Mr. President, I take this opportunity to recognize and say farewell to an outstanding Naval officer and dear friend, Rear Adm. Robert J. Natter, who has served with distinction for the past 33 months as the Navy's Chief of Legislative Affairs. It is a privilege for me to recognize his many outstanding achievements and commend him for the superb service he has provided this legislative body, the Navy and our great Nation.
A native of Trussville, AL, Admiral Natter comes from a patriotic family of seven boys and two girls that has contributed immeasurably to our Nation's defense. All seven boys have served as commissioned officers in our Armed Forces--six in the Navy and one in the Air Force. Four graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, one was commissioned through Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, and one attended Officer Candidate School. Two are currently Navy admirals. I salute this family who has served our Nation so well.
Admiral Natter enlisted in the Naval Reserve at the age of 17 as a seaman recruit. Following 1 year of enlisted service and 4 years at the Naval Academy, he was graduated and commissioned an Ensign in June 1967.
Admiral Natter's service at sea includes department head tours in a Coastal Minesweeper and Frigate, and Executive Officer tours in two Amphibious Tank Landing Ships and a Spruance Destroyer. He distinguished himself in combat as Officer-in-Charge of a Naval Special Warfare detachment in Vietnam. He later commanded the guided missile destroyer U.S.S. Chandler and guided missile cruiser U.S.S. Antietam. He has been the recipient of many awards and commendations including the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
As the Navy's Chief of Legislative Affairs, Admiral Natter has provided timely support and accurate information on Navy plans and programs. Working closely with the United States Congress, he helped maintain the best-trained, best-equipped, and best prepared Navy in the world. His strong leadership provided a legacy of innovative, affordable and technologically superior naval systems and platforms for those who will serve in the Navy decades after he steps down as the Chief of Legislative Affairs. His consummate leadership, integrity, and tireless energy serve as an example for us all.
Mr. President, Bob Natter, his wife Claudia, and daughters Kelly, Kendall, and Courtney have made many sacrifices during his 30-year naval career. They have made significant contributions to the outstanding naval forces upon which our country relies so heavily. Admiral Natter is a great credit to both the Navy and the country he so proudly serves. As this highly decorated combat veteran now departs to take command of the United States Seventh Fleet, I call upon my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to wish him fair winds and following seas. He is a sailor's sailor.
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