By Lee H. Saunders, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Capt. Darius Banaji succeeded Capt. Clifford M. Maurer as commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest Sept. 20 in a change of command ceremony held aboard the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.
The official party included guest speaker NAVFAC Atlantic Commander Rear Adm. Douglas G. Morton, Navy Region Southwest Commander Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge presenting an award, U.S. Navy Chaplain Capt. Robert Crossan giving the invocation and benediction, and NAVFAC Southwest Executive Officer Capt. Richard L. Whipple, III as the master of ceremonies.
"I'm humbled, to have the honor to serve each of you," said Banaji, during remarks at the ceremony. "I am committed to our NAVFAC-Region team and the continued success of our supported commanders across our great Region."
Banaji became the sixth commanding officer of NAVFAC Southwest since its establishment in August 2005 after the disestablishment of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest Division and Navy Public Works Center (PWC) San Diego.
Born in New Delhi, India and raised in Bellevue, Wash., Banaji graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1986.
He earned a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992 and completed the Executive Management Program at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business in 2009.
Banaji is a registered engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia and a Seabee Combat Warfare Officer. He is a member of the Acquisition Professional Community and a Master Training Specialist.
His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (eight awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy Achievement Medal (five awards), the Humanitarian Service Medal and various unit and campaign medals. He is also the recipient of the "Captain Gilliss Award" for outstanding service and leadership.
"As we look at the history of NAVFAC Southwest, she has not only played a vital role alongside our contract partners to meet the needs of our Navy and Marine Corps team, she has also continued to transform and adapt over time," said Banaji.
Maurer commanded NAVFAC Southwest from July 2011 to September 2013. His departure as commanding officer and retirement was the climax of a 29 year naval career.
"It has been a tremendous honor to be part of the team at NAVFAC Southwest over the past two years," said Maurer. "When I came aboard, NAVFAC Southwest was executing the largest volume of work ever accomplished by a NAVFAC field command, $3.2 billion annually. The planning, execution and delivery of this workload was accomplished through the talented and dedicated workforce of NAVFAC Southwest and the high quality contractors that serve the Navy and Marine Corps teams. In the past year, as the federal fiscal belt tightening associated with sequestration has taken hold, NAVFAC Southwest continues to lead in volume of work. The team has absolutely amazed me with their resilience and determination in the face of some challenging institutional and personal obstacles."
A native of Allentown, Pa., Maurer graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1984. He holds a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.
Maurer is a registered engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia and a Seabee Combat Warfare Officer. He is a member of the Acquisition Professional Community, American Society of Civil Engineers and the Society of American Military Engineers.
His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (three awards), Bronze Star Medal (two awards); Meritorious Service Medal (three awards); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards); Army Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He was awarded the Moreell Medal by the Society of American Military Engineers in 1996.
During Maurer's leadership, NAVFAC Southwest delivered $6 billion in planning, design, construction and support for Navy, Marine Corps and other federal agencies and directed a $5 billion Marine Corps "Grow the Force" program, the largest Marine Corps construction effort since World War II. He managed Navy Region Southwest's $420 million annual facilities budget during a period of substantial fiscal constraints.
Maurer's leadership was also instrumental in the Navy's first design-build hospital at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and the signing of over 20 megawatts in renewable power purchase agreements and numerous initiatives to reduce energy consumption and increase energy independence.
"Service is the foundation of all great communities," said Maurer. "I've had the privilege of a lifetime to serve the greatest nation our world has ever known, the entirety of my adult life, in the capacity as a commissioned Naval Officer. The people, both in uniform and civilians, have amazed me every day of this journey; remarkably talented, dedicated beyond description and unconditionally supportive; a true second family. While I am retiring my commission, I will always remain part of the Navy family, a fact in which I hold deep pride."
Maurer retired during a separate afternoon ceremony at the Admiral Kidd Catering and Conferencing Center in San Diego.
The more than 3,200 personnel of NAVFAC Southwest manage and execute an annual volume of work in excess of $2.69 billion in support of our clients with services in planning, design, construction, real estate, environmental and public works support for U. S. Navy shore facilities, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and other federal agencies in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.