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NEWS | Sept. 16, 2022

Change of Command for Strike Group Oceanography Team Norfolk

By SGOT-N Public Affairs Team

CDR Matthew Cushanick was relieved by CDR Kristine Bench as Commanding Officer, Strike Group Oceanography Team Norfolk (SGOT-N), in a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, September 16, 2022.
The Change of Command ceremony is not prescribed specifically by U.S. Navy Regulations, but rather is a time-honored naval tradition.
Friends, family, and military personnel gathered to wish fair winds and following seas to Cdr. Cushanick after serving as the SGOT-N Commanding Officer for the past two years, and to welcome aboard Cdr. Bench, the new Commanding Officer of SGOT-N.
The ceremony’s guest speaker was CAPT Erin Acosta, Commanding Officer, Fleet Weather Center Norfolk, VA (FWC-N).
CDR Cushanick, a native of Chesapeake, Va, graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2004 and reported to FWC-N in September 2020. Cushanick assumed command of SGOT-N following its commissioning ceremony on 01 October, 2020.
“We have established our culture, set the foundations for continued success, and elevated our tradecraft through an unwavering focus on warfighting readiness.” said Cushanick. “Despite challenges and setbacks, you, the Sailors of SGOT Norfolk, have seized every opportunity to serve with excellence in nearly every corner of the globe.  As the Commanding Officer, I was profoundly humbled by the dedication, skill, and value that SGOT’s Sailors provide to the Fleet each and every day.”
Cushanick has been selected to join the US Naval Observatory as Deputy Superintendent.
CDR Bench, grew up in a Navy family and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2006.  She joined the SGOT Norfolk team after completing her tour at U.S. Strategic Command as the Senior METOC Officer and Deputy Division Director of the Command Centers Division.  Bench is the 2nd commanding officer of SGOT Norfolk.

“The greatest advantage we have over any adversary is our People. I am humbled by SGOT’s talent, commitment to service, and teamwork.” said Bench. “The SGOT Norfolk family has fostered a culture of excellence and I look forward to working alongside them, executing the SGOT Mission. CDR Cushanick has set the command up on a trajectory towards great successes, and I will continue to build upon these foundations as the command continues to strategically evolve and innovate. As I assume my role as Commanding Officer, I fully understand the great responsibility to our country, SGOT Norfolk, and our families.”
A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commander to another. It is designed to publicize to the officers, men and women of the command the absolute transfer of authority. The passing of colors, standards, or ensigns from an outgoing commander to an incoming one ensures that the unit and its service members and civilians are never without official leadership.
The mission of SGOT-N is to train, equip, and deploy meteorology and oceanography (METOC) teams providing full-spectrum METOC support to Carrier Strike Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, Amphibious Ready Groups, Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare Commanders, independent deploying assets, US government agencies, and other joint or coalition forces as assigned.
U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to make better decisions, based on assured environmental information, faster than the adversary.

Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command | 1100 Balch Blvd. | Stennis Space Center, Mississippi 39529