Capt. Douglas “V8” Verissimo took over as commanding officer of the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson at a ceremony on the flight deck Tuesday.
Verissimo, formerly the skipper of the amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans who onc flew with the Blue Angels, replaced Capt. Karl Thomas, who was recently selected for promotion to rear admiral — and is awaiting his next orders.
Under Thomas, the flattop conducted flight operations against Islamic State targets while on a nine-month deployment that ended nearly one year ago, and went through a maintenance period in preparation for another voyage scheduled for next year.
“Whether on deployment or during our shipyard availability, you rose to each challenge with a positive, ‘get to yes’ attitude,” Thomas told crew members. “We truly made a difference for the people of Kobani and for the Yaziti tribe near Singcar Mountain, as well as many Iraqis and Syrians caught up in the Middle Eastern turmoil.”
During the height of the battle, a website believed to be friendly to ISIS published a list of 100 U.S. military personnel, including names, photos and purported addresses. Four officers in charge of aviation aboard the Vinson appeared on the list. Military officials subsequently stressed the need for personnel and their families to be cautious with their social media postings.
Verissimo, a native of Falmouth, Massachusetts, graduated from Cape Cod Community College with an associate’s degree in 1987. He attended the Naval Aviation Cadet Program and reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida, for Aviation Officer Candidate School. After flight training, he earned both his commission and wings of gold in July 1989.
With over 4,000 flight hours and 535 carrier landings, he has earned decorations including Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medals and an Air Medal.
The aircraft carrier is named after Carl Vinson, who served in Congress for 50 years, including 29 as chairman of the House Naval Affairs and Armed Services Committee.
— City News Service contributed to this report.