By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Lewis Hunsaker, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs
KHALIFA BIN SALMAN PORT, Bahrain (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/5th Fleet (C5F)/Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) held a change of command ceremony aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), May 24.
Vice Adm. John Miller relieved Vice Adm. Mark Fox as commander of NAVCENT/C5F/CMF.
As the guest speaker, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command, addressed the distinguished guests from regional and coalition partner nations, as well as fellow service members, in the hangar bay of the U.S. Navy's first nuclear aircraft carrier and the second oldest vessel in commission. Enterprise is on its 22nd and final deployment.
Mattis highlighted NAVCENT/C5F/CMF numerous achievements during Fox's tenure, including assisting 62 ships and 610 mariners in distress at sea, and air support to troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Admiral Fox, the prince of the sea, emir of the sea - to translate 'admiral' from the Arabic to English - is a shipmate and a trusted confidant; I have relied on his operational judgment from day one. A key advisor, he's got a fighter's instinct and a diplomat's understanding," said Mattis. "Thank you, Admiral Fox. You are the epitome of a naval officer."
Since July 2010, Fox has led more than 25,000 U.S. and coalition service members operating continuously in the region providing security, defending against violent extremism, conducting maritime security operations (MSO) and providing support for operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.
"The U.S. and Combined Maritime Forces contribution and presence is vital to security and stability in this region of the world," said Fox. "It's essential for the global economy that every nation has a presence here."
Fox wore the Order of Bahrain, First-class medal, which was bestowed upon him on May 11, by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Kingdom of Bahrain. Fox was presented the award in honor of his meritorious service as Commander, NAVCENT/C5F/CMF. During the change of command ceremony, he was awarded the Department of the Navy's Distinguished Service Medal for his exceptional performance as NAVCENT/C5F/CMF commander from July 2010 to May 2012.
Fox has been confirmed for reappointment to the rank of vice admiral and assignment as deputy chief of naval operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5), in Washington, D.C.
Miller's previous assignments include serving as the NAVCENT deputy commander and chief of staff for Commander, U.S. Central Command. His most recent tour was as special assistant to the deputy chief of naval operations for Operations, Plans, and Strategy (N3/N5) in Washington, D.C.
"It's an honor to be here and to serve with the greatest group of Sailors and Marines the world has ever seen," said Miller.
Miller's goals as the new commander are to build upon existing relationships and foster new partnerships throughout the region.
"It is always important to build the coalition," said Miller. "It's our job to maintain security and stability in the region, and we do that through a large variety of coalition partners who share a common cause with us."
NAVCENT/C5F/CMF area of responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.