Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) conducted a change of command ceremony Friday, Feb. 17, at NBK-Bangor, where Capt. John Hale relieved Capt. Richard Massie as commanding officer of the U.S. Navy’s third-largest fleet concentration area in the United States.
“Today we are here to honor someone who has, in fact, been an incredible steward of Naval Base Kitsap,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer, U.S. representative for Washington’s 6th District, who served as guest speaker for the ceremony.
Kilmer talked of the importance for the leader of an installation as complex as NBK to be a “loving critic” of the institution – to not just accept the Navy as it is, but continuously strive to improve it for the Sailors and their families who have dedicated themselves to it.
“In addition to just being a solid guy, in addition to handling delicate situations with finesse and with care, Capt. Rich Massie and his leadership of Naval Base Kitsap has been a steward. He has and continues to be a loving critic,” Kilmer said. “I’m grateful as a dad, who is conscious of the fact that my kids live in a community that is stronger, and a country that is safer because of his leadership and his service.”
Massie assumed command of NBK in September 2021 and – as the world faced the COVID-19 pandemic – led the installation through challenging times to keep over 80 tenant commands capable of executing their mission. He will retire after 30 years of honorable and distinguished service in the U.S. Navy.
“There are some things I definitely won’t miss, but there are many, many things that I will, including working with all of the incredible leaders in the community and on base,” Massie said. “It gives me a great deal of pride and satisfaction to finish my three decades of Navy service as commanding officer of Naval Base Kitsap.”
Hale assumes command of NBK following his most recent assignment as deputy for training at Submarine Squadron 19 on NBK-Bangor, Washington. Other previous assignments include chief, Nuclear Enterprise Division, United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany; and deputy commander, Submarine Squadron 17.
“Although we are not home base to combatant commanders or fleet commanders, the Kitsap Peninsula is nonetheless a significant and important fleet concentration area that is home to some of the most important work in the United States Navy,” said Hale. “It is my honor and privilege to take command of Naval Base Kitsap where we provide the support and enable those major missions and well as all of the other activities that happen here in support of the fleet, our warfighters, and their families.”