In a ceremony today at Naval Support Activity Capodichino in Naples, Italy, Capt. Richard Soucie assumed command from Capt. James E. Tranoris of Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa, also called MSCEURAF, MSC’s Naples-based office.
MSCEURAF is responsible for MSC ships operating in the European and African theaters and is dual-hatted as Commander, Task Force 63, coordinating and providing transportation and delivery of personnel, equipment, fuel, supplies, repair parts, mail and ammunition via air and surface logistics assets to sustain U.S. forces in the European and African theaters.
Soucie reports to MSCEURAF from his most recent duty as director of the Plans and Policy Division in the manpower and personnel directorate at U.S. Central Command Headquarters in Tampa, Fla.
“The opportunity to command comes rarely in a career. I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected for major command and to have the opportunity to assume command of such a great organization,” said Soucie. “CTF-63 and Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa have consistently provided superb logistics support to the warfighters in a vast area of responsibility. I am looking forward to continuing their exceptional reputation for service and support to the fleet.”
Soucie enlisted in the Navy in 1978 and was subsequently selected into the Limited Duty Officer Program in May 1988 as a surface operations officer. He served aboard aircraft carriers USS Forrestal and USS John F. Kennedy and on the staffs of Commander, Carrier Group Two and Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two.
Soucie’s shore tours include the Navy Center for Tactical Systems Interoperability; Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; and the Navy Personnel Command.
During the ceremony, Tranoris received the Legion of Merit for his performance as commander of MSCEURAF. Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, spoke about the many accomplishments Tranoris made during his tour.
“Today, I am blessed to have the opportunity to speak on subjects about which I know a great deal … the service of Commodore Jim Tranoris and the contributions of his great task force to our nation’s defense,” said Harris. “Task Force 63 has performed superbly. All the things we do here in the 6th Fleet, all around Europe, and throughout Africa, would not get done if we didn’t have Task Force 63. Jim leads, and his staff manages, the day-to-day business of getting the ‘beans, bullets, and butter’ where they need to be.”
During Tranoris’ command, MSCEURAF and CTF-63 saw operations markedly increase in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector.
“This is not a culmination of my efforts alone, but the collective efforts of a very dedicated group of men and women, military and civilian, afloat and ashore that I have had the privilege and honor to command, or maybe a better word is influence over the past 26 months,” said Tranoris after receiving the Legion of Merit. “The professionals at CTF-63 and MSCEURAF together have accomplished a tremendous amount of good work with regard to logistics support throughout the European and African theaters of operation.”
Tranoris is transferring to the NATO Maritime Component Command on the island of Nisida, Italy.