Clingan takes charge of Naval Forces Europe
Stars and Stripes
NAPLES, Italy — It’s rare for a commander to wrap up not one, but two missions during a single tour, Adm. James Stavridis, head of U.S. European Command, said Friday as he bid farewell to the outgoing commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.
During his nearly two years in Naples Adm. Samuel Locklear III participated in the wrap up of operations in Iraq. Locklear, who also served as Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, also oversaw the seven-month Libya mission to stop Moammar Gadhafi’s forces from crushing a rebel movement that removed the former leader from power.
Locklear heads to Hawaii to take over the U.S. Pacific Command.
Adm. Bruce Clingan, a former Tomcat fighter pilot, assumed command Friday of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa.
Stavridis asked Clingan to focus on several things during his tenure; continuing NATO missions in Kosovo, maritime dominance in the Mediterranean and African waters, and a smooth transition as the Navy stations four new ships in Spain as part of the missile defense program.
While both leaders face complex challenges in a time of budgetary constraints, both are analysts who will manage to endure, said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who, noting lack of funding for professional photographers, jokingly took out his personal point-and-shoot camera and began photographing the ceremony.
“Sam is about mission first, but not at all costs,” Greenert said later of the departing Naples-based commander.
Clingan praised his predecessor for his “exemplary leadership.” To the U.S. and international servicemembers under his command, he promised to continue the course.
“While at times we seemingly do not speak the same language, … we are all committed to our common defense; as we all desire peace, prosperity and freedom,” Clingan said.
“I am confident that in spite of emerging threats, economic concerns and uncertainty, our alliance has the wherewithal to meet its security obligations to the benefit of every ally, our partners and international community,” Clingan said.