By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paolo Bayas
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Jan. 30, 2015) – Capt. Greg Fenton was relieved by Capt. Timothy Kuehhas as commanding officer of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) during a change of command ceremony, Jan. 30.
George Washington’s hangar bay set the stage to recall the crew’s achievements during Fenton’s tenure and for Kuehhas to take the helm as the ship’s new commanding officer.
“During my two-and-a-half years here, the crew has really responded to what I’ve challenged them to do, making us a better ship to accomplish the 7th Fleet and Task Force 70 missions that were assigned to us, as well as developing themselves personally and really striving for a higher level of excellence, all while facing the unique operational and maintenance tempo of forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF),” said Fenton. “Capt. Kuehhas is inheriting a great ship and a great crew. He’s got many challenges ahead of him but he’s been well-trained and prepared throughout his career to take on these challenges. I have little doubt this crew will respond to him and help him accomplish what he wants to achieve.”
According to Fenton, his tour aboard George Washington was far more rewarding personally and professionally than his previous tours.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to serve the U.S. Navy forward-deployed in Japan,” said Fenton. “I’ve enjoyed a fabulous career in the Navy. I’ve been able to fly 33 different types of airplanes. I’ve got landings on 16 different aircraft carriers, so I’ve accomplished a lot personally in the Navy. However, I’ve always believed that my successes here were about the crew’s successes.”
Fenton’s successes include advancing more than 2,900 George Washington Sailors and chiefs to the next pay grade, achieving his goal of being competitive for the Battle “E” Award and ultimately earning it one year earlier than he foresaw.
“I’ve very much enjoyed my time as commanding officer aboard George Washington,” said Fenton. “My challenge to the crew moving forward after I leave is to continue to strive for a higher level of excellence and meet that mark.”
Fenton will report to Commander, Naval Forces Japan while awaiting follow-on orders while Kuehhas looks forward to serving as George Washington’s 12th Commanding Officer.
“It’s an honor to take command of George Washington,” said Kuehhas. “I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as we continue to strengthen the camaraderie and trust that we’ve built between our Sailors and allies here in the 7th Fleet region.”
Kuehhas holds nearly 27 years of naval service after commissioning in June 1988. George Washington is his fifth aircraft carrier tour following tours on USS Nimitz (CVN68), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).