CFAY, sailors gather for bell ringing ceremony
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors gathered on command hill in front of the Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka headquarters building to watch a celebration of the U.S. Navy's 237th birthday Oct. 12.
The commemoration included a bell-ringing ceremony and a speech by Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Capt. David A. Owen.
"As we celebrate our Navy's 237th birthday, our history and heritage forms our identity, telling us who we are and what we stand for," said Owen, reading the birthday message to the fleet sent by the Chief of Naval Operations. "Our core values of honor, courage, and commitment, have been passed down from our founders, who charged the Navy with the solemn duty to serve as the "shield" of our republic. The first real test of our Navy faced was during the War of 1812. This war began at sea when the United States ships were ordered to heave to upon the high seas."
Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Shandell Black ran the eight ceremonial bells that signal the end of a watch. It represents the end of the current year. Black rang the bell-the same bell used at many ceremonies.
The previous year contained many things for FLEACT, Yokosuka. The command won the GreenGov award for reducing it electrical usage especially after the March 11 disasters, the base galley won the Ney Award, the command won several categories of the CNO Environmental awards, several open base events including, attendance-record setting Friendship Day hosted at Negishi Housing Detachment, and the base was visited by the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) Juan M. Garcia, III , Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West, Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and two Medal of Honor recipients.
"We are the tip of the spear out here," said Black. "We are always out where things are happening, right in the middle of it. It's good feeling to know that you're out here keeping everyone safe."
Owen read the rest of the speech to the Sailors gathered, "On this 237th birthday of our Navy, we have the honor to serve in the greatest maritime fighting force the world has ever seen, but we do with humility, continuing to build on the framework those Sailors forged before us..."
After the speech, Black rang the bell one final time signaling the beginning of the new watch and the new year for the Navy.
"Here is to 237 years of proud naval heritage, and many more!" said Owen.
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