An Alton native has been named commander of the Navy Recruiting District St. Louis.
The change of command was announced Wedneday. Following is a story written by Chief Petty Officer Latrice Jackson, of the district.
Navy Recruiting District St. Louis held a change of command ceremony at the Boeing Company in St. Louis, May 24.
During the ceremony Cmdr. Nathan Rockholm relieved Cmdr. Matthew Byrne as commanding officer.
Rockholm, a native of Alton, Ill., (left in photo) said it was an honor and privilege to be the next commanding officer of NRD St. Louis.
“I can’t begin to tell you how honored and humbled I am to have been given this incredible opportunity to lead this great group of people,” said Rockholm.
Capt. Jason Webb, commodore, Navy Recruiting Region West, served as the presiding officer. Webb discussed how important recruiters were to building the nation’s Navy.
“Month after month, year after year without you no one joins the Navy, “said Webb. “You are the key to our success and always will be.”
During Byrne’s time as commanding officer, NRD St. Louis successfully contracted 5,637 active duty and reserve personnel.
Immediately following the ceremony Byrne, a native of Columbia, Missouri, retired after 21 years of naval service.
Byrne thanked the command for all of their hard work and support during his tour at NRD St. Louis.
“There have been some tough days and long nights, but on the balance I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished and proud to have been your skipper,” said Byrne.
He added the command was in great hands going forward with Rockholm.
Rockholm who also served as the executive officer of NRD St. Louis, said he had no doubt the command was ready to meet the challenges of building the Navy in today’s strategic environment.
“Trust me when I tell you that with the ability, talent, desire courage and commitment I see from each and every one of you on a daily basis, I have no doubt that we are prepared to meet any challenge, accomplish any mission, and that we will make our country and our families proud of the Navy we built,” said Rockholm.
NRD St. Louis’ area of responsibility covers more than 200,000 square miles, which encompasses all of Missouri, parts of Illinois and Kansas, as well as a portion of Kentucky. More than 100 officers, enlisted, and civilian staff comprise 29 recruiting stations, two Navy Officer Recruiting Stations and the headquarters. Additionally, two Military Entrance Processing Stations – one at the headquarters in St. Louis and one in Kansas City, Mo., – handle applicants’ processing, classification, and physical examinations.
PHOTO: From left, Cmdr. Nathan Rockholm, an Alton native and incoming commanding officer, Navy Recruiting District St. Louis, Cmdr. Matthew Byrne, outgoing commanding officer, NRD St. Louis, and Capt. Jason Webb, commodore, Navy Recruiting Region West, stand at attention while the history of piping a shipmate to shore is explained during a retirement ceremony for Byrne. Byrne relinquished command as the commanding officer of NRD St. Louis to Rockholm during a change of command ceremony prior to retiring from the Navy after 21 years of service. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Latrice Jackson)