Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Skipper for Navy Region Southeast Area; the Admiral Will Oversee 22 Installations in Seven States

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Skipper for Navy Region Southeast Area; the Admiral Will Oversee 22 Installations in Seven States

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF BRUMLEY

Sailors from Florida to Texas got a new boss Friday when Rear Adm. Michael Vitale became the commander of Jacksonville-based Navy Region Southeast.

The change-of-command ceremony at Jacksonville Naval Air Station ended the tenure of Rear Adm. Mark Boensel, who leaves for a new command in Virginia. Here's a look at the command and what happened at the event.

WHAT IS NAVY REGION SOUTHEAST?

It is a command that oversees 22 naval installations in seven states, stretching from Florida to South Carolina and west to Texas, Vitale said. Those facilities include Jacksonville NAS, Mayport Naval Station and Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Kingsland, Ga. The region also includes facilities in Puerto Rico and the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Vitale will be responsible for 134,000 military personnel, 53,000 civilian employees, a budget exceeding $850 million and more than $1 billion in assets.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY?

Approximately 350 civilians, sailors and other military personnel were there. Vice Adm. Robert Conway Jr., commander of Navy Installations Command and the ceremony's guest speaker, said he hadn't seen so many current and retired admirals, unit commanding officers and politicians gathered in one place in a long time. He joked that they were there either because they were impressed with Boensel's accomplishments or "verifying he's getting the hell out of town." Music was provided by Navy Band Southeast and the hangar was adorned with a huge American flag and an S-3B Viking jet.

HOW LONG HAS BOENSEL COMMANDED THE REGION, AND WHERE IS HE HEADED NEXT?

Boensel assumed command in December 2005. Next, he heads to Norfolk, Va., where he will lead Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. An aviator who flew S-3s earlier in his career, Boensel also commanded Jacksonville NAS from 2001 to 2004. Among his new duties will be trying to manage political tensions surrounding the sprawling Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia, he said. …

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