NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Capt. John "Fish" Fischer relieved Capt. David "Chili" Culpepper as commanding officer of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay during a change of command ceremony at the base chapel.
Dr. Donnie Culpepper, father of Capt. Culpepper, acted as guest speaker for the event. Dr. Donnie Culpepper noted the importance of a peaceful change of power, as well as the world of differences between the military and civilian sector.
"These young people [service members] are learning interdependence and putting self below the unit," said Dr. Culpepper.
Dr. Culpepper went on to note the important role that commanding officers play within the military, stating that "the reason you need commanders is because stuff happens, sometimes bad stuff happens."
Capt. David Culpepper credited his family, as well as those he'd served with and those who had served under him for his accomplishments thus far.
"I have learned more about leadership and followership here at Guantanamo Bay than any other command," said Capt. Culpepper.
Amongst the many words of advice and wisdom Capt. Culpepper passed along to the audience, he reminded them to, "remember the basics, because when [technology] fails you, that is what you fall back on."
Rear Adm. Babette Bolivar, commander, Navy Region Southeast, presented Capt. Culpepper with the Legion of Merit for his performance of outstanding service as the Commanding Officer at NSGB from April 2015 to June 2018.
During his command of NSGB, Culpepper was responsible for the safety and morale of more than 5,000 residents. Culpepper oversaw the safe evacuation of residents during three hurricanes as well as providing critical disaster relief. Additionally, while in command, Culpepper led the base in achieving the 2017 Medium Installation Excellence Award nomination.
After reporting to Rear Adm. Bolivar, Fischer thanked both the Culpeppers and the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay community for the hospitality they had all shown his family since their arrival on base just two short weeks ago.
"I am honored and excited to take command of this base," said Fischer. "Thank you for the great work you've done and I look forward to carrying on that legacy."
Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is the forward, ready, and irreplaceable US sea power platform in the Caribbean. For more than a century, its presence has given decision makers unique options across the range of military and interagency operations.
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