Story by Glenn Sircy
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) held a change of command ceremony July 9, 2015. Cmdr. Clay M. Pendergrass relieved Cmdr. John C. Cowan.
“As I move forward, I am proud how the entire NAVSCIATTS team is united by a common desire to make the world a better place,” said Cowan in his remarks to more than 100 command employees and guests. “We help build partnership capacity which pays immediate dividends, but more important, the entire command has done a great job at building partnerships, relationships and friendships. It truly is all about relationships. The relationships we build with our partners but also the relationships they build with each other and what sustains these are meaningful transactions that continue for decades.”
Guest speaker for the ceremony was Capt. Matthew Stevens, commodore, Naval Special Warfare Group 4. Other attendees included: Michael Lumpkin, assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict; Win Ellington, field representative for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran; T.J. Moran, field representative for U.S. Congressman Steven Palazzo; Dr. Rick Gilbrecht, director, NASA Space Center, Stennis, Mississippi; Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command; and Col. Keith Anthony, commandant, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
“I’m honored to be here to speak about a person who is an extraordinary leader and tirelessly dedicated the last three years to NAVSCIATTS, WARCOM and SOCOM,” said Stevens. “John Cowan and his team have revolutionized how the Navy trains and educates foreign security forces and other international students.”
NAVSCIATTS is a Department of the Navy schoolhouse operating under the United States Special Operations Command. NAVSCIATTS trains and educates partner nation security forces (PNSF) on a wide range of topics including small craft strategy, operations, communications, weapons, maintenance and instructor development.
Since 1963, nearly 11,000 students from 113 partner nations have graduated from NAVSCIATTS. Courses are offered in English and Spanish or in other languages through the use of translators.
Responsible for approximately 92 military and civilian personnel at a command that offers more than 20 courses with an average of nearly 1,000 personnel graduating from in-resident and mobile training events annually, Cowan was awarded the Navy Meritorious Service Medal for his tour.
After turning over command, Cowan will now attend the National Defense University in Washington.
Pendergrass shared his enthusiasm about assuming greater responsibility to lead the NAVSCIATTS team.
“I’m happy to report that as I assume this watch, and thanks to Cmdr. John Cowan, NAVSCIATTS is on course to continue to build, shape and maintain strategic relationships,” said Pendergrass. “I consider it a privilege and honor to lead and serve you.”
A native of Louisiana, Pendergrass enlisted in the United States Navy in January, 1990. He successfully completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) in 1991 graduating class 178. In 1995, Pendergrass was selected for a ROTC scholarship at the University of San Diego. He graduated there in 1998 with a degree in Foreign Affairs and was commissioned as an officer.
Pendergrass has served on both East and West Coast SEAL teams, completed numerous deployments throughout United States Pacific Command, United States Central Command and the United States European Command in support of both Naval Special Warfare and Joint and Theater Special Operations Commands.
For more news from Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/navsciatts/.