Change of Command a Family Affair

Story Number: NNS020423-12Release Date: 4/23/2002 8:36:00 PM
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By JO2(SW) Eric Durie, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- One man's naval career is just beginning, while the other's has progressed to the point of assuming a position entrusted to only 13 naval officers at one time.

Midshipman Michael "Rob" Groothousen, on Spring break from the U.S. Naval Academy, carried a flag as part of USS Harry S. Truman's color guard, as his father, Capt. Michael Groothousen took command of the Navy's newest aircraft carrier.

When he learned that his father would take command of the Truman while he was on spring break, the younger Groothousen immediately expressed a desire to participate in the ceremony.

"When I found out that the change of command was happening while I was on break, I asked if the Naval Academy color guard could take part," said Midshipman Groothousen. "But, I learned that the ship had its own color guard."

This news didn't deter Midshipman Groothousen who had an intense desire to participate in the change of command. He soon found a way to fulfill his goal.

Instead of replacing the ship's color guard with the Naval Academy's, which Midshipman Groothousen is a member of, it was decided that the Midshipman would fill a position on the carrier's color guard, and therefore be able to participate in his father's change of command ceremony.

For the son of Truman's newest commanding officer, this opportunity was awe-inspiring. "Being able to participate in this gave me an amazing feeling," Midshipman Groothousen said after the ceremony concluded. "I really can't describe it."

The skill of Truman's color guard only enhanced the experience for the the younger Groothousen. "It was a privilege and an honor to work with them," Midshipman Groothousen said. "They're very professional and they take what they do seriously."

For more information on the USS Harry S. Truman, go to

CVN 74 At Sea
Official U.S. Navy file photo of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) underway.
February 27, 2002
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