Capt. Joel Stewart assumed command from Commodore Jason Reller.
The time-honored change of command ceremony had less pomp and circumstance due to the current global pandemic and social distancing restrictions.
“Under normal circumstances,” said Reller. “We’d be gathered closely together in seats at the Officer’s Club in summer whites for a brief but formal ceremony to transfer the mantle of command from one officer to another. But this as we all know, is not a normal circumstance.”
Sailors and guests gathered in front of building 28, standing at 6-foot intervals marked with the tropical island atoll’s abundant coconuts.
“We are in the midst of a global pandemic,” continued Reller. “Fighting the good fight to keep our island and our shipmates healthy. We’re conducting this ceremony in a working uniform, as a reminder to us all that we must continue to work together to stay safe while never forgetting why we are here – the missions we are here to support.”
During Reller’s tenure as Commodore, he coordinated 9,000 hours of underway steaming of the nine Military Sealift Command ships in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility and 90 ship movement within the Diego Garcia operating area.
Reller finished his speech thanking the COMSRON staff, Sailors and civilians alike, and the support of NSF Diego Garcia as well.
Stewart takes the helm as commodore, coming from Deputy Chief of Staff Operations, Plans and Training for Expeditionary Strike Group Three in San Diego.
“It is with great humility and honor that I assume command of this squadron,” said Stewart. “I am only here because I was supported by family, friends and shipmates on an uncharted course that began when I first donned a Navy uniform nearly 35 years ago.”
COMPSRON 2, maintains tactical control of nine ships forward deployed to Diego Garcia and carrying afloat prepositioned U.S. military cargo for the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Air Force. The squadron's mission is to enable the force from the sea by providing swift and effective transportation of vital equipment and supplies for designated operations.