Command in the Navy is a sacred trust. The Commander is ultimately responsible for mission accomplishment, and the life and safety of his crew. Every command in the Navy can chart an unbroken line of succession from its creation or commissioning through to its ultimate decommissioning. Today, we participated in the transition of command for our Mission Commander, the Commander of Amphibious Squadron SIX. The Commander of Amphibious Squadron SIX, Commodore Bob Lineberry, was assigned as the Mission Commander of Continuing Promise '09 about a year ago. Commodore Lineberry led all of the planning efforts, pre-deployment site surveys, and finally the execution of this mission from our sailing on April 1st through today.
Today, his relief, Captain Tom Negus, relieved him of command and is now both the Commander, Amphibious Squadron SIX, and the Mission Commander for the rest of Continuing Promise '09.
The Change of Command ceremony is very special in the Navy. It is a public display of the transfer of the mantel of leadership from one person to another. During the ceremony, the outgoing Commander reads his orders (directing him to detach from one command and report to another). His successor likewise reads his orders (ordering him to report to this command), and states, "I relieve you, Sir." The outgoing Commander then replies, "I stand relieved." At that moment, the new Commander assumes full responsibility for the command.
A Change of Command is always a time of mixed emotions. Commodore Lineberry has been a great leader and has been a true friend to this mission, and to the crew of USNS COMFORT. He will be greatly missed! But at the same time, we look forward with excitement to the leadership of Commodore Negus! He has been onboard the ship for about a week now, being briefed by a wide cross-section of the crew and observing first-hand how we conduct operations. He will bring a fresh set of eyes and a renewed enthusiasm to this mission that will no doubt reenergize our efforts as we push forward to the end!
Last night, our wonderful Air Force Band helped us say goodbye to Commodore Linebery with a great concert on the messdecks. The Commodore joined the band as they played "Smoke on the Water", some AC/DC, and finally some Blues. It was a great way to say goodbye!
A career in the Navy is full of hellos and goodbyes. It's never easy, but it keeps our Commands strong, nimble, and ready to face the challenges ahead. It battles complacency and the natural cycle of organizational decay that happens when we become stagnant in our thinking.
Commodore Lineberry, we wish you all the best as you move on in your storied career with the traditional Navy blessing of "Fair Winds and Following Seas!"
Commodore Negus, we welcome you as our Mission Commander and look forward to your leadership in the weeks ahead!