By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Amara R. Timberlake, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Public Affairs
USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 held a change of command ceremony on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) March 6.
Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier relieved Rear Adm. John W. Miller as commander, CSG 11.
Miller served as commander of CSG 11 since September 2008 and was responsible for transforming the strike group from seven individual deploying units to an integrated combat force, despite limits on training time and fuel funding.
Responsible for seven ships, 62 aircraft and more than 6,000 Sailors, Miller employed the strike group in a wide array of missions ranging from significant contributions to ground combat operations in Afghanistan, to lending support to a pirated vessel off the Horn of Africa, to providing one of the first Navy ships to respond after the earthquake in Haiti.
"He leads his people with integrity, energy, style and conviction. He does it because he cares, and he believes in our mission; the mission of defending this great nation," said Vice Adm. John M. Bird, commander U.S. 7th Fleet and the guest speaker at the ceremony.
Miller's subordinates admire his dynamic leadership style.
"He's a great leader," said Cmdr. Lia Reynolds, staff judge advocate. "He definitely leads in a way that makes everybody want to do a good job. I really hope that when I have the ability to be a commanding officer that I'm able to even partially emulate that skill that he has."
CSG 11 Chief of Staff Capt. David Kiehl said he admires the example Miller set with his actions and his expectations for the CSG 11 staff.
"His challenge to us was to be excellent in every endeavor," said Kiehl. "We rose to that challenge, and we're better people for it."
Miller reflected on the course of his career - the journey from his first arrested carrier landing on board Nimitz to his most recent.
"Twenty-nine years ago this month, I recorded my first carrier arrested landing right here on the four wire of this ship. Yesterday, I recorded what will almost certainly be my last carrier arrested landing when CAG and I landed on the two wire...," said Miller. "So in a matter of speaking, I have spent the last 29 years making the journey from the four wire to the two wire on board USS Nimitz. I can't think of a better way to have spent my time, and I can't think of a better group of people to have spent it with."
Miller's next assignment is commander of Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nev.
Girrier takes command after previously serving as vice commander of Naval Mine and Anti-submarine Warfare Center in San Diego.
"The Nimitz Strike Group is a winning team, combat proven, combat tested...you have executed and you have prevailed," said Girrier. "That is the highest complement I can give to any warfighting unit and why I am so honored to serve with you."
Nimitz is on a routine deployment in the Western Pacific in support of the Maritime Strategy.
For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.