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NEWS | July 11, 2024

Commander, Task Force 63 Conducts a Change of Command Ceremony

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

Capt. Todd B. Penrod relieved Capt. Kenneth S. Pickard as commodore, Commander, Task Force (CTF) 63 and Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa (MSCEURAF) during a change of command ceremony at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, July 10, 2024.

Capt. Kenneth S. Pickard assumed command of CTF-63 and MSCEURAF in January 2022. During his tenure, Pickard was responsible for U.S. 6th Fleet air and sea logistics during several crises, including the ongoing Russian-Ukraine War and the Israeli-Hamas conflict. During his command, Pickard supplied carrier strike groups for the first European land war since World War II.

“Serving as the commander of Task Force 63 is a significant responsibility, critical to the success of the forward-deployed ships in the region and continued readiness and presence to support our NATO Allies and partners,” said Vice Adm. Thomas Ishee, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet and guest speaker for the ceremony. “Ken, thank you again for your steadfast leadership and dedication to our Navy and Nation. This is a proud moment for you, your family, and the great sailors and civilians of Task Force 63.”

After congratulating Pickard on his noteworthy accomplishments, Ishee addressed the newly assumed commodore, Penrod, welcoming him to CTF-63.

“Capt. Penrod, welcome aboard. I know it is an exciting time as you take command of Task Force 63 and lead this superb team. Your extensive training and experience have prepared you to further develop the team and continue to strengthen our relationship with NATO Allies and partners,” said Ishee.

Penrod’s experience includes command of USS Avenger (MCM 1), USS Pioneer (MCM 9), USS Mustin (DDG 89), and Afloat Training Group, Western Pacific. Before receiving his commission, Capt. Penrod was previously enlisted, serving aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville, USS Aubrey Fitch (FFG 34), USS Orion (AS 18), Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, and USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67).

Commander, Task Force 63 is the operational commander of all the U.S. 6th Fleet air and sea logistics. Composed of oilers, provision ships, and repair ships, its mission is the delivery of supplies at sea, and effecting repairs to other ships and equipment of the fleet.

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.