NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) held a change of command ceremony Aug. 7 at Victory Landing Park in Newport News, Virginia.
Capt. Ronald L. Ravelo assumed command from his brother-in-law Capt. Karl O. Thomas.
"This may be the first time that (one family member) has taken command from another," said guest speaker, Rear Adm. Troy M. Shoemaker, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic. Ravelo's sister, Junifer, is married to Thomas.
In his remarks, Shoemaker praised Thomas for the success of his command and stated his expectations of the new commanding officer of Lincoln.
"I've had the privilege to observe (Thomas') bold, decisive leadership style in the crucible of a refueling complex overhaul (RCOH)," Shoemaker said. "He has consistently provided clear guidance and direction to the entire project team and all are focused on integrity, accountability and safely achieving a common goal."
During the ceremony, Thomas gave the credit for his success to his crew.
"This crew has created a culture of Sailors taking care of Sailors," Thomas said. "As a result, we have enjoyed tremendous success."
Thomas, a native of northern Virginia, assumed command of Lincoln in August 2012 after the ship's last deployment and delivered her to Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries for her 42 month overhaul. Through his guidance and perseverance, Lincoln has set a new standard for ships in RCOH, reaching milestones well ahead of schedule and preparing her for her return back to the fleet. His next assignment will be commanding officer, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).
Another unique and historic aspect of Lincoln's change of command is the fact that Ravelo is the first Filipino-American to command an aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy.
"My father is a retired chief storekeeper," Ravelo said. "He left his family and friends to join the Navy and settle in America. I well up with pride for the Filipino community, but this is not any more special than any of the other Americans around us today."
Ravelo most recently served as commanding officer of USS Comstock (LSD 45). He shared his excitement to command the Lincoln crew and his admiration of their accomplishments under Thomas.
"I assure you, your legacy is intact as (we) step up and continue the fine heritage that you have set in motion," Ravelo said.
Ravelo recognizes that he will not lead alone, but respects the crew that will finish RCOH during his time as commanding officer.
"The real national treasure and the key to our success is the 500 Sailors you see gathered in ranks around us who represent the 2,500 crew members of Lincoln and the 3,000 shipbuilders of Newport News Shipbuilding," Ravelo said. "I am and will always be committed to giving you the tools you need to succeed."
Lincoln is currently undergoing RCOH at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz-class to undergo a RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.