NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet held a change of command ceremony at Naval Support Activity Naples Capodichino in Naples, Italy, Oct. 3, in front of guests, friends and shipmates.
Vice Adm. Frank C. Pandolfe relieved Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. Pandolfe also assumed duties as commander, Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), and deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.
Harris assumed command of 6th Fleet and STRIKFORNATO Nov. 18, 2009, and has since been involved with several multinational exercises and operations within the region. Most notably, Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; commander, Allied Joint Forces Command Naples commented on Harris' service as the Joint Force Maritime component commander during Operation Odyssey Dawn, the international military operation in Libya to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
"When the call came to establish a Joint Task Force, you were ready. You established your lines of communication, issued your guidance, and executed your missions with precision," said Locklear. "Your rapid transition to a wartime posture aboard USS Mount Whitney allowed us to quickly and decisively establish maritime and air superiority. This is exactly how it's supposed to happen. I am proud of what you accomplished. Because of your leadership, we prevailed in combat. It has been an honor to serve with you."
Harris reminisced on his tour in Naples and expressed his gratitude for the men and women of 6th Fleet and STRIKFORNATO.
"When I got here, I quickly learned how complex this mission was," said Harris. "Now that my tour is coming to a close, my appreciation for the men and women of 6th Fleet and STRIKFORNATO has grown into a profound sense of admiration, and I'm grateful to have the opportunity today to place credit where credit is due."
For his leadership as commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, Locklear presented the Distinguished Service Medal to Harris.
After the award presentation and the reading of their orders, Harris relinquished command of 6th Fleet to Pandolfe, who greeted guests and his new staff.
"I am extremely impressed with what I have seen thus far," said Pandolfe. "Your initiative and drive led to success after success. Be assured, however, that many more challenges are just over the horizon and your skills will be tested again. I look forward to sailing with you on that journey."
Harris will serve as the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
Pandolfe previously served as director, Surface Warfare division, on the Navy staff in Washington, where he led efforts to introduce the littoral combat ship to the Fleet, build the Zumwalt-class destroyer, and restart the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer line.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.