By Vice Adm. Bill Moran
Chief of Naval Personnel
Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending and speaking at Rear Adm. Sandy Daniels‘ change of command and retirement ceremony.
With hundreds of years of history, changes of command signify the ebb and flow of responsibility and accountability within our Navy’s leadership ranks. They are ceremonies founded on tradition – though, for Sandy, her career has been anything BUT traditional.
Sandy broke through the proverbial glass ceiling when she joined the first class of women to attend the Naval Academy in 1976. She was commissioned as a naval officer four years later along with 54 other women at a time when many of our Navy’s occupations didn’t welcome their talents. Sandy and her sisters forged a path for the women who came after them.
Women play a vital role in today’s military. Since 9/11, more than 280,000 women from all services have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and today, there are approximately 58,000 active-duty women in the Navy, serving in nearly every field.
And as you know from the headlines this week, women in our military continue to make history, redefining expectations and giving generations yet to come ever-new goals to strive for.
As the world’s greatest naval force, our goal is, and should always be, to ensure that our mission is carried out by the best-qualified and most capable service members – regardless of gender.
When people think of the Navy, many things come to mind. Ships, jets, missiles and innovation – every amazing gadget and weapons system that strikes fear into the heart of America’s enemies. But all of that hardware, technology and firepower would be nothing without the people who operate them – active duty, civilian and reserves. Sandy was a reservist, who spent the better part of her career stepping in when the call came. And as a flag officer, Sandy led in a role she wasn’t even allowed to serve in when she joined.
There’s a wonderful word called legacy. At its heart it means, “How will I be remembered?”
For Sandy Daniels, her legacy is clear. She is an admiral, a leader, a woman, an inspiration. Her mark on the Navy and on the people with whom she served will last longer than any fighter jet, any weapons system, any tool we could deploy to defeat the enemy. It’s the kind of thing that’s passed down from generation to generation, from Sailor to Sailor. It’s what makes us warriors and leaders and fuels our desire to serve.
While Sandy may be retiring from the Navy, her legacy will remain a stepping stone upon which we all stand.
What will your legacy be?
If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. To forge ahead, to make a difference, to take a page from Sandy’s book. We all have the opportunity to make history. The trick is, how will YOU use that opportunity to make the Navy better than you found it?
See you in the Fleet,