The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) has a new commanding officer.
Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer relieved Rear Adm. Dee Mewbourne as MSC commander during a June 28 ceremony aboard the SIU CIVMAR-crewed expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Burlington at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
SIU Vice President Government Services Kate Hunt and Representative Sam Spain attended the ceremony. They noted that Mewbourne, during his official remarks, thanked SIU President Michael Sacco, Executive Vice President Augie Tellez and Hunt for their work in helping provide crews for MSC ships while strengthening the overall U.S. Merchant Marine and reinforcing its readiness to answer the call.
Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and Lt. Gen. John J. Broadmeadow, deputy commander, U.S. Transportation Command, were the guest speakers.
Mewbourne, a native of Ormond Beach, Florida, assumed command of MSC Aug. 25, 2016, overseeing the on-time logistics, strategic sealift and specialized missions that MSC conducts around the world, many of them utilizing SIU-crewed vessels.
The agency noted, “During his tenure, Mewbourne, and his staff devoted significant effort in developing and executing a plan to adapt to the changing operational environment and keep MSC ahead of competitors and potential adversaries.”
A graduate of the Colorado State University and native of Alexandria, Virginia, Wettlaufer assumed command of MSC following his latest tour of duty as the commander of Carrier Strike Group 3 in Bremerton, Washington.
“I am truly humbled to be here and to join this fantastic team,” said Wettlaufer. “Just coming off a dynamic, around-the-world (U.S. Navy) strike group deployment, my team was a prodigious consumer and demanding customer of logistics systems around the globe. As such, I understand and appreciate the challenges which MSC overcomes every day in order to provide the systems and synchronize global activities needed to deliver, distribute and sustain our warriors forward.”
Wettlaufer previously commanded the Dambusters of Strike Fighter Squadron 195, USS Denver and USS John C. Stennis.
According to MSC, “Wettlaufer’s completed sea assignments include multiple deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf with Attack Squadron 85 and Carrier Air Wing 1 flying the A-6 Intruder from the USS America including Operation Desert Storm. Forward-deployed from Japan aboard USS Independence and USS Kitty Hawk as a Dambuster department head and CVW-5 operations officer, he flew the FA-18C Hornet and he deployed to the Pacific as executive officer aboard USS John C. Stennis.”
Mewbourne now will serve as deputy commander of the U.S. Transportation Command.