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Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe Changes Command

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071203-01
Release Date: 12/3/2007 9:26:00 AM


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

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Adm. Mark Fitzgerald relieved Adm. Harry Ulrich III as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe during a ceremony at Joint Forces Command Naples on Nov. 30.

Fitzgerald will also take over the positions of Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples.

During the ceremony, Ulrich remarked on the changes he has seen in the Navy while recalling his time in Europe both as Commander, Naval Forces Europe and prior to that Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet; Naval Striking and Support Forces North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); and Commander, Allied Joint Command Lisbon.

"We in uniform are now being challenged by new threats and new challenges to our maritime safety and security and change is hard," said Ulrich. "We changed the way we thought, we changed what we did, we changed how we did it and most importantly, we changed who we did it with."

Ulrich also welcomed Fitzgerald to NATO and Europe.
"He will come with different experiences," Ulrich said, "but he will also have new ideas and a renewed energy."

Ulrich assumed command as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Allied Joint Force Command Naples from Adm. Mike Mullen in May 2005.

A 1972 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Ulrich served in a broad range of sea and shore assignments including seven sea tours with units of the Atlantic Fleet and eight deployments to South America, West Africa, Northern and Southern Europe, and the Persian Gulf.

Fitzgerald, a Winchester, Mass. native, assumes command in Europe here after serving as Director, Navy Staff in Washington D.C. where he was relieved by Vice Adm. John "Boomer" Stufflebeem, previously Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, recently. He has also served as Director, Air Warfare; Director, Naval Warfare; and Commander, 2nd Fleet/Director, Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence. This is his fifth tour of duty with NATO.

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