Surface Warfare Magazine
Sharing stories and news from Sailors across the U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces
New Kahunas to Lead Atlantic “SWOhana”

From the afloat staging base and 10 coastal patrol boats in the U.S. 5th Fleet, to the three (and soon, four) ballistic missile destroyers forward deployed in Spain, to the Aegis Ashore facility in Romania, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT) has warfighters putting distributed lethality into action every day. And a new squadron of littoral combat ships, with the first of eight arriving this fall, will offer new ways to carry out the nation’s business. SURFLANT has always been where it’s needed. “Clearly, this is not your father’s SURFLANT,” said Rear Adm. Pete A. Gumataotao.

Speaking at the change of command ceremony that saw him handing over the reins, Gumataotao was commenting on these many changes that have been seen and felt in recent years by surface warfare officers (SWO). With new doctrine, training and technology, our forces are packing a more lethal offensive punch, and better supporting the efforts of aviators, submariners, and joint and coalition warriors, he said.

“The future is now, at SURFLANT, where the team is charging all ahead flank!” said Gumataotao.

RADM GradyFORCM Callison

And a part of the newly arrived future is the newly arrived regime at SURFLANT: Rear Adm. Christopher W. Grady and Force Master Chief Jack R. Callison.

Gumataotao offered up a new word, a play on ‘ohana’, the Hawaiian word for family, to help express his bright outlook for the future of SURFLANT under Grady’s charge.


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“As I hand the conn to Rear Admiral Chris Grady, I am 100-percent confident he will take our team to the next level, staying the course and making us a better ‘SWOhana.’”

Kahuna has a variety of meanings. In Hawaiian it could mean an expert in a profession or trade, or a holy wise man. In modern English, it’s come to mean a leader or someone who is at the apex of their profession, often describing such people as “the Big Kahuna.”

That combination of leadership and expertise perfectly sums up what Gumataotao brought to SURFLANT—And what Grady will be bringing to it.

“It is a fantastic time to be joining SURFLANT,” said Grady. “I am honored to follow in the long line of my esteemed predecessors here; I look forward to the exciting challenge of living up to their legacy of service to our surface warriors.”

The other new leader, Force Master Chief Callison, was chosen for the particular traits he’d exhibited.

“He is extremely experienced at every level and will bring a lot to the table,” said Grady. “I was struck by his vision and passion to set our Sailors up for success.”

Grady was confident that selecting Callison would bring to the command someone would continue the tradition of excellence already established at SURFLANT, who would make every effort on behalf of the Sailors under his charge.

“I look forward to working closely with him to do just that,” said Grady.

The recent change of command’s location, on the USS Wisconsin (BB 64), signaled that while new tactics, technology and training make it a great time to be a part of SURFLANT, the new leaders will make sure that good, old-fashioned responsibility for the welfare of the ‘SWOhana’ remains a part of the command’s future. Surface Warfare Magazine

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