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Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Changes Command

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070921-21
Release Date: 9/21/2007 4:38:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Rosa Larson, Commander, Naval Forces Europe-Commander, 6th Fleet Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Vice Adm. John Stufflebeem, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, turned over command to Vice Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. in a ceremony at Naval Support Activity Capodichino in Naples on Sept. 21.

Winnefeld will also take over the positions of deputy commander Naval Forces Europe, Joint Force Maritime Component commander Europe, commander Strike and Support Forces NATO, and allied commander Joint Command Lisbon.

During the ceremony, Stufflebeem, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, offered his congratulations and thanks to Navy Europe staff members for their accomplishments, while reflecting on his tenure at commander, Naval Forces Europe and commander, U.S. 6th Fleet.

“There’s a lot that has happened,” said Stufflebeem. “Looking back, I see how far we have come and how well we are doing and congratulations on doing such hard work so well. We have developed a new breed of command and control here in a post-cold war environment and you are the ones who are doing it.”

Stufflebeem also remarked on the future of the command here, including its part of U.S. African Command, which commences operations Oct. 1 and the Africa Partnership Station mission in West and Central Africa which brings together partners to address maritime challenges in the region.

“This is the lead effort of the United States of America on the African continent,” Stufflebeem said.

Stufflebeem assumed command as commander, U.S. 6th Fleet and deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe in May 2005. The 1975 Naval Academy graduate’s career began when he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1969 as a deck seaman. His next assignment as director of Navy staff will move him to Washington, D. C.

“I am leaving here a smarter, wiser flag officer and a better person because of you,” said Stufflebeem to his staff members. “And Admiral Winnefeld is a tremendous leader and I can affirm to you that he is ready to take over.”

Winnefeld comes to Naples from Joint Forces Command in Norfolk where he served as director of Joint Innovation and Experimentation Directorate. He is a 1978 high-honor graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and has served aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Enterprise (CVN 65). He also led Task Forces 50, 152, and 58 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and maritime interception operations in the Persian Gulf as Commander, Carrier Strike Group 2, the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group.

“There are people everywhere who have watched this transformation as I have, and we have all been very impressed with what you have done,” said Winnefeld. “It’s not an easy thing to do, and now we’re going to take the next step.”

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