Aircraft carrier Roosevelt, strike group get new captains while deployed

By Mike Hixenbaugh
The Virginian-Pilot


The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and its strike group have new leaders.

Capt. Craig Clapperton takes command of the ship about midway through its deployment to the Middle East, where the carrier has been launching jets in support of the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The ship deployed from Norfolk in March. At a change of command ceremony Tuesday aboard the ship, the outgoing commander, Capt. Daniel Grieco, thanked his crew for their hard work over the past two-and-a-half years.

“It has been truly amazing to watch this team conquer, rebuild, train, learn and succeed at every single challenge that has been thrown at it,” said Grieco, who took command of the ship when it was still docked at Newport News Shipbuilding, undergoing its midlife overhaul and nuclear refueling.

Clapperton addressed his crew after assuming duties as commanding officer.

“I am humbled as I say thank you and promise continued operational excellence and support to our warfare commanders,” Clapperton said. “I will challenge the best crew on the best ship in the most powerful Navy in the world to continue to improve themselves and their ship.”

During a separate ceremony Tuesday, Rear Adm. Roy J. Kelley replaced Rear Adm. Andrew Lewis as commander of the carrier’s strike group, which includes Carrier Air Wing 1, the guided-missile cruiser Normandy, and the guided-missile destroyers Winston S. Churchill, Farragut and Forrest Sherman.

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