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Recognizing Rear Admiral Charles Hamilton

Sen. Trent Lott

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Madam President, I rise today to recognize Rear Admiral Charles ``Charlie'' S. Hamilton, upon the completion of his current tour of duty as the Program Executive Officer, Ships, PEO Ships. Since assuming the position nearly 4 years ago, Rear Admiral Hamilton has worked with Congress on numerous issues of vital importance to our Navy and our Nation. His successes and accomplishments have been significant and many. Rear Admiral Hamilton has earned my deep respect and that of my colleagues through his exceptional competence, integrity, and innate ability to cut through bureaucracy in order to get the job done. Today, it is my pleasure to recognize some of Rear Admiral Hamilton's many accomplishments, and commend his service to the Navy, the Congress, and our grateful Nation.

Rear Admiral Hamilton was born in Amityville, NY. He entered military service in 1974 as an ensign after receiving a bachelor of science degree in Zoology from Duke University where he was a member of the Navy ROTC program. He continued his education at the Naval Post Graduate School, where he earned a master of arts degree in national security affairs, and at the National War College, where he earned a master of science degree in national security strategy. He is also a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College, and a designated surface warfare officer and joint specialty officer.

Rear Admiral Hamilton served in a variety of assignments at sea, where he consistently excelled as a leader of the highest caliber. His positions included combat information center officer aboard USS Hawkins, DD 873, mission fire control officer aboard USS Coontz, DDG 40, and operations officer aboard USS Callaghan, DDG 994. In September 1986, he became the executive officer aboard USS Fox, CG 33, where his leadership played a key role in the success of Operation Earnest Will, ensuring the safe passage of tankers and merchant vessels during the fiercest days of the Iran-Iraq conflict. In February 1991, he assumed command of USS O'Brien, DD 975, where he was hailed by his subordinates and superiors for his extraordinary leadership.

Rear Admiral Hamilton has also excelled in a variety of key staff positions, where he helped define and execute key elements of our national security strategy. These assignments included serving as the arsenal ship program manager; head of the Fleet Introduction and Lifetime Support Directorate, program executive officer for Theater Surface Combatants; two tours with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as Anti-Submarine Warfare Program analyst, OP-91, and Head of the AEGIS Destroyer Section, OP-355. He also served in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology as military staff specialist for naval warfare.

On May 15, 2003, Rear Admiral Hamilton assumed command of PEO Ships, then a newly established organization responsible for acquisition and support of the Navy's entire nonnuclear surface fleet, including boats and craft, special mission ships, and foreign military sales. In this capacity, he skillfully planned and executed current and future shipbuilding programs that will carry our surface Navy well into the 21st century.

During his tenure, 16 major surface ships were delivered to the U.S. Navy and 300 boats and craft were delivered to U.S. and foreign navies. To place that in perspective, it is my understanding that Rear Admiral Hamilton successfully shepherded the design and construction of more types of new ships than has ever been accomplished under a single flag officer since the passage of the Naval Act of 1794. These new classes of surface ships included San Antonio, LPD 17, Lewis and Clark, T-AKE 1, Makin Island LHD 8; Freedom, LCS 1, and Zumwalt, DDG 1000, classes of ships.

In addition, he tirelessly strove to facilitate the realistic consideration of next-generation architectures as well as ship concepts such as maritime prepositioning force future, MPFF, Mobile Landing Platform, MLP, and joint high speed vessel, JHSV. Rear Admiral Hamilton's extraordinary legacy of service will be clearly reflected not only in the improved warfighting capability of this Nation, but also in the safety, readiness, and quality of life of our sailors and marines.

On the eve of Rear Admiral Hamilton's change of command ceremony, I offer my congratulations to him, his wife Debbie and his children Chip, Mike, and Christina. Rear Admiral Hamilton will be greatly missed, and I know I speak for all my colleagues in expressing our heartfelt appreciation to him. He is a man of extraordinary honor, courage, and commitment, who always shot straight regardless of risk or possible peril. He is a credit to both the Navy and the United States of America. We wish our friend the best of luck in future endeavors, and congratulate him on the successful completion of an unprecedented tour of duty.