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NEWS | April 11, 2016

Ronald Reagan Changes Command

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Hendrix

YOKOSUKA, Japan (April 12, 2016) – After more than two years as commanding officer of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Capt. Christopher Bolt transferred authority and responsibility of the ship.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with each and every one of you during my tour,” said Bolt. “I can honestly say this is the finest crew in the Navy, serving on the finest ship in the fleet.  As I transfer command to Capt. Donnelly, I do so with the utmost confidence that you will continue to serve with the same tradition of excellence that I have been so proud of during my time as your commanding officer.”

During Bolt’s tour, from July 2013 to April 2016, Ronald Reagan earned the 2013 Chief of Naval Operations safety and environmental award and three consecutive annual retention excellence awards. In 2014, he led Reagan during the Rim of the Pacific exercise in and around the islands of Hawaii. He led Ronald Reagan in the hull swap with USS George Washington (CVN 73) and brought Reagan to her new home in Yokosuka as the Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier in 2015.  Bolt led the crew and ship more than 42,000 miles, completing approximately 14,000 aircraft launches and recoveries for the 2015 Indo-Asia-Pacific deployment supporting Carrier Air Wing 5.

"USS Ronald Reagan, led by Capt. Bolt, performed exceptionally throughout the three hull swap, Ronald Reagan’s first deployment as the only Forward-Deployed Aircraft Carrier, and multiple engagements with our partners and allies around the region,” said Rear Admiral John D. Alexander, Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70. “He brought great leadership to the crew and effectively managed every task that was sent his way."

Bolt’s next assignment will be at Commander, Naval Air Forces.

Capt. Michael Donnelly accepts command of Ronald Reagan after serving as the commanding officer of USS Denver (LPD 9). Donnelly graduated from Villanova University in 1989 and was commissioned via NROTC.  He is a naval flight officer with more than 3,000 flight hours and 990 carrier landings in F-14 and F/A-18F.

“USS RONALD REAGAN has a terrific history of success and an outstanding culture of pride under Captain Bolt,” said Donnelly. “The mission focus and readiness of the crew, as well as the ship’s seamless transition to become the Navy’s only forward deployed aircraft carrier reflect the clear vision and dedicated leadership that Captain Bolt brought throughout his tour.” 

Ronald Reagan is the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier and provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.