NORTH ISLAND, Calif. (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Derwood C. Curtis relieved Rear Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III as Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group (CCDG) 5, in a ceremony Feb. 5 aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
Curtis reported from Commander, Naval Surface Group (CNSG)2/Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, Mayport, Fla.
Locklear will go on to serve as Deputy Director, Surface Warfare Division at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Arlington, Va., after serving as CCDG 5 since October 2002.
"I've dreaded this day for a long time," said Locklear. "I'm still dreading it, but it has come. I think it makes it a lot easier, though, when you have an officer the caliber of DC (Derwood C.) Curtis to relieve me."
Locklear graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1977 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Analysis. Following commissioning, Locklear served on USS William V. Pratt (DDG 46) as the Main Propulsion Assistant and Missile Fire control officer. He was then selected for training and service in the Navy nuclear propulsion program and served as electrical principal assistant aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). After graduating from Surface Warfare Department Head School with "Top Gun" honors, he served as the Operations Officer and Engineering Officer aboard USS Callaghan (DDG 994) and as the Executive Officer aboard USS Truxtun (CGN 35). Subsequently, Locklear commanded USS Leftwhich (DD 984) and served as Commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 2, deploying with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Strike Group.
Ashore, Locklear served as a company officer in the Office of the Commandant, U.S. Naval Academy and later as the 78th Commandant of Midshipmen. In Washington, D.C., he served as Chief of the Regional Engagement and Presence Joint Warfare Capabilities Assessment Branch in the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as Executive Assistant to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, and as Deputy Director of Requirements, Assessment Division.
"I would give a king's ransom for one more launch and recovery," Locklear said, "and I would give a king's ransom for one more UNREP (underway replenishment). It's been a wonderful tour for me, and I think we've done some great things here."
Curtis graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976 and earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science. Following commissioning, he attended Surface Warfare Basic School in Newport, R.I., and was awarded the Arleigh Burke Award. He then served as the Communications Officer and the Main Propulsion Assistant aboard USS Moinester (FFG 1097). After his initial sea tour, Curtis returned to the Naval Academy for duty as a brigade officer.
Curtis also served at sea aboard USS Thorn (DD 988), USS Dahlgren (DDG 43), USS Scott (DD 995), USS Wainwright (CG 28) and USS Donald B. Beary (FFG 1085). While serving as her commanding officer, Wainwright won the Battle "E," the Arleigh Burke Trophy and the Ney Award in 1993, making her the Atlantic Fleet's most decorated ship that year. In 1994, Curtis reported to CCDG 2 as the Surface Operations Officer and then became the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations. Curtis also served as Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet/Commander, Striking Fleet Atlantic/Task Force 120.
Curtis' shore assignments include serving at the Bureau of Naval Personnel as the Senior Year Group Junior Officer Detailer, as well as serving in the Chief of Naval Operations in the Aegis DDG 51 Program Office. He later served as the Senior Military Assistant in the Office of Naval Warfare to the Under Secretary of Defense, as well as serving as the Executive Assistant and Naval Aide to Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England.
"I'm really proud to be here," said Curtis. "I know you're (Nimitz Strike Group) a war-fighting machine. I've heard all about you and all of the things you've done, and I just look for your support to continue the fine reputation."
Curtis' personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and other awards. He holds a Masters of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and is a graduate of the National Defense University.
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