NAVO changes commander

Published 7:57 pm Friday, February 9, 2007

A change of command ceremony was held Thursday afternoon at Stennis Space Center where Capt. John Cousins took charge of the Naval Oceanographic Office.

The exiting commander, Capt. Andrew Brown, and Cousins were honored during a ceremony marking command change number 69 for NAVOCEANO.

Brown completed about 18 months of command of the office. Brown said he came on board about a month before Hurricane Katrina struck shore.

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“Hurricane Katrina was like hitting your thumb with a hammer, you know it’s going to hurt for a long time,” said Rear Adm. Tim Magee, commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanographic Command at Stennis, the command under which the NAVOCEANO operates.

The office does oceanographic work on a limited budget but still manages to get the job done, Magee said. They work all over the world from locations in West Africa to the Philippines to Indonesia, he said.

While the work they do may not sound like much, there is more involved technologically than most people realize, Magee said.

“Getting the ocean right is not rocket science, it is so much harder,” Magee said.

Technology is a large part of the work NAVOCEANO does but all the technology in the world would be nothing without the proper staff behind it, Brown said.

Brown said he is off to Newport for some more schooling so he can further his career, possibly with a joint position in the Washington, D.C. area.

Cousins is taking Brown’s place just in time for a new science research building to be built to replace the former Katrina-damaged facility.

Construction of the new NAVOCEANO facility will begin in the fall next to their office on Stennis ground, where scientific labs and hydrographic ship port engineering will take place, Cousins said. The new building will also help to accommodate the extra 150 to 200 employees the office has picked up since the storm, he said.