By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Drew Verbis
Commander, Submarine Group (CSG) 8 held a change of command ceremony in Naples, Italy, May 30, 2019.
Rear Adm. William J. Houston relieved Rear Adm. Thomas E. Ishee as commander of the submarine group. Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, delivered opening remarks about Ishee’s dedication to service, and Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa served as the guest speaker for the ceremony.
“His signature accomplishments harken back to the core of his time in the Navy, mainly his significant advancement of theater undersea warfare capability across our area of responsibility,” said Franchetti. “His tireless efforts to cement relationships, codify processes, advocate for resources, and improve undersea warfare planning have made us more agile, more sustainable, and more lethal.”
Foggo, both a former commander of CSG 8 as well as a fellow submariner, delivered candid stories about working with Ishee during different moments of his career.
“Tom was all business in 2018 in Moscow,” said Foggo. "Ishee was in Moscow as the senior U.S. military official for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). “He is a tough negotiator and the kind of leader we need on the front lines. I have no doubt that he will bring his businesslike approach to his next assignment at the Pentagon.”
Foggo presented Ishee with the Legion of Merit for his meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements while serving his role in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
“Rear Adm. Ishee and Rear Adm. Houston have set the highest bar in warfighting,” Foggo said. “Rear Adm. Houston is arriving from STRATCOM and is regarded as a global strike force guru. He is the perfect choice at the perfect time to lead the most kinetic theater in the Navy.”
Ishee talked about the challenges he faced during his tour including Russian aggression in the Black Sea and developing partner capacity in Africa.
“It is about the journey rather than the destination,” said Ishee. “Thank you for allowing me to lead during a period of significant change in our theater. The focus has shifted from operations of violent extremism to great power competition, with a great deal of that in this theater. This has been a challenging job that requires a great team effort and a daily sense of accomplishments. I am most proud of the team who has answered these challenges during the past 680 days. This team’s work provided senior leaders with options to deter aggression, defend our people’s interests, and the ideas to defeat our enemies.”
Houston comes to Naples after serving as the deputy director for Strategic Targeting and Nuclear Mission Planning (J5N) Commander, United States Strategic Command (CDRUSSTRATCOM), responsible for identifying strategic targets and conducting nuclear mission planning in support of CDRUSSTRATCOM operational plans in order to meet both deterrence and decisive national security objectives.
Ishee’s next assignment will be the office of OPNAV N97.
A Change of Command Ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally communicate the continuity of command authority to the members of the command.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.