By Buddy Blouin
For more than a century, Naval Station Norfolk has served our country by providing a place for members of the military to perform incredibly important duties. The Sailors stationed and deployed from the base are some of the fiercest fighters in the world, but the lack of diversity has been apparent in some ways when it comes to leadership. Now, the appointment of Captain Janet Days as the 51st Commanding Officer (CO) is looking to change that. Her talent, leadership, and experience are looking to help lead Sailors at the storied naval base. This is the first time a Black female has held the position in the history of the installation.

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Captain Janet Days is Bringing Her Leadership to Naval Station Norfolk

It may have taken 106 years, but the first Black female CO has been appointed to Naval Station Norfolk. This will see Captain Janet Days taking the place of Captain David Dees. In a time in which the Navy may become an even larger part of the U.S. war machine, this position is even more critical. Defining the job of a CO can prove difficult at a lower level, but as there are plenty of competing responsibilities at varying levels of intensity, however, the role can be defined simply in one word: leadership. It’s the responsibility of the CO to ensure their unit is operating at the highest level, and now, the Sailors at Norfolk are being left in more than capable hands. Her resume is impressive, to say the least. After graduating from Old Dominion University in 1999, Capt. Janet Days would go on to earn her master’s degree at the Naval Postgraduate School and the Naval War College, graduate from Joint and Combined Warfighting School at Joint Forces Staff College, and become a qualified Joint Specialty Officer. If you’re looking for awards, you won’t have to look far, as Days’s military career has been fruitful. Her exploits have earned her a variety of medals including seven Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal, an Army Achievement Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

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Days has served on several ships including the USS Forrest Sherman, USS Mahan, and USS Simon Lake in which multiple deployments were conducted. She has also served as the Destroyer Squadron 28 material officer and staff director aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower for multiple deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom. There’s more, such as her time serving as the Executive Officer and CO for the USS McFaul, as well as the Joint Staff, J7 Liaison Officer to the International Security Assistance Force headquarters. But the overarching theme is that when it comes to finding someone suited for the job, the Navy has found her. Capt. Janet Days receiving this appointment as the first Black female in a position of leadership is nothing new for her. She accomplished a similar feat in 2021 after being appointed an Executive Officer at Naval Station Norfolk. Now, her streak continues and the entire naval force is better off as a result.

Her Predecessor Will Take On the Role of Chief of Staff for Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic

Captain David Dees is being relieved of his duties by the more than capable Captain Janet Days, but not to worry, his hard work, dedication, and service will still be a part of the Navy. His new role as Chief of Staff for Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic will see Capt. Dees coordinating and leading a variety of shore-based activities for Sailors in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The Appointment of Capt. Janet Days Can Help Multiple Naval Issues

Featuring everything from aircraft carriers to submarines, Norfolk is a critical naval base for the U.S. Navy, and right now, there are plenty of issues facing Sailors that Capt. Janet Days will be expected to address. Some of these issues involve criticism of aging fleets, conflict in Europe, and increasing aggressions in Asia. Maintaining the highest standards is the reason why America continues to see success in, above, and below global bodies of water in our efforts to remain a free country. The guidance, knowledge, and experience that Captain Janet Days is bringing will help continue these efforts while trailblazing the path for other Black Sailors in the process.

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