Thank you very much. Honored guests, friends, and especially all of our veterans and service members here tonight ... I'm proud to join you remembering the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Midway and pay tribute to the men who fought in the critical early months of the Pacific War.
One month ago, I assumed command of the Pacific Fleet from Admiral Tom Fargo. I've received several briefings from my staff on the state of our Fleet. And I've been reminded that in today's world, change is the only constant. Today's Pacific Fleet is facing new challenges, and yet the changes the Fleet itself has undergone have made it stronger and more responsive to the threats and objectives that lie before us. I'm privileged to have taken the helm from Tom Fargo, and privileged to work alongside the nearly quarter million men and women who serve in the Pacific Fleet.
Tonight offers us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Midway Veterans and serves as a reminder of how your legacy continues to inspire us to this day. In these different and difficult times where do we draw our strength ... after being victimized by another devastating surprise attack within our borders? We draw from many sources, to be sure ... our faith, a furious determination, a devotion to preserve our way of life. But we also find strength in the experience of those who came before us, who pitted themselves so valiantly against a superior force who had thrust upon them early setbacks that could have ground them into submission. In your experience, we see the resolve that altered the results of the first six months of the Pacific War from a prelude to defeat into a lesson in American resilience.
The six months preceding Midway, were dark hours indeed, marked by death and defeat - at Pearl Harbor, at the Battles of the Java Sea …