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New Naval Base Guam commander facing critical task amid growing tension in Pacific region

Capt. John T. Frye, commanding officer, Naval Base Guam, is saluted by sideboys as he leaves the platform after assuming command of NBG during a change of command ceremony at Top O’ the Mar in Asan on Jan. 26. Photo by Frank Whitman

By Frank Whitman

Capt. John T. Frye assumed command of U.S. Naval Base Guam on Jan. 26 during a change of command ceremony at Top o’ the Mar on Nimitz Hill in Asan. Frye relieved Capt. Michael D. Luckett who served as NBG commanding officer since July 2021.

Most recently, Frye was the commanding officer of the submarine tender USS Frank Cable. Luckett is retiring after 30 years of Navy service. He plans to remain in Guam.

Guest speaker at the ceremony was Rear Adm. Gregory C. Huffman, commander of Joint Region Marianas. In his address, Huffman saluted Luckett’s job performance.

“During his tenure, Mike made a tangible and positive impact on preparations for combat operations and providing sustainment to our naval forces and in supporting our service members and their families all while operating the third busiest port in the entire U.S. Navy,” Huffman said. “His efforts have truly set the stage for the future and laid the groundwork for the infrastructure that we need in the Indo-Pacific region.”

He referred to China as he noted the rising tensions on the region and the need to be prepared to face “near-peer adversaries.”

Luckett, “ceaselessly took steps to identify shortcomings and develop projects needed to enable major combat,” Huffman said. “By doing so, he helped build the platform required for our forces should they need to engage the adversary.”

As commanding officer of NBG, Luckett oversaw 52 tenant commands at four separate locations covering 32,000 acres of land; in addition; Apra Harbor sees nearly 1,000 ship movements yearly.

Huffman also saluted Luckett’s oversight of NBG’s response to Typhoon Mawar which wreaked havoc on the island in May 2023.

“You maintained mission capability while simultaneously posturing the base to support the greater island community, exemplifying the spirit of one Guam,” he said.

“Whether it was supplying more than 1 million gallons of fresh water per day to the people of Guam or shifting generator power during peak load times to alleviate the strain on the local power grid or loading bucket trucks to support the recovery effort, you proved daily that you are a committed partner and a true teammate," Huffman added.

Frye is faced with a critical task as he takes the Naval Base Guam helm at a crucial time, Huffman said.

“The strategic importance of Guam and the work that we do here cannot be understated,” Huffman said. “This is the leading edge and we are already in the thick of the fight.”

Luckett was presented with certificates of appreciation for his contributions and service to the community by Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero and Mayor Robert Hofmann, representing the Mayors’ Council of Guam.

In his remarks before being relieved of command, Luckett thanked the many people and organizations that cooperated with and contributed to his efforts during his Guam assignment.

“The deep connections between the military community here and the people of Guam are unlike any I have experienced in my naval career,” Luckett said. “It has been my honor and privilege to help strengthen those bonds over the past several years and work hand in hand with you to make our island a better place.”

Frye is a native of San Diego. He is a 1998 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy from which he holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He also holds a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

Frye’s service includes assignments aboard fast attack and ballistic submarines including USS Key West, USS Louisiana, USS City of Corpus Christi and USS Henry M. Jackson.


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