US Naval Surface Forces head steps down

US Naval Surface Forces commander Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden stepped down from his position on January 18 in the aftermath of US Navy destroyer collisions in the Pacific in 2017.

Rowden stepped down ahead of a recommendation for his relief as part of a series of measures taken following the loss of 17 sailors in the collisions.

Commanders of the US 7th Fleet, Task Force 70 (CTF 70) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 were relieved shortly after the collisions, as were the commanding officers of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain.

Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown relieved Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden as commander, Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) and commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The turnover was conducted at SURFOR headquarters.

“It has been an honor to serve with you,” Rowden told the SURFOR straff. “I am proud of all of you and all you do to keep our nation free.”

Brown assumed command of SURFOR after having served as commander of Navy Personnel Command (NPC) and deputy chief of naval personnel. A native of Lowell, Mass., Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. He holds a Master of Science in Operations Research from the Naval Post Graduate School and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

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