In my seven years serving the Naval Support Activity South Potomac (NSASP) community at Naval Support Facility (NSF) Dahlgren and NSF Indian Head, I’ve encountered all manners of difficult tasks and challenges. None of them quite compare to the current conundrum: how can my shipmates and I possibly craft a fitting final edition to the unique heritage of journalistic excellence at both bases… a heritage that has spanned decades, served communities in times of triumph and sorrow, and covered ever-evolving missions that have – no exaggeration – fundamentally changed the world?

Fate has left it to us to offer the final word in a body of work that is so much bigger than any one person. It’s a tall order that quickly makes the individual feel very small indeed, but one which feels at the same time very familiar to those who have dedicated their careers to the missions hosted at NSF Dahlgren and NSF Indian Head.

The fact is, this Navy has always been and will always be a team effort. It is not cliché to say that we stand on the shoulders of giants. It’s not about us as individuals; we’re just the place holders and beneficiaries of a journalistic heritage that started long before its current occupants took the helm.

That said, I would like to offer a humble tribute to all the writers and editors whose talents have graced the pages of the various newspapers at Dahlgren and Indian Head over the years. I would like to thank every contributor and subject matter expert who patiently explained complex concepts and systems to reporters, who then presented the Navy’s achievements and struggles to the public we serve. Everyone who has taken time to offer a quote or even a sharp critique is part of that tradition.

I’d like to offer special praise to Staff Writer Barbara Wagner, whose consummate professionalism, creativity and passion have made these pages a joy to read and edit.

Finally, I would like to thank you, the reader. Every ounce of effort that went into the South Potomac Pilot was intended to not only inform and entertain you, but also to highlight how your tireless work at Dahlgren and Indian Head contribute to our Navy and beyond. Inspiration has never been hard to come by around here; finding the right words to convey just how amazing you truly are, on the other hand, is the real challenge. It’s been our honor and privilege.