Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Change of Command for 4th Fleet Marks Retirement for Rear Admiral; Rear Adm. Tidd Takes over Operations in Humor-Laden Ceremony at Mayport

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Change of Command for 4th Fleet Marks Retirement for Rear Admiral; Rear Adm. Tidd Takes over Operations in Humor-Laden Ceremony at Mayport

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Brumley

Navy Rear Adm. Kurt Tidd took command of a Jacksonville-based fleet Friday morning that owns no ships or aircraft but is charged with coordinating all naval operations on 15 million square miles of ocean that includes the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Tidd relieved Rear Adm. Victor Guillory in about two hours of humor-laden ceremonies at Mayport Naval Station that also marked Guillory's retirement after 34 years of military service.

The audience in the base gymnasium glittered with military bling as Air Force and Marine Corps generals joined Navy admirals to recognize the vital role the Navy's relatively new 4th Fleet plays in the Southern Hemisphere.

Guillory became emotional when he rose to thank many of those present, including his brother, sister, wife and children, for attending. He then relinquished the podium to Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, leader of U.S. Southern Command, a unified military headquarters based in Miami.

"This is a beautiful, bittersweet day," he said. "The Guillorys aren't ready to leave yet, but the day has come."

Guillory took command of the fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command - which reports directly to Fraser - in June 2009. That made him just the second commander of the fleet since it was re-established in 2008.

As one of the Navy's seven numbered fleets, the organization is not a group of ships but a headquarters responsible for submarines, surface ships, naval aircraft and personnel that come into its area of operations.

Guillory and his staff of about 200 came to prominence in 2010 by coordinating the sea-based humanitarian relief effort following the Haiti earthquake, Fraser said. They rapidly summoned 11 ships, 89 aircraft and 15,000 sailors and marines to deliver medical supplies, food and water to the quake victims. Six weeks later, the staff coordinated a similar effort for the earthquake in Chile, he said.

Meanwhile, naval forces managed by the fleet under Guillory's leadership confiscated more than $1 billion in narcotics and oversaw the first deployments of cutting-edge vessels, such as the new Littoral Combat Ship and the Fire Scout helicopter drone, Fraser said. …

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