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GW Holds 7th Change of Command

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS061215-03
Release Date: 12/15/2006 10:25:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Najah M. Stanford, USS George Washington Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Capt. David C. Dykhoff relieved Rear Adm. Garry R. White as commanding officer of USS George Washington (CVN 73)(GW) Dec. 14 in a ceremony at Hangar LP-33 on Naval Station Norfolk.

Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander, North America Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, gave the ceremony’s keynote address. Keating spoke about the value of service and gave thanks to GW Sailors.

“I’ve had the good fortune of working with both [Rear Adm. White and Capt. Dykhoff] and have known them for a long time,” said Keating. “It gives me considerable comfort to know that the hands of these two young men have been and will be on the helm of one of our most valuable instruments of national power, the United States Ship George Washington.”

White had commanded GW since September 2004.

“Twenty-seven months ago I stood before most of you at the last change of command. I said I felt like the most fortunate man on earth,” said White. “Nothing has changed since then.”

His next assignment is director, Total Force Programming and Manpower Management Division in Washington.

“As your new commanding officer, I will do my best to focus on the big battles to fight for you and try to stay out of your light, so you can do your job and GW can continue to shine as it did under Adm. White’s command,” said Dykhoff.

Dykhoff continued saying he felt very proud to take his new position.

“I can have no greater privilege than to serve this great nation. To do so as the commanding officer of this magnificent ship and terrific crew, is truly the dream of a lifetime,” Dykhoff said.

Dykhoff’s operational background includes tours with two F-14 Tomcat squadrons, Fighter Squadron (VF) 154 and VF-24. He was also executive officer and commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97, flying the FA-18 Hornet.

While commanding officer of VFA-97, the squadron won awards for excellence in ordnance handling, aircraft maintenance, carrier landing excellence, and battle efficiency.

After leaving VFA-97, Dykhoff took over as executive officer of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and then as commanding officer of the fast combat support ship USS Seattle (AOE 3).

During his tenure aboard Nimitz, the ship completed the first refueling of a Nimitz-class carrier and also changed homeports from Norfolk to San Diego, returning to full operational capability.

GW is current undergoing a $300 million availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard as it prepares to relieve USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) in 2008 as the forward–deployed aircraft carrier in Japan.

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