From Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Public Affairs
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NAVMETOCCOM) met with more than 80 veterans and leadership of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Mass., during a Navy executive outreach visit June 9.
"Meeting men and women who have served our country is always an honor," said Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, commander, NAVMETOCCOM. "Many of these veterans have served in World War II, Korea and/or Vietnam. It was a privilege to hear their amazing individual stories and to thank them for their service."
The home's nearly 300 residents include the largest population of World War II veterans at any facility in New England. Nearly 50 percent of the residents are Word War II veterans, 25 percent served in the Korean War and 22 percent served in Vietnam.
Gallaudet toured the home with its superintendent, Paul Barabani, and deputy superintendent, John Paradis. The rest of visit was dedicated to meeting the home's residents and answering questions about today's Navy.
In an emotional highlight of the day, Gallaudet presented the World War II Victory Medal to Navy veteran Reinhold Seifert of Springfield. While standing the lookout watch aboard USS Ulysses (ARB-9) anchored off Okinawa during the Typhoon of June 1945, Seifert sighted a mine that had been cast off from one of the other ships in the anchorage. The gunners were ordered to shoot and destroy the mine as it drifted toward Ulysses, thereby saving the ship and crew.
Gallaudet's two-day visit to Springfield was part of the Navy's executive outreach program, designed to increase Americans' understanding of the Navy's mission, capabilities and relevance to national security.
The trip also included several meetings with local business leaders, Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps students at a local Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) high school, state and town government officials, TV and radio appearances, as well as an editorial board with local newspapers.
NAVMETOCCOM directs and oversees the collection, processing and exploitation of accurate, relevant and timely oceanographic, meteorological, hydrographic, precise time and astrometric information. NAVMETOCCOM was recently assigned as CTG 80.7 and is part of the Navy's Information Dominance Corps. As such, the command is the Navy's physical maritime battlespace authority.