NORFOLK (NNS) -- Rear Adm. John Meier relieved Rear Adm. Sam Paparo as commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 during a ceremony here March 29.
Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, served as the ceremony's guest speaker and presiding officer, presenting Paparo with the Legion of Merit.
Under Paparo, CSG-10 assisted with the training of units worldwide through a variety of exercise events. His forces provided realistic and meaningful training for units deploying overseas.
Davidson noted the many challenges facing the Navy and said in order to counter them all, the watchword for naval forces has to be readiness.
"This strike group has been deeply involved in creating that readiness. If we can't execute (missions) robustly, if we can't execute it on time, it's a limitation to our abilities. The focus of this strike group during this period had been incredibly important," he said.
Additionally, the strike group led a task force that took part in Defense Support to Civilian Authorities (DSCA) operations following Hurricane Irma hitting Florida in September. Embarked aboard USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), Paparo utilized elements of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4; USS San Jacinto (CG 56); Explosive Ordinance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2; Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22; Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8; the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit; Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 461; Marine Air Control Group (MACG) 28; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28; Fleet Survey Team; Beach Master Unit (BMU) 2; Naval Beach Group (NBG) 2; Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 2; Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2; and Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202, detachment Jacksonville.
The task force enabled the flow of state and federal aid by restoring the airfield and flight operations at Naval Air Station Key West, restored access to Truman Annex boat ramps - allowing for LCU operations - and cleared roads to a major fuel delivery point. They also assisted with repairs to water distribution systems at Naval Air Station Key West and restored electrical generation and air conditioning to vital buildings on military and civilian buildings. He partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with state and local officials until civilian authorities and the Florida National Guard could take over long-term recovery operations.
"During the worst hurricane season anyone can remember, the incredible support you provided down in the Florida Keys exemplifies the capabilities and dedication of the strike group," Davidson said, addressing the assembled staff. "A rapid ringing of a bell and a quick rush to a ship that you had not been aboard before and off to do the mission, and I personally thank you for the time you spent on station. You did an amazing job."
Paparo thanked his staff for their professionalism and the warfare commanders under him for their expertise and counsel during his tour.
The staff, he said, are, "75 people who are experts in their skillsets, and who come together as a team to put vectors against targets."
Of the warfare commanders, Paparo noted, "You're who makes the engine go and it was a blessing to serve with you."
Paparo, a native of Morton, Pennsylvania, will next report as the director of operations for U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.
Meier comes to CSG-10 following a tour as the assistant commander, Navy Personnel Command for Career Management (PERS-4). The Export, Penn., native graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1986. He previously commanded the pre-commissioning unit for USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), as well as Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44). In his remarks, Meier said he was eager to continue the work to ready the strike group as it moves into the training phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP).
"It is, in fact, all about readiness," Meier said. "When we go to sea, our lean has got to be, 'we aren't planning for some deployment down the road, we are preparing to go to war.' The sooner we take that mindset, the more we'll be ready when that day comes."
CSG-10 consists of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, the guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Monterey (CG 61), and DESRON 26 with its associated guided-missile destroyers, USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79), and USS McFaul (DDG 74).
CVW-3 consists of the "Fighting Swordsmen" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, the "Gunslingers" of VFA-105, the "Wildcats" of VFA-131, the "Dusty Dogs" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7, the "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74, the "Screwtops" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123, and the "Zappers" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130.
Assets assigned to CSG-10 are currently in the sustainment and maintenance phases of the OFRP, with Monterey forward deployed in support of maritime security operations.
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