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Navy’s installation boss visits ‘Military City USA’

| NMETC Public Affairs | Dec. 17, 2015

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON TX —

The commander of U.S. Navy Installations Command and commander of Navy  Region Southeast visited several San Antonio-area Navy facilities and commands Dec. 7 as part of a trip to military installations in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

The trip was Vice Adm. Dixon Smith’s first visit to “Military City USA” since assuming command of CNIC in October 2014.

Rear Adm. Mary Jackson has previously visited San Antonio. As the CNRSE commander, her geographical region includes the four states they visited.

Smith said he was in San Antonio to ensure Navy commands are receiving proper installation support and to address any issues with Navy leaders and commanding officers, and with the local Air Force installation commander.

“If there are problems top Navy leadership needs to know about, I will take that directly to them,” Smith told Navy Capt. Jim LeTexier, Navy Medicine Education and Training Command deputy commander at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, who met with Smith and Jackson.

Smith and Jackson’s meetings with local senior leadership included Brig. Gen. Bob LaBrutta, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander, which includes JBSA-Randolph, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Camp Bullis. JBSA is the largest joint base in the Department of Defense consisting of 266 tenant commands and organizations referred to as mission partners.

Ten of those mission partners are Navy commands, units and detachments with more than 10,000 active, reserve and student Sailors, Navy civilian employees and Navy family members who call San Antonio home.

The CNIC and CNRSE visited the Navy student barracks on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston where Hospital Corps “A” and “C” school students attending the Medical Education and Training Campus reside. The admirals requested “permission to come aboard” from Hospital Corps “A” school students standing watch at the barracks quarterdeck before being announced via the building’s public address system.

They also stopped in at the new Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society location on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston that opened in 2014.

Smith’s mission might be Navy installations and facilities, but his passion is Sailors. This was obvious as he shared lunch with Hospital Corps “A” school students at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston tri-service student dining facility.  Students joined both Smith and Jackson at their tables where the conversation topics ranged from their “A” school training to the quality of the food to a missing lampshade in the barracks.

“It is always good to have a senior ‘fleet sailor admiral’ visit ‘A’ school students and take time to break bread and talk with them,” LeTexier said. “Truly great leaders always make time to visit with juniors and sincerely listen to their concerns. This was one of those moments.”

The admirals also spent time at the Center for the Intrepid, a world-class center providing care for military combat casualties from all military branches. CFI’s three-fold mission is providing rehabilitation for service members who have sustained amputation, burns, or functional limb loss; providing education to DOD and Department of Veteran’s Affairs professionals on cutting edge rehabilitation modalities; and promoting research in the fields of orthopedics, prosthetics and physical/occupational rehabilitation.

Smith and Jackson ended their San Antonio visit at JBSA-Lackland and the Navy Technical Training Center Master at Arms “A” school where Navy MAs train side by side with Air Force Military Police. 

“The visit with Admirals Smith and Jackson went well,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rob Collett, NTTC Lackland executive officer.  “Vice Adm. Smith was particularly focused on facilities and the support we’re receiving from JBSA.” 

The NTTC tour consisted of an inspection of the headquarters buildings, the student barracks and schoolhouse and a military working dog demonstration.

LeTexier, who represented the traveling Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle, NMETC commander and San Antonio’s senior Navy officer, said CNIC’s visit was chock-full of successes.

“I believe Vice Adm. Smith’s visit to San Antonio-area Navy commands accomplished many things,” LeTexier said.  “For example, it gave him an understanding of the types and locations of the Navy commands.  It also sent the message to our  Sailors that the Navy supports them, which is vital in a joint Army and Air Force environment. Besides, knowing where Sailors live, work and train is simply a sign of good senior leadership.”