November 28, 2023

History in the making: Naval Station Norfolk to welcome first African American woman commanding officer

2 min read

Author: Mike Gooding

Captain Janet Days will make history on Friday when she assumes the duties as Naval Station Norfolk’s 51st commanding officer.

Days will become the first African American commanding officer in the 106-year history of the world’s largest naval base.

Days previously served as the base’s executive officer.

Days, a native of Chicago, graduated summa cum laude from Old Dominion University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Business and received her commission through Naval ROTC via the Enlisted Commissioning Program.

Days holds a Master of Business Administration from the Naval Postgraduate School and concurrently earned the Naval War College command and staff diploma.

She is also a graduate of Joint and Combined Warfighting School at Joint Forces Staff College and is a qualified joint specialty officer.

Days’ sea assignments include tours aboard USS Simon Lake homeported at La Maddalena, Italy; USS Mahan; and USS Forrest Sherman.

Days served as the Destroyer Squadron 28 material officer and staff director embarked aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, where she completed two deployments to the U.S. Central Command Area of Operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

During her tour as executive officer and commanding officer of USS McFaul, she deployed independently to the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet Areas of Operation.

Ashore, Days was assigned to the Joint Staff Joint and Coalition Warfighting Directorate as a military analyst and observer trainer augment to the deployable training team.

She also deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan as the Joint Staff Liaison Officer to the International Security Assistance Force headquarters. 

Following a tour as the executive officer of Surface Warfare Schools Command, in Newport, Rhode Island, Days assumed the position of executive officer of Naval Station Norfolk.

Days will relieve Captain David Dees, who will assume duties as the Chief of Staff for Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.

Naval Station Norfolk covers 6,200 acres plus outlying properties and contains more than 600 significant facilities and 326 tenant commands. Naval Station Norfolk has 13 piers and an 8,000-foot airfield, supporting 63 ships, 188 aircraft and 18 squadrons.  

The Naval Station employs more than 67,000 personnel including both military and civilian personnel.

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