By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric S. Garst, Naval Support Activity Bahrain Public Affairs
MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain held a change of command ceremony June 14.
Capt. Darren B. Guenther relieved Capt. Cory R. Howes as commanding officer of NSA Bahrain. The time-honored ceremony marked an end to Howes's leadership of the command he headed since June 2015.
During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Rick Williamson, Commander Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, spoke about Howes's term in command.
"In a challenging and demanding environment, he put his nose to the grindstone and got to work," said Williamson. "In my mind he did the most important thing a commanding officer can do, he shouldered the burden of responsibility, accountability, and authority and led from the front."
Following Williamson's speech, Capt. Howes was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service as Commander, Naval Support Activity Bahrain.
"At the end of this tour I could not be more proud of what this base has accomplished," said Howes. "For me it has been an amazing adventure in a dynamic region... Where I have left things unfinished, I hope you will follow Captain Guenther's leadership with the same trust and devotion you followed mine."
Howes went on to thank everyone that had helped him throughout his tenure as commanding officer.
"I've wasted no opportunity to tell visiting congressmen, secretaries, Admirals, and Generals how lucky we are to have U.S. Central Command's only main operating base in The Kingdom of Bahrain", said Howes. "I'm truly honored that so many of our Bahraini friends are here today... Ramadan kareem".
After the reading of official orders and the official change of command, Guenther addressed "Team Bahrain." Team Bahrain, according to Guenther, is the service members and civilians, which are a mix of Americans, Bahrainis, and citizens of 13 other countries, our families, the tenant commands, the fleet command, and international partners. All of Team Bahrain works together to achieve the mission.
"This job is a huge challenge, but I like challenges and this team likes challenges," said Guenther. "Thank you Team Bahrain. I look forward to working with you for the next several years."
Guenther was previously assigned to the Federal Executive Fellowship at Harvard University where he completed a Master's degree in International Security and Politics. Guenther and his wife, Nicole, will be in Bahrain for a two-year tour. Guenther grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is a graduate of Punahou School. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science in 1994 from University of California at Berkeley and was commissioned through the NROTC program.
He was designated a naval aviator in 1997. Among other assignments, Guenther was a FRS instructor pilot and has accumulated nearly 3000 flight hours. Guenther and his wife have three children.
NSA Bahrain provides operational support to U.S. and coalition forces operating throughout U.S. Central Command's Area of Responsibility (AOR). NSA Bahrain operates and maintains superior facilities and services for its tenant commands, their deployed assets and military members, Department of Defense civilian personnel and dependents living in Bahrain and provides security to ships, aircraft, operational detachments and remote sites throughout 5th Fleet's AOR.
For more news from Naval Support Activity Bahrain, visit www.navy.mil/local/nsabahrain/.