PHILIPPINE SEA - Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70 held a change of command ceremony aboard the Carrier Strike Group 5 (CSG 5) flagship, the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), while the ship was underway, July 18.
During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Karl O. Thomas assumed command of CTF 70, the U.S. Navy's largest battle force, from Rear Adm. Marc H. Dalton.
"It has been my great honor and privilege to serve with you," said Dalton, crediting the CTF 70 Sailors for making his time in command so special. "As [forward-deployed naval forces] we deploy on the day we get underway. We are ambassadors every single day; world events guide our missions and tasking. Your service matters every day and you have a responsibility that few Sailors experience with defending our nation and building good relationships with our allies."
Thomas became the 74th commander of Battle Force 7th Fleet, following a tour as director, 21st Century Sailor Office for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Arlington, Virginia.
"I’m tremendously humbled to be standing before you," Thomas said. "I have three simple priorities that we are going to work for everyday … Be prepared to fight and win, maximize every opportunity and take care of each other. If we do all those things right we are going to win as a team."
Thomas received his commission through Naval ROTC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1986, and earned a Master of Science in Information Technology from Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Dalton’s next assignment is as director, maritime operations at U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
CTF 70 has tactical control of carrier strike groups, cruisers, and destroyers that deploy or transit through the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. The CTF 70 commander also serves as CSG 5, the Navy's forward deployed strike group centered around Ronald Reagan and the embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW 5).
CTF 70 and the Ronald Reagan Strike Group are forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.