The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) held a change of command ceremony Dec. 31, 2020, where Capt. Cassidy Norman relieved Capt. Randy Peck as commanding officer of John C. Stennis.
Due to shipboard COVID-19 prevention measures, the ceremony was held with a small gathering in the ship’s forecastle.
Rear Adm. John Meier, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, praised Peck on his list of major accomplishments as commanding officer of John C. Stennis, to include his leadership through a successful homeport change and world tour deployment, traveling over 75,000 nautical miles with over 9,000 launches and recoveries of aircraft, and more than 23,000 logged flight hours. During this deployment, John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing Nine expended 180 weapons accelerating the demise of Islamic State terrorist targets during Operation Inherent Resolve, and completed 16,000 sorties while conducting combat operations in the U.S. Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility.
Under his guidance, the John C. Stennis Maintenance Material Management (3M) Training Team (3MTT), Wardroom, and Chief Petty Officer Mess were awarded the Battle “E” and Type Commander Purple “E,” and passed the 3M Inspection with a grade of 95.28%, the highest in recent Commander, Naval Air Forces history.
“Over Peck’s tour, I think you’ve been recognized with every award a carrier and carrier air-wing can get,” said Meier.
During his speech, Peck thanked the crew and credited his Sailors for everything accomplished during his time aboard.
“Our operational success was 100 percent due to our teamwork. Thank you and congratulations on taking John C. Stennis to the top culminating through the last 25 years of operations and into Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH),” Peck said. “There is no standard we did not exceed or mission we did not accomplish in the preservation of American security.”
Norman, a 1993 graduate from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, received his commission as a naval officer and subsequent “Wings of Gold” in 1993. He has logged over 700 traps, landing across the six most recent classes of aircraft carriers, and logged more than 2,900 flight hours in 44 different kinds of aircraft.
Norman served as the commanding officer of the VFA-83 “Rampagers,” from October 2010 to February 2012, the executive officer of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), from April 2016 to May 2018, and the commanding officer of the USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), from April 2019 to June 2020.
“It is a true honor to be standing here today as the Commanding Officer of the John C. Stennis,” said Capt. Norman. “With Capt. Peck’s outstanding leadership over the last few years, I am very happy and motivated to see the enduring personality and performance of the Stennis Team.”
Before departing the ship for a final time, Peck stopped in the ship’s museum to sign his initials into a replica Senate desk. Since the Civil War, senators have signed their initials into their desks on the Senate floor as they leave office; each of Stennis' commanding officers has followed this tradition to pay homage to Sen. John C. Stennis.
John C. Stennis is partnering with Newport News Shipbuilding to complete RCOH on schedule with a trained, resilient and cohesive crew.