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Naval Safety Command (NAVSAFECOM) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Air Station Oceana today where Rear Adm. Christopher M. Engdahl relieved Rear Adm. F.R. “Lucky” Luchtman as the 58th commander of the Navy’s top safety organization.
Immediately following the change of command proceedings, a retirement ceremony took place for Luchtman, recognizing his 33 years of naval service.
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Adm. Daryl Caudle, presided over both ceremonies and delivered remarks as the keynote speaker. Caudle remarked on the importance of the two ceremony traditions.
“Commanders have a unique responsibility to ensure that our naval forces are fully prepared to compete and deter, as well as fight and win decisively in defense of our nation and our nation’s interests,” Caudle said. “That responsibility extends not only to our nation’s citizens, but more importantly, directly to our Sailors.”
Following the reading of orders and assumption of command was Engdahl’s flag break.
Luchtman, a naval aviator since 1991, reflected upon his entire career and thanked the staff of the Naval Safety Command for their contributions to the mission
“Each of you has made a lasting impact on our work to keep Sailors and Marines safe and done so while enduring COVID lockdowns and a massive upheaval in our missions, functions and tasks,” said Luchtman. “I can’t thank you enough for maintaining focus on the welfare of this nation’s best and brightest and for coming together to collaboratively solve some of our most vexing problems.”
Luchtman assumed command of the then-Naval Safety Center in April 2020. While serving as commander, he was responsible for the pivotal transition and February 2022 establishment of the NAVSAFECOM, its new roles, responsibilities and increased authority.
Caudle commended Luchtman on his leadership and expertise during this transformative time for naval safety.
“Living up to this heavy task, you confronted this challenge with urgency and thoughtful skill, empowering your team to self-assess, learn, innovate, and move us away from reactively managing safety, to proactively managing risk from the very beginning,” Caudle said. “Your singular drive for excellence and efficiency, along with your exemplary leadership, were absolutely critical to the radical restructuring and reorganization of the Naval Safety Center into what we see here today, the Naval Safety Command.”
As a career F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet pilot, he commanded Strike Fighter Squadron Fifteen and Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7). RDML Luchtman also deployed with VFA-82, VFA-136, VFA-131, and CVW-2. He participated in Operations Southern Watch, Deny Flight, Deliberate Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Inherent Resolve.
Ashore, he served as a Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor at Strike Fighter Weapons School, Atlantic; C4 Systems Chief at U.S. Strategic Command; Tactical Air Commander detailer and Executive Assistant to Commander, Navy Personnel Command; and Executive Assistant to Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Luchtman was promoted to flag rank in August 2018 after assuming his role as Physiological Episodes Action Team Lead.
Caudle expressed his confidence in Engdahl’s selection as the NAVSAFECOM’s newest commander and his ability to propel the organization and its achievements to even greater heights.
“Your previous assignments as Commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7, Amphibious Force SEVENTH Fleet, Chief of Staff to Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific and as the 68th President of the Board of Inspection and Survey, have supremely prepared you for the challenges you will face as the next Commander of Naval Safety Command,” said Caudle.
Caudle gave Engdahl closing advice he provides every commander he has led, words of advice that could resonate with many in attendance and throughout the naval enterprise.
“Take charge. Lead boldly with grit, tenacity and innovation. View all missions through the lens of warfighting. Be ready and if called to arms, ensure we’re ready to fight to win!” said Caudle. “You will encounter challenging problems, but you’re never a victim. You’re a solution provider. And, when you need help – ask. I look forward to following Safety Command’s continued successes.”
The NAVSAFECOM serves as the naval enterprise lead for non-nuclear safety standards, expertise and oversight of the Navy and Marine Corps Safety Management System (SMS). The command’s mission is to preserve warfighting capability, and combat lethality and readiness by working with its stakeholders to identify, mitigate or eliminate hazards to reduce unnecessary risk to people and resources.
For more NAVSAFECOM information or resources, visit the command website at navalsafetycommand.navy.mil
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