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Navy Unveils Boorda Portrait at the Pentagon

By Staff Sgt. Lee Roberts, USAF
National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 1997 – The Navy honored the memory of the "sailor's sailor" at a Pentagon portrait unveiling ceremony Feb. 3. The portrait of the late Adm. Jeremy "Mike" Boorda, 25th chief of naval operations, is now on permanent display in the sixth corridor of the building's fourth floor.

The portrait, taken by Norfolk photographer William S. McIntosh, shows Boorda in a khaki uniform leaning against a bridge-wing railing aboard the retired destroyer USS Barry, moored at the Washington Navy Yard. A sailor stands watch just above and behind the admiral.

During the ceremony, Boorda's widow, Betty, received the Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award from Adm. Jay Johnson, chief of naval operations. She also accepted six medals, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, awarded posthumously to her husband.

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen spoke at the ceremony. "It's fitting that my first official ceremonial duty is to honor the memory of Adm. Mike Boorda and the service of Mrs. Betty Boorda and her son David," he noted. Calling the late admiral a close friend, Cohen stressed he could depend on the Navy that Boorda built and bequeathed to all.

"I can count on the Navy's global reach, speed and firepower of its ships," he said. "And most of all, I will count on the sailors that Mike so cherished -- sailors that Mike cared so much about were part of his extended family. His rise from the enlisted ranks to CNO stands as an enduring legacy of inspiration for our sailors."

Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted to peeking at the portrait before the ceremony. The general said it's impossible to look at the photo without having fond memories of the admiral "in his work element, with shining eyes, a glowing smile, a man who spent his life looking ahead."

Shalikashvili said Boorda looked ahead, whether out at sea or at a distant future. He said his facial expression reflected a man of true grit –- he was "Mike the sailor. Whenever one of us will pass the spot where the portrait will hang, we'll glance at Mike and we will see a dear friend, a valued comrade in arms, full of wisdom, full of common sense and full of energy."

(Courtesy of J-Scope)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAdm. Jay Johnson, Chief of Naval Operations, and Betty Boorda unveil a portrait of the late Adm. Mike Boorda Feb. 3 during a ceremony at the Pentagon. Petty Officer 2nd Class John Sokolowski, USN  
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