Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) held a change of command and retirement ceremony on board Naval Support Facility Dahlgren on April 13.
Capt. Don Schmieley relieved Capt. Robert Kerno. Schmieley previously served as deputy of the Ballistic Missile Defense Branch at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Surface Warfare Division in Washington, D.C. Kerno had been CSCS' commanding officer since July 2010 and retired after 30 years of active service.
Schmieley assumes responsibility of CSCS, including 14 learning sites, units and detachments, which provide maintenance and operations training for surface combat systems.
Rear Adm. Clifford Sharpe, chief operating officer for the Naval Education and Training Command, was the guest speaker at the event. He said Kerno represents the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment.
"The summary of action for Bob's [Capt. Kerno] time at CSCS is the longest I've endorsed as a flag officer and there is absolutely no fluff," said Sharpe.
"There are several items but most significantly, he responded to the pressing Fleet need - to up the ante - for integrated shipboard training, coordinated a revolutionary effort that improved with each iteration, delivering Advance Warfare Training curriculum to 73 ships (in fiscal year 2011) more than 1300 Sailors, across six fleet concentration areas including the pilot of the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and integrated Air and Missile Defense Baseline. This was an amazing effort and a success story which continues to this day."
Kerno said his tour of duty at CSCS was one of the most rewarding assignments of his Navy career.
"I look back at these past two years and I see the most cohesive, professional, dedicated and focused team," said Kerno. "I am proud to have worked side by side with each and every one of you."
Kerno was presented his third Legion of Merit for many of his accomplishments at CSCS. During his two years, CSCS became the Surface Warfare Training Committee Mission Area Chair for Surface Warfare, justified and obtained funding needed each year to meet shortfall, orchestrated multiple class and curriculum overhauls and training realignments, and provided training for partner and allied nations.
"Since inception, this Center has harnessed the best practices in industry and academia to drive excellence and meet fleet requirements," said Sharpe.
Schmieley was excited to become the fourth commanding officer of CSCS. "I am awed at the capability and expertise throughout this impressive domain and I am looking forward to building on these many accomplishments and continuing to provide superior combat systems training support to the Fleet," said Schmieley.
"Navy's senior leadership is committed to improving the Fleet's operational readiness and we will be the cornerstone to help make that a reality."
The CSCS Headquarters' staff oversees 14 learning sites and provides 1,000 courses a year to over 50,000 Sailors. CSCS uses a mix of blended learning comprised of instructor led classes, hands on labs, simulation and computer-based training. Courses include specialized training supporting nine enlisted ratings, as well as training for officers in system-specific skills required to tactically operate and employ surface ships. Building maritime partnerships, the command also provides training to many international students.