WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps held a change of office ceremony July 20, aboard the Washington Navy Yard.
Vice Adm. James W. Houck retired and was relieved by Vice Adm. Nanette M. DeRenzi who became the 42nd Judge Advocate General of the Navy.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert presided over the traditional change of office ceremony and lauded Houck for his service and exceptional leadership.
"Jim [Houck] focused the JAG Corps on warfighting like I have never seen in my naval career," said Greenert. "He put together a corps that is able to support our Navy family. It is really unprecedented and is still going on today."
During Houck's tenure as the JAG, the Corps provided counsel on a number of important issues including the transition from "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," prosecution by Military Commissions, protection of navigational rights and freedoms, combating sexual assault, and support to wounded, ill, and injured Sailors and Marines.
"[I've] had a great American experience," said Houck. "In a nation of laws, I was allowed to become a lawyer and tried to do a little good in a legal system that is still the foundation of this great democracy. I was allowed to sail and serve in one of history's greatest navies in defense of those freedoms. And best of all, in a nation of the people, I was allowed to serve with the finest people -- military and civilian, officer and enlisted."
DeRenzi, who previously served as the Deputy Judge Advocate General and Commander, Naval Legal Service Command, will serve as the Navy JAG for three years.
"Today is a day for the men and women of the JAG Corps to recommit ourselves to service, to each other, and to those we serve." said DeRenzi. "Some may look back and long for the time when resources were abundant and challenges were traditional and predictable. Not me. This is our time, and we will embrace the challenges that come with it."
Rear Adm. James W. Crawford III was promoted prior to the ceremony to the rank of Rear Admiral (Upper Half) and will serve as the Deputy Judge Advocate General and Commander, Naval Legal Service Command. He previously served as commander, Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan.
"It is a distinct honor to be standing here today," said Crawford. "I'm mindful of the honor bestowed upon me today and trust given. [Trust] is the belief in two old fashion qualities - consistence and integrity. It is these two words that will guide me as I begin my watch today."
The Judge Advocate General of the Navy provides legal and policy advice to the secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations on all legal matters from military justice to environmental law. The Judge Advocate General also directs a worldwide law firm of more than 2,300 attorneys, paralegals and support staff.
Naval Legal Service Command provides prosecution, defense, personal representation, legal assistance and other command services to shore and afloat commands throughout the world.
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