Rear Adm. Michael Boyle, commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, receives his Meritorious Service Medal certificate from Vice Adm., Andrew Lewis, commander, U.S. Second Fleet, during a change of command ceremony May 7, 2020. Rear Adm. Craig Clapperton, former Deputy Director of Operations at U.S. Cyber Command, assumes command from Boyle, who served as Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12 for the past year.


Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, May 7.

In a ceremony with minimal attendance, CSG 12 bid farewell to Rear Adm. Michael Boyle and welcomed Rear Adm. Craig Clapperton as the new commander. In response to travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, friends, family, and subordinate commanders who attended in person ensured strict adherence to social distancing in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulations.

Boyle was presented with the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as Commander, CSG 12. Following the award presentation, Boyle and Clapperton thanked their families and officially changed command by reading their orders.

“In my short time as your strike group commander, I had the pleasure of watching you tackle many challenges,” said Boyle. “We successfully came through those events and many more. Tackling tough issues doesn't happen by accident - it happens because of all of your hard work. If I was standing in the hangar bay of Ford as planned, I would tell you all to congratulate yourselves on the spectacular job that you do each and every day!”

Boyle assumed command of CSG-12 in June 2019 and is headed to Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) as the director of maritime operations. His previous Flag assignment was commander, Naval Component, U.S. Forces Korea and the United Nations command Korea.

During Boyle’s time in command, he led 7,500 Sailors from three staffs, eight ships, and nine squadrons during operations in the U.S. fifth and seventh fleet areas of responsibility. As CSG 12 commander Boyle was specifically recognized for his support to fifth fleet operations, deterring Iran for six months from the North Arabian Sea, and devising a vigilant strait-transit that is paving the way for future CSG’s.

Clapperton reports from his position as Deputy Director of Operations, U.S. Cyber Command. He previously served as Commanding Officer of the “Shadowhawks” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ-141), U.S. Sixth Fleet and NATO command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Additionally, he served as Executive Officer aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

“I am absolutely humbled, honored, and grateful for the opportunity to serve as the commander of CSG 12,” said Clapperton. “I am grateful for the leadership Adm. Boyle provided to this superb team, and look forward to building on their great success to date as we operationalize the Ford Carrier Strike Group.”

Clapperton and CSG 12 staff will be the first strike group to embark the first-in-class carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).


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