2012 Washington Fly-In

The schedule for the Chamber's annual Washington Fly-In is always packed and this year was no exception. Chris Daniel did a beautiful job of setting up not only the right people but an organized and quality schedule.

We met with Senator Saxby Chambliss, Senator Johnny Isakson, and Congressman Jack Kingston and their staffs. I was able to share our concern for the future and affordability of the follow on for the SSBN the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP); for the Trident II D5 missile life extension program; for the exciting possibility of a new platform that will, hopefully replace the SSGNs, the Virginia Payload Module Concept (VPM); and the capacity that Kings Bay has for mission growth.

Howard Sepp, Administrator, Southeast Georgia Health Systems, Camden Campus briefed on the issue of Local Health Services for Veterans and Michael Wooten with the Camden County Board of Education briefed on Sequestration's Impact on Education in Camden County. Chris Daniel wrapped it up and presented a model of a submarine to each congressional member.

RADM Barry Bruner is now the head of the Submarine Warfare Division and it was great seeing him and Beth. They gave a nice break to the group who worked SAS with a visit to their home with his senior staff.

At the Pentagon and the Navy Yard, we had meetings with leadership in the Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Navy as well as officials from the Secretary of the Navy's office. Military officials included:

  • VADM Bill French, Commander, Navy Installations Command
  • ADM Terry Benedict, Director for Strategic Systems Programs
  • RADM Dave Johnson, Program Executive Officer for Submarines
  • Mr. Donald R. Schregardus, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Environment
  • Captain Robert McLean, Deputy Director, Shore Readiness Division OPNAV
  • RDML John P Quinn, Director, Energy and Environment Readiness Division OPNAV
  • Rear Admiral Karl Schultz, Director Governmental and Public Affairs for the United States Coast Guard

Joining us for dinner was the chief of staff for Senator Saxby Chambliss, Charlie Harmon, and Adam Sullivan, Chief of Staff for Congressman Jack Kingston, RADM Karl Schultz, and many congressional staffers with expertise in health, education, military and other issues.

We also discussed our desire for a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) and the community's support of Kings Bay and their environmental programs. We reminded them that Kings Bay was a favored station for many submariners and that is shown by the fact that Kings Bay has the highest retention rate of any submarine base. The airport was not briefed by our group but was brought up by each of the military leaders we met with. I found that Compatible Development has replaced the word encroachment in the military jargon and the award for JLUS will allow our community to be smart with our development.

We had several "aha" moments during the six days and TEAM CAMDEN will be following up on each of them.

Our special thanks to CCDR Axel Spens with Undersea Warfare Division, US Navy, and LTCOL Michael Lake, USAF, and legislative fellow for Congressman Jack Kingston for their help in arranging our meetings.