Change of command

Capt. Douglass Biesel makes his way through the side boys after his change of command ceremony on Naval Base Kitsap after being relieved by Capt. Reid Tanaka Aug. 26. - Photo by Ray Narimatsu
Capt. Douglass Biesel makes his way through the side boys after his change of command ceremony on Naval Base Kitsap after being relieved by Capt. Reid Tanaka Aug. 26.
— image credit: Photo by Ray Narimatsu

Capt. Douglass Biesel, Naval Base Kitsap’s first commanding officer, turned over command of the “Navy’s best base” Aug. 26 to Capt. Reid Tanaka during a change of command ceremony at Bangor. Friends, family, regional commanders, retirees, local elected officials and community leaders gathered for an historic day in NBK history.

After beginning his tenure as CO of Naval Submarine Base Bangor and later consolidating that with Naval Station Bremerton to create Naval Base Kitsap, Biesel stepped away from the command he led and helped build and which recently received the Presidential Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award.

Just one week earlier, Rear Adm. Len Hering, commander Navy Region Southwest, was relieved as the Northwest’s regional commander and was the guest speaker for the event. He compared NBK winning the installation excellence award to an NFL expansion franchise winning the Super Bowl.

“The Jacksonville Jaguars almost did it, they almost did. But the difference between the Jaguars and NBK is that NBK came home with the trophy,” Hering said. “What a year it has been though. When we stood up NBK a year ago, I challenged the workforce to change the culture and mindset. Doug took that challenge to heart and those efforts paid off big time,” he said of Biesel.

Among the milestones during Biesel’s tenure was the @EEZ liberty center opening, the Jackson Park Child Development Center receiving accreditation on its first try, winning the Secretary of the Navy’s energy conservation award and the Trident Inn galley at Bangor winning the 2004 Edward F. Ney award, in addition to saving the Navy hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hering commended Biesel for his selflessness during his time as commanding officer.

“Everything Doug has done over the last two years was for the sailor,” said Hering. “You’ve left your fingerprints all over this base.”

As Biesel prepared to head east to the Pentagon for his next assignment, he spoke to the attendees of the ceremony and said that he does not deserve the credit he has received because the sailors of Naval Base Kitsap are the ones that made and continue to make the job happen.

“It is you that stand the watch. Naval Base Kitsap could not have succeeded without your efforts. It is through initiative that we got NBK stood up,” Biesel said. He then thanked his family for all of their support over the past two years and became choked up when talking about how proud he was of his children.

Tanaka said he’s looking forward to the challenge of upholding the high standards and tradition, albeit a short one, of Naval Base Kitsap. “I’m glad to be here at the world’s premiere naval installation...and I have some big shoes to fill.”

New Navy Region Northwest Commander, Rear Adm. William French, said he’s confident Tanaka will keep NBK going strong. “We have found the right guy to replace Doug in Reid Tanaka.”

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