Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8 held a change of command ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station, April 17.
Rear Adm. Victorino G. Mercado was relieved by Rear Adm. Bret C. Batchelder as commander, Carrier Strike Group 8, which includes the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.
Mercado assumed command of CSG-8 in June 2014. He led the strike group when it shifted flagships from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) to USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) to support fleet readiness and operational requirements. Following the shift, he successfully guided the strike group’s ships and aircraft through an intensive maintenance and modernization availability and basic training, laying the foundation for integrated strike group operations.
Mercado’s previous commands include commanding officer, USS Decatur (DDG 73), which completed an accelerated deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and commander, Destroyer Squadron 21 as sea combatant commander for the John C. Stennis Battle Group.
Mercado’s next assignment is director, assessment division, N81, office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Batchelder is a decorated naval aviator with more than 100 combat missions and more than 1,000 carrier-based landings.
Batchelder, a Colorado native, has served much of his naval career aboard aircraft carriers including USS Midway (CV 41), USS Constellation (CV 64), USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and Truman, while attached to Strike Fighter Squadron 151 and as commanding officer of VFA-105. He also served as commander, Carrier Air Wing 11.
Most recently, Batchelder commanded Joint Enabling Capabilities Command as part of U.S. Transportation Command.
CSG-8’s subordinate commands include Truman, Carrier Air Wing 7, the guided-missile cruisers USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Hue City (CG 66), as well as ships assigned to Destroyer Squadron 28; the guided-missile destroyers USS Gravely (DDG 107), USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109).
Image: US Navy