NORFOLK, Va. –
In a small, socially distanced ceremony in front of family, friends, co-workers and mentors, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Norfolk, Virginia, Commander, Navy Capt. AJ “Justin” Lewis promoted Navy Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Christine Johnson to Cmdr., and Lt. j.g. Pablo Rodriguez to Lt. Cmdr. Sept. 3.
The promotion ceremony was held aboard the battleship USS Wisconsin, which was anchored in Norfolk, Virginia.
Johnson also serves as the deputy commander of DDNV, and Rodriguez is the chief staff officer.
“I like to remind our folks that you don’t need a uniform to serve… because at Team DDNV, our civilian workforce serves our country every day,” said Lewis. “In the case of our Deputy Commander, Christine Johnson, her service is somewhat distinct since she also is a Navy Reservist. I think this unique professional aspect allows her to understand and support the warfighter from multiple angles, as a ‘Citizen-Sailor.’ Getting promoted to commander is a big deal and something she has worked hard to achieve.”
Balancing two careers at the same time – one as a civilian and one as a Naval officer – is a challenge said Johnson. “But it is a great honor to be able to have both careers to serve our Nation.”
Johnson joined the Navy after 9/11 she said, “to help do my part to protect our country from enemies, both foreign and domestic.”
After returning from her first deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn, she realized that she wanted to do more, and decided to make a change in her civilian career from the fortune 50 corporations, to working for the Defense Department.
“I am proud to be able to bring my experiences to DLA and DoD, and grateful to continue excelling as a Navy Supply Corps officer. I have been blessed with great mentors, both in my civilian and Navy worlds, who have taken the time to guide me with their phenomenal leadership. Of course, all of this wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering and unconditional love from my family, who is always there to support my tough career decisions I’ve had to make.”
“I remember when I made lieutenant,” continued Johnson, “My XO told me, ‘if either your job (he was referring to my civilian boss), or the Navy, or your family are upset with you at any given time, then you are most likely doing things right.’ Although he was joking about having to juggle all three lives of a reservist, it turns out he was absolutely right!”
Turning to Rodriguez, Lewis said, “As the largest tenant command on the world’s largest Naval base, having a military face to the customer at DDNV is critical.”
“I can tell you, Lt. Cmdr. Rodriguez has earned his promotion today! I am very proud of him and the bright future that awaits, as he will undoubtedly be called upon to take on challenges commensurate with his new rank. It was great to have his family, as well as his mentor Cmdr. (select) Dave Medici, here today to be part of this event on the USS Wisconsin. Promotions in the military are truly a team effort, and it’s supportive families and colleagues that go a long way to making them possible.”
“Being promoted to Lt. Cmdr. is very special,” said Rodriguez, chief staff officer at DDNV. “What makes it special is all the sailors and mentors who supported me along the way. In my 18 years of active-duty service, I have had the pleasure to work with many hard-working sailors, and I have been guided by exceptional mentors who made this day possible. None of this would have been possible without the support of my wife, Denise, who has always been by my side and supported me on every career decision I had to make. I would like to take this moment to say thank you to everyone who has been there for me throughout my career.”