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Remarks as delivered for Adm. Michelle Howard at Submarine Group 8 Change of Command

July 21, 2017 at 1:41 PM UTC

19 July 2017 | Naples, Italy

Everyone, we have many distinguished guests here.  We have fellow admirals and we have our family members and our friends.  To all of you, good morning, and welcome to Naval Support Activity Naples at Capodichino.  Thank you for joining us today.  It is my honor to preside over this morning over a time honored Navy tradition -- the change of command ceremony and in this case, of a leader and warrior -- Rear Adm. Daryl Caudle. 

But before I talk about of our current Submarine Group 8 commander, I need to mention that as we bid arrividerci and buon viaggio to Daryl today, we are also saying fair winds and following seas to Donna Caudle.  Donna has contributed greatly to our community in their two years.  Wayne, my mom and I enjoyed getting to know both you and Donna, and look forward to watching both of you continue on your Navy journey.  Thank you, Donna.

So this is phenomenal and I really appreciate the meteorologists that you have Chris, for drumming up this wonderful weather.  So today is not only a beautiful day, it’s also important historically.  Over 200 years ago, on this day, Napoleon Bonaparte’s France was at war with, well, just about everyone else in Europe come to think of it.  So he was leading a campaign in Egypt near the town of Rosetta when one of his soldiers came upon a black slab of rock.  And the rock was inscribed with ancient writing in three different scripts: Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic.  Archaeologists could decipher from the Greek writing that it was inscribed by priests honoring a pharaoh.  And as they continued to read, they were startled to find that the Greek writing also proclaimed all three scripts to have identical meaning.  The French had literally stumbled upon the key to unlocking a dead language from over 2,000 years ago, the Rosetta Stone.  

So there are days in this theater that the challenges are complex enough that we need a modern day Rosetta Stone to understand them.  Our area of operations stretches from the Arctic to the Antarctic.  The theater encompasses some of the busiest straits in the world; and covers more than 20 million square miles of ocean with nearly two-thirds of the earth’s coastline. 

Our headquarters is a combined echelon one and echelon two, where many of our leaders have multiple jobs.  They are living Rosetta Stones as they translate simultaneously from U.S. to bi-lateral to tri-lateral to NATO operations.  And as you can see from the program, Daryl is not simply turning over Submarine Group 8 today.  As mentioned by Adm. Grady, he is also his deputy commander for U.S. 6th Fleet, but most important to me he is the director of operations for U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa.  He has a complex job and he does it exceedingly well.  And for those who don’t know, Daryl is originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, right in the heart of NASCAR Country.  And to paraphrase the iconic Ricky Bobby, “Daryl just drips leadership.”

Daryl’s accomplishments here in Naples have been quite extraordinary.  He was responsible for leading the planning efforts for strikes in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from three different carriers.  He also led the planning for Operation Odyssey Lightning strikes from the USS Wasp Amphibious Readiness Group.  

And it was under Daryl’s leadership that -- for the first time -- we transferred operational control of two U.S. destroyers, the USS Ross and the USS Mason, to our friends and NATO allies, the French, and the Charles De Gaulle carrier Strike Group.

Implementation of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to the ballistic-missile defense of Europe completed phase two under Daryl’s watchful eye.  The first part of that phase was the forward deployment of the final three ballistic-missile defense capable Aegis destroyers to Rota, from the continental United States.  And Daryl was also instrumental in all aspects of the stand up of Aegis Ashore in Romania and laying the groundwork for the second Aegis Ashore facility in Poland.

And additionally (and I save this for last because he is, after all, a submariner) there were a number of firsts related to under the seas.  Under Daryl’s watch the first NATO Theater ASW Conference was held right here in Naples.  Its purpose was to increase the alliance’s connectivity and interoperability with existing individual national theater ASW structures.  Daryl also supported Chief of Naval Operations tri-lateral discussions between the United States, France and the United Kingdom.  He even made a few Sailors happy on liberty as two U.S. ballistic-missile submarines made European port visits for the first in a dozen years. 

As much as we will miss Daryl and Donna, I am pleased to welcome Rear Adm. Thomas Ishee to the Naval Forces Europe, Naval Forces Africa, 6th Fleet family. Tom knows the shoes he will have to fill are quite large…because this is the second time in a row he’s taken over for Daryl.  They both have served as the deputy commander for global strike at Joint Functional Component Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. 

But Tom’s had a phenomenally successful career, including command of USS Key West as well as Submarine Squadron 11.  His tactical and operational prowess will be put to the test in our theater of operations. 

Tom, I look forward to working with you.  Having served with you in the Pentagon I know you are a combat tested leader.  You and Jerrilyn will make some great memories with your daughters Audrey and Alivia. 

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you again for joining us today. And please join me in congratulating Rear Adm. Caudle on a successful command tour.  Daryl, I wish you and Donna all the best as you make your way from Bella Napoli to sunny Hawaii!   

So ciao and aloha!

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