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PHIBRON 2 Changes Command

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070521-10
Release Date: 5/21/2007 4:17:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Joanne De Vera, USS Bataan Public Affairs

Al ‘AQUBAH, Jordan (NNS) -- Capt. Peter Fanta relieved Capt. Donna Looney as commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 2 and commander, Bataan Strike Group during a change of command ceremony aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5) May 21, while the ship was in port.

Looney passed the title to Fanta in a small, but traditional exchange in the ship’s forecastle.

“Change of command ceremonies are for those we command, and I wanted to have an intimate ceremony to thank the staff for everything over the past two years,” said Looney.

Fanta graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received his commission in 1983. His first tour of duty was aboard USS Coontz (DDG 40), where he served as first lieutenant and damage control assistant.

Following assignments included USS Pegasus (PHM 1), USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), and as a gas turbine engineer instructor at Surface Warfare School. He served as commanding officer aboard USS Falcon (MHC 59) and USS Rushmore (LSD 47), as assignment officer (surface warfare officer detailer) at the Bureau of Naval Personnel and as chief, Programming and Budgeting on the Naval Operations. His last tour of duty was as chief, programming and budgeting on the Joint Staff.

“This ceremony isn’t about me, as Capt. Looney said,” said Fanta. “Everything the strike group has done speaks volumes and I’m humbled to be part of this staff.”

Looney departed PHIBRON 2 after two years of service as commodore. As commander of the Bataan Strike Group, she led the ships of the strike group through pre-deployment exercises aboard Bataan. In January, she deployed to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleets with the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) aboard Bataan, the ESG’s flagship.

Since deploying, she led the strike group through Exercises Image Nautilus, Edged Mallet, Eastern Maverick, Arabian Gauntlet, Infinite Moonlight and Enhanced Presence Operations in the Northern Persian Gulf.

Looney’s next assignment will be with U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

“This deployment would be a challenge for any staff, and [PHIBRON 2] has excelled,” said Looney. “Leaving a command is not easy and leaving during deployment is especially difficult, but I’m leaving you in capable hands. I’m always going to be proud to have been your commander and you should also be proud of what you’ve done.”

Bataan ESG is comprised of the Bataan Strike Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., commanded by Col. Gregg Sturdevant. Bataan Strike Group includes PHIBRON 2, Bataan, USS Shreveport (LPD 12), USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Underwood (FFG 36), and USS Scranton (SSN 756).

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