It's a pleasure to finally make the acquaintance of the Fort Worth Support
Committee. As you may remember, my predecessor, CDR Jeremiah Petersen,
bestowed upon me the mantle of responsibility that is Commanding Officer of
USS Fort Worth in October 2022. I do not take this responsibility lightly
and know I have big shoes to fill, but I fully intend to continue Fort
Worth's successful legacy as we sail into 2023.
Here's a little about me: I am a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but I was
raised in Mississippi and consider myself a Mississippian. I enlisted in
1995 as a Submariner Electrician's Mate (Nuclear), commissioned through
Officer Candidate School, and graduated from Thomas Edison State University
with a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Electronics in 2003. I hold a Master
of Arts in Defense and Strategy from the Naval War College. My sea tours
include serving as a damage control assistant aboard USS Duluth (LPD 6) and
combat information officer on USS Denver (LPD 9). I've completed a junior
officer sea tour aboard USS Kidd (DDG 100) as the anti-submarine warfare
officer; my first department head tour was as the engineering officer aboard
USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and my second Department Head tour was on
staff with Engineering Assessment at Afloat Training Group Pacific. My
executive officer tour was aboard USS America (LHA 6), and my first
commanding officer tour was aboard USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (LCS 21).
Ashore, I've served as an instructor at Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare
Training Center San Diego and communication officer at Littoral Combat Ship
Squadron One, and I am currently assigned as commanding officer aboard USS
Fort Worth (LCS 3). I am authorized to wear two Meritorious Service Medals,
five Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, seven Navy and Marine Corps
Achievement Medals, and various unit and campaign awards. Enough about me!
Let's talk about what the crew has accomplished this quarter.
October saw many celebrations. We said farewell to Lt. Cmdr. McClenning
(combat systems officer), Lt. Quihuis (navigator), Engineman 1st Class
Carothers, and Gummer's Mate 1st Class Varnedoe. Their experience and
commitment to duty will be missed on the deck plates. We also bid a proper
and heartfelt farewell to Cmdr. Peterson after his successful tour as
commanding officer. On Oct. 13, the crew came together for the Navy's 247th
birthday, celebrating not only a great achievement but also enjoying the
great opportunity for our culinary specialists to showcase their abilities
in the galley! The celebration led to many rousing speeches about our naval
heritage and enabled the crew to enjoy some much-deserved fellowship. And as
if the month couldn't have been any more exciting, the chief's mess gave a
warm welcome to their newly-minted chiefs from enduring the gauntlet of
chief season - Chief Sonar Technician Cooper and Chief Gas Turbine Systems
Technician (Mechanical) Gutierrez. I'm certain the chief's mess was as
excited as I was to see another set of khakis on the deck plates!
In November, prior to enjoying the Thanksgiving Holiday, the crew continued
to see the fruits of their labor come to fruition as we got to celebrate our
Sailors of the Year-Sonar Technician 1st Class Service (Senior SOY),
Operations Specialist 2nd Class Campos (SOY), and Electronics Technician 3rd
Class Gillett (Junior SOY). In addition to our Sailor of the Year awards, we
were able to celebrate the reenlistment of Machinist's Mate 1st Class Swe
and Electrician's Mate 1st Class Judah, and our Enlisted Surface Warfare
Specialist (ESWS) pin recipients, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Yanez and
Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Blue.
Closing out the year, we said our goodbyes to Sonar Technician 2nd Class
Haynes, Fire Controlman 1st Class Powers, Chief Sonar Technician Grubba, and
Lt. Kuzel (auxiliaries officer), who have all left their mark on Fort Worth.
I'm sure they will continue to set the example wherever they go.
We celebrated our Sailor of the Quarter winners: Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class
Whittiker (Junior SOQ), Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Blue (SOQ),
and Machinist's Mate 1st Class Swe (Senior SOQ). We also congratulated
Command Senior Chief Wilson for earning his ESWS pin. Lastly, we bore
witness to the promotion of Engineman 3rd Class Horn and Culinary Specialist
3rd Class Dayfoster.
The crew's Petty Officer Association welcomed two new First Class Petty
Officers: Hospitalman 1st Class Sturgis and Machinist's Mate 1st Class
Gallo! The crew was also able to rejoice with Fire Controlman 2nd Class
Candanoza, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Gione, Engineman 2nd Class James, and
Sonar Technician 2nd Class Salazar as their hard work paid off when they
earned their ESWS pins. The crew also said their thanks and goodbyes to
Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Schrade, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Salazar,
Sonar Technician 1st Class Lavandero, Senior Chief Engineman Haskins, and
Lt. Gonzales (assistant operations officer) for all their hard work aboard
Lastly, the achievements brought on by the New Year could not be
understated. The crew celebrated the reenlistment of Sonar Technician 1st
Class Service and Chief Information Systems Technician Kane. And a huge
congratulations to Command Master Chief Frank Wilson on his promotion to
Master Chief Petty Officer - congrats, CMC!
CDR Alfonza White
USS FORT WORTH (LCS 3)