By Mass Communication Specialist 1st (SW/AW) Class Nathan Lockwood, Navy Public Affairs Element West, Det. Everett
EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) – Military personnel, civilian employees and distinguished guests gathered at Jackson Plaza on Naval Station Everett (NSE) to witness a change of command ceremony, July 2.
Capt. Michael Coury was relieved by Capt. James Duke, Jr.
The ceremony opened with the arrival of the official party including Washington Governor Jay Inslee; Rear Adm. Mark Rich, commandant, Naval District Washington, and Rear Adm. (Sel) Bette Bolivar, commander, Navy Region Northwest, who relieved Rich in a similar ceremony in June.
Inslee, one of the ceremony’s guest speakers, praised Coury for his exceptional performance while in command of NSE and applauded him for staying in Washington.
“This is such an enormous delight to be here today for this change of command,” said Inslee. “Celebrate with me for a moment that Capt. Coury is going to do two great things for this state: one he’s going to remain an officer in the United States Navy, and two he’s going to retire right here in the state of Washington.”
Coury was presented with the Legion of Merit for his performance during his tenure as NSE commanding officer. He spoke of some advice he received before he took command, and said he is proud of having the opportunity to be in command of the base, and of all the amazing Sailors stationed on NSE.
“When you take command you are given a 55 gallon barrel of luck,” Coury said. “The way you never use up that drum of luck is to make sure you surround yourself with intelligent, patriotic professionals at work and in the community.
“I have been so very fortunate that during this tour that is exactly who has surrounded me and who I will, regrettably, leave behind,” Coury said.
After the official change of command, Duke took the podium to thank the official party, community leadership, guests and his family for support. He then expressed his willingness and excitement to take command of “The Sailors’ Choice,” NSE.
“I can’t describe how happy I am to be here today,” Duke said. “I have served with America’s finest, commanded the most advanced naval combatant ships in the world, supervised operation of an aircraft carrier’s nuclear propulsion plant, and now I have the honor of being the mayor of a naval station in a stunningly beautiful part of America, the Pacific Northwest. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Prior to assuming command, Duke was assigned as special assistant for nuclear powered aircraft carrier Operations, Naval Reactors. During his Navy career, he has also commanded USS O’Kane (DDG 77) and served as reactor officer aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
Duke is a 1987 United States Naval Academy graduate with a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering and also completed his joint education through the Naval War College and the Joint Forces Staff College.
Coury will report to his new assignment as the chief of staff, Commander Carrier Strike Group 11, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
Naval Station Everett, Snohomish County’s second largest employer, is home to six U.S. Navy homeported ships and two U.S. Coast Guard vessels. The base enhances the nation’s ability to accomplish strategic objectives by supporting U.S. Navy and Coast Guard forces, while providing readiness and quality of life for the Sailors, civilians, and families that they serve.