COMUSNAVSO Welcomes New Commander

Story Number: NNS050902-20Release Date: 9/2/2005 3:52:00 PM
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By Journalist 2nd Class Neah Kelly, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs

MAYPORT, Fla (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command welcomed Rear Adm. James W. Stevenson Jr. and said farewell to Rear Adm. Vinson E. Smith as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) Sept. 2.

During Smith's remarks, he expressed his gratitude to the COMUSNAVSO staff and Foreign Liaison Officers (FLO) for their support in making his tour at COMUSNAVSO a success.

"It is my hope that you (Stevenson) have as much fun as we have getting to know the FLOs' families, their navies and their countries. I take my hat off to our partners and wish them the best in the future."

Smith commanded 11 multinational Task Forces in support of exercises emphasizing the cooperation and interoperability throughout the hemisphere. In August 2005, as the Combined Joint Task Force 138 commander during the Fuerzas Aliadas PANAMAX exercise, he executed command and control of multinational forces incorporating surface, air, and land forces in defense of the Panama Canal against simulated threats.

In October 2004 COMUSNAVSO was tasked with the accelerated execution of Exercise New Horizons Haiti from two years to three months. In January of 2005, personnel, ships and materials were on Haitian land.

Upon completion of the 90-day exercise, more than 18,000 Haitian nationals received medical care; nearly five metric tons of humanitarian assistance materials were distributed, three new schools built and three deepwater wells dug.

Stevenson assumed command of COMUSNAVSO after completing his tour as commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12. He commanded CSG-12 during two deployments to the Persian Gulf in support of the global war on terrorism.

Stevenson spoke of his enthusiasm to begin his command of COMUSNAVSO.

"I look forward to serving with each of you as we take on the missions and challenges in the months ahead."

For more information on COMUSNAVSO, go to

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