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Z-Gram #121; dated 29 June 1973

CNO Change of Command Remarks by Admiral E.R. Zumwalt, Jr., USN

R 291600Z JUN 74
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC (Z-121)

TO NAVOP

UNCLAS //N00000// SECTION 01 OF 02
CNO CHANGE OF COMMAND REMARKS BY ADMIRAL E.R. ZUMWALT, JR., USN

FOUR YEARS AGO I ACCEPTED, HERE, FROM ADMIRAL TOM MOORER, COMMAND OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY. TODAY, I HAVE THE HONOR OF PASSING ON THAT COMMAND TO ONE OF MY OWN NAVAL ACADEMY CLASSMATES, ADMIRAL JIM HOLLOWAY, WITH WHOM I BEGAN MY ACTIVE NAVAL CAREER 32 SHORT AND EXCITING YEARS AGO.

I HAVE OFTEN SAID THAT I HAVE ALWAYS APPROACHED EACH ASSIGNMENT AS IF IT WERE MY LAST. THESE PAST FOUR YEARS WERE NO EXCEPTION— OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT THIS IS, INDEED, MY LAST ASSIGNMENT, AND 36 HOURS FROM NOW I SHALL END MY NAVAL CAREER.

WHEN ONE REACHES THIS POINT IN HIS LIFE, IT HAS BEEN TRADITIONAL, ON SUCH OCCASIONS, TO SPEND SOME TIME IN NO SMALL EFFORT IN REVIEWING THE “RECORD” AS HE PERCEIVES IT.

THE SUCCESSES, NATURALLY ENOUGH, ARE MODESTLY ASCRIBED ACROSS AN ENTIRE SPECTRUM OF HUMBLE CLICHÉS, TO THE WORKS OF OTHERS.

THOSE OCCASIONAL NON-SUCCESSES, NATURALLY ENOUGH, WHEN MENTIONED AT ALL, ARE ATTRIBUTED TO FORCES FAR BEYOND THE INDIVIDUAL’S CONTROL, THEREBY TO BE NEATLY CATALOGUED AND FORGOTTEN.

MY CAREER HAS NOT BEEN NOTABLE FOR THE “TRADITIONAL” APPROACH TO THINGS AND I SHALL NOT, THEREFORE, TAKE UP MY ALLOTTED TIME TODAY BY RECITING FOR YOU WHAT I THINK HAS, OR HAS NOT, BEEN ACCOMPLISHED DURING MY FOUR-YEAR COMMAND OF OUR NAVY—NOR SHALL I ATTEMPT TO IMPART GREAT TRUTHS ACQUIRED DURING MY 32 YEARS OF ACTIVE SERVICE, EXCEPT TO SAY THAT EACH DAY HAS, INDEED BEEN A NEW CHALLENGE AND LEARNING EXPERIENCE, AND I STILL HAVE ONE MORE DAY FOR BOTH UNTIL I RETIRE.

WHAT I PREFER TO DO, INSTEAD, IS TO DRAW YOUR ATTENTION TO THE PERFORMANCE OF OUR INDIVIDUAL NAVY MEN AND WOMEN WHO, IN TIMES OF PERIL DURING THE PAST FOUR YEARS, ROSE TO THE OCCASION—GIVING SELFLESSLY OF THEMSELVES, PERFORMING THE IMPOSSIBLE, AND THEN COMING BACK FOR MORE.

IN THE WAKE OF THE INVASION OF SOUTH VIETNAM TWO YEARS AGO, OUR NAVY, DRAWING FROM BOTH THE ATLANTIC AND THE PACIFIC FLEETS, TRIPLED THE NUMBER OF CARRIERS AND DOUBLED THE NUMBER OF OTHER SURFACE COMBATANTS AND SUPPORTING SHIPS ON THE LINE IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA, TO HELP STEM AND THROW BACK THE TIDE OF THAT INVASION. THEY CARRIED OUT, FLAWLESSLY, THE AERIAL MINING OF HAIPHON AND OTHER NORTH VIETNAMESE HARBORS, HELPING TO BRING OUR FIGHTING THERE TO AN END. AND THEN, WHEN THE FIGHTING WAS OVER, THEY WENT IN AND SWEPT THE HARBORS THEY HAD MINED ONLY A SHORT TIME BEFORE.

IN THE MIDDLE EAST IN 1970 AND, AGAIN, IN 1973, THEY WERE THERE WHEN FIGHTING BROKE OUT, PREPARED, ONCE AGAIN, IF REQUIRED, TO DEFEND OUR INTERESTS AND PROTECT OUR COUNTRYMEN. MOST RECENTLY, THEY PARTICIPATED IN THE CLEARING OF THE SUEZ CAN[sic], JUST AS THEY HAD DONE A SHORT TIME BEFORE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD.

