A Buffalo native who now serves as Commandant of the Naval District in Washington, D.C. is in Western New York, where he will help welcome 20 new sailors into the Navy during his stay.
Rear Admiral Carl Lahti, a 1989 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, appeared Wednesday afternoon at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, where hours later aboard the decommissioned U.S.S. Little Rock, he would lead the swearing-in ceremony of local enlistees.
Lahti had been in Buffalo for the ceremony putting the new U.S.S. Little Rock into service in December 2017. But on this drizzly Wednesday afternoon in October 2019, he'd get to tour the Little Rock, The Sullivans and Croaker, and admitted a lot has changed at the park since he toured the ships as a youth.
A lot has also changed in the Navy since his graduation at Annapolis.
"I would say our biggest changes are the advances in the technology and the weapons systems, and the advances in our sailors and their capabilities and their ability to operate those systems," Lahti said.
His assignments are numerous. They include operations officer on the staff of Commander, Submarine Squadron 4; deputy commander, Submarine Development Squadron 12, and chief, Strategic Effects Division, in the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5) of the Joint Staff. He is also a past commanding officer of the Naval Submarine Base in New London, chief of staff at Navy Installations Command, and the director of the Energy and Environmental Readiness Division, N45 OPNAV.
Lahti assumed his latest role in June 2018.
At least one of the enlistees joined Lahti on the tour of the ships docked at the Naval & Military Park. WBFO asked Lahti to explain how he'd convince recruitment candidates to choose his branch of the service over any other.
"First of all, we're a joint team. I have to say every other branch is great," he replied. "But the Navy is particularly good because we will take and develop you to be able to hone your talents and skills and develop and make it so you can understand how to best employ your individual capabilities together with our Navy combat team."