By MC1(SW/AW) Christopher Thien
Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) celebrated the Department of Defense Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month with an event honoring this year's theme "Pride in All Who Serve" June 28.
The event guest speaker Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, a Navy Supply Corps officer and president of Service members, Partners and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All (SPART*A), spoke to the CNIC staff about his experiences as a member of the LGBT community. "I don't do what I do for myself but for those who come after me," said Dremann who mentors service members all over the world. "Someday I hope we are in a place where transgender service members are accepted and education about them has gotten to where I am no longer needed."
Pride Month recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community to the military and civilian sectors. As part of One Navy Team, the LGBT community contributes its diverse talents, skill and perspectives to increase the strength of the force.
While interning at the Pentagon, Dremann was one of the service members who met with Senior Department of Defense officials that worked on the current transgender policy which, allows service members who meet all requirements to serve openly. "I had no intention of leading a movement," said Dremann, who at the time was one of the first women to serve on a submarine. "I happened to be exactly where I need to be, to be in the center of the change in the transgender policy," he said.
The ceremony attended by both military and civilian employees of CNIC focused on the fact that everyone who serves is a respected member of the Navy and is valued for their hard work, "Together, we can make the world safer, freer and more equal for everyone," said CNIC Chief of Staff, Capt. Stephen Barnett. "I am extremely proud to be a member of a Department of Defense that is committed to upholding these ideals."
"It doesn't matter who you are, you can still be a good leader," said John Countryman, CNIC's G2 operations manager. "A leader is a leader."
During his remarks, Dremann recounted a discussion he had with a colleague who had congratulated him for being the recipient of the 2015 Navy League's Vice Admiral Robert F. Batchelder Award, the Navy's highest logistic award for contributing to the operational readiness of the fleet. His response to the colleague says a lot about Dremann's leadership style.
"Excellence is an expectation," he recounted, "not an exception."
Dremann was commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 2006. He served on a variety of platforms and commands in the last 15 years including the USS Denver (LPD 9), USS Maine (SSBN 741), Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, Combined Task Force 101 in Bagram Afghanistan and 7th Fleet.