JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Capt. Jorge R. Cuadros relieved Capt. Mike Monreal as Commanding Officer Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast and Navy Region Southeast Regional Engineer in a virtual change of command ceremony July 9 onboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville. Commander, NAVFAC Atlantic Rear Adm. Dean VanderLey was the presiding officer for the ceremony.
COVID-19 has changed the way the Navy does business. Most of the workforce teleworks from home and ceremonies are conducted virtually to keep our team and families safe.
“The fact that we are conducting this change of command in this manner is a testament to the ingenuity and flexibility of your team,” said VanderLey. “This is an incredibly challenging time, I offer my thanks to the entire team who put this ceremony together to make this a memorable event.”
Navy tradition guides the importance of a change of command providing a chance to celebrate past accomplishments and look toward the future. VanderLey explained that orderly, unbroken chain of command is a fundamental component of Navy history and is critical to continual success.
“Although virtual, I am honored for the opportunity to celebrate this important day with both of you,” said Rear Adm. Gary A. Mayes, Commander, Navy Region Southeast who was the principal speaker for the ceremony. “I know it’s not the usual audience with friends and family from around the country, but I also know that you have a large audience watching virtually, and they undoubtedly join me in wishing the best for both of you until they can meet with you in the future.”
Mayes commended Monreal and the entire NAVFAC Southeast team for their support to the Warfighter over the past two years stating that their achievements are too numerous to mention. Some of the high profile projects he highlighted include next generation facilities support for the Dry Dock recapitalization at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Littoral Combat Ships, TRITON unmanned systems, Columbia class submarines and the P-8 Poseidon aircraft.
“The infrastructure support NAVFAC is providing for the Advanced Helicopter Training System at NAS Whiting Field will make an impact far into the future of rotary wing aviation,” said Mayes. “So when you talk about national defense and supporting the warfighter, those platforms are all critical components.”
Mayes commended Monreal for leading the charge for everything associated with facilities, transportation, energy conservation – and even hurricanes. There is hardly a mission occurring in this region that doesn’t have the involvement of the men and women of NAVFAC Southeast in some capacity.”
Monreal thanked several people by name for their support to the Command during his tenure from June 2018 to July 2020. He also mentioned how proud he is of the entire team as they faced many challenges during COVID-19. He told everyone that he believes that “normal” will never be the same.
“During these past several months, every single person within this command made a difference – our military, our civilians and our contractors, every business line and support function stepped up and is making a significant difference,” said Monreal. “Our public works departments (PWDs) throughout the southeast region have ensured our employees are safe and the mission continues.”
“Speaking of the PWDs, the PWOs (public works officers), DPWOs (deputies) and all the folks within your organizations at the base level, are in the business of making things better for others. Your teams have shown their dedication to duty, our mission and the nation during these challenging times. Truly remarkable,” said Monreal. “The PWDs are where the rubber meets the road and where the work is accomplished. They keep the training and Fleet launching platforms at peak readiness.’”
“Mike, I have been extremely impressed with the utmost professionalism I have observed and I can clearly see that the command is doing great things to support our nation’s Warfighters,” said Cuadros. “I am extremely proud to be a part of this amazing team again and I will do my best to lead, honor and strengthen our command. XO, keep the current instructions, policies and orders in place; steady as she goes.”
Cuadros enlisted in the Navy in March 1991 and was commissioned in July 1996. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of New Haven, and a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University.
Cuadros has served in various ascending positions of responsibility in the Civil Engineer Corps including assistant site team leader, admiral’s aide, resident officer-in-charge of construction, facilities engineering and acquisition division director, staff civil engineer and legislative liaison, battalion operations officer, officer-in-charge, and NMCB ELEVEN Commanding Officer. He has seven deployments spread over 50 countries.
Cuadros is qualified as a Seabee Combat Warfare Officer, a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Florida, and is a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps. His most recent assignment was as Executive Officer for NAVFAC Europe Africa Central (EURAFCENT) in Naples, Italy.