President John Padgett very aptly described this year’s Symposium as a meaningful update from the Submarine Navy leadership given between two major addresses that were the bookends of the meeting which stressed the crucial issue of OHIO replacement. First, we heard Rich Meis’s brilliant dissertation on the reasons against nuclear disarming and given from his perspective as the former CinC of STRA TCOM. Then Frank Miller’s excellent dinner address on Thursday night stressed the need to proceed with OHIO replacement on an urgent basis. (Both of their addresses appear elsewhere in this issue.)
The Submarine Navy leadership brought us up to date on the status of OHIO replacement planning and programming along with the status of the VIRGINIA Class program which begins construction of two ship per year. VA Class deliveries on, and frequently ahead of, schedule continues to be a highlight of Navy shipbuilding. Their message was loud and clear: each of us must do all we can to sustain the VA Class two per year build rate while focusing on OHIO replacement as a national priority.
The other highlight of the Symposium was the remarks Thursday evening by this year’s Distinguished Submariner, Admiral Kin McKee. I had the privilege of introducing Kin as our Submarine Force leading Top Gun during the Cold War when he commanded DACE. His exploits provided knowledge of the Soviet navy’s submarine development that was crucial to our own strategic planning and contributed to the eventual end of the cold War.
McKee’s remarks stressed the submarine legacy that all of us inherited when we entered the force beginning with Submarine School. In his case, he was influenced by submarine veterans of World War II who taught him the basics followed by his CO’s and shipmates who embellished that legacy. They clearly influenced the maturing of his submarine philosophy and eventually his command presence. He was the only skipper awarded two Legions of Merit during his command.
In concluding, he reminded all of us of our obligation to keep that legacy alive and to pass it to our successors. BRAVO ZULU, KIN!!