President Jeff Wells, Vice Admiral Douglas Perry, and USNA graduate Chris Bugg
The Program
Our speaker, Vice Admiral Douglas Perry, followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from the Naval Academy and then becoming the commander of a submarine. Nine years of his childhood was in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk while his father was a commander of a submarine.
Vice Admiral Perry wears two hats: as the commander of the Second Fleet and of the Joint Forces Command.
The Second Fleet had a long history protecting the North Atlantic from our enemies after World War II. It maintained peace for over six decades. After the breakup of the Soviet Union (1992), it was believed that Russia would peacefully coexist. In January 2011, the Second Fleet was disestablished. After Russia’s invasion of Crimea and its increasing belligerence, the Second Fleet was reestablished in 2016. Its mission is defend the homeland by maintaining peace of the north Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean to the Artic Circle. A large part of its responsibility is to maintain readiness.
As a subset of his responsibilities, he is the Task Force Commander 20 and is responsible for the final integration of a carrier strike group, like the USS Eisenhower.  
Established in 2019, the Joint Forces Command Norfolk is a joint operational level command as part of the NATO command structure. It helps in the coordination with other NATO partners to insure that all participants have strong military preparedness.
Of the 31 countries involved in NATO, eighteen now spend at least two percent of their GDP on the military.
Historically Finland and Sweden used to believe that they wouldn’t be attacked by the Soviet Union/Russia. That changed with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulting in Finland becoming a NATO member in April 2023. Sweden has been approved for membership and both countries bring strong militaries to the alliance.
Of concern is the recent flare-up in the Red Sea by the Houthi rebels. We are prepared to defend against drone attacks but the more difficult issue is the missiles launched from mobile trucks such as recently hit the British registered Rubymar.
The Meeting
Our visitors included:
  • Susan Bore who was brought by Jennifer Priest and Frank Murphy was the guest of John McLemore.
  • We also had two visiting Rotarians—Rich Salon of the Goochland Rotary Club, and Fred Williams of the Leesburg Rotary Club and the brother of Armistead Williams.
  • The club also voted into membership three people who were with us: Ina Diepold-Wassmer, Lynell Powell (Dr. Joy), and Rachel Ruggieri.  
Happy Bucks
  • Tom Koller’s daughter had her annual pet scan for cancer in New York and it came out negative.
  • Chris Bugg is happy for the Naval Academy
  • Armistead Williams is happy to have his brother and sister-in-law visiting from Leesburg.
  • Lynell Powell (Dr. Joy) was delighted that her husband accompanied their daughter to find a junior prom dress. They were successful within an hour.
  • President Jeff was one of the judges for the Norfolk Science Fair. Despite being given instructions not to quiz the students about their project, he couldn’t resist—and immediately got sent to time out.
This week we had three prizes. Sigur Whitaker won four tickets to the Virginia Arts Festival production of her choice. Two tickets to an upcoming ODU basketball game were won by Kay Stine. An additional two tickets to an upcoming ODU basketball game was won by LauraBeth DeHority.
Club business
  • Norfolk Rotary Charities has received sixty applications for a grant.
  • Suds & Buds is on Thursday, May 16. Tom Koller urged club members to buy tickets, become or solicit a sponsor, and bring $20 for the wine pull. Additionally, there will be an auction at S & B.
  • There will be three projects during the remaining months of this Rotary year: a small library at PrimePlus; make part of the community garden handicapped accessible; and participate in Sail Norfolk.