Italy: CTF-63 Holds Change of Command Ceremony

Commander, Task Force 63 Holds Change of Command Ceremony

Commander, Task Force 63/Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa (CTF-63/MSCEURAF), held a change of command ceremony at Naval Support Activity Naples Aug. 21. 

Capt. John Rinko relieved Capt. Richard Soucie as commander.

The guest speaker, Vice Adm. Frank C. Pandolfe, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, acknowledged Soucie’s many accomplishments during his command tour, which included control of all sea and air Navy logistics assets; prepositioning forces; special mission ships and strategic sealift capabilities throughout the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility in Europe and Africa.

“Commodore Soucie commands the room when he speaks and there is no doubt that CTF-63 is in the hands of a master; a Sailor who knows the sea as only time at sea can teach; a man who cares deeply about his people; and a leader focused on accomplishing the mission correctly, every time,” said Pandolfe.

Soucie, who will transfer to U.S. Central Command for a tour as MSC liaison officer to the combatant command, reflected on his tenure as the CTF-63/MSCEURAF commodore, and thanked his military and civilian staff members for the opportunity to lead them.

“The complexity and impact of naval logistics has grown in response to changes in the diverse nature of the forces we support, and the expansion of roles and missions,” said Soucie. “The superb efforts [of my staff] have ensured that the warfighters on the front lines have fuel ashore, afloat and in the air. They have moved countless tons of cargo and equipment for stock replenishment, exercise support, and for real-world operations around the globe. I couldn’t have handpicked a better group of individuals. They are a team of all-stars.”

CTF-63/MSCEURAF’s new commander, who transferred to NSA Naples from San Diego, where he served as the force nuclear propulsion officer at commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific, praised his new staff for the work they do.

“Capt. Soucie, you’ve provided me with a great organization to take over. [CTF-63/MSCEURAF] ensures that our fleet is ready to face the challenges of tomorrow,” said Rinko. “This group has established a reputation that is second to none, the best of the best. I’m anxious to roll up my sleeves and work with you.”

As CTF-63, his responsibilities will include coordinating and providing transportation and delivery of personnel, equipment, fuel, supplies, repair parts, mail, and ammunition via air and surface logistics assets – including MSC combat logistics force ships – to sustain U.S. forces in the European and African theaters. As MSCEURAF, he will be the area commander in Europe and Africa for MSC, exercising tactical control of all U.S. transportation command forces in the European and African theaters.

Press Release, August 23, 2013; Image: Navy