key West to meet Sailors, civilians and emergency response personnel to thank them for their support following Hurricane Irma.