Stennis hosts Command Change

Published 11:34 pm Saturday, September 6, 2008

“I stand relieved” — The words at the heart of every military Command Change Ceremony, in spite of all the usual pomp and circumstance surrounding this traditional event. And so it happened just the same on Thursday, with perhaps a pinch less pomp and a dash less circumstance, due to Hurricane Gustav, when Captain John Cousins, U.S. Navy, was relieved by Captain James Berdeguez, U.S. Navy, at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) at Stennis Space Center.

Guest Speaker Rear Admiral David W. Titley, U.S. Navy, addressed the crowd as keynote speaker on the event. He started with a speech about being “spared” by Gustav, and he added that the definition of spared has been greatly altered following the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina.

RDML Titley talked about Captain Cousins leadership, NAVOCEANO’s role and what to expect under Captain Berdeguez’s leadership.

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“I’m here under duress,” said Captain Cousin’s in his farewell speech. He started by saying how much he hated leaving and that he didn’t want to be there. He then added, jokingly, that Berdeguez on the other hand, was very excited to be there and probably would have gone ahead with the ceremony whether Captain Cousins attended or not.

Captain Cousins thanked his wife and family for all of their support and understanding for his long hours. He thanked all the men and women of the NAVOCEANO — he said that they are the heroes. He went through the separate departments and teams and thanked them individually.

At the very end of the event the orders were read. Captain Berdeguez said, “I relieve you sir,” and Captain Cousins replied, “I stand relieved.”