To Sailors, Marines, and all men and women of the Department of the Navy serving across this great world: Today marks the honor of my life, taking the oath of office to become the 77th but more importantly…Your Secretary of the Navy.
I am incredibly humbled to stand before You, the greatest Navy and Marine Corps in the world to accept this responsibility. For nearly 35 years, I like you have served Our country; first as a US Naval Officer deploying around the world to include sailing into “Harms Way“ and most recently as our US Ambassador to Norway, a nation important to our national security. Never have I ever doubted why we serve…to protect and defend the greatest nation on earth…the United States of America!
For more than two centuries the Department has exemplified the strength and resilience of the nation we represent. Through tragedy and triumph, in both peace and in war, the source of our strength has been three simple but extremely powerful words: Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
As each of you know, they must be our guide stars as we navigate challenges around the globe. We can never forget that they are written in the blood of those who sailed before us: from John Paul Jones to Doris Miller…from Grace Hopper to Jason Dunham, all part of a formidable anchor chain of service through which each of You is an important part.
Make no mistake, we face significant challenges today. Our Nation is up against perhaps the greatest test of our commitment to the ideals we hold dear than at any time in our history…surely since the end of World War II. We must recognize this challenge for all it is and all it presents, lurking in the shadows of deceit or the depths of dishonesty. However, our Navy and Marine Corps have faced tough times before. Each time we have prevailed and we will persevere again. It is our sacred duty and we shall do so by relying on Our core values, the bedrock of Our service and the key to Our success: Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
The object of success for our service is simple: American Seapower. America always has been and always will be a maritime nation. America and our principles of freedom rely on seapower delivered by a strong and capable Navy and Marine Corps. Each of You provides that power through Your actions each day — actions that demonstrate our resolve to place service above self.
I look forward to the days ahead to do all I can on your behalf, ensuring that you have the opportunity to thrive and succeed in your service to Our Nation. American Seapower will continue to defend Our Nation, and American Seapower will continue to preserve peace while deterring any and all that would challenge our way of life. And when or if we find it necessary, American Seapower WILL decisively win in battle which is our solemn duty because there can be no alternative.
Please accept my personal appreciation which I sincerely send to every one of you for your selfless service, your devotion to duty and for your Honor, Courage, and Commitment. I am privileged to stand with you, the greatest Navy and Marine Corps the world has ever known in your service to the People of America. Godspeed to You and us all in this Great Endeavor!
This article was originally published by the US Navy.