RAF DAWS HILL, England (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Activities United Kingdom (CNAUK) disestablished Sept. 14 in a ceremony held at Royal Air Force Base Daws Hill.
For 55 years, CNAUK has been the only major U.S. Navy command in the United Kingdom. Once home to Naval Forces Europe, CNAUK served as an administrative agent supporting Commanders Naval Forces Europe, Atlantic and units throughout Western Europe.
The ceremony was attended by approximately 300 guests from various British local communities and British and American militaries. Guest speakers included Ambassador Robert Holmes Tuttle, U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom; Royal Air Force Air Commodore John Harrison; Rear Adm. Michael R. Groothousen, Commander, Navy Region Europe; and Capt. David Dittmer, commanding officer, Naval Activities United Kingdom.
"Although we disestablish our command today, we will not disestablish our relations with our strongest ally," said Groothousen. "The commitment and pride our Sailors and employees of CNAUK have demonstrated throughout the closure process is truly to be commended."
Groothousen elaborated on the reasons behind closing CNAUK, focusing on the need for change.
"Operational commitments of Naval Forces Europe have dictated that our troops need to be operating in other locations around the globe," he said.
Dittmer thanked his team for their continued support during the past year and stressed the value and relationship with host nation friends who also played an integral role throughout the entire disestablishment process.
"It has been a joy to work with you," he said. "And I hope to serve with you all again. Thank you for your dedication, professionalism and support."
At the conclusion of the ceremony Groothousen thanked Dittmer for a job well done and presented him with the Legion of Merit, followed by the lowering of the U.S. flag presented to Dittmer by the U.S. Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, color guard.
The mission of Navy Region Europe is to provide effective and efficient shore services to U.S. and allied forces within the European theater supporting operations in Europe and Africa. Commander, Navy Region Europe is responsible for the management of six Navy shore installations within the European theater including Joint Maritime Facility St. Mawgan, England; Naval Support Activity La Maddalena, Italy; Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy; Naval Station Rota, Spain; Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, Italy, and Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Crete, Greece.
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