KABUL, Afghanistan — One of the Navy’s newest officers joined the ranks in a unique way July 9 when he received his commissioning oath via video teleconference from his uncle, a Navy vice admiral who commands a joint task force in Afghanistan.
The commissioning of Ensign Ian Kriegish by Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, Joint Task Force 435 commander, marked the beginning of the third generation of his family to serve as an officer in the Navy.
“We are all very proud of you — proud of you for what you’re doing,” Harward told his nephew. “You’re taking on this obligation when we’re at war, and you’ll serve while we’re at war. There’s no greater purpose that you could have in life, so go out and serve the fleet well.”
Harward introduced Kriegish to the Navy. As a recent honors graduate from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., Kriegish was undecided about his future. But a visit to his uncle’s home in Norfolk, Va., changed that.
“When he was visiting me in Norfolk, he didn’t know what he wanted to do,” Harward said. “I live near the [aircraft] carrier, so we just walked over and walked on some of the ships. We talked to some young kids who were just junior officers. He decided that joining seemed interesting, so he applied.”
After finding out that he had aced the entry test and had been accepted to become an intelligence officer, Kriegish began Officer Candidate School.
“When he applied, he wanted intel, so he was excited to be accepted by them and to have that be what he’s going to do for the next few years,” Harward said.
After receiving his commission, Kriegish was congratulated by his attending family and his video-teleconferencing uncle. “Congratulations, Ensign Kriegish,” the admiral said. “I just wish I could be there to be your first salute.”
After a small talk with the family, Harward offered a parting, “Go get ‘em, Ensign Kriegish,” as he sent his nephew to join the fleet.
Joint Task Force 435 assumed responsibility for U.S. detention operations — including the care and custody of detainees at the detention facility in Parwan — oversight of detainee review processes, programs for the peaceful reintegration of detainees into society, and coordination with other agencies and partners for the promotion of the rule of law in Afghanistan.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)