From U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs
Rear Adm. Sean S. Buck relieved Rear Adm. George W. Ballance as commander, U. S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) during a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Mayport, Aug. 12.
Adm. Kurt Tidd, commander, U.S. Southern Command, served as presiding officer for the ceremony and showcased the numerous accomplishments of the command while paying tribute to the individuals who have maintained the organization's success for more than 65 years.
USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT is responsible for U.S. naval forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, which includes Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Tidd remarked on the numerous accomplishments of USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT under Ballance's leadership during his address, and presented the Meritorious Unit Commendation to Ballance and the USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT command, awarded by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.
"It is impossible to sum up the superb accomplishments that the team here has done during Ballance's term here," said Tidd. "The highest note of course is the deployment of the Navy's crown jewel, the USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command executed the largest and most extensive Continuing Promise mission to date, administering aid to over 122,000 patients across the Americas."
Ballance, addressing the USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT staff in attendance, said the accomplishments of the command remained a direct reflection of the individuals staffing its ranks.
"As you know U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet is a stellar command to lead," said Ballance. "The Sailors at this command are the example by which we should all wish to serve our nation. Their commitment to doing the job right is exemplified by every mission or task they take on, regardless of how big or small the challenge."
Ballance retired following the change of command ceremony, marking the end of a 36-year military career. Ballance is succeeded as COMUSNAVSO/C4F by Buck - former Chief of Staff, J5, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C. - who delivered an inauguration speech to more than 300 invited guests, emphasizing it is a privilege to take command from a superb leader and pledged to keeping 4th Fleet ready in all respects for future challenges.
"I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow component commanders," said Buck. "With this high-performance, Mayport-based team and our tremendous partner nations, it is my goal to continue the advancement SOUTHCOM objectives and [ensure] the vision of SOUTHCOM and the vision of our partner nations is realized."
He is the 14th commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command - formerly commander, South Atlantic Force - since it was established in 1942 and the sixth commander of U.S. 4th Fleet since its re-establishment in 2008.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.