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Horton Takes the Helm

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070518-15
Release Date: 5/18/2007 4:21:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Jen Crenshaw, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Capt. Ronald Horton relieved Capt. Larry Rice as commanding officer of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) "Big E" May 17 in a ceremony aboard the Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, on Naval Station Norfolk.

Vice Adm. James McArthur, Commander Naval Network Warfare Command, gave the keynote address.

“I’ve known Larry Rice and Ron Horton for many years,” said McArthur. “I remember as an LSO (landing signal officer) waving 'Lips' in his first trap in the Turkey (nickname for the F-14 Tomcat -- when landing, the movement of its control surfaces makes it look like a turkey), and 'Beav' waving me in my first trap in the A-6 Intruder. It’s a small world, and I’m proud to be a part of it and proud to be here for this momentous occasion.”

Rice had commanded Enterprise since September 2004.

In 2006, Rice led the Enterprise in one of the most extensive deployments in recent memory, conducting operations in the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and the Western Pacific within a seven-month span.

During that deployment, Enterprise and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 conducted combat operations simultaneously in Afghanistan and Iraq in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and Operation Medusa. From early September through November, Enterprise-based aircraft expended more than 130 precision weapons against Taliban extremists in Afghanistan.

“Although the U.S. Navy has had a ship named Enterprise off and on for the past 232 years,” Rice said, “what has made each and every one of those ships an amazing warfighting machine is not the name, it’s not the equipment, it’s not the stuff, it’s the Sailors and Marines that man them.”

Rice continued by thanking many of the departments, including individual Sailors who were key players in guiding the Enterprise through the deployment.

Rice is awaiting his orders to his next assignment and will be temporarily stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va.

Horton took a few moments to thank his wife, parents and family for the successes he has enjoyed throughout his career. He continued by thanking the crew members of the Enterprise.

“I want you to know I am fully aware of who pulls the oars around here,” said Horton. “You have had many successes under Capt. Rice, but I ask you to remember that all successes are fleeting and the successes of the past mean nothing if we do not continue to excel in the future. Enterprise may be aged; and she may be ornery, but so is a ’57 Chevy. Enterprise, this is our ’57 Chevy: a true American classic of power, might and technological marvel.”

Horton’s operational background includes tours with two A-6E Intruder squadrons: Attack Squadron (VA) 128 and VA-115. During his tour with VA-115, he was selected as VA-115 Pilot of the Year.

In 1993, Horton was selected to transition to the F/A-18 Hornet and completed his initial training at Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125. During his next tour, he served as operations officer, maintenance officer and administrative officer for the “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146.

He was also executive officer and commanding officer of VFA-192. During his command, the “Golden Dragons” received several awards, including the Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet Battle “E” award.

After leaving VFA-192, Horton began nuclear power training. Upon completion of the training, he reported to USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as its executive officer from January 2003 until September 2004.

Following his tour as executive officer, Horton took command of USS Juneau (LPD 10) as a part of Amphibious Forces 7th Fleet homeported in Sasebo, Japan. During his command, he took part in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Enduring Freedom-Philippines.

The Big E is currently preparing for its second deployment in two years. Since 2006, the ship has successfully completed several major shipboard inspections, including Board of Inspection and Survey, Aviation Maintenance Inspection and a Medical Readiness Inspection.

Big E is the centerpiece of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, which also includes the guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), and USS James E. Williams (DDG 95); the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64), the fast-attack submarine USS
Philadelphia (SSN 690) and the fast-combat supply ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6).

In addition to being the flagship of the strike group, Enterprise is also the home to CVW 1. The air wing is comprised of the “Checkmates” of VFA-211 flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet; the “Knighthawks” of VFA-136; the “Sidewinders” of VFA-86; the “Thunderbolts” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 all flying the F/A-18 Hornet. Also joining CWV 1 are the “Dragonslayers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11 flying the SH-60 Seahawk; the “Rooks” of Electronic Attack Squadron 137 flying the EA-6B Prowler; the “Maulers” of Sea Control Squadron 32 flying the S-3B Viking; the “Screwtops of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123 flying the E-2C Hawkeye; and the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 flying the C-2A Greyhound.

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