By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Hendrix
YOKOSUKA, Japan (April 12, 2016) – After serving more than two years as commanding officer of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Capt. Christopher Bolt was relieved by Capt. Michael Donnelly during a change of command ceremony in the ship’s hangar bay, April 12.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with each and every one of you during my tour,” said Bolt. “I can honestly say this is the finest crew in the Navy, serving on the finest ship in the fleet. As I transfer command to Capt. Donnelly, I do so with the utmost confidence that you will continue to serve with the same tradition of excellence that I have been so proud of during my time as your commanding officer.”
During Bolt’s tenure from July 2013 to April 2016, Ronald Reagan earned the 2013 Chief of Naval Operations safety and environmental award and three consecutive retention excellence awards.
In 2015, Reagan completed an 8-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) on time, marking the first time in more than eight years that an aircraft carrier finished PIA on schedule. Bolt’s leadership was instrumental during a hull swap with USS George Washington (CVN 73), which brought 3,000 newly combined ship’s company to Yokosuka, Japan last summer.
Rear Adm. John D. Alexander, Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70 commended Bolt’s leadership and the crew’s performance under his command.
“USS Ronald Reagan, led by Captain Bolt, performed exceptionally throughout the three (carrier) hull swap, Ronald Reagan’s first deployment as the only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, and multiple engagements with our partners and allies around the region,” said Rear Adm. John D. Alexander, Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70. “He brought great leadership to the crew and effectively managed every task that was sent his way.”
Donnelly, a native of Kent Island, Maryland, assumed command after previously serving as the commanding officer of USS Denver (LPD 9) and the executive officer of USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Donnelly graduated from Villanova University in 1989 with more than 3,000 flight hours and 990 carrier landings in F-14 A, B and D and F/A-18F aircraft.
“USS Ronald Reagan has a terrific history of success and an outstanding culture of pride under Captain Bolt,” said Donnelly. “The mission focus and readiness of the crew, as well as the ship’s seamless transition to become the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier reflect the clear vision and dedicated leadership that Captain Bolt brought throughout his tour.”
Ronald Reagan provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.