||During a change of command ceremony July 2 on board the USS Midway Museum, Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, left, turned over command of Navy Region Southwest to Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge. Photo courtesy Navy Region Southwest
Navy Region Southwest welcomes new commander
by MC1 Bill Larned,
Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Navy Region Southwest (NRSW) held a change of command ceremony at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, July 2.
Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge relieved Rear Adm. Dixon Smith as the region's commander on the flight deck of the decommissioned carrier during an event attended by military, civic leaders and guests.
Smith has led Navy Region Southwest since Dec. 2011 and his environmental stewardship resulted in 26 environmental awards from the Department of Defense, the city of San Diego and the state of California, the most the region has ever received.
"I never thought when I was a midshipman 30 years ago that I would become such an astute environmental steward," Smith said. "After all, I had joined the U.S. Navy, a reputable symbol of strength of our great nation, an organization that upholds our country's ideals. What many do not understand, however, is that protecting endangered plants and animals is of critical importance to the warfighter. Every piece of Navy property requires responsible stewardship and enables our Sailors and Marines to access training areas every day to be prepared to fight."
Smith is leaving San Diego to lead Navy Region Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk.
Smith praised the city of San Diego and the communities that have directly supported the Navy. He gave particular praise to organizations that assist transitioning veterans and their families in California.
"I want to thank the economic development corporation, the Regional Chamber of Commerce, retired Adm. Ronne Froman from REBOOT, and the several hundred employers in the region who desire to make veteran employment a priority," Smith said.
Lorge congratulated Smith and the entire Navy Region Southwest team for the command's efforts and achievements.
"I am humbled to be on this mighty warship assuming command of the Navy's most dynamic and complex Region and to become a part of this wonderful Navy community," he said. "There are many challenges that lay ahead, but I am confident that this team will meet and succeed in every one."
Rear Adm. Lorge is from Turnersville, N.J., and received his commission from the United States Naval Academy in 1981 and completed flight training in April 1983.
Lorge is reporting to Navy Southwest Region after serving as commandant of Naval District Washington in Washington, D.C.
Navy Region Southwest encompasses six states with a large military presence. More than 75,000 active duty Sailors serve at 10 installations throughout the region.