By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
FORT MEADE, Md., Oct. 8, 2013 – With the Navy’s Oct. 13 birthday on the near horizon, Chief of Naval Operations Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert today discussed the government shutdown and the service’s heritage before answering questions by phone and social media during a worldwide All Hands call here.
The admiral acknowledged the gravity of the shutdown, particularly for the Defense Department civilians who were furloughed Oct. 1 when the new fiscal year began without government funding. More than half of those DOD civilians since have been recalled to work, and active military personnel have remained on the job throughout the government shutdown.
“It’s a regrettable situation, but like all sailors throughout our heritage, we are what we are, and we make do with the best we can do,” Greenert said. “Those folks that are out there getting it done today, they have what they need. They’re on station. … They [manage] to do what matters when they’re called upon.”
The U.S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established Oct. 13, 1775. Greenert also observed the 200th commemoration of the Battle of Lake Erie, which was fought Sept. 10, 1813, off the lake’s Ohio coast.
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and his crews “turned the tide” in the War of 1812, with their seminal involvement in nine battles that led to and followed the Battle of Lake Erie, Greenert said.
“It was through their innovation, their perseverance and their skill [as] confident and proficient sailors [that they] defeated the British in that particular big naval battle,” he said. “They had a bold and confident leader in Perry.”
Greenert noted that the sailors of that time were not much different from those who serve today.
“They had a force that was dedicated, that was innovative, that changed when they needed to,” the admiral said.
Greenert also noted that July 1 marked the 40th anniversary of the all-volunteer force. “That’s our asymmetric advantage: … those of you that are willing to step up to get done what needs to get done.”
But even amid the current challenges the service is facing, Greenert said, those next to deploy will have the Navy’s support to get what they need. And he reminded his worldwide audience of sailors to keep the furloughed civilians in mind. “Don’t forget your civilian shipmates out there as we’re out and about,” he said.
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