February 6, 2019 – Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain Fire and Emergency Services held a naming and christening ceremony in celebration of its new shipboard trainer on Feb. 4 at the base’s fire station.
The trainer was dubbed the USS Riewald, in loving memory of Regional Fire Chief Dean Charles Riewald, who passed away last year.
The ceremony opened with a prayer and blessing by base chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Reardon, followed by remarks from Acting Fire Chief Steven Cox.
“This originally started, the idea for this [trainer] to come here […], approximately three years ago. Chief Riewald came down with Chief [Joseph] Orona to evaluate us and sitting down talking about the things that we needed to bring to NSA Bahrain, and one of them came up and it was the ship lab fire support trainer,” said Cox.
NSA Bahrain’s commanding officer, Capt. Darren Guenther, also offered remarks regarding the trainer and the fire department as a whole.
“I want to say thank you to this fire department. Every one of us at this station owes a debt of gratitude to the people that stand at the ready. And we talk about our Sailors and Marines a lot, and today, I want to talk about you all as fire fighters keeping the watch. It’s something that gives us all comfort and on behalf of this entire community of 8,500 people on this base, I want to say thank you,” said Guenther.
“Today is a special day for a lot of different reasons. And we think of this as a fire trainer, but it’s a lot more than that. There’s a lot of people behind this trainer,” Guenther added.
Guenther later addressed the significance of the trainer’s namesake.
“I’m going to have a chance to christen this trainer in the name of one great leader in particular: Chief Dean Riewald. And we could not have picked a better namesake for this trainer. Chief Riewald was a great mentor and teacher to everyone here, I think, including myself, personally. So thank you for inviting me to celebrate with you in his name,” Guenther said.
Keynote speaker and Region Program Director and Chief for Fire and Emergency Services for Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia Joseph Orona spoke extensively about Chief Riewald’s life and legacy. He also highlighted what the trainer symbolizes.
“Today is about honor and remembrance. Not only that, most importantly, it’s about teamwork. Skipper said it best, that it’s not just for the fire department. This is for everybody. This is for the mission, it’s for the Navy, it’s for the United States,” Orona said.
“I don’t know, and neither does our program director at Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC); I don’t know of any other ceremony that has dedicated a fire department trainer to anybody. So this is a really special day for me. I know it’s special for Chief Cox. But it’s also special for all the peers that Dean touched and so thank you again. It’s just a phenomenal day for me,” he added.
Guenther christened the trainer with the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle against the structure. Guests then took a tour of the trainer, posed for pictures and enjoyed donuts and cake.