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Navy names career submariner as next Naval Academy commandant

Capt. Thomas R. “TR” Buchanan is a 1992 graduate of the academy. He will replace Capt. Robert Chadwick, who has served since July 2017, as the next commandant of midshipmen at the Naval Academy.

U.S. NAVY PHOTO

By RICK HUTZELL | The Capital | Published: January 12, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — The Navy has named a career submariner currently working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the next commandant of midshipmen at the Naval Academy.

Capt. Thomas R. “TR” Buchanan is a 1992 graduate of the academy. He will replace Capt. Robert Chadwick, who has served since July 2017.

When Buchanan arrives on the Yard this summer, it will be part of a complete turnover of top academy leadership. Vice Admiral Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr., currently the academy superintendent, is set to end his tour this summer as well. A new superintendent has not been named.

The commandant is similar to the dean of students at a civilian university and is responsible for the day-to-day conduct, military training and professional development of more than 4,400 midshipmen.

Often dubbed the “dant,” the commandant is the second in command at the academy and serves under the superintendent. Unlike the superintendent, whose appointment must be confirmed by the Senate, the commandant is strictly a Navy choice.

Buchanan currently serves as the executive assistant to the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. The director assists the joint chiefs, which serve as advisers to the president on military matters.

Buchanan has served in attack and ballistic missile submarines during his career. His most recent fleet assignment was as commander of Submarine Squadron 20, made up of five Ohio class ballistic subs, from March 2016 to August 2017.

After graduating from the Naval Academy, he attended George Washington University.

Buchanan is expected to take over his new assignment after commencement in May. Commandants generally serve in the post for two years.

Carter is the 62nd superintendent and began his tour in 2014. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1981 and went on to serve as a naval aviator, aircraft carrier commander and head of the Naval War College.

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