SAN DIEGO - Service members, family and friends of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 gathered pierside of USS Princeton (CG 59) for a change of command ceremony at Naval Base San Diego, Nov. 10.
Rear Adm. Peter A. Gumataotao relieved Rear Adm. Thomas S. Rowden as commanding officer of CSG 11 and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) CSG.
"Today we have the duel honor of saying farewell to a shipmate in every sense of the word and welcoming another shipmate to a great team," said Vice Adm. Gerald R. Beaman, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. "Both of these gentlemen are natural, gifted leaders who are perfect for this position."
Rowden took command of CSG 11 and Nimitz CSG, March 10, 2011. He is scheduled to report to the Pentagon, where he will serve as director, Surface Warfare Division for Chief of Naval Operations.
During his farewell address, Rowden expressed how privileged he was to serve as the commanding officer of such a dynamic strike group.
"Thanks to all the CSG 11 staff," said Rowden. "Thanks for all your great work, professionalism of the highest caliber. It has been my honor to work alongside of you every day."
During the ceremony, Beaman presented Rowden with his fourth Legion of Merit medal, for exceptional leadership during his tour as commanding officer.
Rowden and Gumataotao are not strangers to each other, since Gumataotao relieved Rowden as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK), two years ago.
"I once again depart knowing that my relief will take the command onto much bigger and better accomplishments," said Rowden.
Along with Gumataotao's most recent assignment as CNFK, he was also Commander, Task Force 78 for U.S. 7th Fleet.
"I feel very good relieving Rowden," said Gumataotao. "He is leaving me with a great team of warriors."
CSG 11 typically deploys to the U.S. 7th Fleet operating in the Western Pacific and the U.S. 5th Fleet in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf. The current flagship for CSG is the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.