IN THE WAR OF THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT IN 1972 AND, AGAIN, IN THE YOM KIPPUR WAR, THEY DEPLOYED INTO THE INDIAN OCEAN OVER VAST DISTANCES AND MAINTAINED THEMSELVES READY TO SUPPORT U. S. POLICY.

THIS WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY SUPERB OFFICERS AND PETTY OFFICERS WHILE MEETING TWO ADDITIONAL DRAMATIC CHALLENGES IMPOSED UPON THEM—THE CHANGES REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE AN ALL VOLUNTEER NAVY AND ADAPTING AND PROVIDING A TRUE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY.

IT HAS, THEREFORE, BEEN A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE OBSERVED THEIR PERFORMANCE, AND AN HONOR TO HAVE SERVED WITH THEM.

WHEN I ASSUMED COMMAND FOUR YEARS AGO, I SAID OUR INDIVIDUAL NAVY MEN AND WOMEN WERE MY SOURCES OF STRENGTH. I CAN REPORT TO YOU, ADMIRAL HOLLOWAY, THAT THEIR STRENGTH HAS NEVER FAILED AND, I TRUST, WILL GROW EVEN GREATER DURING YOUR WATCH.

I DO NOT, HOWEVER, INTEND TO LET THIS MOMENT PASS WITHOUT SOME OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE.

FIRST, I AM PROUD, TODAY, TO COMMEND TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF OUR NAVY THE PROVEN LEADERSHIP OF THEIR NEW CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS, JAMES L. HOLLOWAY III. I HAVE KNOWN AND ADMIRED HIM SINCE OUR DAYS AT THE NAVAL ACADEMY, AND MOST RECENTLY AS MY VICE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS—A POSITION FOR WHICH I PERSONALLY SELECTED HIM, ON THE BASIS OF HIS DISTINGUISHED PERFORMANCE IN A HOST OF CHALLENGING ASSIGNMENTS, BOTH AFLOAT AND ASHORE, IN WHICH HE HAS PROVEN HIMSELF READY TO ACCEPT ANY CHALLENGES AS CNO.

I AM ALSO DELIGHTED THAT HIS FATHER, AND MY FORMER COMMANDER, ADMIRAL JAMES L. HOLLOWAY JR., IS WITH US TODAY TO SEE HIS SON ASSUME COMMAND.

I PROMISED EARLIER THAT I WOULD NOT DWELL ON THE PAST, AND I DO NOT INTEND TO. IN ORDER TO MAKE A POINT ABOUT THE FUTURE, HOWEVER, I DO FEEL I MUST BRIEFLY REFER TO THE DAYS OF “WOODEN SHIPS AND IRON MEN.”

THERE IS, AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS HEMISPHERE, A PLACE WHICH SEAFARING MEN HAVE FEARED SINCE THE SAILORS FIRST PASSED THAT WAY, FOUR-AND-A-HALF CENTURIES AGO.

FEW MORE FEARSOME BODIES OF WATER EXIST ON EARTH. IT IS HERE THAT THE ATLANTIC MEETS THE PACIFIC IN A MAELSTROM OF FOUL WINDS AND VICIOUS SEAS THAT HAVE TESTED THE COURAGE AND SKILL OF MARINERS TO THE FULLEST. AND YET MAN, IF HE WERE TO PUSH HIS BARRIERS OUTWARD AND CIRCUMNAVIGATE THE GLOBE, HAS TO GO THAT WAY, AS MAGELLAN DID.

I BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE, DURING THE PAST TEN YEARS, BEEN IN THE PROCESS OF PASSING THROUGH SIMILARLY PERILOUS WATERS. FOR IT HAS BEEN DURING THIS TIME THAT WE HAVE FOUND OURSELVES ENGAGED IN THE LONGEST AND MOST UNPOPULAR WAR IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY—ONE THAT SAW OUR NAVY TAXED—BOTH IN MEN AND EQUIPMENT—TO THE ABSOLUTE LIMIT.

DURING THIS TIME WE HAVE SEEN OUR ONCE-GREAT FLEET CUT ALMOST IN HALF AND OUR REMAINING SHIPS AND PERSONNEL FORCED TO ENDURE LONG AND CONTINUOUS DEPLOYMENTS AS THEIR NUMBERS DWINDLED WHILE REQUIREMENTS INCREASED, AND OUR NATION TURNED AWAY FROM INTERNATIONALLY IMPERATIVES TO ATTEND TO VEXING PROBLEMS CLOSER TO HOME.

DURING THIS TIME WE ALSO SAW THE WORLD’S GREATEST LAND POWER, WHICH HAS NO FUNDAMENTAL NEED TO CONTROL AND USE THE SEAS, DEVELOP AN ABILITY TO DO BOTH WHICH IN NEARLY EVERY WAY CHALLENGES OUR OWN.

