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Rear Adm. James D. Kelly took command of Carrier Group Five and the USS Kitty Hawk Strike Group on July 29, the 7th Fleet announced.

Kelly most recently was director for warfare programs and readiness, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He assumed command from Capt. J.R. “Dick” Corpus, the Strike Group commander since Rear Adm. Matthew G. Moffit left in May.

A native of Longview, Wash., Kelly is a 1973 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and was designated a naval flight officer in 1974. He flew 60 combat missions during operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch, led strikes in the Persian Gulf War from the USS Midway and helped bring the USS Independence to forward-deployed duty in Japan, according to the 7th Fleet. His was the first attack squadron to fly sorties enforcing the United Nations no-fly zone in southern Iraq in August 1992.

The Kitty Hawk Strike Group is the United States’ only permanently forward-deployed carrier strike group. It returned May 6 from supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Persian Gulf.

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