NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Commander, Submarines, Allied Naval Forces South; Commander, Submarine Group Eight, held a change of command ceremony at Maritime Component Command Naples, Italy, Sep. 2.
During the ceremony, Rear Adm. John M. Richardson turned over command to Rear Adm. James G. Foggo III.
"[Richardson] has actually been able to change a lot of our nations priorities with the implementation and use of our submarine forces during his time here," said Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples. "While he will be missed, [Foggo] comes to us capable and ready to take up the job [Richardson] has executed so well."
After Fitzgerald presented Richardson with the Legion of Merit for his service, Richardson expressed his gratitude toward his crew.
"I'm left with the very difficult option of trying to somehow capture the tremendous contributions of so many hard-working and dedicated people," said Richardson.
"It's like trying to redraw the Sistine Chapel with a crayon, or hum a Puccini opera, or make a PowerPoint slide for Dante's Inferno; no matter how skilled the artist, the person humming or the PowerPoint wizard, it just won't capture the artistry displayed in the original masterpiece, or the fullness of the accomplishments."
Just before the orders were read and the commands exchanged, Richardson took time to thank Foggo for all his patience during the last few weeks and bade him a special congratulations.
"You have been gracious and patient during our turnover; you are perfectly prepared and have all the skills to take this team to the next level," said Richardson. "And all of this to be done on the day of yet another celebration: your birthday!"
Foggo comes to Naples after serving as executive officer to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander, United States European Command. Foggo is a 1981 distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a native of Virginia.
"What a way to celebrate a birthday," said Foggo. "I look forward to meeting and working with each and every professional on this team."
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe -U.S. Naval Forces Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.