SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) (TR) held a change of command ceremony on the flight deck, July 27.
Capt. Craig "Clap" Clapperton was relieved by Capt. Carlos A. Sardiello as commanding officer of Theodore Roosevelt.
Guest speaker Rear Adm. Jay Bynum, commander, Chief of Naval Air Training, praised the achievements of the Theodore Roosevelt and its crew under Clapperton's leadership.
"The accomplishments of the USS Theodore Roosevelt under the command of Capt. Clapperton are unprecedented. He has contributed to the storied legacy of the ship affectionately known as 'America's Big Stick' and readied her and her crew for any obstacle that they might face."
During his speech, Clapperton thanked and attributed his success as commanding officer to his crew, known as the "Rough Riders."
"The challenges this crew has faced over the last two years are truly extraordinary," he said. "The men and women of Theodore Roosevelt are exceptional warriors and leaders. Their hard work made our Navy readier and made the world a safer place. I feel truly privileged to have had the opportunity to serve as the commanding officer of the Big Stick and to operate with this incredible team."
Clapperton assumed command of Theodore Roosevelt June 2015 and successfully completed an eight-month, around-the-world combat deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. TR executed 1,812 combat sorties, totaling 10,618 flight hours, and delivered more than one million pounds of ordnance on enemy targets. These achievements led to the "Rough Riders" earning the 2016 Ramage Award for excellence in operations.
Following deployment and a homeport shift, Clapperton directed the integration of 1,400 newly-assigned personnel as part of unprecedented three-carrier hull swap. He then led his crew in completion of the largest Planned Incremental Availability package ever assigned to a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, successfully and on time.
"Naval aviation is the ultimate team sport, and a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier cannot accomplish her mission without the professionalism and expertise of every Sailor [aboard]. The Rough Riders have poured their hearts and souls into this ship and her mission, and I am incredibly proud of their accomplishments and eternally grateful for their service," said Clapperton. "They have set the standard across the fleet and exceeded every expectation. It has been the honor of my life serving with them."
Clapperton previously served as executive officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) from August 2010 to May 2012 before assuming command of the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20). Clapperton is a native of Pittsburgh and was commissioned in 1989 after receiving a degree in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He was designated a naval flight officer in 1991.
Clapperton now heads to Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) Command.
The new commanding officer Capt. Carlos A. Sardiello, previously served as executive officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) before assuming command of the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20). Sardiello is a native of Fremont, California, and was commissioned in 1990 after graduating from the U.S. Naval academy. He was designated a naval flight officer in 1992.
"It's an incredible feeling be able to take command of such a fine ship and crew", said Sardiello. "I look forward to the journey ahead and continuing the legacy of the USS Theodore Roosevelt."
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