U.S. Navy Third Fleet
Vice Admiral Michael Boyle during Thursday’s change-of-command ceremony. Photo credit: @ThirdFleet via Facebook

Vice Adm. Michael Boyle took over the helm of the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet during a change of command ceremony Thursday at Naval Base Point Loma.

Boyle becomes the 32nd commander of the fleet, a force of more than 68,000 people, 100 ships and 400 aircraft stationed throughout California, Hawaii and Washington.

During the command of outgoing Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, the fleet trained and certified two carrier strike groups, one amphibious ready group, six submarines and 15 independently deployed ships.

In remarks at the ceremony, Koehler noted the impressive capabilities displayed by the fleet’s sailors during his tenure.

“Your success comes from a standard of professionalism where you, as leaders, make the difficult and challenging look easy and routine where it is not,” he said. “It has been a great privilege to lead the men and women of Third Fleet and I am confident that when called upon, we have the force to take the fight forward and win.”

Koehler began his stint as fleet commander in June 2021, and will report to his new assignment as director for Strategy, Plans and Policy, J- 5, Joint Staff, and for appointment as a senior member of the Military Staff Committee of the United Nations in Washington, D.C.

Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, presided over the ceremony. He called Koehler’s leadership “bold (and) innovative.”

“This headquarters, in partnership with [I Marine Expeditionary Force], are prepared with credible combat forces ready to deploy worldwide to achieve objectives from sea and at sea,” Paparo said. “Mike Boyle arrives as prepared as any commander in Third Fleet’s history. He will carry on, continue and lead to ever higher heights the work of this superb team.”

Boyle, who last month rose to become a vice admiral, previously served as the director of maritime operations at U.S. Pacific Fleet. As Third Fleet commander, he will lead the Combined Task Force for Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2022, scheduled to begin June 29.

“I look forward to working with the immensely talented and experienced staff here at Third Fleet,” Boyle said. “Excellence is not an accident. It is the culmination of hard work, planning and dedication, and in doing that, there is no challenge we cannot meet.”

U.S. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific, which stretches off the U.S. west coast to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole.

– City News Service


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Ellen Bullock