WASHINGTON (NNS) -- An informal change of office ceremony for the vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) was held July 01 at the Pentagon.
Adm. Michelle J. Howard relieved Adm. Mark Ferguson III as the 38th vice chief of naval operations.
Prior to the change of office, Howard was promoted to the rank of admiral in a ceremony presided over by the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations commended Ferguson on his leadership during challenging times.
"Mark has been a stellar partner - his unique perspectives and approach to legislative affairs, manpower, and training allowed us to tackle dynamic challenges," said Greenert. "His unparalleled energy, judgment and foresight saved our Navy billions in reduced expenditures during his tenure as VCNO."
Greenert presented Ferguson with the Distinguished Service Medal. The award highlighted Ferguson's efforts in establishing the 21st Century Sailor office (N17) and advancing various Sailor and family initiatives, instituting a Navy-wide contracting court and better business practices that will pave the way for full auditability, improving infrastructure for forward deployed forces and leading a delegation on behalf of the CNO to China to visit Gen Wu Shengli and the PLA Navy.
"It has been an honor to serve the CNO as the 37th Vice Chief of Naval Operations", said Ferguson. "I leave with great pride in the OPNAV staff and their accomplishments over the past three years. The CNO and I have enjoyed a great relationship that empowered me and the staff to improve the Navy and the lives of the Sailors we serve."
Ferguson, who served as VCNO from August 2011 to June 2013, is scheduled to relieve Adm. Bruce Clingan as commander, Allied Joint Force Command, Naples; commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe; and commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa in a change of command ceremony scheduled for July 22.