USA: CTF 51/59 Holds Change of Command Ceremony

Commander, Task Force (CTF) 51/59 held a change of command ceremony on Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain, Aug. 8.

Brig. Gen. Gregg Olson relieved Rear Adm. William Lescher as commander of CTF-51/59.

During his farewell remarks, Lescher, who assumed command of CTF-51/59 Aug. 26, 2012, expressed how privileged he was to serve and work alongside such great professionals.

“The staff and our rotational amphibious forces have done tremendous work to sustain and improve major combat operation and crisis response preparedness,” Lescher said. “Thank you to the Sailors, Marines and civilian mariners who made it happen.”

Guest speaker Vice Adm. John Miller, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces commended Lescher for his leadership, hard work and ability to execute every mission.

“Admiral Lescher, you are a masterful teacher and team builder, and you have promoted an ethos and spirit of teamwork across your force,” Miller said. “Congratulations on an outstanding tour and a job very well done.”

Miller also welcomed Olson as the first U.S. Marine Corps general officer in charge of CTF-51/59. Miller offered his best wishes to Olson in assuming command of the task force and emphasized the significance this leadership transition has on the integration of the Navy and Marine Corps team.

“You are clearly well prepared to take the reins of this Navy-Marine Corps team,” Miller said. “I know you and your proven team are ready for the multitude of challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Olson praised Lescher for his leadership and flexibility during the command’s transition.

“For my friend, Rear Admiral Lescher, I have nothing but praise,” Olson said. “Over the course of the last year, he and I discussed many an expeditionary topic, some operational, some related to Navy and Marine Corps organizational culture, and others purely in pursuit of that more ‘perfect efficiency in military action’ as our teams reacted to crisis.”

NAVCENT is task organized to conduct maritime operations in the region and CTFs are the center of that construct. CTF-51 provides command and control over Amphibious Ready Groups, Marine Expeditionary Units and the Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I) 15), all deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. CTF-59 is a standing contingency response, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief task force. The staff plans and conducts HADR missions related to earthquakes, cyclones and oil spills.

U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, North Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea. The expanse comprises 20 countries and 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.


Press Release, August 9, 2013