By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Scott A. McCall, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
KEYPORT, Wash. – A Washington Congressman and his military legislative assistant visited naval installations and tenant commands operating within Navy Region Northwest, May 1.
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, Washington’s 6th District, visited the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Keyport Division on Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Keyport and received a tour of Raytheon.
“It’s always great to visit Naval Base Kitsap and to get a better understanding of the needs of the Navy, both for today and for the future,” said Kilmer. “I’m grateful to the people at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport Division and the employees at Raytheon for showing me the important work that protects our nation.
“I’m looking forward to using this experience to help support Naval Base Kitsap’s mission in my role as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee.”
Julie Zelnick, Kilmer’s Washington, D.C., military legislative assistant, visited NBK and other commands within Navy Region Northwest, April 30 and May 1.
Zelnick said that she is responsible for anything that falls under the umbrella of national security or defense for Congressman Kilmer.
The trip from Washington D.C. to the Pacific Northwest was important for Zelnick, allowing her a first hand look into the inner workings of the Navy in the Pacific Northwest.
“My purpose as the military legislative assistant for Congressman Derek Kilmer was to come and see all the work that is done at Naval Base Kitsap,” said Zelnick. “I definitely saw a lot of what goes into mission readiness here, but I’m definitely going to have to come back and see the rest of the base.”
Navy Region Northwest is the third largest concentration area in the Navy and Naval Base Kitsap is spread across four different areas of the Puget Sound, Zelnick said that even though she was impressed with the visit she still wants to see the rest of the area.
During her visit, Zelnick did take advantage of the opportunity to tour Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, participate in briefing on the current status and future of NBK with NBK Commanding Officer Capt. Pete Dawson, met with members of Commander Submarine Group Nine, and held an office call with Commander Navy Region Northwest Rear Adm. Markham Rich.
By the end of the visit there were two things stood out in Zelnick’s mind, the DoD civilians at NUWC Keyport and the Sailors stationed on the Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarine USS Alabama (SSBN 731).
“I think here at [NUWC Keyport] is pretty amazing,” said Zelnick. “These people are such big thinkers, they’re such a national asset.
“The stuff they do here has been pretty cool to look at, but I think I loved going onto Alabama, that was awesome, and seeing what our young men do down there was pretty awe-inspiring so those were some of my highlights,” said Zelnick.
Other stops on the tour included a visit to the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport and a windshield tour of the living conditions of Sailors residing on the West Housing area on NBK Bangor.