Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Visits Sheppard AFB Seabees

By UTC (SCW) Scott Kristek, CSFE Det. Sheppard AFB Public Affairs

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Adm. Bill Gortney (in flight suit) conducting an All Hands call with students and staff on board CSFE Det. Sheppard during a visit to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 27.

Adm. Bill Gortney, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces, met with students and staff of the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Detachment (CSFE Det.) Sheppard Air Force Base (SAFB), Texas, June 27, while on base to serve as guest speaker for the Air Force Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training class.

“It was a tremendous honor to have Admiral Gortney visit with the ‘Bees at Sheppard. He has a gift of personal connection with the people around him,” said Lt. Majellen Changcoco, CSFE Det. SAFB officer in charge. “I especially admire his humble qualities as he shared his wisdom and the attributes of successful service to our nation. I also felt that he enjoyed talking with the young Sailors.”

While touring the base, Gortney stopped at the Navy quarterdeck to meet Seabee staff members. He took a tour of the Water and Fuel Systems Maintenance schoolhouse where he observed Navy students in the Utilitiesman (UT) “A” School laboratory working on plumbing projects. Utilitiesman 1st Class Charles Kille briefed Adm. Gortney on the training and overall objective of the students’ practical lab performance.

Senior Chief Construction Electrician Joseph Johnson, assistant officer in charge, briefed the admiral on the Construction Electrician (CE) school. After completing a tour of the schoolhouse, Gortney held an “All Hands” call with staff and students. He discussed the importance of the Navy’s mission and the highlights of his own career, and then addressed questions from the group.

“One of the most important traits that you’ll learn while being in the military is humility,” Gortney said. “Your job as a leader is to take care of your people, and in turn, they’ll take care of you.”

He provided insight into the challenges and successes of his naval career, emphasizing how important it is to take advantage of the opportunities the Navy has to offer and how important the role of family members is in attaining those goals.

“It was the first time I had the opportunity to talk to an admiral,” said Kille, a UT instructor. “He was very down to earth and genuinely interested in how the students and staff were doing, not only in the schoolhouse, but as people.”

Gortney took the opportunity to award challenge coins to Utilitiesman 1st Class Charles King, Construction Electrician 2nd Class Joshua Guerreiro, and Construction Electrician 3rd Class Jade Buchanon for their outstanding performance, hard work and accomplishments.

“Hearing the admiral talk about the start of his career as a student was great because the students could see that everyone, even a four-star admiral, has to start somewhere. It showed them that there is no limit to what they can accomplish in their careers,” said Guerreiro, CE “A” School instructor.

For more information on CSFE Det. SAFB, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/csfe/sheppard.

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Adm. Bill Gortney (in flight suit) with staff members at the Navy quarterdeck for CSFE Det. Sheppard during a recent visit to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 27.

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