The Navy is creating a new company commander position in the fleet to manage small groups of Riverines that protect harbors and high-value assets like aircraft carriers around the world.
The first person to hold what will be one of six positions, split between Virginia Beach and San Diego, assumed command Friday at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek.
Lt. Cmdr. Jorge Roldan will oversee three Mark VI patrol boats and deploy with his crews overseas. The Mark VI is 84 feet long, armed with a .50 caliber gun and other weapons and has a maximum crew size of 12.
The Navy rotates Mark VI crews abroad that use boats already based in Bahrain or Guam, but that can deploy anywhere they’re needed within their fleet’s area of responsibility. The Mark VI can be transported by ship, has a range that exceeds more than 600 nautical miles and can support unmanned aircraft, surface vessels and underwater vehicles.
The Navy said the new positions will provide necessary leadership to safely maintain the boats, keep crews battle ready and perform administrative and other support. Roldan will be in charge of Coastal Riverine Squadron Four’s Alpha Company.
“Today, in particular, yeah, absolutely a bit of an emotional day,” Roldan said following an assumption of command ceremony with his squadron, friends and fiancee. “I understand some of the challenges that are coming here. … I just feel absolutely supported.”
Roldan was commissioned as a surface warfare officer in 2006 and previously served with Coastal Riverine Squadron 3, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and the mine countermeasure ship USS Guardian, among others.
© 2019 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
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