Admiral Bill Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, speaks with Korean War and Air Force veteran Andre King and World War II and Navy veteran Dr. Herb Sohn.

The second highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer visited Chicago to engage with local residents, contribute his military story for historical preservation, and connect with civic, government, and business leaders on Aug. 2.

Adm. Bill Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), accompanied by Fleet Master Chief Russell Smith, stopped in Chicago on his way to Naval Station, Great Lakes, and ultimately out to West Coast naval installations as part of a fleet tour to discuss and receive feedback on aviation, surface forces readiness and new deployment rotations.

“It is important for Navy leaders to engage and connect with community members, outside the fleet concentration areas, in part, to inspire more Americans to participate in serving this country in the Navy and to communicate the Navy’s important national security role in a busy global environment that is busier than it has ever been,” Moran said.

Moran first visited the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, in the heart of Chicago on Michigan Avenue, at the library’s request, to contribute his military story and perspective as a senior leader to the library’s oral history collection.

In addition to being saved in archives, the interview will be broadcast on Pritzker Military Presents, an original program series that airs each week on Chicago Public Television, WTTW Prime, and is also available via streaming video online.

Retired Illinois Army National Guard Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker founded the Pritzker Military Museum and Library to display her collection of books and related materials on military history. To date, the library has collected about 200 oral histories from service members spanning from World War I to present day.

Pritzker said contributions like Moran’s are invaluable to create a primary source of material for future historians, as a well as creating an asset that connects our military with the community.
During the taping, Moran discussed his entry into the Navy through college athletics, and described how his parents – who were both teachers – instilled a sense of service that “gets in your blood.”

Moran, a Navy aviator who flew the P-3 Orion on submarine hunting missions, shared that an important point in his career was the opportunity to instruct young pilots, because it was inspiring to work with young people and watch them gain confidence and ability.

Moran later spoke with leaders from the five regional Navy League of the United States chapters, along with local civic, government, and business leaders on the status of the Navy.

During his presentation, Moran discussed what the Navy has done over the past year to address issues with surface fleet readiness and talked about changes in national defense strategy that are altering how the Navy executes irregular deployments.

Moran said it is important to communicate to our citizens the role the Navy plays in maintaining global access to food, energy, information, and trade that transit across the open ocean.
Not accounting for traditional national security threats, almost 90 percent of the global trade occurs at sea, and almost 99 percent of data transfer occurs through undersea cables.

It is the U.S. Navy that protects shipping lanes and conduits of undersea cables that augment the U.S. economy, and in turn enhance the global commerce, Moran said.

Toby Mack, co-chair of the Chicago Navy Memorial Foundation, introduced Adm. Moran at the meeting and said afterward he was grateful for his visit.

“It is critically important for business and civic leaders to have high-level connections to the Navy,” Mack said. “Chicago is a Navy town with deep roots and ties to the history and heritage of the naval services. The Chicagoland area has, and continues to make, significant contributions to the naval services and the nation’s national security.”

Adm. Moran concluded his visit in the area with a stop at Naval Station, Great Lakes, where he met with boot camp instructors and senior leaders on the base. The naval station is home of the Navy’s only boot camp, located in North Chicago.

Important commands aboard the Naval Station include Recruit Training Command, Training Support Center, and Navy Recruiting District, Chicago. Naval Station, Great Lakes, is the largest military installation in Illinois and the largest Navy-operated training installation.

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