NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) changed command in Norfolk Aug. 5.
Capt. Tushar R. Tembe relieved Capt. Joseph M. Clarkson as Truman's commanding officer during a ceremony at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center at Nauticus museum.
Tembe, the new commanding officer, said he intends to take what he has learned while previously serving as a commanding officer and apply it to leading the ship and crew to further success.
"Today belongs to Joe and Sandy Clarkson," said Tembe. "You two have had a very successful command tour and have poured your heart and souls into Truman over the past two-and-a-half years and it shows over every inch of the ship and her crew. You have both set a very high bar for [us] to make sure we maintain that high standard."
Tembe reported to Truman in July 2011. He brings with him a resume that includes having served with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32 and VFA-83; as executive officer of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); and as commanding officer of VFA-87 and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Nashville (LPD 13). Tembe also served as EA-3B Pilot and Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) Officer in Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 1; as an instructor pilot in VFA-106; as a test pilot at the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate; as the junior officer assignments officer at Navy Personnel Command; and as the Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, Logistics and Engineering Directorate (J3/4) at the US Joint Forces Command.
"It's very difficult to sum up two-and-a-half years on Truman and 30 years in the Navy," said Clarkson. "But as I continue to think and reflect, the images that come to mind most are all the wonderful people who have contributed to my tour here on Truman and in my career. I've been blessed to be influenced, mentored and guided by so many over the years."
Clarkson has commanded Truman since February 2009. During his tour, the ship was awarded consecutive Battle Efficiency awards for 2009 and 2010. He led the ship and crew through a successful deployment in the 5th Fleet and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR) from May-December 2010.
Clarkson was awarded the Legion of Merit for his leadership of Truman.
The ceremony also doubled as Clarkson's retirement ceremony. Clarkson, who grew up in Florida and Jamaica and is a graduate of Georgia Tech with a degree in aerospace engineering, was commissioned in October 1981 after completing Aviation Officer Candidate School. He finishes his career in the Navy after 30 years of service, during which he earned personal awards such as the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Strike Flight Air Medal. Before Truman, Clarkson served as the executive officer of USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and commanded the VFA-81 and USS Denver (LPD 9).
"To the crew of Truman, it's been my great honor to serve with you over this last two and a half years," said Clarkson. "What we have accomplished together is staggering. Teamwork is really the key to success, and you've done that like no other. Thank you for turning my vision into reality. I know you will achieve even greater things as you move forward from here. Remember what got you here, keep your standards high and look out for each other."
"I am honored and humbled to stand here today and serve [the crew of Truman] as commanding officer," said Tembe. "We have many challenges ahead, but we will meet these challenges in team Truman fashion and maintain our enviable reputation as the finest aircraft carrier in the world."
Truman is currently undergoing a Drydock Planned Incremental Availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and is scheduled to return to the fleet in the summer of 2012.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.