Navy Region Southwest Holds Change of Command Ceremony

Story Number: NNS150714-06Release Date: 7/14/2015 9:36:00 AM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist(SW/EXW) Liz Murray, Commander, Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Markham K. Rich relieved Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge as commander of Navy Region Southwest (NRSW), July 13, during a change of command ceremony aboard the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.

Lorge led Region shore operations to support 325,000 Sailors, Marines, family members and retirees. He initiated an energy strategy that included steam decentralization, Utilities Renewable Energy initiatives, energy security, and micro-grid technology that will lead to savings of 25 percent in consumption and $12.5 million per year. He collaborated with state and local governments to build a state-of-the-art coastal campus project in support of Naval Special Warfare. He also developed a Base Operations Long-Range Tracker synchronizing planning across all warfare enterprises and installations.

Lorge is retiring after serving 34 years in the Navy. During his speech, he compared the mixed feelings of closing this chapter in his life, to the scene between Clarence and George Baily in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life."

"As I reflected on my life in uniform over these last 34 plus years, I realized that I have been blessed by God in too many ways to count," Lorge said. "He gave me a purpose in life, the woman of my dreams, and five children more precious than gold. And he also gave me the gift to lead, and I, like George Baily, think this is a Wonderful Life."

Vice Admiral Kenneth Floyd, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, presented Lorge with the Distinguished Service Medal for his inspirational leadership of NRSW from July 2013 to July 2015, culminating 34 years of honorable and dedicated service.

Lorge's five children read the "The Watch," a poem typically read during military retirement ceremonies to respectfully relieve a service member of military duties and acknowledge the younger generation's role in carrying the mission forward. Following the poem, Lorge's son, U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Phillip Lorge, gave his father his last active duty salute before being piped ashore.

Rich assumed command of NRSW following a tour in Washington D.C., where he served as the 88th Commandant of Naval District Washington. He previously commanded Naval Air Station Oceana and was chief of staff at Navy Region Southwest.

"To the Navy Region Southwest Team, I'm ready to get to work with you, for the second time in many cases, serving the fleet, fighter and family," Rich stated. "Our reason for being is to ensure the continued mission success of our tenants and mission partners."

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