Story by MCCS Jeffrey J. Pierce, Naval Construction Group 2 Public Affairs
GULFPORT, Miss – The 22nd Naval Construction Regiment (22 NCR) changed hands during an official change of command ceremony on board Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Florida, July 14.
Capt. Cameron J. Geertsema relieved Capt. Maria L. Aguayo during the ceremony and thanked his predecessor for the phenomenal job during her tenure at 22 NCR.
The guest speaker, Capt. Paul Odenthal, Commander, Naval Construction Group TWO (NCG 2), praised Aguayo for having a plan for the way ahead for 22 NCR.
“Commodore Aguayo had a vision for the command that I was in concurrence which was 22 NCR could not fade into NCG 2. It had to be a unit that had it’s own identity, that was ready for the fight, and ready to go out and command and control forces around the globe,” Odenthal said. “She took that on, gave us a slam dunk, and brought 22 NCR to where it is today.”
During the ceremony, Odenthal presented Aguayo with the Legion of Merit medal for her exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as Commander, 22 NCR.
In her remarks, Aguayo gave all the credit for 22 NCR’s success to the personnel she commanded.
“I can say that all the accomplishments that 22 NCR has had the past two years are a result of the men and women that make up 22 NCR,” Aguayo said. “Not just the 22 NCR mission and our readiness, but the readiness of all Atlantic Fleet Seabees across the world.”
Upon assuming command, Geertsema thanked Aguayo for her outstanding service leading 22 NCR and was thankful to be back in Gulfport, and once again part of the Atlantic Fleet.
“I’m glad to be back with the Seabees and back in the Fleet,” Geertsema said. “This is an absolute honor and dream, and I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity once again to serve with and for such fine men and women of the Naval Construction Force.”
Geertsema, who is originally from Iowa City, Iowa, was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona prior to taking the helm at 22 NCR.
Aguayo, who is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, and raised in Tempe, Arizona, departs 22 NCR to become the commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Europe Africa Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA) in Naples, Italy.