Rear Adm. Yvette Davids is now the acting commander of Naval Surface Forces and Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Davids relieved Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, who is retiring following 38-years of service in the Navy, during a ceremony Friday at Naval Base San Diego. Kitchener became the so-called SWO boss in August 2020.

Under Kitchener’s leadership, the service ushered in the Surface Manning Experience program, or SURFMEX, which aims to place sailors in the right jobs at the right times using an analytics-based approach for detailing. He also instituted a campaign for 75 surface ships to remain mission-capable at any time.

“Vice Admiral Kitchener led us through some impressive organizational changes, a global pandemic and forward deployed operations — all the while tirelessly advocating for you, the surface warrior, and your ships,” Davids said, according to a Navy news release. “My charge to you as we keep a steady strain on our jobs and initiatives: Take care of your people; conduct safe operations; and get ready to take to the fight when your command is called.”

Davids, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1989, became the first Hispanic American woman to lead a Navy warship when she became the commanding officer of the guided-missile frigate Curts in 2007.

She also served as the commanding officer of the guided-missile cruiser Bunker Hill, and as commander of Carrier Strike Group 11. Since August 2022, she has served as director of the Learning to Action Drive Team., which launched following the catastrophic 2020 fire aboard the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard to ensure lessons learned from Navy ship fires are implemented.

Davids is serving in an acting capacity as SWO boss because she was nominated to serve as the first female superintendent at the U.S. Naval Academy in April. Her confirmation to the post is awaiting confirmation from the Senate and is one of the hundreds of military nominations stalled due to Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s ongoing hold on confirmations because of his opposition to the Pentagon’s abortion policy.

The policy provides travel and transportation allowances for service members seeking non-covered abortion and reproductive services out of state.

Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, former commander of Naval Surface Forces Atlantic, has been nominated to serve as commander of Naval Surface Forces and Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. His confirmation is also on hold.

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