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Change of Command on High Seas

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070603-06
Release Date: 6/3/2007 6:09:00 AM

By Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Joseph A. Vernola, USS Kitty Hawk Public Affairs

USS KITTY HAWK, At Sea (NNS) -- Capt. Todd Zecchin relieved Capt. Ed McNamee as Kitty Hawk’s commanding officer during a change of command ceremony on the ship’s flight deck May 18.

McNamee thanked the crew for their hard work during his tour.

“I’m proud of this ship and this crew that [Zecchin] is getting because I know that they are both ready to go into harm’s way,” said McNamee, who received his third Legion of Merit medal for his two-years in command.

He said the crew will be better leaders and Sailors for serving in the forward deployed naval forces.

Guest speaker Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren, Commander Carrier Strike Group 5, spoke highly of Zecchin.

“You got a ringer folks,” Wren said. “You got a guy who’s coming from [USS John F. Kennedy]. He understands what you’re about to go through. He knows what you’re feeling; he knows what you’re thinking right now. We put him in the right place at the right time.”

Zecchin previously commanded John F. Kennedy from May 2006 until the ship’s decommissioning March 23.

“I’m looking forward to serving on this ship with this crew, because this truly is the tip of the sword,” Zecchin said. “The Kitty Hawk and [Carrier Air Wing] 5 have set the precedent and I expect that we’re going to continue [setting] the precedent.”

McNamee next reports to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations’ office in Washington as head of the Air Warfare Division.

Wren also announced that Kitty Hawk earned its second consecutive Admiral James H. Flatley Jr. award for aviation safety. The award recognizes the safest carrier, air wing and amphibious ships in the fleet.

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