Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Allied Joint Forces Command Naples Holds Change of Command

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NAPLES, Italy (Feb. 24, 2012) - Adm. James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and Commander, U.S. European Command, shakes hands with Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III after presenting the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, at today's change of command ceremony on Naval Support Activity Naples. During the ceremony, Adm. Bruce W. Clingan relieved Locklear as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Commander, Allied Joint Forces Command.

NAPLES, Italy (Feb. 24, 2012) - (From left to right) Adm. Bruce W. Clingan, and Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and Commander, Allied Joint Forces Command Naples; Adm. James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and Commander, U.S. European Command; Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations; and U.S. Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, salute during the parading of the colors at today's change of command ceremony on Naval Support Activity Naples. During the ceremony, Clingan relieved Locklear as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Commander, Allied Joint Forces Command.

NAPLES, Italy – Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF), and commander, Allied Joint Forces Command Naples (JFC), held a change of command ceremony on Naval Support Activity Naples in Naples, Italy, Feb. 24, where Adm. Bruce W. Clingan relieved Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III.

Among the dignitaries and guests were Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations; Adm. James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and commander, U.S. European Command; U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham, commander, U.S. Africa Command; and David Thorne, U.S. Ambassador to the Italian Republic.

“[Locklear] has a very candid approach to things, and I’ve admired him for a long, long time,” said Greenert.  “He’s very innovative, and in the times that we have to deal with today, resources are tight, yet threats are out there and there is a job to be done. [Locklear] has the most bold and clear-eyed approach that I have seen throughout our senior admirals and senior leaders. He’s about operating forward, and that’s what our Navy is about.”

During his time in Naples, Locklear successfully oversaw a large number of real-world and training missions, such as Operations Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector, and partner-building programs to include the multinational annual exercises of Proud Manta, Juniper Cobra, Phoenix Express, and the continuing of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East and West.

Stavridis also spoke highly of Locklear’s accomplishments during his time in Naples.

“From a NATO perspective, [Locklear] was brilliant,” said Stavridis. “I would particularly, and most obviously, highlight the Libyan operation. It was the ultimate unexpected [event] where he very quickly pivoted from a coalition of the willing to an alliance operation that led 28 NATO and Arab nations, and European partners. And the effect that I would draw to mind is that his operation saved tens of thousands of lives.”

Ham also spoke of Locklear’s operation in Libya and on his continued efforts towards building partnerships and increasing maritime security throughout Africa.

“I will always remember [Locklear’s] calm leadership, his measured approach, his constant concern for all under his command, and his absolutely unrelenting focus on his mission,” said Ham.

Locklear stood before the men and women of NAVEUR-NAVAF and JFC, and thanked them for their hard work and the contributions they made toward peace and security throughout the region.

“From the Balkans to Iraq, from the North Pole to the Southern tip of Africa, from the Western Mediterranean to the Black Sea, you have been leaders who shaped the world around you and made a difference,” said Locklear. “Thank your families for their sacrifices and support. They are the backbone of our military community and the unsung heroes behind our success.”

Locklear will continue his career as the new Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, in Hawaii, whose area of responsibility encompasses the waters off the west coast of the U.S. to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole.

After taking command, Clingan greeted his new team and expressed his enthusiasm for returning to Naples, where he previously served as commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and deputy commander, NAVEUR-NAVAF.

“I am delighted to be standing here today assuming command rather than relinquishing it, and I feel very privileged to be joining two extraordinary organizations,” said Clingan. “I’d like to thank Adm. Locklear for his exemplary leadership. In Navy parlance, all three ships are headed fair in the channel and my intent is to stay the course you have set and to accomplish the objectives that you have established.”

Clingan comes to Naples after serving as deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy.  

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