Eric and I had a real privilege tonight - we were invited to a Change of Command Ceremony aboard the USS Blue Ridge. The Blue Ridge is the 7th Fleet Command Ship (Flag Ship). The Blue Ridge is unique in its duty as it hosts the Fleet Admiral all the time - not just during it's tour. To put it succinctly, it is a pretty special ship.
The CO, Captain Grieco, just got reassigned to his new duty station as the CO aboard the CVN-71, USS Theodore Roosevelt. They are a really fortunate crew! The families are even more fortunate to have his wife, Donna, as a liaison and ally.
We came to know the Grieco's at the end of their duty rotation - about three years too late! They are a fantastic family. Their younger daughter, Mia, and Stefan have had their paths cross a number of times with school friends and events, taiko and baseball this last spring. Mia is a top-notch kid - full of energy with an uncanny focus that Stefan can, presently, only dream about. She is a total tom-boy and extremely likable. From both the parents' perspective and the kids (ahem - Stefan...).
The Change of Command Ceremony is very formal and literally is where the Commanding Officer steps down from the position and accepts his/her new orders and the new Commanding Officer accepts his/her new orders as Commanding Officer of the ship. Due to the nature of the Blue Ridge, this ceremony was graced by two admirals - one Rear Admiral (two-star) and one Vice Admiral (three-star).
I wish my pictures were better than they are - but 1) my "real" camera battery died and 2) it is WAY out of line to stand up and snap photos... so all were taken on the "sly". The pomp and ceremony was well-deserved and basically made me tear up. The ship was bedecked in red, white & blue bunting and all of its flags were out. It was very ship-shape and festive.
The Blue Ridge Band was great!
The carved fruit is always spectacular!
Congratulations Captain Grieco & Captain Penningiton!