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    Special Boat Team 12 hosts Change of Command Ceremony-SBT 12 ushers in new Era with Virtual Ceremony

    Special Boat Team 12 hosts Change of Command Ceremony

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew C. Duncker | 200605-N-YD204-1073 NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE CORONADO, Calif. (June 05, 2020) Cmdr....... read more read more

    CORONADO, CA, UNITED STATES

    06.05.2020

    Courtesy Story

    Naval Special Warfare Group Four

    NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE CORONADO, Calif. – In a setting that allowed both physical and virtual presence, Naval Special Warfare Group 4’s (NSWG 4) Special Boat Team (SBT) 12 ushered in a new era by saying good-bye to a former command team and welcoming a team for the future.

    The ceremony, held on June 5 at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California, celebrated the change of command between outgoing SBT 12 Cmdr. Andrew K. Fortmann and incoming Cmdr. Joseph M. Laher, in front of a small gathering of family and friends. Virtual capabilities also allowed the attendance of former teammates from various locations around the world and the command element of NSWG 4, to include Capt. Joshua Lasky and Command Master Chief Kevin Murphy.

    Fortmann, who assumed command of SBT 12 in July of 2018, in remarks to the small audience in physical attendance and those in the virtual realm, spoke of change and gratitude. “This team, like so many others in NSW is a big place, full of giant personalities prepared to take on an uncertain future,” he explained. “We are the world's best special operations community, with the best shooters, the best boat drivers, boat teams, and we know that we can take on just about anything and find a way to win. We are constantly innovating and improving.”

    With SBT 12 serving as one of the three NSWG 4 maritime elements, Fortmann, a native of Lexington, Massachusetts, took the opportunity to express the historical importance of his team within the special operations community. “The place on earth where we are standing today is an important part of our story -- our community’s tradition that goes back at least to World War II, when this place and this base were the stepping-off point for the history-changing Pacific campaign,” he explained.

    During Fortmann’s tenure at SBT 12, the commander is credited with leading more than 300 Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC), SEALs, sailors and civilians; the responsibility of 12 boat detachments and more than $100 million of equipment in support of three geographic combatant commands’ Great Power Competition initiatives.

    Fortmann, who completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in 2003, has completed multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa; and multiple joint task force deployments around the world. During his illustrious career, he received the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and numerous other awards for service. The U.S. Naval Academy graduate’s next order of assignment will be with NSW’s command headquarters element also located in Coronado.

    During the ceremony, Lasky virtually presented Fortmann with the Meritorious Service Medal, with the commander’s wife, Kelly, pinning the medal in front of their children: Konrad, Lennon, Kate, and Harry. The NSWG 4 commodore, who served as guest speaker for the ceremony from Group headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia, spoke of the outgoing commander’s contribution to SBT 12, specifically his contribution to transitioning from counterterrorism operations to near peer competitions. Lasky also acknowledged Fortmann for the relationships he established with the families of the SBT 12 troops and his keen ability to get inside of problems he faced during command.

    Incoming commander, Laher, graduated from Officer Candidate School in the fall of 2002, and shortly thereafter graduated with BUD/S class 246. During his distinguished career, he served on multiple deployments to various locations within the Middle East, to include Iraq and Afghanistan. He also served on assignments in South America, Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa. Prior to his assignment with SBT 12, Laher served as the executive assistant to Rear Adm. Collin Green at NSW in Coronado, a position that Lasky indicated would benefit the team with the ability to bring a higher level of leadership perspective to the operational level.

    During remarks to the crowd, Laher spoke to the sailors of SBT 12. “As your commanding officer, I am humbled and honored to be in command of the finest warriors in the Navy. You are what makes this command so great,” he stressed. “Accordingly, your success did not come by accident. This team is fortunate to have a solid foundation of officers, chiefs, and future chiefs to ensure that this success continues to thrive within our command's climate and culture.”

    The incoming commander also spoke of the significance of the contributions of every member of the team. “Regardless of warfare insignia, every member of our team makes a critical contribution to our mission,” he explained. “We have the honor of working together to ensure our command's success. Together, we are responsible for the welfare of our nation, the safety of our nation, and the freedom and democracy of our nation.”

    During the ceremony, a symbolic transfer of authority also occurred recognizing Command Master Chief David Postupack passing the role of senior enlisted leader to Master Chief Joaquin Martinez. Both noncommissioned officers have served within the SWCC community for more than 20 years and have deployed to various locations around the world in support of the NSW mission.

    U.S. special operations forces depend on the SWCC community for maritime insertion and extraction on time, on target, worldwide. SWCC are an indispensable part of the NSW team, as they operate and maintain high-speed craft specially designed to execute SEAL missions. NSW maritime platforms are equipped with state-of-the-art navigation, communications, engineering and weapons systems. They operate day and night in extreme weather and sea states to achieve the ultimate element of surprise against enemy forces.

    SBT 12’s mission is to man, train, equip, and deploy combatant craft detachments to conduct maritime special operations in support of theater special operations commanders’ objectives. This special operations unit consists of four troops and 12 operational detachments, all based at NAB Coronado. Throughout its history, SBT 12 has deployed in support of U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Southern Command, and U.S. Africa Command in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and various Great Power Competition initiatives.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.05.2020
    Date Posted: 06.08.2020 13:39
    Story ID: 371676
    Location: CORONADO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 387
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