The ”Old Salt” designation, honoring the Surface Warfare Officer serving on active duty with the earliest Officer of the Deck, Fleet, Qualification, has passed from Vice Adm. Rod Rempt to Adm. Mike Mullen at a May 21st ceremony at Annapolis, Md.
“We rely on those who have gone before us to pass down our lore, customs and tradition,” said Vice Adm. Kevin Green, U.S. Navy (Retired), president of the Surface Navy Association. “Some of us have been around a long time, and in the Navy, we have an expression for an experienced and knowledgeable mariner. We call them ‘Old Salts.’”
“The ‘Old Salt’ award originated in 1988, when the Surface Navy Association wanted to honor the Surface Warfare Officer possessing the coveted qualification, and more importantly, the ideals of the Surface Warfare Community, the core values of our Navy, and the tradition of the Surface Warrior,” Green said.
The honor is accompanied by a bronze statue depicting a World War II Naval officer on the pitching deck of his ship. It is cast from metal salvaged from historic U.S. Naval ships, most notably the battleship USS Maine. Inscribed on the trophy’s base are the words of Admiral Arleigh Burke, “Keeper of the Seas” and “Dedicated to Service.” The custodian of the "Old Salt" upon his or her retirement passes the responsibility to instill those values and ideals in the Surface Warfare community to the next “Old Salt." A miniature replica of the statue is presented to each “Old Salt” as he retires.
Vice Admiral Rodney Rempt, who will retire in June as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, has been the “Old Salt” since 2001, longer than any previous "Old Salt." Admiral Rempt qualified as OOD while transiting from Sydney to Wellington aboard USS Coontz (DLG 9) in 1967. Admiral Mike Mullen earned his OOD letter in 1970 while serving as the ASW Officer on the USS Collette (DD-730).