State of the Station: Navy belongs in Everett

TULALIP — Naval Station Everett has a secure future due in no small part to the support of the surrounding communities, the base’s executive officer told the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce on Friday.

Cmdr. Dan Limberg, delivering the annual State of the Station address on behalf of base commander Capt. Michael Coury, gave an overview of how Everett fits into the U.S. Navy’s strategy to respond to global threats and challenges.

“Our defense will only be as strong as our maritime strength,” Limberg said.

Everett is one of six Navy bases on the West Coast and in Japan that host an aircraft carrier battle group, he said. Those ships patrol the Asia-Pacific region, with commitments taking them as far as the Strait of Hormuz through which 20 percent of the world’s crude oil is shipped to world markets from the Persian Gulf.

The Navy has found itself busy there, deterring Somali high-sea pirates and Iranian government saber-rattling, Limberg said.

The narrow Strait of Malacca in the South China Sea is another spot where the Navy wants its calming influence felt, the commander said. Asia is now the world’s top importer of weapons and China’s naval clout is growing.

The USS Abraham Lincoln left Naval Station Everett on a six-month global deployment that will take the carrier through the Pacific and Indian oceans before it arrives at Norfolk, Va., for an overhaul and refueling of its nuclear reactors that will take 40 months.

The USS Nimitz has taken the Lincoln’s place on the Everett waterfront, and its sailors and their families have been very well received, Limberg said.

Everett’s smaller ships have been busy, too, the commander said.

The USS Ingraham returned to Everett after deployment to Latin American and Caribbean countries cooperating in efforts to combat trafficking in narcotics and other contraband, he said.

The USS Ford had a six-month deployment with numerous port calls throughout the western Pacific Ocean. It’s also the first Navy ship to successfully use a 50-50 blend of algae-derived biofuel on its voyage from Everett to San Diego, Limberg said. It’s part of the Navy’s growing commitment to develop alternative energy sources.

Naval Station Everett, Snohomish County’s second-largest employer, also is meeting the challenge of the Secretary of the Navy’s Zero Waste initiative, he said. Ten base buildings have Energy Star ratings or LEED certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Meanwhile, the Navy is studying a proposal by Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., to replace Everett’s frigates with larger battleships. Limberg said Naval Station Everett can support the bigger ships with little change to its current operations.

Kurt Batdorf: 425-339-3102, kbatdorf@heraldnet.com.

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