AGUANA, Guam (NNS) -- Commander, Task Force (CTF) 75 changed hands during a time honored change of command ceremony in Aguana, Nov. 10.
Just one day prior to Veterans Day, Capt. Erich Diehl turned over command of CTF 75 to Capt. Bob Baughman. Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet and Rear Adm. Brian Brakke, commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command/NECC Pacific both attended the ceremony and praised Diehl for his excellence in leading the CTF 75 team of 1,200 expeditionary Sailors and welcomed his successor.
"It has been a true honor to lead this most capable Navy Expeditionary Task Force at a strategic crossroad in our Navy's history," said Diehl, who also recognized his Sailors for their exemplary service.
Aucoin also recognized the Sailors of CTF 75 and praised Diehl for his leadership during his tenure.
"To the men and women of Naval Expeditionary Forces Command Pacific, you are truly fighting Sailors in a form of warfare that is once again at the forefront of considered military thought," said Aucoin. "The work you do, the things you build, the facilities you repair, the partners you train, the new locations you make accessible has important consequences throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific."
During his time in command Diehl successfully executed the taskforce's first major exercise from Guam as a headquarters staff in August 2015, leveraging Exercise Ulchi-Freedom Guardian as a culmination certification event for the task force to guiding the execution of the first large-scale Navy Expeditionary Combat Force deployment of seven subordinate units totally 400 personnel to five locations in South Korea in March 2016.
"The CTF's success is a direct reflection of Buzz's commitment to excellence in ensuring his force has the necessary fighting power and combat power to effectively accomplish the mission where it matters, when it matters, and with what matters," said Brakke, who prior to the change of command ceremony presented 30 Naval Construction Regiment with a Meritorious Unit Command citation for their outstanding efforts performed in the 7th Fleet area of operations from July 2014 to March 2016.
In addition to exercise support, Diehl was instrumental in introducing the Mark VI Patrol Boat to the Pacific during the September 2016 Valiant Shield exercise.
"I am particularly proud to reflect on the work of Buzz Diehl, the first leader of this new combat capability," said Aucoin, who reflected on the diverse and vast accomplishments of Diehl after the establishment of CTF 75 in January 2015. "Under Buzz's leadership, the command grew combat power that far exceeded the summation of its various units."
Baughman, who helped to stand up the initial operational capability of CTF 75 in July 2014, welcomed the opportunity to return to Guam to take command of the task force.
"Task Force 75 is postured and ready to adapt and respond to the many challenges that lay ahead in this dynamic theater," said Baughman.
CTF 75 provides expeditionary combat capabilities in the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet area of responsibility. CTF 75 is capable of providing the fleet with diverse expeditionary warfighting capabilities that are combat-ready and able to deploy anywhere in U.S. 7th Fleet in response to any contingency. The Navy's expeditionary forces exist first and foremost to support the fleet's warfighting operations and are the Navy's sea-to-shore interface.
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