The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) began a new chapter, June 27, as its director of two years retired during a ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard.
Capt. Henry J. Hendrix, Ph.D., was assigned as NHHC’s director in the wake of a Navy Inspector General investigation in 2011 that revealed its archives, artifacts, art and other historic holdings were at high risk or, in some cases, already deteriorating under substandard conditions and care.
Hendrix discussed the challenges the command faced and the progress that has been made.
“The record is clear that the staff of the Naval History and Heritage Command and its predecessor organization had been working for years under difficult conditions to promote our history and preserve our art and artifacts, but had lacked resources to properly do so,” said Hendrix.
Still, the Navy recognizes the work done so far and appreciation for that effort was illustrated for those attending the ceremony, when Director of the Navy Staff Vice Adm. Scott Swift formally presented the command with the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC). Signed by the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the award citation recognizes the meritorious service of the people assigned to the headquarters staff and its nine museums from December 2011 to January 2014 who “first stabilized and then systematically improved the Navy’s historical and heritage assets that were in jeopardy in 2011.”
Hendrix believes the MUC represents the dedication of the entire NHHC team and says he was proud to be a part of it.
For the last two years of his career, the focus of his service and of those with whom he has served has been investing in improvements to the processes and infrastructure of naval history. He admits there is much work to be done, but takes pride in that the command now has a strong foundation on which to build its future.
Recruitment for Hendrix’s replacement is nearly complete, and an announcement of a new NHHC director is expected soon.
Press Release, June 30, 2014; Image: US Navy