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1st Black Woman Named To Head Norfolk Naval Station

By Rosaland Tyler
Associate Editor
New Journal ad Guide

Capt. Janet H. Days, a 1999 Old Dominion University graduate recently assumed command of the world’s largest naval base.

Days assumed command of Norfolk’s Naval Station and became its 51st commanding officer during a change of command ceremony that was held on Feb. 3. She is the first African-American female to hold the post.

Days will relieve Capt. David Dees, who will assume duties as the chief of staff for commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.

“I was in the military world my whole upbringing,” Days said in a June 2021 interview with the Navy Office of Community Outreach. “I grew up as an Army brat traveling the world with my family and I always enjoyed the military environment. I ended up joining the Reserve Officers Training Corps and then the Army, before transitioning into the Navy for the education and travel opportunities available to sailors.”

Days, age 54, said her father, George Hanks, a 25-year Navy veteran, set a superb example. “My father was in the military for 25 years and he made sure I knew to treat people with respect, have a good sense of humor and maintain a positive attitude,” she said. She grew up watching “a strong role model.”

Days also holds a masters in business administration from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. She is a highly decorated officer.

According to, Days has received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (seven awards), among others.

These include the Army Commendation Medal (two awards), Army Achievement Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

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Her sea assignments include tours aboard the USS Simon Lake; USS Mahan and USS Forrest Sherman as engineer officer. Additionally, Days completed two deployments, one to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to conduct theater security cooperation and a subsequent deployment to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to conduct counter-narcotics operations.

Days went on to serve as the Destroyer Squadron 28 material officer and staff director embarked aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, where she completed two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Days also served as the executive officer and commanding officer of USS McFaul.

Following a tour as the executive officer of Surface Warfare Schools Command in Newport, R.I., she was appointed Naval Station Norfolk’s executive officer in 2021.

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