YOKOSUKA, Japan— Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Far East welcomed a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony on board Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan July 31.
Capt. Kevin Bartoe, CEC, USN, relieved Capt. Michelle La Duca as NAVFAC Far East commanding officer and regional engineer for Commander, Navy Region Japan, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea and Singapore Area Coordinator.
“Our primary job as facility professionals is to support the Fleet and ensure our installations are ready to meet the mission requirements of our sea, air and land forces,” said Bartoe. “We are a service organization, delivering professional facilities engineering services across all of the installations in our area of operation. Being a service organization means understanding the needs and requirements of our supported commands, and making the best possible recommendations for maintenance, operations, and improvements for the future.”
Bartoe will lead approximately 2,000 military, U.S. Civil Service and host nation employees in Japan, Korea, Singapore and Diego Garcia. NAVFAC Far East delivers more than $700 million annually in facilities management, public works and construction contracting services.
Bartoe has served the Navy since 1992. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M. His most recent assignment was executive officer at NAVFAC Washington, D.C and deputy regional engineer for Naval District Washington.
La Duca will continue her Navy career with NAVFAC Pacific as vice commander.
“Two years ago, I mentioned that this was my second tour in Japan. I mentioned that my first tour was wonderful for the food, the history, the culture, but especially because of the people,” said La Duca. “This tour has been even more wonderful—again, especially because of the people.”
NAVFAC Pacific Commander Rear Adm. Bret Muilenburg spoke at the ceremony and presented La Duca with the Legion of Merit (gold star in lieu of second award).
“This period has been marked by tremendous challenges; personnel vacancies, complex projects, natural disasters, and the direct support of three regional commanders,” said Muilenburg. “Through it all, NAVFAC Far East has had an incredible record of on-time, high-quality execution.”
“Safety has been at the forefront of all of their actions and activities. No NAVFAC command has had a stronger safety program over the years than NAVFAC Far East,” he said.
La Duca provided leadership in support of the relocation of Littoral Combat Ships to Singapore. She pushed to implement Safe Drinking Water Act quality water and oversaw pier and airfield upgrades at Far East installations. In 2014, NAVFAC Far East was awarded Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management awards at all six installations in Japan for meeting Federal, Department of Defense and Navy goals.