Navy's top admiral visits Naval Station Norfolk, stressing a focus on safety

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Posted at 10:35 AM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 21:42:45-05

NORFOLK, Va. – The Chief of Naval Operations visited Hampton Roads on Friday. The CNO is the senior military officer of the Department of the Navy.

Admiral Mike Gilday spoke at a Naval Safety Command stand-up ceremony and visited with sailors on the USS Mason and USS Gettysburg.

A media briefing took place aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Mason which is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

The CNO spoke about efforts, but he also opened up the floor to other topics including readiness and the COVID pandemic.

Gilday said about 98% of sailors are now vaccinated and about 2% have waivers.

“Based on the fact that those numbers are relatively small, we have not seen any kind of any readiness impact to speak of that would cause me any concern,” stated Admiral Gilday who added, “I welcome the vaccine. I think it makes us a more ready force.”

The CNO also talked about various accidents on Naval ships and military bases over the past few years and how their investigations have taught them lessons.

“There’s too much of a variance across the Navy in terms of those commands that do exceptionally well and those commands that struggle and make big mistakes, whether it be a collision, whether it be a fire, whether it be a fuel spill,” Gilday said. “And so, I want to put us on a path that we’re better at self-assessing and self-correcting.”

In regard to the China threat, the CNO said there are no plans to re-position the fleet homeported in Hampton Roads.

“I don’t just look west. I’m also looking east, and so, I’m just as concerned about readiness and modernization on the east as I am on the west coast," Gilday said. "We’re going to keep what we got.”

He added they need financial support.

“Our message to Congress and servicemembers has been very consistent, that we all benefit from predictable, stable funding and we really need it right now," he said.