Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lex T. Wenberg
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

The John C. Stennis Strike Group held a change of command ceremony in the ship’s fo’c’sle as Rear Adm. Craig Faller relieved Rear Adm. Joseph Aucoin as Commander, Carrier Strike Group Three on Tuesday.

Under Aucoin, John C. Stennis completed the Planned Incremental Availability maintenance phase of deployment preparation and was guided out of the shipyards directly into the workup process. Together with the strike group, Aucoin oversaw completion of Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA), and the Final Evaluation Problem and the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) in January – February.

Vice Adm. Gerald Beaman, Commander U.S. Third Fleet, presented the Legion of Merit to Aucoin in recognition of his efforts and the progress made during his time as Commander of Carrier Strike Group Three.

“I really do wish I was going on this deployment,” said Aucoin in his address to the crew. “I envy the heck out of you. I think I’ll be living vicariously through you guys. You’re really going to have a terrific deployment and I can’t wait to hear all the good news coming from you all.”

Faller is reporting to Carrier Strike Group Three after successfully completing a tour as Commander, Navy Recruiting Command. Faller, a Pennsylvania native and U.S. Naval Academy graduate, earned his Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering in 1983. He then earned his master’s in National Security Affairs (Strategic Planning) from the NavalPostgraduateSchool in 1990.

In a brief speech, Faller detailed expectations for the strike group as well as expectations for himself.

“We are warfighters,” said Faller. “This takes teamwork, hard work, training and trust. And who do I trust? I trust you. And now it’s my turn to earn your trust. We all might ask ourselves, ‘Who trusts us?’ America trusts us! To deliver. To be ready, on time, first time and every time-and we will,” said Faller.

Under Faller’s command, John C. Stennis Strike Group is out to sea performing Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) a set of tests to prepare Stennis for long-term engagements overseas during an upcoming deployment.