Crowds watch as the USS Ronald Reagan leaves Pearl Harbor. Navy photo

Rear Adm. Patrick Piercey assumed command Thursday of the Navy’s San Diego-based Carrier Strike Group 9, which is led by the USS Ronald Reagan.

He relieved the retiring Rear Adm. Patrick Hall during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the flattop.

Piercey was most recently the deputy director of plans, policy and strategy at the U.S. European Command. The native of Clinton, Oklahoma, was previously the commander and executive officer of the USS Bunker Hill and reactor officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.

The rear admiral has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with four gold stars), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two gold stars), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Piercey graduated from the Naval Academy in 1985 and once served as a White House fellow.

Vice Adm. Kenneth Floyd, the Third Fleet commander, said Piercey’s record shows he is ready to lead.

“In addition to being awesome on the deckplates, his assignments ashore will tell you that no one has a better sense of the big strategic picture than Pat,” Floyd said. “He is ready to take the reins and get the Ronald Reagan Strike Group ready for the next big challenge.”

Hall retired after a 32-year career in which he was a naval aviator, commanded the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and held several staff assignments. He led the Reagan’s strike group for two years.

The Reagan is one of two aircraft carriers moored in San Diego Bay. The other one, the USS Carl Vinson, is preparing for an upcoming deployment.

– City News Service

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