Following a Navy career that began 34 years ago, Cmdr. Chris Weech requested permission to go ashore for the last time at a retirement ceremony held Jan. 26 at the Historic Oakland.
Weech, a native of Key West, Florida, enlisted in the Navy 1983. He was selected for Officer Candidate School and commissioned an ensign, special duty officer-cryptology, in 1997.
Vice Adm. Mike Gilday, commander U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, spoke to the audience of Weech’s shipmates, family and friends about the impact Weech had on the Navy and the legacy he was leaving behind.
“Over the last 34 years, Chris has become a recognized leader in the Navy Information Warfare Community,” said Gilday. “Beyond his accomplishments, perhaps what we will miss most about Chris are his attributes. He is a great leader and superb manager. He cares about his people. He is dedicated to his profession. He isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in, or question what may not be right.”
After his remarks, Gilday awarded Weech the Meritorious Service Medal for his accomplishments during his last tour of duty as assistant chief of staff for training and exercises on the staff of FCC/C10F.
During his career, Weech served aboard a diverse set of commands, ships, and units all over the world. His sea duty tours included USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USS Ogden (LPD 5), and USS Paul F. Foster (DDG 964).
“In addition to Vice Adm. Gilday, I’ve been honored to serve with great leaders throughout my career,” said Weech. “I’m fortunate to have so many of my shipmates that I served with throughout my career here with me today.”
He is married to the former Jennifer Kroening of Cambria, N.Y. and has three daughters: Candace Alexis, Jenna Victoria and Britain Andrus.
“You don’t find success alone,” said Weech. “You have a lot of help along the way. If you want to be successful in life, find someone — the right someone — to help you paddle your boat. Jennifer has been that partner to paddle with me for 23 years.”
Navy retirement ceremonies are time-honored traditions that feature military gestures of respect and gratitude for the departing Sailor. Weech was commissioned as an officer 21 years ago in a ceremony where his brother, Air Force Master Sgt. Frank Weech rendered him his first salute. In a fitting end to a long and distinguished career, Frank Weech was the last person to salute his brother before he walked through the side boys and joined ranks of thousands of men and women who have retired from the Navy with honor.
U.S. Fleet Cyber Command serves as the Navy component command to U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command, and the Navy’s Service Cryptologic Component commander under the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. Fleet Cyber Command also reports directly to the Chief of Naval Operations as an Echelon II command.
U.S. 10th Fleet is the operational arm of Fleet Cyber Command and executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders. In this role, C10F provides operational direction through its Maritime Operations Center located at Fort George Meade Md., executing command and control over assigned forces in support of Navy or joint missions in cyber/networks, cryptologic/signals intelligence and space.