Vice Adm. Bruce H. Lindsey, deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC), retired after 37 years of distinguished service, Jan. 31.
Family, friends and staff members of the naval flight officer (NFO) surrounded him as he bid farewell in the hangar of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 onboard Naval Station Norfolk.
Guest speaker, USFFC Commander Adm. Christopher W. Grady, praised Lindsey for performing superbly in command at every level and taking his role as a mentor very seriously.
“He succeeded due to his absolute dedication to the mission,” said Grady. He also provided a “constant effort behind the scenes, working hard to remove barriers for the entire team.”
In addition to being USFFC’s deputy commander, Lindsey also served as director of the Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence (CJOS COE) since Nov. 7, 2017.
“I have been lucky and blessed to have been surrounded by great people throughout my entire career,” expressed Lindsey. “Anything that I may have achieved is due entirely to all of you in the audience today – my team of teams and my family of families.”
Lindsey, the son of a naval officer and a 1982 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, stressed the importance of the saying ‘family comes first’ – not only thanking his wife and their children, but also those who make up his three concentric circles of immediate family: parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews.
“They have been so instrumental to my success and longevity in the Navy,” said Lindsey. “This ‘immediate family’ represents 168 years of naval service to our nation – and counting!”
As a naval flight officer, Lindsey’s accomplishments are many, including the prestigious Gray Owl Trophy. The Gray Owl honors the NFO (l32X/758X) on active duty who has held that designation for the longest period of commissioned service.
“Your status as our Navy’s Gray Owl perhaps best exemplified your role as a mentor,” explained Grady. “One way of looking at the list of Gray Owls is to see one stalwart professional paying his experience forward to the next.”
With those in attendance looking on, Lindsey passed down the Gray Owl Trophy to Vice Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, deputy commander of U.S. Transportation Command.
Lindsey served in many capacities at sea and ashore, at home and abroad. Some of his career milestones included implementing changes from the tragic collisions of 2017 and ensuring the first successful deployment of a carrier strike group under the Optimized Fleet Response Plan in 2016
In addition to these career highlights, Lindsey stressed how he truly enjoyed the people he met along the way.
“One of the best parts about being in the Navy is that you get to travel to all parts of the world and make new friends,” reflected Lindsey.
Lindsey was humbled with the amount of people who took time out of their day to celebrate his nearly four decades in uniform.
“You honor me with your presence,” concluded Lindsey. “I know that after this ceremony, you will be going back to work to keep the fleet running with precision in order to develop, generate, employ and maintain its readiness to respond to any crisis at any time – at any spot on the high seas!”