Scoop Deck blogger Lance M. Bacon took a day trip with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead this week. This is the play-by-play report.
Roughead speaks with reporters en route to Kings Bay, Ga., Tuesday morning. (photo by MC2 Kyle Malloy)
Flying with the CNO definitely has its advantages. Here are a few:
- When the itinerary says departure time is 0615, you are wheels-up at 0615. No sitting on the tarmac for 30 minutes waiting to get in the departure line.
- Unlike commercial airlines, which incarcerate you in a 20-inch cell they call a “seat,” all the spots are first-class quality. Leather and cushioned. Plenty of leg and elbow room, which means there is no chance a total stranger will be drooling on my sleeve when he slips into slumber. That’s a plus.
- The food is far better than airline food. OK, that’s not saying much. How to describe …? It’s a step or three above the typical bar and grill, minus the art deco and screaming children. The aroma of eggs benedict and fresh fruit fill the cabin. As does the smell of coffee. I’m not even a coffee drinker, but this stuff is tempting me.
- Aside from the obvious comparisons, what really makes the flight memorable is the VR-1 Starlifters’ crew. The brass gets the best and the brightest.
After a quick breakfast, Scoop Deck will be spending an hour or so talking with CNO as we make our way to Jacksonville, Fla. From there we head to King’s Bay, Ga., for a tour of the Trident Training Facility. More to follow …
Scoop Deck had a very good interview with Roughead. It covered a wide range of topics from the submarine force and unmanned vehicles to uniforms and littoral fire support for Marines. Keep an eye on upcoming editions of Navy Times for the full stories.
Scoop Desk is often asked what the CNO is like. He’s very approachable and even-tempered. Whether speaking to media, junior sailors or Congress, he genuinely invites questions and comments.
Speaking of the latter, Roughead just finished five hearings on Capitol Hill regarding the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Navy’s budget and its 30-year shipbuilding plan. These hearings can work on the strongest of nerves, but Roughead takes it with a smile.
“I do not mind the hearings,” said Roughead, a former chief of legislative affairs. “It’s a great way to tell the Navy’s story.”
He went on to say it was a “healthy thing” to defend the decisions made. Not only because it assures good stewardship of taxpayer money, but because it forces the Navy staffers to stay on their toes and make the best possible decisions.