Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy Jodi Greene, a Northfield native, returned home this week to talk about the Navy and the commissioning of the future USS Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Greene, a 1990 Northfield High School graduate, has served as the deputy under secretary of the Navy since 2007 and is the sponsor of the future USS Minneapolis/St. Paul. The USS Minneapolis/St. Paul is a littoral combat ship under construction now in Marinette, Wisconsin, and is set for a keel laying ceremony in January.
“We have 277 ships today in the United States Navy,” Greene said. “Only 52 of those are named after cities, 39 of the 52 are submarines. They’re underwater and no one hardly ever sees them.”
The littoral combat ship will travel the world and be exposed to citizens of several countries in the years to come.
“You cannot but be proud if you live in Minneapolis-St. Paul, if you live anywhere in Minnesota to know that that name is going to be carried all over the globe,” Greene said.
Prior to becoming deputy under secretary, Greene served as the country director for Russia in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe-NATO, where she was responsible for forming and implementing U.S. policy for Russia and the Eurasia region. She started there in 2004 after she moved from her position as the country director and senior director for Korea in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense of Asian and Pacific Affairs. In that role she developed security policy on North Korea’s nuclear program.
Greene spent Friday talking with media and members of the Navy have spent the week visiting with the public. Navy Week began Monday and has included the Navy Leap Frogs Precision Parachute team jumping into Hazel Park in St. Paul, as well as the opening ceremonies of the Schwan’s USA Cup.
Explosive Ordinance Disposal Divers swam with fish at the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium at the Mall of America Wednesday and dove with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office in White Bear Lake. The Navy Band Great Lakes has played in St. Paul as well.
Rear Admiral Frederick J. “Fritz” Roegge, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, also a Minnesota native, and two divers from the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unite 2 team who dove in recovery efforts during the 2007 I-35W bridge collapse, took part in a wreath-laying ceremony Monday in Minneapolis.
“Seventeen Navy divers from Little Creek, Virginia, flew in and supported those recovery efforts,” Greene said. “They started the recovery the evening they arrived and they did not stop until the last victim was found on Aug. 20.”
The week has been an opportunity for sailors to be visible in the public. Since most are deployed across the world, it’s a rare moment for people to visit with active sailors.
“The Navy is a fully deployed force so the people aren’t seen — sailors walking around the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul or anywhere else for that matter,” Greene said. “Navy Week is really that opportunity to bring them there and talk about what the Navy’s doing.”
Around 3,500 Minnesotans serve in the Navy, Greene said. There are around 500 reservists in the state as well and 4,600 retired Navy personnel, according to Greene.
The week also provided an opportunity for small businesses to learn about opportunities to work with the Navy, Greene said.
The Navy performs many tasks that aren’t seen by the public but have a great impact on it.
“If we didn’t have the Navy preserving the freedom of the seas across the globe, there would not be ship containers coming into the port of Duluth,” Greene said. “There would not be the incredible trade and commerce coming into Minnesota.”