The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and the ship itself, which will be soon be based in San Diego, received new commanders Tuesday, according to the Navy.
Rear. Adm. Roy Kelley took command of Carrier Strike Group 12, succeeding Rear Adm. Andrew Lewis in a ceremony in the hangar of the vessel, which is deployed in the Middle East. The “Big Stick” is due to arrive at its new home port in San Diego later this year, following the deployment.
Kelley had been the chief of naval air training.
“Today I am indeed honored to be joining this incredible team at such a critical point in your deployment,” Kelley said.
“Carrier Strike Group 12, the work you do here is incredibly important,” he said. “Your presence here demonstrates our country’s commitment to the region. Your near-perfect execution of our missions creates conditions that enable trust and cooperation.”
Lewis is moving to the Pentagon to be vice chief of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Also at the ceremony, Capt. Craig Clapperton relieved Capt. Daniel Grieco, who had served as Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer since February 2013 and saw it through a major overhaul.
“I will challenge the best crew on the best ship in the most powerful Navy in the world to continue to improve themselves and their ship,” Clapperton said.
“I cannot begin to express how honored and humbled I am to have the opportunity to serve as the commanding officer of USS Theodore Roosevelt,” he said. “To say that I am looking forward to sailing and serving with each of you, and to be part of the Rough Rider family is a vast understatement, and there are simply not enough words to fully express my gratitude and appreciation.”
The Roosevelt, named for the 26th U.S. president, sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, March 9 and arrived in the Middle East about one month later, where it relieved the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. The aircraft it carries have been taking part in strikes against Islamic State targets.
Following the deployment, the Big Stick will be part of a rotation that will send the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to Japan and USS George Washington to Norfolk for its own overhaul.
—City News Service
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