SANTA RITA, Guam - Commander, Task Force (CTF) 75 held a change of command at their headquarters in Camp Covington on Naval Base Guam, Oct. 2.
Capt. Gareth Healy relieved Capt. Eric Correll as the commodore of CTF 75-Navy Expeditionary Forces Command Pacific during a ceremony attended virtually by most to adhere with COVID-19 safety protocols.
"I have been so very honored to serve alongside the Navy expeditionary warriors of Task Force 75,” said Correll. “Our great Navy is ready to conduct prompt and sustained combat, incident to operations at sea, and within Task Force 75, our mission remains to support the fleet at sea, and to support our maritime brothers and sisters, the Marines, ashore. To a man and woman, each of our Sailors are true professionals and combat warriors who make me proud."
Vice Adm. Bill Merz, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, presided over the ceremony using video teleconference capabilities from the forward-deployed 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Japan.
“This is the most complex region in the world for a lot of reasons,” said Merz. “There are 35 maritime nations out here that depend on everything we do. It’s an enormous region and everything we do is in terms of thousands of miles.”
Merz concluded his remarks with an ‘easy day’ to Correll. “You did your part with the warfighting concepts. You seriously advanced the ball in both action and in spirit.”
Correll was awarded the Legion of Merit before delivering his final remarks as commodore of CTF 75 and reading his orders for the change in leadership of five task groups with more than 1,700 personnel forward-postured throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
During Correll’s command, expeditionary forces responded to super typhoons Mangkut and Yutu in the region with the rapid response of Defense Support of Civil Authorities for port and roadway clearances as well as infrastructure repairs. Along with operations, activities and investments in more than 25 countries, his forces made strides in the integration of the Mark VI patrol boat with fleet assets, the expansion of expeditionary mine countermeasure (ExMCM) capabilities and the re-posture of Seabees throughout 7th Fleet.
Correll’s next assignment is as commanding officer of Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division and the deputy executive manager for Department of Defense EOD Technology. It's the Navy's premiere facility for ordnance, energetics and EOD solutions, as well as the largest workforce within the Department of Defense dedicated to that mission.
Merz mentioned that both Healy’s grandfathers were part of the liberation of Guam in the 1940s. “Guam is a part of your family and I guarantee it will be even more before you leave; it’s really just a magical island to be part of and to live in.”
Healy assumed command during the ceremony after a tour in Washington D.C. at U.S. Special Operations Command, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.
“What a great time to come to the region,” said Merz. “You have a tremendous team, tremendous support, and there’s so much energy going on with our warfighting concepts.”
“I take command on Guam under the heavenly eyes of two grandfathers involved in the liberation of the island in 1944,” said Healy. “One of whom brought a very similar capability to what we use here today as part of 41st Special Construction Battalion.”
CTF 75 is 7th Fleet's primary expeditionary task force and is responsible for the planning and execution of maritime security operations, explosive ordnance disposal, diving, engineering and construction, and underwater construction. It additionally provides direct support to diving and salvage operations and expeditionary intelligence throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
“Today this task force - with cargo handling, EOD, construction, diving, and maritime security capabilities – will clear, secure, build and protect your vital lines of communication and our expeditionary advanced bases, to project combat power across this dynamic operational theater,” said Healy.
The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.