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76th commander leads the Grey Knights

A suit of armor, the symbol of the Grey Knights of Maritime Patrol Squadron 46, stands as a sentinel at the edge of the podium as officers salute during a change of command ceremony Friday, May 4 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. - Kathy Reed/Whidbey News-Times
A suit of armor, the symbol of the Grey Knights of Maritime Patrol Squadron 46, stands as a sentinel at the edge of the podium as officers salute during a change of command ceremony Friday, May 4 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
— image credit: Kathy Reed/Whidbey News-Times

The Grey Knights of Maritime Patrol Squadron (VP) 46 continued a long tradition Friday on Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. For the 76th time, leadership of VP-46 was passed from one commander to the next.

Capt. Peter Garvin, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10, guest speaker for the event, lauded the men and women of VP-46 and their outgoing leader, Cmdr. James Jacobs.

“It has been a truly fantastic year for VP-46,” Garvin said. “How you conduct your daily business is as telling as the accolades you receive. You have met every challenge and I have no doubt you will continue to excel.”

Garvin told Jacobs he had led America’s oldest maritime patrol squadron exceptionally well, and offered words of encouragement to incoming Cmdr. Christopher Kijek.

“Without a doubt, I know this squadron will thrive under your leadership,” he said.

Retired Vice Adm. Barry Costello, who presented the change of command address, also had high praise for Jacobs, whom he recruited to work for him during his time in the Navy.

“Hiring James Jacobs was the best personnel decision I made in 34 years,” said Costello. He went on to share several positive conversations he’d had with various Navy officials over the past several months regarding Jacobs.

“I say these things in reference to your commanding officer, because he would say his success is totally because of all of you,” Costello told the men and women of VP-46. “To you, Grey Knights, well done — your reputation around the world is excellent.

“As one great commander moves forward, another steps up to the plate,” Costello continued. “Cmdr. Kijek is ready to step up.”

For his part, Cmdr. Jacobs extended his thanks and appreciation to several people in the audience and on the podium, including Commodore Garvin, Vice Adm. Costello, Capt. Jay Johnston, commanding officer of NAS Whidbey Island and the officers and sailors of the Grey Knights.

“You are some of the finest Americans I’ve served with in 18 years,” Jacobs said. “VP-46 understands the meaning of mission. VP-46 understands the meaning of execution. VP-46 understands the meaning of hard work and dedication.

“You all know what’s expected of you and you all know what to do,” he continued. “Now you just have to go do it. Remember, legacy is not gifted, or even earned, but built on excellence, teamwork and dedication. Work hard to continue the proud legacy of being the oldest and the best.”

With that, Jacobs read his orders, immediately followed by the Grey Knights’ new leader, Cmdr. Kijek, who also read his orders and then told the crowd he was honored to take the helm of VP-46.

“To the men and women who serve, there is no greater honor than to be your commanding officer,” he said. “The greatest nation on earth has entrusted me with its greatest treasure.”

In closing, Kijek said he would do everything in his power to continue to honor the legacy of the Grey Knights.

 

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