Intrepid executives and honorees posing in front of the Douglas A-4B Skyhawk.

Admiral Lisa Franchetti, Chief of Naval Operations, and Hii Ceo, Shipbuilders and Employees Honored at Intrepid Museum’s Salute to Freedom Gala

May 24, 2024 - 8:00am
Franchetti is the First Woman CNO; HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding Division Built USS Intrepid

The Intrepid Museum honored Admiral Lisa Franchetti, Chief of Naval Operations, and President and CEO of HII, Christopher D. Kastner and all HII shipbuilders and employees at its annual Salute to Freedom gala on Thursday, May 23, at the Intrepid Museum.

Admiral Lisa Franchetti received the 2024 Intrepid Freedom Award. On November 2, 2023, Franchetti assumed the duties as the 33rd United States Chief of Naval Operations, becoming the first woman CNO and the first woman on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She previously served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

Franchetti is a native of Rochester, New York. She received her commission in 1985 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Program at Northwestern University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. She holds a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. Franchetti’s assignments include commander, USS Ross (DDG 71); commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea; commander, Carrier Strike Groups 9 and 15; commander, U.S. 6th Fleet/commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO/deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa; and director for Strategy, Plans and Policy, Joint Staff. Her personal awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit (five awards), Meritorious Service Medal (six awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards).

Christopher D. Kastner, along with all HII shipbuilders and employees, were honored with the 2024 Intrepid Salute Award. This award recognizes HII’s employees and shipbuilder’s long history of contributions to U.S. naval strength and leadership in maritime innovation. HII’s shipbuilders’ and advanced technologists’ contributions are intertwined with U.S. naval history, dating from the Spanish-American War to the construction of the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier during World War II to today's advanced ships and technologies. HII stands as the nation's only designer and builder of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, a primary builder of nuclear-powered submarines, the largest supplier of U.S. Navy surface combatants, and a leading producer of uncrewed undersea vehicles (UUV). The work of HII’s 44,000 employees is vital in equipping the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard with the technologies needed for future conflicts and maintaining America's maritime dominance. HII’s commitment extends beyond shipbuilding to building and fostering a highly skilled workforce through one of the nation’s most esteemed apprenticeship schools, ensuring a steady influx of expertly trained professionals.

HII shipbuilders constructed two vessels featured at this year's Fleet Week: the U.S. Navy amphibious ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and the U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Calhoun (WMSL-759), reflecting HII’s ongoing contributions to the nation’s maritime strength.

“Every year, we host the Salute to Freedom gala to pay tribute to the men and women who go above and beyond to serve our nation,” said Museum President Susan Marenoff-Zausner. “We were thrilled to honor Admiral Lisa Franchetti for her trailblazing accomplishments and service to our nation, and the HII shipbuilders and employees for their significant contribution to our defense as America’s largest naval shipbuilder for more than a century.”

“I am truly honored to receive this award. This award is testament to the hard work and success of the Sailors I’ve led and the missions we’ve supported throughout my 38-year career,” said Franchetti. “With an average of 110 ships and 70,000 Sailors and Marines deployed at sea on any given day, the Navy-Marine Corps team is delivering power for peace, deterring potential adversaries, and standing ready to fight and win our Nation’s wars. I could not be more proud of our Navy Team, and am grateful to accept this award on their behalf.”

"I am always proud to see HII’s shipbuilders recognized for the work they do for the Navy and the nation,” stated Kastner. “Not many of us can say we actually built that carrier or submarine or warship, to support the national defense. Thank you to the Intrepid Museum for recognizing the nation’s shipbuilders for the work they do that benefits all of us." 

The Intrepid Museum's Salute to Freedom gala recognizes extraordinary leadership and honors the brave men and women who serve in defense of our nation.

Support from the gala makes possible educational experiences for more than 50,000 students each year, dynamic STEM content, free programs for veterans and military families, exhibitions that present stories of bravery and innovation, and the preservation of historical artifacts and collections in the Museum’s care.

See highlights from the Gala here.

A man and woman read an exhibit panel on Intrepid's flight deck while their child points at the propeller of an aircraft.

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