The International Color Guard present the colors during the beginning of the Change of Command ceremony where Admiral Michelle Howard relinquished the command to Admiral James Foggo on Oct. 20 in Lago Patria, Italy. Foggo assumed command of not only Allied Joint Force Command Naples but also assumed command of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Elissa Weeks)
Story by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Patton
NAPLES, Italy – U.S. Navy Admiral James G. Foggo III took command of Allied Joint Force Command Naples and U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa during a ceremony held at the headquarters of JFC Naples, Oct. 20, 2017.
Foggo, a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, assumes command from U.S. Navy Admiral Michelle Howard. Foggo comes to Naples from the Pentagon where he served as the director of Navy Staff, and he is the 31st commander of JFC Naples.
The change-of-command ceremony also had a bit of a homecoming feel to it. Foggo is a former commander of the Naples-based 6th Fleet and local NATO maritime forces. Some of his other experience in Naples includes serving as a submarine group commander, deputy fleet commander, and as a NATO task force commander for an operation against Libya.
"I’m elated to be back in Bella Napoli, a city that has hosted the United States Navy since the end of the Second World War,” Foggo said.
The ceremony’s official party also included U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Marine Corps General Thomas Waldhauser, commander, U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Navy Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations.
"The men and women of this command are mission focused and ready to meet the demands of a challenging operational environment,” Waldhauser said.
The commander of JFC Naples is one of two subordinate Joint Force commanders to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. As commander of JFC Naples, Foggo’s primary mission is to prepare for, plan and conduct military operations in order to preserve the peace, security and territorial integrity of Alliance member states throughout SACEUR's Area of Responsibility (AOR) and beyond.
As commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Foggo will be responsible for leading full spectrum maritime operations in concert with allied, coalition, joint, interagency and other partners to advance U.S. interests while enhancing maritime security and stability in Europe and Africa.
During Howard’s tenure at the helm of JFC Naples, the vision to create the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub was realized, and the new center is slated to be fully operational at the end of this year. The NSD-S Hub, under the roof and lead of JFC Naples, is designed to focus on a variety of current and potential issues to include destabilization, potential terrorism, radicalization, migration and environmental concerns.
During the ceremony, Scaparrotti also touted the ability of Howard and her team to conduct 11 operations and four exercises while supporting a trifecta of U.S. geographic commands in NATO.
"With all of these exciting things going on, it is hard to leave, but I could not be more proud of each and every one of you,” said Howard to the international crowd at JFC Naples.
Howard’s last words and direction as commander of JFC Naples were the same ones she stressed when first arriving to Naples last year.
"Steady as she goes, full speed ahead,” Howard said.
Foggo told ceremony attendees that he looks forward to the challenges ahead.
"My commitment to NATO and the Alliance is rock solid, and you can take that to the bank,” Foggo said.