When CAPT Chris Ratliff was relieved of command of USS OHIO (SSGN 726) (BLUE) on 6 November 2008, he concluded his speech with these words of praise for all of the children of OHIO BLUE Sailors.
“Finally, I want to call attention to a group among us that is rarely recognized, rarely praised, yet the most important of all. In fact, let me say here and now that I dedicate my time in command of OHIO BLUE and this generous award 1 to my children, Melissa, Jennifer, and Christopher, and all the children of OHIO BLUE Sailors.”
“The words of the English poet John Milton capture my feel- ings just right: “They also serve who only stand and wait.” These kids do not stand with resignation, they take a stand to lead a good life. Mom does a wonderful job in dad’s absence, yet we need to give them credit for being good kids because of the free will choices they make.”
“They don’t wait for dad to come home for their lives to be complete, instead they wait with resolve for that next challenge they must confront, not by choice but by birth: the cross-country move away from best friends, having to prove yourself all over again to get that last spot on the team, adjusting again to the vast cultural differences between north and south, east coast and west. And yes, it is a challenge not to have dad around. They teach themselves to play basketball and baseball, to build model planes, to fish, and to camp. They’ve learned on their own.”
“Life as a submariner’s kid is tough, but they don’t complain, they just endure. I serve because I want to bequeath to my children a homeland that is prosperous, secure, and free. And when the time comes it will be theirs, not as a gift, but because they earned it. .. through their service .. . as they stand and wait. May God bless our children. . .and in our prolonged absence, may God continue to protect them.”