By custom, the surface warfare officer with the earliest Officer of the Deck qualification is recognized as the Navy’s “Old Salt” — an award initiated in 1988 by the Surface Navy Association.
On Friday, that distinction will be bestowed on Adm. John Harvey, commander of Fleet Forces Command, in a ceremony aboard the amphibious transport dock ship San Antonio at Naval Station Norfolk.
The current Old Salt is the recently retired Adm. Mike Mullen, who stepped back into civilian life Sept. 30 following four years as the nation’s top military officer and 43 years of service. There was no interim Old Salt, according to Ted Brown, a Fleet Forces Command spokesman.
Harvey, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1973, earned his OOD qual on Oct. 11, 1977, aboard the nuclear-powered cruiser Bainbridge. He assumed command of Fleet Forces in July 2009.
Dec. 20 CLARIFICATION: According to Brown, Harvey earned his surface warfare officer or SWO pin in October 1977. He earned his OOD qual in the spring of that year.
Here’s the Old Salt and the Old Salt-to-be back in 2005, when Mullen, then the chief of naval operations, promoted Harvey to vice admiral.