NORFOLK -- After a 39 year Navy career capped off by more than three years at the head of US Fleet Forces Command, Adm. John Harvey retired following a change of command ceremony.
He was relieved Friday by Adm. William E. Gortney in the ceremony held aboard USS Harry S. Truman on Naval Station Norfolk.
Chief Of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert spoke at the Friday afternoon event, saying although budget issues and ongoing world events present challenges, "Our sailors will adapt."
Two Norfolk-based ships-USS Laboon and USS McFaul, are responding to the unrest in the Middle East following the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, earlier this week.
U.S. Fleet Forces Command provides operational and planning support to Combatant Commanders and integrated warfighter capability requirements to the CNO. Additionally, U.S. Fleet Forces Command serves as the CNO's designated Executive Agent for Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (ATFP), Individual Augmentees (IA), and Sea Basing.
In collaboration with U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Fleet Forces Command organizes, mans, trains, maintains, and equips Navy forces, develops and submits budgets, and executes readiness and personnel accounts to develop both required and sustainable levels of Fleet readiness. Additionally, the command serves as the unified voice for fleet training requirements and policies to generate combat-ready Navy forces.
Adm. Harvey, a 1973 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, served in a variety of sea and shore billets. He is the 54th officer to serve as the Chief of Naval Personnel and he commanded USS David R. Ray (DD 971), USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Cruiser-Destroyer Group Eight/Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group. Gortney, a naval aviator and 1977 graduate of Elon College in N.C., becomes the 33rd commander of USFF. He has served in a variety of command positions afloat and ashore, including most recently as Director, Joint Staff for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command; Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Forces Maritime Component Commanders. He also commanded Carrier Strike Group-10, on the Norfolk-based USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.