VADM Thomas J. Kilcline, Jr., USN, Commander, Naval Air Forces, was the featured guest speaker at the April SDMAC breakfast meeting.
VADM Kilcline stated, "I am grateful to the important work of SDMAC and what the organization does to collectively strengthen the relationship between the military and the local community". He mentioned that San Diego and the Navy share a long and connected partnership, and that SDMAC helps keep the relationship close so the Navy and the community can grow together.
Kilcline told the gathered breakfast crowd that the birthplace of naval aviation was at North Island in Coronado in 1911.
"As Coronado and the greater San Diego area has developed over time" stated Kilcline, "it presents some challenges as the Navy seeks to maintain space -- air space, sea space, land space -- the space necessary to conduct the training of our forces that is critical to the national security of the U.S."
Kilcline further mentioned that development and growth are good things, but that the Navy and San Diego need to continue to work together to manage these challenges so that together a balance of sustainability to train and operate locally within the region can be maintained.
Kilcline indicated that Naval aviation is more capable now than it has ever been in the past to be ready for tomorrow’s challenges. Currently there are 3,800 aircraft, 202 Fleet squadrons, and over 125,000 people who are Aviators or support Naval aviation.
Per VADM Kilcline, "In today’s world, national strength is defined not only by our ability to project power but by our ability to project the compassion of our actions to people who need our help."
For instance, the USS Carl Vinson played a key part as a first responder to earthquake-impacted Haiti by providing over 1 million pounds of medical supplies, water and food.
As Kilcline stated, "We ring the bell around the world -- today and every day."