New superintendent: Naval Academy must address infrastructure, sexual assault challenges

By RACHAEL PACELLA | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | Published: July 27, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — After relieving Vice Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter, the Naval Academy’s new superintendent said Friday he sees infrastructure and sexual assault as two challenges facing the institution.

“Naval Academy infrastructure must improve to meet modern technological demands and rising Severn tides,” Vice Adm. Sean Buck said during a change of command ceremony in Annapolis. “The prevention and elimination of sexual assault and sexual harassment remains at the forefront of my mind.”

Last year the Navy said it would raise a sea wall by 2.62 feet to prevent damage from sea level rise. The academy formed a Sea Level Rise Council in 2015. In the 2017-2018 school year there were 32 reports of sexual assault, the highest number in more than a decade.

Command was exchanged and Carter’s retirement was celebrated during a ceremony July 26 at Alumni Hall. Buck said he and his wife Joanne are excited to come to the yard and love, lead and sustain the institution and its students.

Buck is replacing Carter, who is set to retire after serving as one of the longest-serving superintendents in the school’s history.

Carter was superintendent of the academy for five years and three days. The only superintendent who has served longer continuously was Capt. George Blake, who served nearly eight years from 1857 to 1865. Adm. Charles Larson was superintendent for three years in 1980s, left and returned for four years in the 1990s.

Carter thanked his family and his colleagues, and quoted the James Magee poem High Flight.

“There are so many that came before me that have given blood and sweat and tears and even some that have given their life so that those like me and others could have enjoyed a 38 year flying career,” he said. “As I part of the final line in that poem is how I feel today. ‘I put out my hand and touched the face of God.’”

A program at the event said Carter graduated from the academy in 1981 and four years later graduated from Navy Fighter Weapons School as Top Gun. The flight officer has flown 125 combat missions to support operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, and has safely completed a record 2,016 carrier(arrested) landings.

The program was filled with images from Carter’s career — graduation photos, promotion photos, many photos with family, a photo with the Stanley Cup and a photo of him dropping the puck at NHL Winter Classic played outdoors at the academy’s stadium. In his time at the academy he played hockey, earning the nickname “Slapshot.”

When his official portrait was unveiled during the ceremony, it featured him standing in Dahlgren Hall, where he played hockey for Navy.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, academy class of 1982, said refocusing on building character was a center piece of Carter’s time at the academy.

Lynda Carter was recognized for her decades of support offered to sailors, marines and midshipmen as she has followed her husband through his career and 20 moves. They’re moving again in 10 days, to Virginia, Carter said.

The two met at a hockey game his sophomore year at the academy.

“Lynda has been by Ted’s side every step of the way,” Richardson said.

The ceremony was packed with Naval tradition, including pipers who played the high-pitched instrument as Carter and his wife were “piped ashore.”

The officials also had fun with Carter’s designation of Top Gun, with Richardson dimming the lights and dramatically reading a pretend movie script with a protagonist named Slapshot.

Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, academy class of 1983, said the Carters made the campus sparkle, and made the Buchanan House a home for the entire country.

“The true legacy of real lasting and historic leadership is the formation of others, both men and women who perform magnificently when called by their nation to do so and that will be the legacy of Ted and Lynda Carter during their record-setting tenure here in Annapolis,” Modly said.

Modly recalled that Carter wore a red shirt and served as a pace-setter on a run during his plebe summer at the school. A coach called him a “red corvette.”

Modly told Buck, a fellow 1983 graduate, that it was his turn to put the shirt on, catch up and set his own pace.

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Vice Adm. Sean S. Buck, right, salutes Vice Adm. Walter "Ted" Carter Jr., left, as he relieves him as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy during a change of command ceremony at Annapolis, Md., July 26, 2019. In the center is Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson.

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