With 38 years of service, Adm. Gary Roughead steps down from the position of Chief of Naval Operations during the change of command ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy, Sept. 23.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was the keynote speaker for the ceremony and highlighted Adm. Roughead's accomplishments during his naval career while thanking him for his leadership.
"I don't think anyone can ever fully express how much we're going to miss Gary Roughead's counsel and absolutely unwavering commitment to the Navy [and] the United States," said Mabus. "Admiral Roughead has had the genius and the skill to turn so many of the challenges he's faced into opportunities."
Mabus reviewed Roughead's career milestones including being one of only two admirals in the United States Navy to command both the Pacific and Atlantic fleets.
"As Chief of Naval Operations, his leadership has helped to reshape the Navy into the 21st Century operationally and strategically," said Mabus. "Gary Roughead's leadership skills follow great officers and a willingness to innovate while respecting the deep traditions of the sea service."
Mabus spoke about Roughead's commitment to his Sailors and always making them his first priority. Mabus said, "He never lost sight of the primary responsibility of leadership - taking care of the people entrusted to you and to the office you hold."
As Roughead took the podium for the last time as Chief of Naval Operations, he thanked his counterparts, both foreign and domestic, friends, and his family for the continued support and guidance during his tenure. He spoke about his unique experiences in the armed service, especially in the relationships built.
"There has been a lot of change but throughout there has been the decisive, constant and the aspect of the Navy that will be my enduring memory - our Sailors," said Roughead.
In an emotional conclusion, Roughead did the best he could to summarize his naval career.
"To echo what another Navy man said nearly five decades ago at this academy, when asked what I did to make my life worthwhile I will respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, I served in the United States Navy."
Mabus spoke about the transparent transition the Navy will go through when Adm. Roughead is relieved by Adm. Greenert as the top Navy officer.
"Adm. Roughead's contributions may be hard if not impossible to surpass but I am confident that if anyone can match them it is Jon Greenert," said Mabus.
Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the newly appointed 30th Chief of Naval Operations, took the podium after Roughead, thanking him for his service and bringing the Navy to where it is today.
Greenert said Roughead has done a magnificent job and the plan would be to keep it that way.
"My priorities, our course, are one we've got to remain ready to meet the current challenges today, we've got to build a relevant and capable future fleet, and we have got to continue to care for our Sailors, our civilians and their families, and recruit and nurture a motivated, relevant and diverse force," said Greenert.
Greenert then went on to talk about the three tenets he will focus on during his time in office which include warfighting first, operate forward and be ready.
"We will approach our challenges and we will implement our changes that will have to be done in the future with three tenets in mind," said Greenert. "They will be effective [and] efficient. Our Solutions will be joint and the Marine Corps will remain our primary partner."