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Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC)

SGOT Norfolk Celebrates Command Establishment

by Jennifer Erwin, Naval Oceanography Public Affairs
01 October 2020
Cmdr. Matthew Cushanick, left, salutes Capt. Chris Gabriel, right, in the assumption of all duties and responsibilities as commanding officer of Strike Group Oceanography Team Norfolk during a virtual command establishment ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, on Oct. 1, 2020.
Cmdr. Matthew Cushanick, left, salutes Capt. Chris Gabriel, right, in the assumption of all duties and responsibilities as commanding officer of Strike Group Oceanography Team Norfolk during a virtual command establishment ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, on Oct. 1, 2020.
Cmdr. Matthew Cushanick, left, salutes Capt. Chris Gabriel, right, in the assumption of all duties and responsibilities as commanding officer of Strike Group Oceanography Team Norfolk during a virtual command establishment ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, on Oct. 1, 2020.
011020-N-IT407-001
Cmdr. Matthew Cushanick, left, salutes Capt. Chris Gabriel, right, in the assumption of all duties and responsibilities as commanding officer of Strike Group Oceanography Team Norfolk during a virtual command establishment ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, on Oct. 1, 2020.
Photo By: Jennifer Ervin
VIRIN: 011020-N-IT407-001
Strike Group Oceanography Team Norfolk (SGOT-N) held a virtual ceremony Oct.1 to formally recognize its establishment as an Echelon V command, reporting to Fleet Weather Center Norfolk (FWC-N).

During the virtual celebration, FWC-N Commanding Officer, Capt. Chris Gabriel, introduced SGOT-N’s first Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Matthew Cushanick. This realignment of forces achieves one of Naval Oceanography’s priorities to deploy full-spectrum meteorology and oceanography (METOC) units of action.

Despite obstacles set forth by the current COVID-19 environment, SGOT-N created a video of the ceremony with comments from Rear Admiral John A. Okon, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC). Rear Admiral Okon emphasized the importance of the newly established command as well as his unwavering confidence:

“We need agile leaders of strong character and discipline who can think, operate, and apply full spectrum analysis and operate to shape decisions, enhance lethality, and solve complex warfighting problems faster and better than our adversaries. As you step forward on day one, Distributed Maritime Operations and Dynamic Force Employment need to be part of your DNA. You must be prepared- keep your moral compass steady, take care of each other, and focus on building the future. And be decisive, for as George Washington said in 1781, ‘As certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.’ The American way of life is counting on you, SGOT Norfolk, and I know you will do us proud.”

Cmdr. Cushanick and SGOT Norfolk’s Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Eric Dridge have worked diligently in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to prepare for the commissioning of this new command. Capt. Gabriel expressed his pride and gratitude for the accomplishments of the Sailors of SGOT Norfolk:

“To the excellent Sailors of SGOT Norfolk, I say, ‘well done.’ It has been a pure joy and honor to have had the chance to serve with you these last 15 months. Take pride in your many accomplishments and in your commissioning today. This command, your command, already has a sterling reputation across multiple fleets. It has been a blast watching you succeed in every deployment and every exercise. I am fully confident you will continue to excel and protect our fleet at sea, on deployment, every day.”

Cmdr. Cushanick detailed his vision for SGOT-N moving forward, as well as the responsibility that comes with being a plankowner of the newly commissioned command:

“Sailors of SGOT Norfolk, you are plankowners of this command. That title, plankowner, carries an enormous responsibility for the foundation of this command. Together, we will establish the conditions for continued success. This ceremony marks only the beginning. We must continue the task of building our family with a focus on warfighting and service with excellence; as our nation can rest assured that SGOT Norfolk stands ready to deliver the warfighting advantage through the prediction of environmental conditions from the bottom of the ocean to the stars.”

The ceremony concluded with the traditional assumption of command ceremony, narrated by Master Chief Aerographer’s Mate Jessica Mihailin, Command Master Chief, and featuring several SGOT-N Sailors.

SGOT-N generates and deploys multi-spectrum METOC teams to Navy, Joint and Coalition Forces operating in the Arctic, Second, Fourth and Sixth Fleet areas of responsibility. SGOT-N’s expanded mission set enables the teams to work directly with afloat commanders across all warfare areas, applying actionable environmental information to improve the Fleet’s overall battlespace awareness.
 
 
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