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State of Naval Station Everett: 'Excellent' but busy
EVERETT "The apparent quiet and calm on the waterfront is misleading when you consider what our sailors are doing around the world," said Capt. Thomas Mascolo, at the State of the Station luncheon for Naval Station Everett, April 18. "When we don't appear busy, your Everett-based sailors are very busy, in inverse proportion to the occupancy of the port."
Mascolo, the commanding officer of Naval Station Everett, thanked the Everett community for its support, before characterizing the state of the station as "excellent" but busy.
As of Mascolo's speech, USS Ford was the only ship left in port, since USS Abraham Lincoln, Momsen and Shoup are all deployed, USS Ingraham has not yet returned from its deployment, and USS Rodney M. Davis is preparing for her deployment in San Diego.
"It's safe to say that our ships are either deployed or preparing to deploy," Mascolo said. "They're doing what they're designed to do, in support of national security."
Mascolo then summarized the mission of Naval Station Everett as supporting those ships, as well as the sailors on board those ships, and their families, through its shoreside tenant commands.
"Fleet, fighter and family is our mantra," Mascolo said. "Support detachments keep our ships in shape and well supplied. Training commands support our ships and their sailors. Medical and personnel support our sailors and their families. The reserves augment almost everything and everyone, with virtually all ratings. And specialized units have unique capabilities to protect our assets."
Mascolo highlighted the counseling offered to families of deployed sailors through the Fleet and Family Support Center in Marysville, and added that their Child Development Center is accredited by National Education Association of Young Children.
Mascolo noted that 90 percent of global commerce moves by the sea, with 50,000 large ships carrying more than 80 percent of the world's trade, and 10,000 oil tankers shipping 60 percent of the world's petroleum. He went on to describe Naval Station Everett as Snohomish County's second-largest employer, after Boeing, with a $205 million payroll, $45 million in purchases, 5,500 military members and 650 civilian employees.
"Naval Station Everett truly has a global reach, and is an integral part of what the Navy does," Mascolo said.
Among its projected new facilities are bachelor enlisted quarters that will house 500 sailors, so they can live ashore instead of on ships, while their ships are in port, and a fleet regional readiness center, making such a training facility available to Pacific Northwest sailors so they don't have to go down to San Diego. Mascolo also predicted that the housing project in Marysville would bring 100 families from Fort Lawton to Snohomish County.
Another change on the horizon is the Navy's plan to have the West Coast serve as homeport for 60 percent of the fleet's assets, as opposed to its current level of 50 percent, with the East Coast serving as homeport for the other half.
"Overall, we're looking at slow, steady growth and stability," Mascolo said. "In the Pacific Northwest, we can expect new shore facilities, more submarines and new aircraft."
Mascolo elaborated on Naval Station Everett's advantages over other ports, since not only is the San Diego harbor a fraction of the size of Puget Sound, but Naval Station Everett is also the fleet's only open-access deep-water port
"There are bottlenecks everywhere else," Mascolo said. "Asymmetric warfare has to be concerned with clogged bottlenecks."
Mascolo pointed out the the "peace dividend" at the end of the Cold War decreased the fleet's numbers, but not its commitments. The Navy's ship count of 458 in 1993 has decreased to 279, but according to Mascolo, the number of ships that must be deployed, at any given time, has remained almost constant, at approximately 100.
in light of these increasing demands upon individual ships and sailors, Mascolo expressed gratitude to the surrounding community for showing its support from the start of the station's 14-year history. He commended the Everett Chamber of Commerce for offering shopping discounts to sailors, and the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce for its family employment initiative, which has since been adopted by Snohomish County and will be pitched to the state later this month.
"Other groups have taken us in as one of their own from day one in 1994," Mascolo said. "In turn, our sailors volunteer heavily in the community, at schools, churches, social service organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and food banks. At the Everett Gospel Mission, we've had to turn some sailors away, because too many wanted to volunteer at once, when there weren't enough duties to go around."