By Krista Cummins, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific Public Affairs Officer
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific Commander Rear Adm. John Korka honored Capt. Michelle La Duca for 29 years of service to the Navy during an official retirement ceremony held June 29 aboard the USS Battleship Missouri.
"Today we recognize and celebrate the distinguished career of Michelle who spent the last 29 years serving our Nation and our Navy," said Korka. "Throughout her career, she has been a trusted counselor to many, a close friend to countless shipmates and a tremendous leader to junior officers and civilian staff."
Korka provided opening remarks for the ceremony and presented La Duca's husband and four children with letters of appreciation, followed by a retirement certificate and end of tour award for her faithful and honorable service to the U.S. Navy.
"One word that describes today is pride," said Korka. "Pride in a career faithfully and honorably served, pride in the accomplishment of a superb naval officer, and pride in a shipmate that will now move to a stage in her life that will afford her new adventures and opportunities with her family."
Capt. Kathryn Donovan, CEC, USN (retired) served as the guest speaker and praised La Duca for her exceptional commitment to duty and dedication to her family.
"One of my favorite quotes from Winston Churchill is, you make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give," said Donovan. "Michelle you have given so much of yourself to everyone else, to your family and to the Navy, and we cannot thank you enough. I'm so honored to be your friend."
La Duca reflected on her time as NAVFAC Pacific Vice Commander from August 2015 through June 2018 and recognized the contributions and achievements of her entire team and family.
"First and foremost I would like to thank God for being with me, guiding me, protecting me," said LaDuca. "Truly the grace of God allowed me to be here today. NAVFAC Pacific you have demonstrated the true meaning of Ohana by being supportive and patient professionals."
La Duca also reflected on her tour with NMCB 3 as the first female officer, time in NAVFAC Far East, the presence in Singapore, Diego Garcia, Korea, her time in Hawaii at NAVFAC Pacific and her memorable tour in Afghanistan.
"Each and every tour has significance and I've worked with so many amazing people," said La Duca. "I am truly grateful for everyone's kindness and graciousness during my transition this past year. Thank you for your professionalism and dedication as I've seen everyone one of you step up and step in to get the job done. I am sad to leave you and your teams."
La Duca's immediate and extended family shared in this special moment and celebrated her great accomplishment and commitment to the Nation and Navy for the past 29 years. La Duca will now reside in Jacksonville, Fla. with her family to enjoy her retirement.