MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet held a change of command onboard Naval Station Mayport at the Ocean Breeze conference center, May 21.
Rear Adm. Donald Gabrielson relieved Rear Adm. Sean Buck, who will be continuing his career as the 63rd superintendent of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.
As commander, Buck served as the joint maritime component commander during operation Blue Torch, managed disaster relief operations in the Caribbean and search and rescue efforts to for the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan (S 42).
“The days seem to pass too quickly,” said Buck. “Our opportunities to gather seem too fleeting, and while the seriousness and graveness of our tasks demand so much time and effort, I am proud to have served with all of you on my staff and alongside all of our partner nations throughout my time here as the commander of Navy forces south and 4th Fleet.”
Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson was in attendance as the presiding officer for the ceremony, and Commander, U.S. Southern Command, Adm. Craig Faller was the guest speaker.
“It is truly an honor to be here with a friend and shipmate,” said Faller. “The partnerships you have forged, and the harmony and love present in this room will be your legacy Sean [Buck]. Hats off to what you have done here at 4th Fleet, and hats off to your winning team. Thank you for your service to U.S. Southern Command, and I am glad you are going to continue to serve at the United States Naval Academy.”
“The staff here has done terrific work, and you have made a huge difference,” said Richardson. “You have helped make all of us stronger together, helping to bring authenticity and teeth to the fleet, and gluing us together with those bonds of trust and confidence with our partner nations.”
Gabrielson has previously served as Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11/ Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific/ Task Force 73 in Singapore. He also commanded USS Cape St. George (CG 71), and being the first commanding officer of USS Freedom (LCS 1). He is now the 10th commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command since it was renamed in 2000 and the seventh commander of U.S. 4th Fleet since re-established in 2008.
“I am humbled to begin my fifth command tour,” said Gabrielson. “I am here to treasure it, I am here to honor it, and I am here to embrace this new chance to continue contributing. To all of our partner nations, to all of you and to each of you, thank you for being here and being part of this team.”
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet is responsible for U.S. Naval forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, including the Caribbean, Central and South America.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.