For the Washingtonians reading this, I hope you are having happy holidays. The crew is taking a much deserved retreat from their normal duties during this time. There is still work to be done, but many of the crew were able to see friends and families for a few days.
While construction continues, final grooming and touch ups are being made. The last of the ship's systems are being turned over to ship's force operational control. The crew is validating all systems through dock trials and executing pre-underway procedures. The galley opened with our first meal, served last week.
The Secretary of the Navy confirmed our new Commissioning Ceremony date of 25 March 2017 in Norfolk, VA. We are looking forward to a great event. Many of your own have supported Commissioning preparations through the WASHINGTON Commissioning Committee; I appreciate all your efforts and look forward to meeting those that can attend the ceremony.
I would like to finish by recognizing three sailors for their superior performance over the last year. EMN1 Nathan Hislop was selected as WASHINGTON's Sailor of the Year for his efforts in support of Engineering Department qualification programs and as the Electrical Division Leading Petty Officer. MMN2 Dylan Sellers was selected as the Junior Sailor of the Quarter for his superior watchstanding and efforts in support of Machinery Division programs. MMW3 Giovanni Garcia was selected as the Blue Jacket of the Year for his efforts in support of Weapons Systems and Force Protection certifications. These three outstanding sailors clearly demonstrate the professionalism of today's Navy.
J.J. Schneider Commanding Officer