17 September 2019


By Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 17 September 2019

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.  George Orwell

Watchstanders - our selfless and courageous countrymen who swear oath to (our) Constitution. 

Duty theirs. 

Here and there, they protect against enemies; foreign and domestic.

Here - Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, yesterday morning a watchstander, a Sailor, these past 38 years was formally relieved of watchstanding.

Commander, STRATCOM; U. S. Sailor retiring


General John E. Hyten, U. S. Air Force, Commander, United States Strategic Command - the most powerful combatant command on planet earth - retired one of his admirals, Rear Admiral Linnea J. Sommer-Weddington, U. S. Navy. 

In a hanger, with giant flag and tactical aircraft as backdrops, before a crowd of more than a couple hundred patriots, uniformed and not, the watchstander's commander spoke to duty, extraordinary performance of duty and leadership spanning four decades, and, on behalf of a grateful nation, decorated that Sailor, that watchstander.

And Sailors (Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and a Coast Guardsman, too), some long relieved of watchstanding and others still watchstanding, carried out Navy tradition.

Early this morning arrived email from the Department of Defense. Official notification that a watchstander, there - Wardak Province, Afghanistan, had given his life in the line of duty yesterday. 

Sergeant 1st Class Jeremy W. Griffin, U. S. Army - Green Beret on fourth combat deployment - currently assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington was killed by small arms fire while engaged in combat operations.

Yesterday, Monday, 16 September 2019 ...

A watchstander retired - and family and friends celebrated.

A watchstander died - and family and friends mourned.

The cost of freedom; sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter.  

Watchstanders know. 

Commander, STRATCOM; U. S. Marine (Retired); U. S. Sailor (Retired)
The Blue/Green team retired

Watchstander retired and family (some of whom know watchstanding)

The Watch

For 38 years,
this Sailor stood the watch.

While some of us were in our bunks at night,
this Sailor stood the watch.

While some of us were in school learning our trade,
this Shipmate stood the watch.

Yes, even before some of us were born into this world,
this Shipmate stood the watch.

In those years when the storm clouds of war were seen brewing on the horizon of history,
this Shipmate stood the watch.

Many times she would cast an eye ashore and see her husband standing there; needing his guidance and help, needing that hand to hold during those hard times,
but still, she stood the watch.

For thirty-eight years, she stood the watch so that we, our families and our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety, each and every night, knowing,
this Sailor stood the watch.

Today we are here to say, "Shipmate ... the watch stands relieved. Relieved by those you have trained, guided and led. Shipmate, you stand relieved.
We have the watch.

Sailor retired.

Soldier died.

Watchstanders, including a combatant commander, carry on. They have the watch.

Sleep peaceably. 


Tom Hickinbotham said...

Andy, Admiral/Linnea,

Congratulations, and thank you for your 38 years of service to our Country. May you enjoy many years of fair winds and following seas!!

Unknown said...

Admiral, Congratulations and thanks for the many years of service and dedication . May God Bless and keep you, the Colonel and your family safe. Cpl. James M. Snetz USMC 1957-60

A Colonel of Truth said...

Lieutenant Colonel Hickinbotham, thank you, Sir. Looking forward to seeing you August 2020, if not before.

Corporal Snetz, thank you, Sir.