NAPLES, Italy — Rear Adm. Noel Preston has been appointed commander, Navy Region Europe, by the chief of naval operations in the latest reshuffling of naval leaders in Europe.

Along with that appointment, made by Adm. Vern Clark, Preston will assume the NATO job of commander, Maritime Air Forces, Mediterranean, according to a Navy announcement.

He was appointed in September 2004 to his current job of director of Navy Europe Programs, Resources and Support.

Preston will replace Rear Adm. Stanley Bozin, who will transfer to the Pentagon to be director of the Navy’s Office of Budget.

No date has been set for the change of command in Naples, but officials are planning a late-spring ceremony, said spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Braun.

Replacing Preston will be Rear Adm. Derwood Curtis, currently special assistant to commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in San Diego.

Preston graduated from the University of South Carolina Navy ROTC program in 1970 and attended the Naval Justice School in Newport, R.I. He then reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and was designated a naval aviator in October 1971, according to his online biography.

“I am honored to have been selected as the next commander of Navy Region Europe, and I look forward to continuing the terrific work Rear Adm. Stan Bozin has done in transforming the region for the challenges of the future,” Preston said in a statement released Wednesday.

Curtis graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976 and received a bachelor’s degree in political science. He currently also serves as commander, Carrier Strike Group Eleven, USS Nimitz Strike Group.

The appointments do not require hearings before the U.S. Senate.

The Navy has yet to announce who will be tapped for the top Navy post in Europe. On March 2, the White House nominated Adm. Michael Mullen to replace the retiring Clark as chief of naval operations.

The Senate has yet to schedule Mullen’s confirmation hearing.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now