Rear Admiral’s visit highlights university’s long relationship with Navy

Rear Admiral’s visit highlights university’s long relationship with Navy

Story and Photos by University Communications

P art of sustaining military might and operational readiness is maintaining critical relationships at home.

In November, United States Navy Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey embarked upon a tour of inland communities to ensure all Georgians understand the importance of the Navy to American peace and prosperity. As a part of Atlanta Navy Week, Rear Adm. Holsey stopped at Georgia College & State University to renew a relationship that started with Milledgeville’s long-time Congressional representative, the late Carl Vinson.

USN Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey with a model of the USS Carl Vinson, which is named after Congressman Carl Vinson, pictured.
USN Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey with a model of the USS Carl Vinson, which is named after Congressman Carl Vinson, pictured.

Holsey is the former commander of the Carrier Strike Group One, embarked aboard the USS Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class nuclear supercarrier named after Vinson. In addition to drumming up support for the Navy, Holsey took time to learn more about the namesake of one of the ships that fell under his command. 

Vinson represented Baldwin County for 50 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. His tenure is celebrated for his staunch support of the armed services and his strong advocacy for the development of a two-oceans navy.

“When you learn the history of your ship and the culture surrounding the ship, it forms a natural connection,” Holsey said. “It's so powerful to have organizations like [Georgia College] to reach out and sow those seeds. I've never been here, but I understand the power of this visit, the power of hearing these stories and the power of connecting with community. So, I would encourage that to continue to happen.”

Georgia College is home to Vinson’s papers in the Ina Dillard Russell Library; custodian of the congressman’s former residence, the Carl Vinson House; and an educational partner, formerly providing satellite classes to sailors serving aboard the USS Carl Vinson.

Holsey said those kinds of connections help build a support network for the men and women serving in the Navy. The history permeates the culture, and sailors are better able to connect their duties back to the people and communities they’re protecting through military service.

“To my mind, leadership is about empathy, development, compassion and promise—the promise to see not just who a person is today, but who they can be tomorrow, who, as leaders, we can help them to become,” Holsey said. “If you have that as the underlying tone, it sets the stage so that as we face down bad actors around the world, we face them as a team.”

...leadership is about empathy, development, compassion and promise—the promise to see not just who a person is today, but who they can be tomorrow…
– USN Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey

And as Holsey’s tour took place in the weeks before Veterans Day, he made sure to emphasize that includes the men and women who wear the uniform today and all those who’ve returned to their civilian lives. During a reception hosted by GCSU Leadership Programs, Holsey made time to meet with the university’s veteran community and reaffirm the U.S. Armed Forces’ commitment to all who have served. 

“For veterans: we see you, we hear you, we know who you are, we know that you have served and you continue to serve,” he said. “So, for those young folks and older folks who have served—our veterans—know that we understand the sacrifice, day-in and day-out, we make sure to be attentive to that, and we thank you for your service.” 

USN Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey, on right, presents a medallion featuring the emblem of the U.S. Navy to GCSU President Cathy Cox.
USN Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey, on right, presents a medallion featuring the emblem of the U.S. Navy to GCSU President Cathy Cox.

 

During his visit, Georgia College President Cathy Cox presented Holsey with a commendation from Governor Brian Kemp, celebrating Atlanta Navy week and recognizing the university’s relationship with the USS Carl Vinson. Holsey, in turn, presented Cox with a medallion featuring the emblem of the United States Navy, a tangible reminder of the connection between these two institutions that was renewed by Holsey’s presence on campus.

Georgia College will recognize the service and sacrifice of all members of the United States military during its annual Veterans Day ceremony at 1 p.m., Monday, Nov. 14 in the Magnolia Ballroom.