SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) -- Command Master Chief Benjamin Howat has assumed his new role as the U.S. 7th Fleet command master chief.
Howat joined the 7th Fleet staff aboard the flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) while the ship was conducting a scheduled port visit in Hong Kong, April 29.
The Blue Ridge crew and embarked 7th Fleet staff are currently on patrol in the Indo-Asia Pacific strengthening and fostering relationships in the region.
As the fleet's top enlisted Sailor, he will oversee enlisted affairs of the Navy's largest numbered fleet and its approximately 20,000 Sailors.
Howat is no stranger to the 7th Fleet area of operations, having most recently served as Commander, Task Force 76 command master chief. "I'm looking forward to seeing more about how the 7th Fleet operates on a larger scale," Howat said.
Howat relieved Command Master Chief Crispian Addington who was selected as the senior enlisted advisor at U.S. European Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.
U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia Pacific while interacting with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.
For more news from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/c7f/.