Monday, August 3, 2009

Commander Task Force 53 Changes Hands

Dispatches from the Front
News from U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet Combined Maritime Forces.

Dispatches from the Front:

MANAMA, Bahrain, Aug 3, 2009 -- Capt. Don Hodge relieved Capt. Steve Kelley as Commander, Task Force (CTF) 53 during a change of command ceremony held today at the
U.S. Navy's Aviation Unit in Bahrain.

Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) served as the guest speaker at the ceremony. He praised Capt. Kelley for providing excellent logistics support to the fleet.

"As commodore, Steve has been responsible for ensuring that operational logistics run seamlessly for the 25,000 sailors and Marines that operate throughout the region," said Gortney.

"He is an exemplary motivator and is a true deck plate leader. He isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, no matter what the mission and is never afraid to state his opinion. Through his leadership, he inspires all he comes in contact with and encourages people to excel in all they do. He is the definition of a great leader."

As CTF 53's commander for the last 13 months, Kelley explained that the logistics business is important.

"I'd like to point out why it's easy for me to talk about the lack of excitement in the logistics business in 5th Fleet," said Kelley. "It's because dedicated professionals from the CTF 53 staff make it their passion to take the war-fighters concerns and make those concerns their own. In the end it's only logistics, but logistics professionally executed keeps the war-fighters on task and that's exactly what you've done in my tenure."

Logistics Forces NAVCENT is the single point of contact for Naval Operational Logistics within the NAVCENT area of operations. This mission includes the integration and coordination of assigned afloat and ashore logistics assets, forward logistics sites and detachments, along with coordination of fuel, ordnance, transportation, the management of in-theater ship and aviation maintenance programs, and maintaining the current level of Maritime Security Operations in the region.

Gortney challenged Hodge to take care of the sailors as he assumes command of CTF 53.

"You have huge shoes to fill as you accept the responsibilities that come with the title of commodore," said Gortney.

Upon reading of his orders, Hodge took command and assumed the challenges and responsibility for the people and equipment of CTF 53.

"With the team we have here, we are not going to miss a beat," Hodge said. "I know I am taking the helm of a dedicated and motivated team who are all committed to something bigger than themselves."

(Report from a Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs news release.)

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