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Vitale Turns Command Over to Alexander

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060809-06
Release Date: 8/9/2006 4:07:00 PM

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) David Rush, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Townsend G. “Tim” Alexander relieved Rear Adm. Michael C. Vitale as commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, during a change of command ceremony held aboard Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Aug. 8.

Guest speakers at the event included Adm. Gary Roughead, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Vice Adm. Bob Conway, commander, Navy Installations Command, as well as opening remarks from Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle.

Before turning command over to Alexander, Vitale said it was an honor to serve as commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

“For two years, I have given barge tours in this harbor, 52 to be exact. To have had an opportunity to have meet survivors, listen to their stories, and share in their moments is priceless. It continues to teach me many important lessons about life that I will never forget. We must always be vigilant, and never take our freedoms for granted,” said Vitale.

“Always be humble, because life is a long lesson in humility -- and always take care of your shipmates and they will take care of you,” Vitale added.

According to Lingle, the leadership role, and the Sailors who live and work here, are an important part of Hawaii.

“You’re not just military leaders, you’re part of Hawaii’s ohana [family] -- these are the men and women who are willing to risk their lives to protect the freedoms that we enjoy in America. It’s important to remember, day in and day out, what they have committed their lives to,” said Lingle.

“I want Adm. Vitale to know, and Adm. Alexander, although he has just arrived, we will always welcome you back home to Hawaii. Good luck to you both,” Lingle added.

Alexander said he is ready to get started in his new position.

“I look forward to building on the great relationships that already exist between the Navy and the state of Hawaii. To the men and women, Sailors and civilians of Navy Region Hawaii and Surface Group Middle Pacific, I am eager to work with you and build upon your successes under Adm. Vitale’s leadership.”

Vitale commanded Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific since August 2004 and took command of Carrier Strike Group 2/commander, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Carrier Strike Group June 7 in a ceremony aboard the carrier.

As commander, Navy Region Hawaii, Alexander will serve as regional coordinator, managing the Navy's shore installations and infrastructure in Hawaii. The command serves the more than 30 local Navy commands, including 12 surface ships, 16 submarines and four aircraft squadrons. About 15,000 active-duty Navy personnel are stationed in Hawaii, in addition to 20,000 Navy family members and 10,000 civilian employees.

In his other role as commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, Alexander will be responsible for the training, maintenance and readiness of the 12 surface ships homeported at Pearl Harbor, ensuring they are prepared for forward-deployed fleet operations.

Alexander, who was nominated in May for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half), served as the commanding officer of Naval Base Coronado, Calif., since April 2004.

For related news, visit the Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.



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