The lead ship of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers welcomed its new commander during a change of command ceremony at naval base Kitsap Bremerton, Washington.
Capt. Kevin P. Lenox took command of USS Nimitz from Capt. John C. Ring, who had been in command since July 2014.
Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces, was the guest speaker at the event and acknowledged Ring and his crew for their accomplishments as a command.
As Ring took the podium for the last time, he acknowledged special guests in attendance including, Betsy Nimitz Van Dorn, the granddaughter of Nimitz’ namesake, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz.
He then addressed the crew he led over the last two-and-half years.
Ring led the ship and her crew in the initial at-sea development testing of the F-35C Lighting II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), a homeport change and a 21-month extended planned incremental availability (EPIA).
After completing the yard period in Oct. 2016, Ring led Nimitz and her crew through an expedited inter-deployment training cycle basic phase 126 days ahead of the typical schedule.
Ring received a Legion of Merit for his performance as Nimitz’ commanding officer. He is credited by “his dynamic direction, keen judgement, and loyal devotion to duty.”
Before turning over to Lenox, Ring addressed the Nimitz’ new commanding officer. “If I could have named my relief personally, it would have been you. I’m thankful that it’s you I am turning the ship and crew over to. Enjoy the ride, it will be over far too soon.”
Lenox graduated from Duke University in 1990 where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering and was commissioned through the ROTC unit. He entered the nuclear power training pipeline in 2009.
Lenox will oversee Nimitz through the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) and composite training exercise (COMPTUEX), which will certify Nimitz, Carrier Strike Group 11, Carrier Air Wing 11 and Destroyer Squadron 9 for an upcoming 2017 deployment.