NORFOLK (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic held a change of command ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), July 29.
Vice Adm. Michael Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces, based in San Diego, attended and presided over the ceremony in the ship's hangar bay as Rear Adm. Bruce H. Lindsey relieved Rear Adm. John R. Haley as Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic (CNAL).
CNAL is responsible for overseeing the manning, training, and equipping of four nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, four carrier air wings, a strike fighter wing, a patrol and reconnaissance group, a maritime patrol wing and two helicopter wings primarily based on the East Coast of the United States. Spread across these commands are 54 aircraft squadrons, 1,200 aircraft and 50,000 officers, enlisted and civilian personnel.
The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that traces its origins back to long before the United States was formed. It serves as an in-person hand-off from one commander to another in a show of unity, good order and coordination in front of those under the command.
"By this one seemingly simple act, ultimate authority, accountability and responsibility for almost half of Naval aviation will shift from one officer to the next," Shoemaker said.
Haley has served as CNAL since January 2015, a command he assumed after serving as director of Global Operations, U.S. Strategic Command, at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Haley is a 1980 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and after 36 years of service, he is now set to retire.
Haley reflected on the importance of the work at CNAL and the value it brings to warfighting efforts.
"The CNAL staff is a great place to work, Naval Aviation is a great place to work," said Haley. "It's a great place to work because unlike many staffs, everything we do usually has a direct or almost direct impact on Sailors at sea, on deployment, or training to go on deployment."
Haley was also quick to praise the work ethic and professionalism of everyone at the command, military and civilian alike.
"The people who work here at AIRLANT (CNAL) are motivated by pure professionalism and dedication to those who are serving."
Following Haley's speech, he and Lindsey each read their orders and reported to Shoemaker. Lindsey then spoke to fleet readiness, warfighting readiness and aggression deterrence during his speech following the assumption of command.
"It is evident that both our chief of naval operations and the commandant of the Marine Corps feel that warfighting readiness -- the readiness to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations, just like Air Wing 3, embarked on USS Eisenhower today -- is, has been, and remains our number one commitment to the citizens of the United States of America," Lindsey said. "And it is under this number one commitment to our citizens that I take command of [CNAL] today."
Lindsey's remarks weren't limited to just the business of CNAL as he also spent time talking about the importance of military families as they apply to fleet readiness.
"I would be terribly remiss, however, if I did not mention the huge roll that our Navy families play in the execution of the Navy-Marine Corps team," Lindsey said. "Without our wonderfully tough and resilient families, none of us could go to sea on a moment's notice and execute that presidential tasking."
This will be Lindsey's third flag assignment, following his most recent position as the commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4 in Norfolk, CSG 10 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and a tour serving as the deputy director for Operations, J3, Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.
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