By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) held a retirement ceremony for Senior Chief Petty Officer (SW) James Burke, Oct. 30, 2015. The ceremony recognized his contributions to the service and the respect he earned as an enlisted Sailor.
A native of White Haven, Pennsylvania, Burke a Gunner’s Mate entered Naval Service, Feb. 1, 1994 and almost 20 years later wore the fouled anchors of a Senior Chief Petty Officer.
“What an honor and a privilege it is to stand in front of you, speak a few kind words and participate in one of the finest traditions we have in the United States Navy,” said SRF-JRMC Deputy Commander Capt. Edward Katz, the guest speaker and host for the ceremony. “I cannot think of a better place to be than right here celebrating this important event with you.”
Katz reflected on Burke’s accomplishments and asked for Burke to look upon retirement not as a “closing” or “ending,” but as “commencement” for the next chapter.
“So today is Commencement for you again,” Katz added, “‘a time when something begins.’ This time however, it may feel like there is much more at stake as you transition from the safety and security you had in your Navy Life to the perceived abyss we call civilian life. But, I assure you that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You will find yourself gravitating toward and feeling quite at home with all of the other men and women who also experienced ‘commencement,’ and did not retire.”
“Being from a small town, there were very few opportunities available in the form of employment, education and travel,” said Burke. “The Navy provided all three! My favorite memories in the Navy all involve the different ports I’ve been fortunate enough to visit and the friends I’ve made in the Navy.”
Another chapter began while stationed in Japan. “The most critical point had to be when I first arrived in Japan,” Burke added. “It was in Japan that I met my wife and also where all three of my sons were born. I’ve been fortunate enough to call Japan home for over 18 years; 9 years in Yokosuka and 9 years in Sasebo.”
Burke said he was appreciative of his family, coworkers, and all the people he encountered during his journey.
“I also would like to thank the hard working team in the Electronics Shop (X67) for making my job so much easier. They truly are the best at what they do.”
As a Gunner’s Mate, he was responsible for the operation and maintenance of guided missile launching systems, gun mounts and other ordnance equipment, including small arms and magazines. He has also worked with electrical and electronic circuitry, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
SRF-JRMC provides ship maintenance and modernization for Commander, Naval Forces Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet using advanced industrial techniques while keeping the 7th Fleet operationally ready.