Panneton Named Navy League Senior VP at 2004 Winter Meetings

Panneton Named Navy League Senior VP at 2004 Winter Meetings

Atkinson, Peter E

John A. Panneton of Virginia Beach, Va., a national vice president and former president of the Hampton Roads, Va., Council, was chosen the Navy League’s new senior vice president at the 2004 Winter Meetings.

Panneton will succeed Sheila M. McNeill as national president following the Navy League National Convention in June in Norfolk, Va. After being elected by the board of directors earlier in the day, Panneton was introduced as senior vice president by McNeill at a dinner that closed meetings Nov. 6.

“We have accomplished a lot in the last 16 months, but there is still a lot to accomplish,” McNeill said. “I intend to keep driving forward until the bloody end and I want to pass that momentum on to John.”

Prior to the dinner, Panneton said membership recruitment and retention would be among his priorities as he assumed leadership of the Navy League. “I would like to work with the regions and work with the councils to set realistic goals,” he said.

Panneton said he was hoping to have councils pursue more outreach programs to keep members involved and active, and give them more incentive to remain onboard. “Recruitment is one thing, but we need to establish retention programs to back that up,” he said.

Panneton has been a national vice president for the past five years, a national director for the since 1994, and was Virginia state president and Mid-Atlantic Region president. He has been chairman of 14 U.S Navy ship commissionings and is the recipient of a secretary of the Navy Superior Service Award.

The winter meetings drew more than 300 Navy League leaders from across the country, Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and South Korea to the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Va., Nov. 4-6. More than 30 committee meetings, workshops and training sessions were conducted, along with a legislative panel that featured speakers Coast Guard Rear Adm. Joel Whitehead, assistant commandant for government and public affairs; Navy Capt. Scott Gray, deputy chief of legislative affairs; Marine Corps Col. Chris O’Conner, deputy legislative assistant to the commandant; and James E. Caponiti, associate administrator for national security for the Maritime Administration.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark was guest speaker at the Nov. 6 dinner where he spelled out the goals of the ongoing transformation of the Navy and how programs such as the Fleet Response Plan, Sea Swap and better cooperation with the other sea services would be changing the shape, and size, of the Navy in the years to come.

Although the transformation is still in its infancy the Navy already is seeing benefits in terms of readiness and availability, and has become a less predictable, more formidable force as a result, Clark said. “We are getting more utility out of the platforms and we are more ready to go and more responsive than any time in our history,” he said.

The transformation programs will no doubt mean fewer ships and sailors in the future, but Clark urged winter meeting attendees to think beyond mere numbers, and applauded McNeill for “standing tall” on the issue of shipbuilding.

“We have learned to run this company a lot more efficiently, we have become a lean and mean organization,” he said, noting that greater efficiency translates for more combat power and reach. As Navy League leaders, Clark said, “You need to explain to your council members why this is possible.”

By PETER E. ATKINSON, Deputy Editor

Copyright Navy League of the United States Dec 2004

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