Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Cory Asato, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
Regional staff and Pacific Northwest Sailors of the year accompanied installation and squadron commanding officers and representatives met with the Washington State House of Representatives and the Senate for separate sessions and resolutions.
“Washington State is uniquely positioned politically, economically and geographically to deal with the opportunities and challenges presented by Asian and the Pacific Rim countries” while the “U.S. Navy is the military service that secures sea-lanes, allowing free flow of commerce to and from [Washington State], and the service whose power projection promotes stability for our friends and deters aggression from our foes,” according to the resolutions.
The House of Representatives and Senate each came to separate resolutions, expressing appreciation for “all who have served in the United States Navy, and all the family members and friends who have shared their sacrifices with them,” further stating the state recognizes “the many contributions the Navy and its personnel make for the United States for everyone living in the United States and the entire global community.”
Rear Admiral Gary Mayes, commander, Navy Region Northwest, gave remarks on the continuing cooperation between the state and military on how the two cohesively support the Navy mission along with 27,000 active duty and reserve Sailors, 42,000 family members, 24,000 Navy civilian employees and more than 99,000 retirees.
“Your record of legislative support speaks for itself – you’ve continued to focus on legislation helping military families more easily become part of Washington’s workforce and school system, helping veterans transition into the civilian economy, enabled our Navy Operations and training here to be more compatible in close coordination with the surrounding communities,” Mayes said. “I appreciate all the work you continue to do to make this state an even, better home port for the Navy.”
State Representatives and Senators each gave remarks on their appreciation about how the Pacific Northwest Navy, holding a presence in the Puget Sound for more than 175 years and representing the third largest fleet concentration, affects the local communities, such as Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s continuous Search and Rescue operations in the local area, to their own personal ties to the Navy.
“As a military spouse I hold a special appreciation for these men and women that serve along with their spouses and families,” Washington State Senator Barbara Bailey, 10th District, said. “We’re here today to honor these [service members] to let them know there’s no better men and women in this state.”
Navy leaders in attendance also met separately with state leaders to discuss ongoing Navy activities.
Preceding the resolutions’ unanimous “Aye” throughout the House of Representatives and Senate chambers, Mayes closed with a few words of appreciation on behalf of the Navy.
“Today, and every day, your Navy is operating around the world, and around the clock to ensure we are ready and capable of fulfilling our mission,” Mayes said. “Much of the Navy’s success in this Region can be directly attributed to the dedication and patriotism from the people of the great State of Washington. On behalf of the Navy, I want to say ‘Thank you’ for your continued support.”