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Capt. George “Chip” Walter Jr. took command Thursday of the Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily-based Task Force 67, from Capt. Robert Lally.

The task force is responsible for the Navy’s aviation forces in the Mediterranean region, mainly P-3 Orion aircraft deployed to Sigonella from stateside bases, according to a Navy news release. Its aircraft perform such tasks as maritime surveillance of vessels suspected of terrorism-related activities and anti-submarine defense.

Task Force 67 had fallen under the Fleet Air Mediterranean staff in Naples, Italy, until October 2004 when it moved to Sigonella with the disestablishment of its parent command. Lally assumed command of the task force on Oct. 1, 2004.

He left Sicily for the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., according to the release.

Walter reports to Sicily after serving as executive assistant to the Navy director of air warfare in Washington, the release said. He is a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

1st AD soldier pleads guilty to drug, larceny chargesA Giessen, Germany-based 1st Armored Division soldier has been sentenced after pleading guilty to drug, larceny and other charges.

In a judge-only proceeding Wednesday at Hanau, Pvt. Joel Roman, of the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, pleaded guilty to one count of using marijuana, one count of introducing marijuana onto a military installation and one count of distributing marijuana. Roman also pleaded guilty to one count of distributing the painkiller Oxycodone, one count of larceny in claiming $6,006.91 in basic allowance for housing, and one count of “wrongfully and dishonorably failing to maintain sufficient funds in his bank account.”

Roman pleaded not guilty to one count of obstructing justice by flushing marijuana down a toilet.

A military judge sentenced Roman to forfeit $800 pay per month for six months, confinement for six months, and a bad-conduct discharge.

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