Everett plays key role in Navy’s global strategy

  • By Kurt Batdorf HBJ Editor
  • Friday, May 18, 2012 1:56pm

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 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 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 in the region deterring Somali high-sea pirates and Iranian government sabre-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 lands 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 cooperating Latin America and Caribbean countries 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 a transit 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, is also 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 U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., to replace Everett’s frigates with battleships. Limberg said Naval Station Everett can support the bigger ships with little change to its current operations.

Community leaders to welcome USS Nimitz

Economic Alliance Snohomish County and United Way of Snohomish County are organizing a welcoming party for the USS Nimitz.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Comcast Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett. Registration and networking run from 11 to 11:30 a.m. The main program begins at 11:30 a.m. For information on event sponsorship, contact Kellie Schwacha at 425-248-4227 or KellieS@economicalliancesc.org.

A portion of the event proceeds will be donated to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

To register, go to tinyurl.com/EASCnimitz or contact Kellie Schwacha at KellieS@economicalliancesc.org or 425-248-4227 or Chris Cote at chris.cote@uwsc.org or 425-347-5561.

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