PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – Capt. Richard Jones relieved Capt. Gregory Burton as the 48th commander of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) during a change of command ceremony held June 4 onboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. On the grounds of the shipyard’s historic Building One, the physically-distanced ceremony, along with a video livestream, provided friends, family and colleagues the opportunity to witness the time-honored naval tradition.
Burton, who has served as shipyard commander since July 2017, expressed his gratitude to the workforce for their perseverance and dedication to the mission throughout his command tour. Though many challenges presented themselves over the past four years, Burton emphasized how the workforce’s resiliency and sense of Aloha helped overcome obstacles and pushed the Nō Ka ‘Oi shipyard towards their best performance in decades.
“Though the men and women of Pearl Harbor do not directly defend our freedoms, we maintain and modernize the ships and submarines for the Sailors that do,” Burton said. “We do not take this responsibility lightly. We are a shipyard full of dedicated Americans honored to work in this capacity – a capacity that directly contributes to our national security. To our core, we believe in being Nō Ka ‘Oi, challenging ourselves to be the best, and we believe in kulia i kanu’u, striving for the summit, or continuous improvement.”
Vice Adm. William Galinis, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) commander and presiding officer for the ceremony, praised PHNSY & IMF’s contributions to the national security mission and Navy readiness under Burton’s leadership.
“Our shipyard commanding officer jobs are our most challenging command jobs we have in our Engineering Duty Officer community, and I would argue perhaps some of the most challenging [major command] jobs in our Navy. These are tough jobs, and Greg, you have done an amazing job leading this shipyard over the last four years,” Galinis said. “On behalf of the entire Navy and country, thank you for a job well done and for commanding one of the most famous shipyards in America.”
Throughout the course of Burton’s command tour, PHNSY & IMF showcased continuous performance improvements in exceeding deadlines for Virginia-class submarine extended docking selected restricted availabilities with back-to-back early deliveries of USS North Carolina (SSN 777) in 2019 and USS Missouri (SSN 780) in 2020. These achievements earned the shipyard the designation as the Virginia-class Center of Excellence.
In addition, the shipyard improved on-time delivery rates of intermediate-level submarine availabilities, providing combat-ready warships to support the Navy’s mission while also increasing the annual execution of submarine maintenance by 16% from 2018-2021.
The shipyard also experienced increased surface ship maintenance performance, delivering its first Arleigh Burke-class destroyer docking selected restricted availability, USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), 14 days early in 2021 as well as completing pierside depot-level availabilities and continuous maintenance availabilities with a fiscal year 2021 on-time delivery rate of 100%.
PHNSY & IMF completed these accomplishments and others while maintaining its Voluntary Personal Protection status and received the Safety Management System (SMS) Achievement Award.
In light of these achievements, Galinis presented Burton with the Legion of Merit for outstanding service and commitment to duty during his four-year tour as shipyard commander. The award, typically reserved for senior officers, is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. Burton's outstanding performance at PHNSY & IMF during extremely challenging times of increasing workload, command emergencies and global crisis events is truly indicative of his commitment of service to the Navy and the nation. He directed, influenced and achieved Nō Ka 'Oi during his tour through his exceptional competence, dedication, and leadership.
During his remarks, Galinis also welcomed Jones to the helm of the shipyard, citing his myriad of experience in the Navy’s maintenance community, which will serve him well throughout the next three years at PHNSY & IMF.
“Rich, you have proven yourself to be talented, knowledgeable and ready for anything – including taking command of the Navy’s forward-deployed shipyard,” Galinis said. “Yes, you have some big shoes to fill, but when you combine your exemplary career with this team, I have no doubt the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and IMF is in the right hands. You are ready for this next adventure, and I look forward to seeing the innovations you spearhead during your tenure.”
Captain Jones comes to PHNSY & IMF from Commander, Submarine Forces Pacific, where he served as the Maintenance, Readiness, and Improvements Officer (N43) since 2020. A native of Waynetown, Ind., Jones has served the U.S. military in a variety of roles including as an enlisted Sailor, a Soldier with the U.S. Army Reserve, an Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and as a civilian nuclear engineer at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard before his voluntary recall to active military service in 2002.
“I am very humbled standing before you today. When I left for MEPS on a chilly November morning in 1984 to enlist in the Navy, I never dreamed I would be the 48th Commander of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard,” Jones said. “This shipyard has a proud history of keeping the Fleet fit to fight since 1908 and has overcome many challenges throughout its long history, always exceeding expectations and providing results that no one dreamed possible as the Navy’s No Ka ‘Oi shipyard! With your hard work and dedication, we will continue leading the way as the Virginia-class Center of Excellence, maintaining the Navy’s finest warships and delivering combat power to the Fleet.”
The ceremony, steeped in naval traditions, also served as the official retirement for Burton. Surrounded by friends, family and colleagues, Burton was piped ashore for a final time, marking the end of a long and successful career as an officer in the United States Navy.
“It has been an honor defending the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” said Burton. “I have enjoyed every day in the Navy. Every one of them has been a great Navy Day – even amidst seemingly insurmountable challenges.”
Along with his wife Caroline, Burton will begin their well-deserved retirement with a three-year church mission in the Philippines along with 140 other missionaries. Their journey for continual growth in service to others comes as no surprise to the shipyard workforce, who have benefited greatly from the Aloha spirit of the Burton Ohana over the years.
On behalf of the entire shipyard ‘ohana, we wish Aloha ‘Oe and fair winds and following seas to Captain Burton and say E Komo Mai, or welcome, to Captain Jones!
PHNSY & IMF is a field activity of NAVSEA and a one-stop regional maintenance center for the Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii, with a combined civilian and military workforce of approximately 6,400. It is the most comprehensive fleet repair and maintenance facility between the U.S. West Coast and the Far East, strategically located in the heart of the Pacific, being about a week’s steaming time closer to potential regional contingencies in the Indo-Pacific.
For more news from Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & IMF, visit navsea.navy.mil/Home/Shipyards/PHNS-IMF or facebook.com/PearlHarborNavalShipyard.