Program graduates 50,000th sailor
For more than 50 years, the Navy has trained nuclear operators at the Kesselring Site in West Milton. Tuesday marked a major milestone for the facility. YNN's C.J. Spang has details.
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WEST MILTON, N.Y. -- When Jenna Swindt's superiors asked to speak with her, she wasn't sure what they wanted.
Swindt said, "Why does Command Master Chief want to talk to me? So I went over to his office and he said, 'Congratulations you're the 50,000th sailor.'"
Tuesday, the Navy recognized Swindt as the 50,000th nuclear-trained sailor to graduate from the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory's Kesselring Site in West Milton.
"It was definitely a surprise, but it took a lot of hard work, just like all the other sailors that I was qualifying with. It's very nice to know I finished that and it's a great sense of accomplishment," Swindt said.
"It means a great series of teamwork between the site, the community, government and our program. It means for more than six decades, we've been able to train our students and keep our fleet manned," said Captain Brian Fort, Commanding Officer of the NPU-Ballston Spa.
Swindt is one of 246 graduates in her class. According to officials, half of the Navy's nuclear operators have trained at the Kesselring Site.
Fort said, "We are a national asset. The sailors that come through here, this is the final training before they go serve aboard nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines, we complete that training right here before they man up in the fleet."
During the ceremony, four-star admiral Kirkland Donald, who is in charge of the Navy's nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, along with all related activities, told the graduates to enjoy the celebration, because in the Navy, the reward for completing one hard job is another hard job.