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Top admiral says San Diego is 'toothy.' That's good.

Add a new word to descriptions of San Diego: toothy.

"San Diego is a toothy place and that's exactly how it should remain," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead told a military support group in San Diego on Friday.

It helps to know about the military concept called "tooth to tail" -- tooth being a place where troops that put the "bite" on the enemy are based, and tail being, well, a place were support troops and others are based.

With 57 Navy ships in San Diego Bay,  the only military shipbuilding firm on the West Coast, 112,000 active-duty military personnel in the county, and numerous high-tech defense contractors, San Diego qualifies as profoundly "toothy," Roughead told the San Diego Military Advisory Council on the eve of the annual Fleet Week celebration.

And in tight economic times, when budget cutters are looking to trim, "tooth" takes priority over "tail."

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Honor Guard during a promotion ceremony this week aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, with San Diego skyline in background. Credit: U.S. Navy

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