USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox relieved Rear Adm. Bill Gortney as Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10 during a change of command ceremony held at sea in the Persian Gulf April 19.
Gortney, who will report to the U.S. 2nd Fleet for temporary duty while awaiting orders from the Chief of Naval Operations, said this command has been one of his most rewarding.
"This change of command ceremony is not about me, but about all of the Sailors, ships and squadrons of Carrier Strike Group 10," he said. "Your tireless efforts transformed our strike group into a combat-proven warfighting team that executed our nation's tasking from the dusty shores of East Africa to the skies over Mosul."
Since arriving in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), Gortney said the strike group has flown over 10,000 hours and provided more than 70,000 pounds of ordnance in support of forces operating on the ground in Iraq. The strike group has also conducted more than 330 interaction patrols visiting local mariners operating in the Persian Gulf.
Gortney has served as Commander of Carrier Strike Group 10 since June 2006 and said he witnessed the strike group grow together as a team during the past two years.
"Throughout this deployment, each command became a part of a bigger team," said Gortney. "Each combined their unique capabilities with one another to become an integral part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group. Your success is due to the efforts of your Sailors, chief petty officers, officers and the many sacrifices of your families. Ultimately, you succeeded because you operated as a team, achieving accomplishments where mere individuals would fail. Teamwork is your trademark."
Guest speaker, Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, Commander, U.S. Naval Central Command, praised the accomplishments of Gortney and lauded him as a leader who will help move the Navy into the future.
"The namesake of this ship lived by the axiom, 'the buck stops here,'" said Cosgriff. "Within the context of this ceremony, the buck stops with the strike group commander. Rear Adm. Bill Gortney is an excellent example of the kind of leadership we have today and the kind we will need as we continue to operate during these unpredictable early years of the 21st century."
Cosgriff said the Truman Strike Group has been in the Persian Gulf supporting operations that are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States' commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity. He also praised the accomplishments and dedication of the Harry S. Truman Strike Group team.
"This strike group has proven its spirit, its professionalism, and has upheld the standards of the United States Navy," he said. "I have had a number of strike groups come through this area under my command, and I could not be more pleased with this one. You have raised the bar."
Fox, who recently left the White House where he served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Military Office, expressed his appreciation to the Sailors of the strike group for their work during this deployment.
"Although Harry S. Truman rose to the nation's highest office, he was never torn by ambition," said Fox. "He never had a doubt about who he was, and he was a perfect example of our nation's remarkable ability to yield from the most ordinary origins a most remarkable and extraordinary man. He was a man of courage, character and integrity. The direct connection between where we are today and Harry S. Truman is this crew. The men and women of the Harry S. Truman Strike Group exemplify extraordinary accomplishment from ordinary origins."
Fox said he hoped to continue to build upon the exceptional work of the strike group.
"My challenge is to sustain and, if possible, improve on the excellence created by Rear Adm. Gortney," he said. "We are going to create a team that builds on the greatness of those who came before us."
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is currently on a deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO, where it has been operating for the past five months.
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