By Fleet Activities Yokosuka Public Affairs Office
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) welcomed its 37th commanding officer, Capt. Jeffrey Kim, during a Change of Command Ceremony held at Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Command Auditorium, July 22.
More than 250 U.S. military, Japan Self-Defense Force personnel, Japanese and American civilian employees and local government officials attended the standing-room only ceremony, which celebrates the time-honored tradition of the U.S. Navy’s change of leadership.
Following the arrival of the official parties, presentation of the colors and the singing of the national anthems of Japan and the United States, outgoing commanding officer, Capt. Steve Wieman welcomed the audience and introduced the ceremony’s guest speaker, Rear Adm. Matthew Carter, Commander U.S. Naval Region Japan.
“Under Capt. Wieman’s leadership, Fleet Activities Yokosuka never missed a beat,” said Carter. “Steve kept his staff focused on the mission of providing quality support to 7th Fleet, the warfighter and the families. All the while, his focus inside the fenceline never detracted from CFAY’s dedication towards building and maintaining the close relationship with the local Japanese communities.”
Then Carter addressed Wieman’s successor Capt. Jeffrey Kim and his family.
“So as one extraordinary naval officer relinquishes command, we are fortunate to have another one come in as his relief,” said Carter.
“Capt. Jeff Kim comes highly regarded, having had successful command here in Yokosuka as the [commanding officer] of USS John S. McCain. Additionally he served as Deputy Director for Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Action Group and most recently spent a year in Tokyo on a fellowship with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, the National Diet and the Kanagawa Prefectural government. That perspective we value as he represents this installation and the broader Navy family to our Japanese hosts.”
“On behalf of Navy Region Japan and its Sailors and families in Yokosuka,” said Carter. “I want to thank [Capt Wieman] and [his] team for a job well done. The quality and professionalism of your CFAY team are a testament to your exceptional leadership.”
“I’ve had the honor and privilege of being CFAY commander for about three months,” said Wieman following Carter’s remarks. “Although I love my position as [Naval Forces Japan] Chief of Staff, a position to which I will return to in just a few moments, I will look back on this time with sincere and deep pride and respect for the hallowed grounds that we call home in Yokosuka.”
“I have had the opportunity to learn and fight alongside some of the best professionals that I have ever served with in my entire career,” said Wieman. “If you couldn’t guess it already, Yokosuka is a big base, with a lot of moving parts. To keep the largest overseas base in the Navy functioning; it takes timing, it takes dedication, and it takes tremendous focus; all of it synchronized and well-oiled.
In accordance with the Navy change of command tradition, the outgoing skipper then announced he was “Ready to be relieved,” to Rear Adm. Carter and Capt. Kim.
Capt. Kim, then read his Bureau of Personnel orders instructing him to assume command of CFAY to those in attendance. Facing Capt. Wieman, he rendered a hand salute, informing him he was ready to assume command and then faced and saluted Rear Adm. Carter informing him he had assumed command of CFAY.
Addressing the crowd for the first time as CFAY’s new commanding officer Kim thanked those in attendance and spoke about his respect for the mission of CFAY and its history.
“Whereas most changes of command end up as a farewell between incoming and outgoing commanders, I am delighted that this ceremony marks the beginning of a close working relationship as Capt. Wieman moves to Navy Region Japan,” said Kim.
“I am profoundly humbled, I am privileged in serving with [the remarkable professionals that make up the CFAY team] as we perform our primary mission of ‘Service to the Fleet’,” said Kim. “As a Sailor who has spent a great majority of his sea duty years aboard forward-deployed ships of the 7th Fleet, there is no greater pride than to command the organization whose motto is ‘Service to the Fleet.’”
“It is not by chance that these are the largest, boldest words on the CFAY emblem,” said Kim referring to CFAY’s coat of arms. “To the guests with us today who represent the forward-deployed Navy forces, CFAY exists to support you and your families and we hold these words sacred ‘Service to the Fleet’.”
Kim also spoke about the flags of the United States and Japan that adorn the top of the CFAY emblem and represent the alliance between the United States and Japan.
“More than a bilateral treaty for the security of two democratic nations this alliance has been a foundation for the defense of freedom throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” said Kim. “In fact, my very existence as a free human being, born in this part of the world, is owed to this alliance and its power of deterrence and vigilance against evil and tyranny,” said Kim whose family emigrated from Korea when Kim was a toddler.
“Service to the fleet, service to the alliance, service in the name of peace, that is what CFAY has been and that is what CFAY will continue to be,” said Kim.
After thanking his friends and family for their friendship and support, Kim concluded his remarks with a quote from Michael Mansfield who was the longest serving U.S. ambassador to Japan, serving from 1977-1988.
“The U.S.-Japan relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none,” said Kim, quoting Mansfield. “As a recent graduate of the fellowship program that bears his name, I can attest that Ambassador Mansfield’s words are true today as they were when he spoke them,”added Kim.
“It is my solemn pledge that Fleet Activities Yokosuka will continue to support and uphold this ideal, bar none,” said Kim.
Capt. Wieman will reassume his position as Commander Naval Region Japan, Chief of Staff. He assumed command of CFAY in April 2016.
CFAY provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of 7th Fleet’s Forward-Deployed Naval Forces, 83 tenant commands, and 24,000 Military and civilian personnel.