Editors' note: Chris Cavas will remain with Defense News through June 16, 2017, at which time naval coverage will be led by David Larter.

I am moving on from Defense News after more than 13 years as this publication's naval warfare correspondent. For five years prior to that I was at Navy Times, lastly as the managing editor. It's been a very long and amazingly fruitful association with what was the Army Times Publishing Company, now Sightline Media Group, but all good things end, and I'm eager to seek another chapter in my career before I fade away.

This lengthy association has given me many opportunities that otherwise might not have come my way. I've been exceptionally fortunate to work not only with a long succession of very fine colleagues within the company, but also to have met thousands of men and women of all ages and ranks serving in the U.S. armed forces, in particular the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps, as well as hundreds of those in foreign military service. I've met any number of senior officials, flag and general officers. I've worked with four secretaries of the Navy — six if you count acting secretaries — six chiefs of naval operations, five Coast Guard commandants and five Marine Corps commandants. I've had the chance to talk with and cover hundreds of political and government figures — Cabinet members, senators, congressmen and staffers, along with members of the diplomatic corps. I've been able to sit down with deep thinkers, analysts and historians from some of the best think tanks, associations and educational institutions. I've spent quality time with hundreds of people in the defense industry. And I can't begin to recount how many people have been wonderfully kind, helpful and friendly.

I am lucky to have traveled the country and the world. Defense News sent me to Europe, Iceland and Scandinavia, the Mideast, over and on the Persian Gulf, to Canada and Asia and Latin America. I've been to sea on aircraft carriers, submarines, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, littoral combat ships, patrol craft, assault ships, amphibious ships, small boats, Coast Guard cutters big and small, and enjoyed the seagoing hospitality of the Danish, British and Columbian navies. I've gotten thoroughly soaked on a number of occasions, been dressed in ill-fitting outfits for damage control drills and been hoisted by sling into a helicopter from a rolling small ship. I've been underway on sea trials on two destroyers and an amphibious ship out of three different shipyards, and was the first reporter to go to sea on the futuristic destroyer Zumwalt. I've flown on P-3s, C-2s, C-40s, CN-235s, MV-22s, CV-22s, CH-53s, SH-60Fs, MH-60Ss, MH-60Rs, CH-47s, and British and Dutch Lynx helicopters. In port, I've been aboard hundreds of ships — foreign and of the U.S. — and walked under an aircraft carrier in dry dock. I've had the chance to visit virtually every shipyard in the U.S. building Navy and Coast Guard ships, walking vessels in all stages of construction in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Virginia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, California and Wisconsin, as well as in Sweden and France, and meeting the men and women who build those ships. I've been to military bases in Florida, Virginia, Maryland, California, Washington, Hawaii and many more. I've been to factories building fighter jets and patrol planes, weapons and electronics, and even covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which struck at some of the nation's most important shipyards.  

I've witnessed firsthand the dedication to duty of people in uniform and the sincere desire of those supporting them for their efforts to succeed. I've known dozens of politicians to reach across party lines for the common good. I've met hundreds of industry people who believe in quality products and supporting the military, not just to make money but because it's what they do. I've discovered shipbuilders and manufacturers have a deep and abiding sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from making great things.

And I've been a member of one of the best press corps there is, men and women covering defense with a sense of responsibility to become experts in a vast variety of issues and then fairly report those issues. It's often arduous work, and it can be dangerous. These professionals work hard, and they don't get much money for it. But they're there because they want to be there.

In every one of these situations, I have been incredibly proud and grateful to have been a part of it. Thank you, one and all.

So up anchor, hoist the sail and let's see where the wind blows. See you around, shipmate!

More In Commentary