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U.S. Fleet Forces Conducts Change of Command Aboard "Big E"

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070517-24
Release Date: 5/17/2007 4:43:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jerry Foltz, Fleet Forces Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Adm. Gary Roughead relieved Adm. John B. Nathman as Commander U.S. Fleet Forces Command (FFC) during a change of command ceremony held aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) at Naval Station Norfolk on May 17.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen spoke of Nathman’s distinguished career, and praised his accomplishments during his tenure at FFC, commending his focus on warfighting, force posture, and building regional relationships.

“In all the time I have known John, he is most known for his passion for the Navy. A passion so deep, it was contagious,” Mullen said.

Nathman, a naval aviator and a 1970 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, assumed command of U.S. Fleet Forces Command in February 2005. In his two-year tenure, he led the command through a period of dramatic change, focusing on his strategic focus areas of operational readiness, operational effectiveness and operational primacy.

“The reason why the Navy is performing so well today, in every operational commitment around the world, is due to the leadership that John Nathman provided,” Mullen said. “He has done so much for so many and set in place so many facets of what the Navy is and will be.”

CNO presented Nathman with his fourth Distinguished Service Medal, after which he thanked the men and women of FFC for the professional and personal sacrifices they made daily to ensure the security and survivability of the fleet.

Mullen also praised Nathman’s wife thanking her for her leadership, involvement in civic activities, and commitment to improving the quality of life for the families of Sailors assigned to FFC. For her service, Mullen presented her with the Distinguished Public Service Award.

Afterwards, Nathman spoke of his time at the helm of FFC.

“Looking at the men and women gathered here today reminds me of how hard they work to make a difference,” he said. “It has been great to command Fleet Forces and I am honored to have served with each and every one of you.”

Nathman read his orders and ordered his flag hauled down before relinquishing command to Roughead, who most recently served as commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet.

“As always, my focus is going to remain as it should be, on warfighting,” Roughead said.

Roughead, a surface warfare officer and 1973 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, has served in a variety of command positions afloat and ashore, including command of the Norfolk-based George Washington Carrier Strike Group and commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet.

“We are going to look at the best way to shape the fleet of tomorrow,” he said. “I believe that the men and women of FFC are in the most significant command that will determine readiness for today and the future of the Navy.”

“There isn’t anybody who has contributed more to our missions, our improvements in warfighting and our commitment to our people and their families than Gary Roughead,” Mullen said. “We our delighted to have him back home.”

Roughead then stated his vision for the fleet with one simple phrase.

“Strap yourselves in, because we are going on a hell of a ride,” he said.

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