By Kimberly M. Lansdale, Center for Surface Combat Systems
DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) -- Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) held a change of command and retirement ceremony on board Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, Va. May 23.
Capt. Bill McKinley became the fifth commanding officer of CSCS when he relieved Capt. Don Schmieley. Schmieley had been CSCS' commanding officer since April 2012 and retired after 30 years of active service.
McKinley assumed responsibility of CSCS, including 14 learning sites, units and detachments, which train Sailors to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations.
Rear Adm. Mike White, commander, Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), was the guest speaker at the event.
"The motto of Naval Education and Training Command is, 'Fleet Readiness Starts Here' - the outstanding training developed and delivered throughout the CSCS domain exemplifies that motto," White said. "Working closely with Fleet Forces Command and Type Command representatives, the CSCS team reviewed fleet requirements against various training programs to streamline the training pipeline and improve skillsets for Sailors.
"Don, you take your responsibilities seriously and have imparted that sense of importance to the CSCS staff. Your dedication to the Navy and our Sailors is core to the deep and abiding ethics which have been a part of your entire Navy career."
Schmieley said his tour of duty at CSCS was one of the most rewarding assignments of his Navy career.
"I look back at these past two years and I am amazed with the professionalism and excellence this organization exhibits on a daily basis," said Schmieley. "I am proud to have served with each and every member of the CSCS community. My time with the Navy may be concluding but I am confident that CSCS will continue to strive and better our Navy."
Schmieley was presented his third Legion of Merit for many of his accomplishments at CSCS. Part of the award citation lauded the captain as, 'the driving force behind numerous combat systems training initiatives, such as the Fire Controlman challenge, which provides Fleet commanders with trained Sailors in a shorter time without sacrificing training quality."
White also commented on the future of CSCS under the new leadership.
"As you can see from his biography, Capt. Bill McKinley is exceptionally qualified to continue the critical work here at CSCS. What aren't noted in the biography are reflections from those who have served with Capt. McKinley aboard USS San Jacinto (CG 56), his previous command. His shipmates say he is a detail oriented professional who is 'meticulous,' 'sincere,' and 'patient.' I am confident in the continued success of CSCS under your leadership Bill."
McKinley is looking forward to building on these accomplishments with CSCS.
"Today, we are on the leading edge of combat systems training," said McKinley. "CSCS will continue to prepare today's and tomorrow's Sailor to achieve operational excellence for not only CSCS, but also the United States Navy."
The Center for Surface Combat Systems mission is to develop and deliver surface ship combat systems training to achieve surface warfare superiority. CSCS headquarters' staff oversees 14 learning sites and provides almost 70,000 hours of curriculum for close to 700 courses a year to more than 40,000 Sailors. The training center uses a mix of blended learning comprised of instructor led classes, hands-on labs, simulation and computer-based training.