(Via Ho’okele News)
Lt. Thai Phung
Joint Typhoon Warning Center Public Affairs
Capt. Steven P. Sopko relieved Capt. Ashley D. Evans as commanding officer of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in a change of command ceremony held June 5 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The ceremony started with the arrival of the official party, the presentation of the colors, the National Anthem, and “Hawaii Pono`i,” the Hawaii state song, sung by the NSA Hawaii Choral Ensemble. Lt.Cmdr.Keith D . Plavnick offered the invocation.
Dr. William Burnett, the deputy commander and technical director of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, was the guest speaker and presided over the ceremony.
“In meteorology, there are two meccas where you want to work. One of them is the National Hurricane Center. For the military side, the mecca is the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. It is an honor to be with the men and women, the group of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and certainly, the commanding officer. You cannot go any higher,” Burnett said.
Following his remarks, Burnett presented Evans with the Legion of Merit for his outstanding service and accomplishments as commander from May 2012 to June 2014.
During his farewell remarks, Evans praised everyone at JTWC for executing their duties with efficiency and precision, inside and outside the walls every day.
“You guys make it look easy. It, in turn, makes me look good. This award is truly a reflection of all you do.”
Evans said he is proud he had the opportunity to command JTWC and thanked friends and families for a great journey. His farewell would not have been complete without sharing his philosophy with the command one last time: “To take care of yourself, families and shipmates; everything else is secondary.”
Evans will be heading to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet to serve as the fleet oceanographer.
After Sopko assumed command of JTWC, he thanked Evans.
“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to command an organization that has such a great history of service in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean. I do have very high expectation for what we can accomplish in the years to come and together, we can meet any challenge that comes our way over the next couple of years,” Sopko said.
Sopko comes to JTWC after serving consecutive tours at the Pentagon on the staff of the assistant secretary of the Navy (research, development and acquisition) and the Chief of Naval Operations staff as deputy navigator of the Navy.
The mission of JTWC is to provide tropical cyclone reconnaissance, forecast, warning and decision support to the United States government agencies operating in the Pacific and Indian Oceans as directed by Commander, United States Pacific Command. It provides tsunami decision support services to Navy and other Department of Defense entities, as necessary, to ensure installation and asset protection at locations around the globe.