Adm. Michael Gilday has officially taken the helm of the Navy as the 32nd Chief of Naval Operations, taking over for Adm. John Richardson who is retiring after 37 years.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer served as the presiding officer and guest speaker during the ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. late last month.
“Adm. Gilday has already played a critical role in restoring our readiness and lethality, and he’s well-positioned to help take our integrated naval force into the next decade,” Spencer said.
Gilday said the Navy’s strategic direction is “rock solid” and the state of the Navy is strong.
“We are recruiting and retaining a high-quality force, we are providing well trained combat-ready forces forward, around the globe,” he said. “We are modernizing our Navy at a scope and pace not seen in decades. I can say all that, in large part, due to the leadership of our 31st CNO.”
Richardson called Gilday a surface warrior who understands the challenges of cyber warfare and increasing competition in new domains.
“His experience as the director of the Joint Staff will ensure that the Navy continues to look for every opportunity to collaborate with other services, allies, and partners around the world,” he said. “The Navy will be in good hands with Admiral Gilday at the helm.”
Gilday, a Massachusetts native and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, holds master’s degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and the National War College. He has deployed with USS Chandler (DDG 996), USS Princeton (CG 59), and USS Gettysburg (CG 64), and he commanded destroyers USS Higgins (DDG 76) and USS Benfold (DDG 65) and subsequently, commanded Destroyer Squadron 7, serving as sea combat commander for the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, according to his official Navy biography.
He has also served as commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S 10th Fleet. He is the recipient of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (four awards), Legion of Merit (three awards), Bronze Star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” and the Combat Action Ribbon.