ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Joseph F. Kilkenny relieved Rear Adm. Michael C. Tracy as commander, Carrier Strike Group 10 in a change of command ceremony while anchored off Portsmouth, England, April 8.
Tracy, who will report as director of Strategic Planning for U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, said the command was one of his most rewarding assignments.
"I have never worked in my career with such a fantastic group of people who, on a daily basis, show the mettle of their character and their general dedication and commitment to our country at war," Tracy said.
Tracy also said he had witnessed the strike group, especially over the course of the deployment, grow closer together as a team during times of change in the Navy.
"The most significant part of our cruise is that we have had a [cohesive] strike group here, one with an outstanding reputation and a lot of experience," said Tracy. "I have watched what we have done to develop our reputation and teamwork, not just in respect to be the first carrier to go through the entire Fleet Response Plan, but also to work with coalition partners and regional nations. I've seen that level of teamwork enhanced, and watched the synergy that already existed inside this carrier/air wing team spread to the strike group and multinationally."
Kilkenny, a former commander of embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, met the ship the first day of their most recent port visit in England. For him, coming out on the admiral's barge and looking up to see his old command brought back many happy memories.
"It's good to be back home," said Kilkenny. "The ship looked great. I could tell I was amongst very professional people who really enjoyed what they were doing."
Kilkenny, who recently left Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet as the special assistant to Commander, Naval Air Forces for Human Capital Strategy, expressed his appreciation to the Sailors and Marines of the strike group during this deployment.
"I am honored to be out here serving as the battle group commander. I just want to thank [the strike group] for all that you have done up to this point, but it's not over yet," he said. "Don't let your guard down."
Tracy also added a few words of wisdom for his relief before his departure after the change of command.
"Sit back and enjoy the ride," laughed Tracy. "You have a great bunch of warriors working for you, and they have it all down."
The USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group is currently homeward bound following a successful six-month deployment, which included four months in the Persian Gulf supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Maritime Security Operations.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.