CSG 8 holds change of command ceremony

U.S. Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8 held a change of command ceremony aboard aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), July 22.

Rear Adm. Bret Batchelder was relieved by Rear Adm. Dale Horan as commander, Carrier Strike Group 8, comprised of 8 ships and one air wing.

Batchelder assumed command of CSG-8 April 2015. He led the strike group during its 2015-2016 work-ups and deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. During deployment, the strike group made significant contributions to degrade the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The strike group disaggregated to support OIR from both the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea — marking the first time during OIR a U.S. aircraft carrier conducted air strikes from the Mediterranean.

“Being a part of this team, with the standards of professionalism sustained across the entire crew, is something I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life,” said Batchelder.

Batchelder’s previous commands include the “Vigilantes” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 as a junior officer embarked aboard USS Midway (CV 41) and as department head deployed aboard USS Constellation (CV 64), the “Gunslingers” of VFA-105 as executive officer and commanding officer deployed aboard Truman, and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 as deputy commander and commander deployed aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

Batchelder’s next assignment is commander of Naval Warfare Development Command, Norfolk.

“I commend the great work put forth by the crews of the strike group as they continue preparing their ships to train, fight and deploy to defend the nation,” said Batchelder. “It has been an honor to serve with these outstanding Sailors.”

Horan, a decorated naval aviator with more than 3,460 flight hours and 940 carrier-based landings, said he is excited to take command of CSG-8, which includes the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.

“It is an incredible honor to take command of Carrier Strike Group 8,” said Horan. “I applaud the hard work, dedication and toughness the strike group has shown to meet every challenge thrown at them through a series of demanding maintenance, training evolutions and a successful deployment.”

Most recently, Horan was deputy director for Operations, Joint Staff, J3 in the Pentagon. He was also commander, Carrier Air Wing 9 during its deployment aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in support of Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.

In the fleet, Horan flew the F-14A and F-14B Tomcat while assigned to the “Ghostriders” of Fighter Squadron (VF) 142 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). As a department head, Horan flew the F-14D while assigned to the “Bounty Hunters” of VFA-2 aboard USS Constellation (CV 64).

CSG-8’s subordinate commands include Truman, CVW 7, guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68) as well as ships assigned to Destroyer Squadron 28 — guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109).