JUST AS SEAFARING MEN HAVE PAID HEAVILY FOR EVERY LEAGUE TRAVELED IN UNAVOIDABLY HEAVY SEAS, SO HAVE WE PAID A PRICE, AND THE JOURNEY IS NOT YET COMPLETE.

IN NAVIGATING THESE TREACHEROUS WATERS WE HAVE OFTEN BEEN FORCED TO TACK OR TRIM OUR SAILS AND I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE YET REACHED CLEAR SAILING, ALTHOUGH FAIR WEATHER BECKONS AHEAD.

WE ARE, AT THIS MOMENT, ENGAGED IN MOMENTOUS EFFORTS TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TWO POWERFUL NATIONS, EACH OF A DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHY OF MAN’S DESTINY, AND EACH WITH THE ABILITY TO CONSUME THE OTHER BY AN ARMAGEDDON OF NUCLEAR FIRE, CAN RATIONALLY AND SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATE A MUTUAL BALANCE OF STRATEGIC POWER.

OUR NAVY IS VERY MUCH INVOLVED, PROVIDING [not legible] OF THE STRATEGIC, NUCLEAR, “TRIAD,” THE SEA-BASED LEADING EDGE OF AMERICA’S DEFENSE.

IN THE NON-STRATEGIC FIELD, BECAUSE OF DRASTIC REDUCTIONS IN NAVAL FORCES AND PERSONNEL, OUR NAVY HAS REACHED A POINT WHERE IT NO LONGER CAN, WITH CERTAINTY, GUARANTEE FREE USE OF THE OCEAN LIFELINES TO U.S. AND ALLIED FORCES IN THE FACE OF A NEW, POWERFUL AND GROWING SOVIET FLEET.

AND YET, DESPITE THE TURBULENT PAST AND DIFFICULT TIMES AHEAD, I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN PRESERVE, AND THAT WE WILL. I BELIEVE THAT, JUST AS MAGELLAN FOUND AND SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATED THE PREVIOUSLY UNCHARTED STRAIT WHICH BEARS HIS NAME, SO CAN THIS GREATEST OF MARITIME NATIONS PASS THROUGH THE STORMS OF CHANGE, ROUND THE CAPE OF RECONSTRUCTION AND COME UP THE OTHER SIDE WITH STRENGTH AND CONFIDENCE, INTO CALMER SEAS.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF CONCEDING THE WORLD OCEAN TO OTHERS ARE SIMPLY TOO SERIOUS TO BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE. OUR COUNTRYMEN HAVE NEVER BEFORE TURNED AWAY FROM THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES, NOR DO I EXPECT THEM TO DO SO NOW.

IT IS FOR THAT REASON—MY FAITH AND TRUST IN OUR NATION’S PEOPLE AND THEIR ULTIMATE WISDOM—THAT I BELIEVE IT WILL BE ON ADMIRAL HOLLOWAY’S WATCH THAT WE, INDEED, WILL ROUND THE HORN. HIS CAPABLE AND STEADY HAND WILL SET US STEAMING ON A HEADING TOWARD REGAINING THE UNDISPUTED SUPREMACY AT SEA WHICH OUR NATIONAL SURVIVAL DEMANDS AND WHICH WE HAVE SURRENDERED TEMPORARILY.

THERE ARE STILL ROCKS AND SHOALS AHEAD.

THERE ARE STILL MEN OF GOOD WILL AND CONSCIENCE WHO MUST BE PERSUADED OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF OUR NAVY’S NEED FOR THEIR SUPPORT.

WE MUST DO MORE FOR THE GOOD OF OUR NAVY MEN, WOMEN, AND THEIR FAMILIES. THEY ARE, ALWAYS HAVE BEEN AND ALWAYS WILL BE OUR GREATEST ASSET. BUT EVEN THE BEST PEOPLE CANNOT CARRY THE GOOD FIGHT UNLESS WE PROVIDE THEM WITH SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT—TO DETER AGGRESSION, OR TO DESTROY IT.

FINALLY, TODAY MARKS THE CHANGING OF THE WATCH, THE CHANGE OF OUR NAVY’S TOP COMMAND. AND THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE OFFICER IN COMMAND—OF A SHIP, OF A FLEET, OF A NAVY.

ADMIRAL HOLLOWAY, THE WATCH IS YOURS. I PASS ON TO YOU THE ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF THIS COMMAND. I LEAVE TO YOU OUR NAVY WITH CONFIDENCE THAT IT WILL SERVE UNDER YOU AS IT HAS UNDER ME—LOYALLY, COURAGEOUSLY AND WITH THE DEDICATION THAT HAS BEEN ITS KEYSTONE FOR THE PAST TWO CENTURIES.

GOOD LUCK AND GODSPEED.

BT

Transcription note: Original message does not include signature block.

__________

ACRONYMS/ABBREVIATIONS:
CNO: Chief of Naval Operations

[END]
Published:Wed Nov 02 06:41:47 EDT 2016