– Capt. Will Pennington relieved Capt.
Daniel Grieco as commanding officer of U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS
Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during a change of command ceremony held onboard
Grieco served as commanding officer from
May 2011 to July 2012.
During his tenure, Grieco was responsible for leading Blue Ridge
through a 10-week, $9 million-dollar selected restricted
availability (SRA) utilizing 22,000 man-hours to accomplish the
work. SRA is a maintenance period intended to help extend the life
of a ship.
“With over 30 years of wearing this uniform, I’ve never had the
privilege to witness a crew that dedicates so much and strives so
continuously for such a worthy cause,” said Capt. Daniel Grieco.
“That cause being the service of our country and the service of 7th
Grieco ensured reliability of all satellite and network systems in
support of multinational military exercises to include; Talisman
Sabre 2011, Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2011, Key Resolve 2012, and
Terminal Fury 2011 and 2012.
At the helm, Grieco steamed Blue Ridge for more than 30,200 nautical
miles, and meticulously executed 18 port calls in 12 different
Grieco achieved basic phase certification in 39 weeks by executing
an intensive training cycle comprised of 11 basic phase certifying
events, 19 individual certifications and nine limited training team
visits. The basic training phase allowed Blue Ridge crew an
opportunity to certify in every major warfare area by conducting
graded drills ranging from damage control and defending the ship in
combat training scenarios, to administration and personnel
During the change of command ceremony, the keynote speaker,
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Scott Swift, showcased the
numerous accomplishments of Grieco and crew which contributed to the
ship's success during the past 14 months.
“Blue Ridge has performed to perfection because of Grieco’s focused
efforts,” said Vice Adm. Scott Swift. “Grieco has shown unflagging
devotion to the mission, and strong leadership in keeping her fully
Grieco's next duty station will be USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)
in Norfolk, Va., where he will serve as commanding officer.
Pennington, a native of Wilton, Iowa, graduated from the United
States Naval Academy in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in
economics and gained his designation as a naval aviator in June
“To the men and women of Blue Ridge, I am thrilled to be apart of
your team,” said Capt. Will Pennington. Your pride and
professionalism were evident the moment I walked aboard the ship. No
oncoming commanding officer could ask for more.”
Pennington has been recognized as the Commander Naval Air Forces
Atlantic Fleet Landing Signal Officer of the Year. His decorations
include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service
Medal, Air Medal and various other personal, campaign and unit
awards. He earned a Masters degree in Engineering Management from
Old Dominion University in 2011.
Pennington assumes command of Blue Ridge after serving as executive
officer for USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) from March 2010 through
April 2012. Previous tours include Aviation TACAIR commander
detailer and Strike Fighter Squadron 14 (VFA-14) commander.
Pennington is the 25th commanding officer of the Blue Ridge since
the ship's commissioning Nov. 14, 1970.