Updated: Monday, 15 Oct 2012, 11:19 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 14 Sep 2012, 9:49 PM EDT
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Admiral John Harvey of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command stepped into retirement Friday.
Harvey spent most of his closing speech recognizing the sailors and officers who served him.
"Over the past three years, there was certainly no shortages of challenges before us," Harvey said. "But because of your hard work and determination on behalf of our Navy I believe we had a positive impact on our fleet.
In January of 2010, all of the fleet's resources would be tested when they were asked to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Haiti after that island nation was devastated by a massive earthquake.
"We mobilized the fleet to respond and the fleet responded magnificently," Harvey said.
The fleet's efforts to assist the people of Haiti was perhaps one of the proudest moments of his career, Admiral Harvey told WAVY.com in July.
"I still get very emotional almost, thinking about that because I saw the team come together on a moment's notice," Harvey said. "The Navy saved hundreds of thousands of people down there."
Two years later, Admiral Harvey found himself dealing with a very different crisis, one much closer to home. A Navy jet from Oceana crashed into the Mayfair Mews Apartments in Virginia Beach. Admiral Harvey went before the media the very next day to answer questions about an incident that for a while looked like it might be one of the darkest days of his decades of service in the navy.
"There was two hours on last good Friday when our jet went into the Mayfair Mews Apartment complex where I thought we were certainly going to be dealing with a large number of citizens who were killed or seriously injured," Harvey said.
Harvey will be replaced by Admiral William Gortney.
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