Story by PS2 Kitara Byerly, 7th Naval Construction Regiment
GULFPORT, Miss. – Seventh Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) held a change of command ceremony on board Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Mississippi, on November 2, 2018.
Capt. Milton Washington relieved Capt. Christopher Asselta as the Commodore of 7-NCR and the two attached battalions; Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 14 and NMCB-27. Rear Adm. Mark Fung was the guest of honor.
The traditional ceremony was held at the Seabee Heritage Center and Seabee Training Hall, which provided a historical backdrop of World War ll memorabilia. Sailors and Officers dined surrounded by a Word War ll era jeep, building equipment, and tools used by Seabees during U.S. conflicts over the last 75 years.
Since June 2016, Asselta served as the Commodore overseeing almost 1,000 reserve and active-duty Sailors and Seabees from 44 different states representing 96 different cities. He coordinated two successful detachment mobilizations from NMCB-14 and NMCB-27 to the US. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility. The regiment also successfully completed a Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Integrated Exercise, achieving certification.
Asselta reflected on the first uniformed construction tradesman that became Seabees at the outbreak of World War ll and the connection to today’s strategic and competitive environment.
Asselta expressed his gratitude to the audience.
“These last two years have come and gone quickly as time does when you are a part of something greater, and that is… service,” Asselta said. “I did not do this alone, and I would like to share with you those that have supported me in this tour. Leading in this powerful Navy is the privilege of a lifetime because I get to serve with so many incredibly selfless, dedicated, and inspiring people. I am even more optimistic and energized about our future as the next exciting chapter of the legendary story of the Seabees continues to reveal itself.”
Asselta was presented the Legion of Merit from the presiding officer, Capt. Tim DeWitt, Commodore of Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2 in Gulfport, Mississippi. Asselta’s next follow-on assignment is as the reserve deputy commander for NCG-2. Capt. Washington was recently serving at NCG-2, Gulfport Mississippi where he was the interim deputy of NCG-2.
Washington addressed the assembled regiment.
“This day is not about me; it is about our Navy,” said Washington. “Today is about protecting the integrity of our Seabee legacy and ensuring our future.”
Washington spoke to the officers and enlisted personnel serving at 7-NCR.
“As a Regiment, we will chart new territory and push the status quo,” said Washington. “You have a responsibility to speak up. If you see something wrong; say something. You have the ability to make a difference. Together, we will plan, train and execute!”
Washington spoke about the future direction for the Regiment.
“Our priorities are in concert and in line with the Navy’s priorities: Readiness, Lethality, and Modernization. To the men and women of 7-NCR, you matter most. You are our number one priority and make no mistake; we will put every emphasis on making you better, more efficient. Train hard – the fleet is counting on us. It’s good to be home here in Gulfport, at home in green, with the mighty Seabees!”