Port Hueneme Seabees Welcome New Commodore

Story courtesy of NCG 1

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Capt. Dean Tufts (right) shakes hands with Capt. Christopher Kurgan after Tufts relinquishes authority to command  NCG 1, NBVC Port Hueneme, Calif., Jun. 20. Photos by MC1 John P. Curtis

Hundreds of Seabees from across the Naval Construction Force (NCF) welcomed the new commodore of Naval Construction Group (NCG) 1 during an official change of command ceremony held on the parade field aboard Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme, Calif., June 20.

During the ceremony, Capt. Christopher M. Kurgan relieved Capt. Dean A. Tufts who held the position since August 2012. Guest Speaker Rear Adm. Frank A. Morneau, commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, thanked Tufts for his service and welcomed the newest NCG 1 commodore.

“Dean, you have been a leader of vision, compassion and hard work ethic,” said Morneau. “You brought the Naval Construction Force where it needs to be and institutionalized the traditions of your forefathers; we’ll reward you for that with another command. That’s where leaders belong – in command.

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Rear Adm. Frank Morneau, Commander, NECC, reads Capt. Dean Tufts’ Legion of Merit Medal citation at the NCG 1 change of command ceremony, Jun. 20.

“Appropriately, we’re picking apples from the same tree,” he continued. “Chris Kurgan is just as much a leader and warfighter. Chris, you have the strength of the expeditionary combat force behind you for what needs to be done.”

Tufts’ leadership and accomplishments earned him the distinction of being entered into the Congressional Record, the official record of the proceedings and debates of the U.S. Congress. A field representative for the Hon. Julia Brownley, U.S. House of Representatives, presented the record detailing his military service.

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Capt. Dean Tufts (left) passes the command colors to Capt. Christopher Kurgan during the NCG 1 change of command ceremony, Jun. 20.  The passing of the colors signifies the transfer of the authority to command NCG 1 from Tufts to Kurgan.

With a simple yet timeless exchange of courtesies between Navy commanders, Kurgan took command of 13 subordinate units and roughly 6,100 personnel after saluting Tufts and saying, “Sir, you are relieved.”

“I am deeply honored to lead the ‘Bees, and I look forward to meeting each and every one of you,” said Kurgan. “Thank you for your service to our nation and Navy.”

As commander of NCG 1, Tufts built a reputation as a tremendous mentor and team builder who was both versatile and mission oriented, and provided exceptional vision toward the growth of his command. He routinely inspired his staff to work outside their comfort zones and integrate with other Department of Defense units. This enabled experts from across the U.S. services to provide the highest quality of training to his tenant commands, greatly increasing the NCF’s combat readiness and ability to respond to global operations with experience and confidence.

Kurgan arrives at NCG 1 from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, where he was deputy commander for Operations. A Vanderbilt University and University of Colorado graduate, Kurgan is a qualified Seabee Warfare Officer, Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio and a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps.

His personal awards include Bronze Stars, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Meritorious Service Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medals and the Presidential Service Badge.

NCG 1 prepares Pacific Fleet NCF units to conduct expeditionary and deliberate construction in support of Combatant Commanders and warfighter requirements through combat and construction training; equipment and maintenance training; and the logistical and mobilization support of subordinate units.

NCG 1 exercises administrative control over the 1st, 9th and 30th Naval Construction Regiments, Naval Mobile Construction Battalions 3, 4 and 5, as well as Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 303 and Underwater Construction Team 2.

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BU2 Marie Tauai sings the national anthem during the NCG 1 change of command ceremony, Jun. 20.  

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Lt. Forrest Brown (right) commands the formation of more than 400 Seabees at the NCG 1 change of command ceremony, Jun. 20.

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Seabees march in formation during the NCG 1 change of command ceremony, Jun. 20.  

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Capt. Christopher Kurgan addresses the formation of more than 400 Seabees, after assuming command of NCG 1, Jun. 20.


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