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Admiral visits her hometown

Rear Adm. Annie Andrews heads Navy recruiting

POSTED: January 20, 2014 10:56 a.m.
Photo by Randy C. Murray/

Navy recruit, Long County High School graduate Thadious Webber, chats with Rear Adm. Annie Andrews on Friday during her visit to the Hinesville Navy recruiting station.

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Whenever she has a chance to return to Liberty County, Annie Andrews likes to visit old friends and family members. She especially likes to spend time in her mother’s kitchen, where the aroma of great food brings back fond memories. Andrews is just like any other small-town girl coming back to her roots, except that she’s a rear admiral and commander of the Navy Recruiting Command.
“I try to come and visit friends and family when I can,” Andrews said. “It’s wonderful to come home.”
Andrews said she grew up in Liberty County, where she attended elementary school and middle school until eighth grade, when she moved to Philadelphia. She returned to the area after high school, though, and earned her bachelor’s degree at Savannah State University. It was there that she first became interested in the Navy through the school’s Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Although she grew up in an Army community and had relatives who’d served in the Army, she especially was impressed by seeing some sailors and officers in their uniforms and noted how disciplined they were. She completed her bachelor’s degree and the ROTC program before being commissioned as an ensign in the Navy, which she said is equivalent to a second lieutenant.
Andrews laughed as she recalled an occasion when she wore her summer dress-white uniform and visited Fort Stewart, whose soldiers were not used to seeing Navy uniforms. She said the soldiers saw the star on the epaulets of her Navy uniform and mistook her for the youngest admiral in the Navy. That was years ago. She really is an admiral now — a rear admiral, which is equivalent to a brigadier general.
Andrews talked about the camaraderie among the services, saying all the branches come together to serve the same nation. She has enjoyed seeing the world she was promised when she joined the Navy, including Iceland, Europe and Japan. One of the leadership positions she held before stepping into her current role was head of the Navy training. She said that job prepared her for Navy Recruiting Command.
“There’s only one Navy training base, and that’s at (Naval Station) Great Lakes,” Andrews said. “I saw people of all walks of life come there to come into the Navy. ... The men and women we’re recruiting today are tomorrow’s leaders of our fleet. We want to recruit America’s best and brightest. We want the right people with the right skills.”
She said the recruiting command consists of about 6,000 personnel, including 4,500 recruiters who recruit officers and enlisted sailors through 13 districts at 1,500 recruiting stations in the United States and overseas. Two Navy captains called commodores report directly to Andrews. She said that Hinesville falls under the Jacksonville, Fla., district. Personnel from the Jacksonville office met with Andrews at the Hinesville station when she visited recruiters there Friday afternoon.
Andrews said the Navy — like the Army — also is cutting the size of its force, which includes recruiting fewer sailors. She said this year’s goal of 33,800 recruits is down from 40,000 last year. The Navy also is doing other things to ensure the it is the right size while maintaining the best, most skillful force possible.
“I love my Navy,” Andrews said. “I could talk about it all day.”
She said she also loves Liberty County and Coastal Georgia and appreciates the time she gets to come home. She said she especially enjoys time with her mother, Electa Andrews, a retired captain with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, as well as her sister, brother-in-law and nephew.
Andrews will participate in Monday’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade through downtown Hinesville and other MLK festivities planned in the area.

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