MANAMA, Bahrain — The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its carrier strike group got new commanders Tuesday during a short break from their eight-month deployment in the Middle East.
Rear Adm. Roy J. Kelley took over for Rear Adm. Andrew L. Lewis as the carrier strike group 12 commander, while Capt. Daniel C. Grieco turned over command of the carrier to Capt. Craig A. Clapperton.
Kelley and Clapperton will command the Roosevelt and its strike group through the latter half of their deployment in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility, which ends in the fall. Clapperton will also be in charge of the Roosevelt during a three-carrier shift, when it will head to San Diego — its new home port — taking the place of the USS Ronald Reagan, which will head to Yokosuka, Japan, to allow the USS George Washington to return to the States for nuclear refueling.
“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,” Clapperton said.
Kelley said he was honored to be joining carrier strike group 12 at a critical point in its deployment. “Your presence here demonstrates our country’s commitment to the region. Your near-perfect execution of our missions creates conditions that enable trust and cooperation.”
Lewis had been commanding carrier strike group 12, which includes four other ships, nine aircraft squadrons and about 6,000 sailors and Marines, since May 2014. During deployment, the Roosevelt has supported airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.