Ronald Reagan Welcomes New Commander

Story Number: NNS100813-10Release Date: 8/13/2010 2:54:00 PM
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From USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan held a change of command ceremony o nthe flight deck aboard the ship. moored pier side at Naval Air Station North Island Aug. 12.

Norton, who took command of Ronald Reagan in May of 2008, led the ship through two deployments to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. He also led the ship through the recently completed Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercise.

Norton was recently selected for promotion to rear admiral and will be reporting to Commander, Naval Air Forces to await further assignment.

"This has been, without a doubt, the defining tour of my naval career up to this point. It has been a thrill beyond imagination. And I know there are more challenges ahead," Norton said. "There is not a more qualified officer out there for this job than Thom. And you know already you've got 3,000 of America's finest
Sailors standing with you, standing alongside behind you, standing beside you...and they will serve you well."

Commander Carrier Strike Group 7 Rear Adm. Thomas J. Rowden served as guest speaker for the ceremony. Rowden spoke about the strong leadership of Norton and reflected on awards the ship earned while he was the commanding officer.

"As any great captain would, he's going to give credit where credit is due, to the Sailors of Ronald Reagan.

But make no mistake I must give credit where I see the major part of Ronald Reagan's remarkable success comes from, Capt. K.J. Norton."

"Thom your phenomenal reputation as a navy man, a ship's captain, and shipmate precedes you," Rowden. "Success has followed you throughout your career and I have no doubt it will follow you here to Ronald Reagan."

Burke served as commanding officer of USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, until November 2009 prior to assuming command of Ronald Reagan. Since then, he has served in several capacities in preparation for his assignment as Ronald Reagan's prospective commanding officer.

Burke told the crew he will always try to give the crew the tools they need to succeed but in return demanded integrity, persistence, professional competence and honor.

"I do not expect perfection from any of you, but I do demand your best effort at every task," Burke said. "We must be model Sailors who do our country credit, whether we be on the far side of the world, or right here at home"

Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named for the 40th U.S. president. The ship's motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurring theme during the Reagan presidency.

For more news from Ronald Reagan and the Ronald Reagan Strike Group, visit or visit the official Ronald Reagan Facebook page at!/pages/Coronado-CA/USS-Ronald-Reagan/212147332020?ref=ts&ajaxpipe=1&__a=24.

For more news from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - Ronald Reagan Strike Group, visit

Capt. Stephen Fimple wields his cutlass in front of a formation of Sailors during a change of command ceremony aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).
100812-N-7605J-156 NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND, Calif. (Aug. 12, 2010) Capt. Stephen Fimple wields his sword in front of a formation of Sailors during a change of command ceremony on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Capt. Thom W. Burke relieved Capt. Kenneth J. Norton as commanding officer of Ronald Reagan during the ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Benjamin Jernigan/Released)
August 13, 2010
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