OKINAWA, JAPAN — Gulfport's Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 welcomed a new commanding officer Tuesday while on its global deployment.
Cmdr. Kemit Spears relieved Cmdr. Chad Brooks, who assumed command in July 2012. Under Brooks' leadership, NMCB 1 completed two deployments to Europe, Africa and the Pacific theaters.
Spears, who joins NMCB 1 from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations staff in Washington, D.C., is excited about the move.
"I am honored to serve as your commanding officer today. There is no greater place to be than in a Seabee battalion, and, in particular, NMCB 1," Spears said. "You are executing professionalism, leadership, selfless hard work, logistics support, tactical readiness and construction expertise across the globe.
"Your daily efforts and faithfulness make those who have gone before you immensely proud. Your work at each location is making a difference."
During his speech, Brooks called his experience leading NMCB 1 as the highlight of his career.
"To the crew of NMCB 1, President (Ronald) Reagan often spoke of the United States as a shining city upon a hill, a beacon of hope to the world. Thirty years later, your selfless service to our country embodies that vision today," he said. "You are the finest men and women our nation can produce. You are points of light and beacons of hope in our generation.
"Thank you for choosing to serve. You have exceeded very high expectations I set for us and done everything asked of you."
Brooks also thanked his family, who were watching the ceremony via a video stream in Washington, D.C.
Capt. John Adametz, commander of Naval Construction Group 2 in Gulfport, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
For more on the ceremony, checkout Thursday's print edition of the Sun Herald.