Naval Support Activity South Potomac, the command responsible for managing installation operations at Naval Support Facilities Dahlgren, Va., and Indian Head, Md., conducted a change of command ceremony July 17 that welcomed a new commanding officer and said goodbye to Capt. Pete Nette, who held command since September 2011. Capt. Mary Feinberg, previously assigned to J-8 Directorate for Force Structure, Resources and Assessments, assumed command.
Rear Adm. Markham Rich, commandant of Naval District Washington, presided over the ceremony. He thanked distinguished guests and the families of Nette and Feinberg for attending. “I want to tell you how much I appreciate the support you’re showing the two captains today,” he said.
Rich also thanked the service members and civilian employees who participated in the ceremony before discussing the vital support NSASP and the tenant commands it hosts provide warfighters. “My remarks today are about your U.S. Navy [about] the importance of the work that’s done here at South Potomac to your Navy and the great job that the South Potomac team has done under Pete’s leadership since 2011,” said Rich. “As the nation transitions out of a decade plus of war, I believe we are entering a new era of maritime pre-eminence.”
The weapons and training developed at NSFs Dahlgren and Indian Head will play a critical role in supporting Sailors and Marines around the globe as they “respond wherever, whenever and however is necessary,” said Rich. “The mission partners onboard NSA South Potomac support the credible combat power piece of that and they do it very well. And they do for today’s Navy and tomorrow’s.”
Rich said Nette had done a “great job” supporting those diverse missions, while also making improvements to NSASP’s security forces through the development of a Dahlgren-based training facility. Rich also noted the pivotal role Nette played in enhancing the environmental stewardship of NSASP installations, such as the Potomac River shoreline stabilization project at NSF Indian Head.
Another key aspect of Nette’s success leading the command, said Rich, was his positive engagement with the communities surrounding NSASP through the Community Relations Council. The council brings together military and civilian leaders from the town of Indian Head and Charles County, Md., and the town of Colonial Beach and King George County, Va. “The nature of the missions at Dahlgren and Indian Head require extensive, sometimes creative relationships and communications with surrounding communities,” said Rich. “Captain Nette and his staff set the standard for building relationships. I think you need to do nothing more than look around the audience to see how much effort he puts into the communities. “
Rich commended Nette and NSASP for its ability to respond to the unexpected, such as an extended power outage at NSF Indian Head due to the installation’s aging Goddard Power Plant, currently in the process of being replaced. “The South Potomac team was on it from the word go,” said Rich.
Finally, Rich thanked Nette’s wife, Pauline, for all the support she provided their tour at NSASP. “Pauline, I want to take this chance to publicly thank you for the great work you have done here to support Pete, the installation, the families, and the communities,” said Rich. “The Navy didn’t pay you, but we sure put you to work! We will miss Pete, and we’ll miss you.”
Before Rich turned over the podium to Nette, he welcomed the Feinberg family to their new home. “I know you will capitalize on the accomplishments of your predecessors and to continue to provide great support to the service-members and their families who are fortunate enough to call Naval Support Activity South Potomac home,” he said.
Nette began by thanking his family for all the support they’ve provided him at NSASP and throughout his career. “We have made this place our temporary home and many friendships along the way,” he said.
Nette continued by recognizing members of NSASP-based commands. “I thank you for your support and cooperation as we worked together to support your mission, as you support the warfighter today and develop the instruments of tomorrow,” he said.
It wasn’t just military leaders that made Nette’s tour a successful one, he said, but also the state and local leaders with whom he worked. “To all of our elected officials here, thank you for your time and interest in our bases - your support continues to highlight the significance of our installations, the missions and the brilliant minds that support our nation’s defense,” said Nette.
The personnel of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington at Dahlgren and Indian Head, who work tirelessly to keep both bases running, received special praise from Nette. He also thanked all who made the change of command ceremony possible and the many community partners whose efforts contribute to NSASP’s missions.
Nette concluded by turning his attention to the Sailors and civilian employees of NSASP. “To the members of NSA South Potomac - I cannot overstate how thankful I am for your dedication and loyalty- despite the challenges and obstacles and complex operations, you have kept both of these installations moving forward - the many successes of Dahlgren and Indian Head are 100-percent directly a result of your support and ability to stay focused,” he said. “Thank you for being the professionals that you are.”
“To my military staff - thank you for your loyalty and tremendous support,” Nette continued. “Maintain your esprit de corps; your sense of pride and continue to work hard on moving forward; take advantage of the opportunity that this tour provides.”
Rich then presented Nette with a Legion of Merit award in recognition of his success.
Joe Grzeika, chairman of the King George County Board of Supervisors, presented Nette with Virginia House Joint Resolution Number 5070, commending Nette for his service, leadership and support of the community. The resolution was introduced by Del. Margaret Ransone, with support from co-patrons Sen. Ryan McDougle and Sen. Richard Stuart.
Feinberg thanked all who attended the ceremony and said she welcomed the opportunity to engage with NSASP’s tenant commands and community partners.
She offered special praise to her family for not only attending the ceremony, but inspiring her throughout her career. “To my family, I couldn’t be more humbled to have you by my side as I take this next step in my Navy career and journey.”
Feinberg thanked Nette for helping her understand NSASP’s mission and concluded with words to her new staff. “You have established a successful battle rhythm here and it’s my intention to become part of it, continuing the goal of providing outstanding service to our tenant commands and support to our surrounding area through the readiness, stewardship and community that have become the standard across Naval Support Activity South Potomac,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to provide you the strong leadership to which you’ve become accustomed.”