PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- While in the midst of its incremental availability, the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) held its change of command ceremony in Portsmouth, Va., Feb. 5.
Capt. Ryan Scholl took the helm from Capt. Bob Roth in the ceremony presided by Rear Adm. Victorino G. "Vic" Mercado, commander of Carrier Strike Group 8.
During the ceremony, Mercado presented Roth with the Legion of Merit for his superior performance as commanding officer, a position he held since August 2012.
"For the past two and a half years, I have observed with great pride the accomplishments of this amazing crew and struggle to find words to describe how impressed I am by all that has been accomplished. I am, without question, turning over a warship in superior material condition and a crew of passionate warriors with unmatched skill and dedication," said Roth. "It has been my greatest pleasure and honor to serve with each and every one of you."
Scholl, who assumed command after serving as assistant chief of staff for force readiness at Naval Air Forces Pacific, commended Roth's leadership and the crew's dedication to keeping Truman operationally ready to meet the challenges that may lay ahead.
"It is an honor and privilege to take command of this mighty warship. Captain Roth has done a phenomenal job. The reputation this ship has across the fleet is second to none, and I am eager to lead this crew and continue that fine tradition of excellence," said Scholl.
Under Roth's leadership, the crew remained focused and resilient throughout Truman's unexpectedly delayed 2013 deployment, compressed work-up cycle and follow-on nine-month deployment.
As evidence of the crew's sustained achievement, Truman earned 2013 Commander, Naval Air Forces, Atlantic CVN Battle Efficiency award, a testament to the dedication of Truman's crew.
As commanding officer, Roth oversaw several critical transitions throughout his tour, culminating in two successful shipyard availability periods and a combat deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
During the deployment, Truman participated in several exercises with navies from multiple nations, including NATO partners, France and the United Kingdom, in order to foster increased international cooperation while working closely with its allies to provide security and stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
Within seven weeks of returning home from a nine-month deployment, Roth led Truman's crew through the challenge of completing a Board of Inspection and Survey Material Inspection, an assessment most carriers execute following a maintenance availability and not soon after an extended deployment. The ship scored above the fleet carrier average.
Roth, who will report to Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic, said he is confident the crew will continue its superior performance under Scholl's leadership.
"I will observe from a distance as Captain Scholl boldly leads this ship in the years ahead, and I know Truman's proud reputation will be sustained and enhanced," said Roth.
This changing of the guard comes during Truman's carrier incremental availability.
The carrier fleet undergoes periodic maintenance availabilities throughout their service life in order to extend longevity and expand capabilities for an estimated 50 years. The ship's compressed maintenance availability allows the necessary preparation to return to sea and then deploy later this year.