Summer 2016 Luncheon – VADM Robert Thomas (Director of Navy Staff)
11 August 2016 – Over 50 members and guests gathered for the Capitol Chapter’s summer meeting at the Army Navy Country Club (ANCC) in Arlington, VA on Thursday, 11 August 2016. All were treated to a presentation by VADM Robert Thomas the Director of the Navy Staff at the Pentagon.
President Brad Kratovil initiated the meeting with the pledge of allegiance and recognized a number of special guests who were in attendance. With the USNA and GW ROTC midshipmen away on summer cruise and not able to be present, he also took the opportunity to introduce some of other younger attendees including junior engineers from Naval Reactors and college interns working with one of the league’s industry partners for the summer. He announced the fall luncheon planned for 13 or 14 October would feature Jonathan Ward, a Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s Changing Character of War Programme in a presentation on The Emerging Geopolitics of the Indian Ocean Region. He then introduced VADM Robert Thomas.
Vice Admiral Thomas opened by taking note of the many people in the room who had a significant impact on his career. He told entertaining sea-stories relating how they had helped keep him on track throughout his career and thanked them for their support. He then surprised everyone with an impromptu Dolphins ceremony handing over his insignia to LT Will Arnest (NROTC Instructor at George Washington University) who will soon be headed to department head school. The admiral explained the history behind the dolphins which were awarded to a young LTJG Thomas (USS GUITARRO – SSN 665) back in 1982 from his first Commanding Officer, CAPT Scott Van Hoften. CAPT Hoften had received them many years before from his Commanding Officer on USS QUEENFISH (SSN-651), the famous Milo Daughters. To say the least, LT Arnest was “honored” in being provided the opportunity to keep the legacy going.
The admiral provided an engaging and thought-provoking presentation addressing his experiences as 7th Fleet Commander and as Director of the Navy Staff. His cultural-political-military assessment of the PACOM area of responsibility was enlightening (and reinforced the importance of the topic planned for the next Chapter lunch). He strongly encouraged all to read the CNO’s Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority to fully appreciate the challenges and opportunities that Admiral Richardson has outlined for the Navy. Brad presented Admiral Thomas with the Chapter’s speaker medallion and an NSL challenge coin in appreciation. The meeting was closed with a prayer.