Story by CPO Todd Macdonald on 08/05/2019Navy Recruiting District Richmond held a change of command ceremony at The Defense Supply Center Richmond.
Commander Kristopher D. Klaiber, a Columbus, Ohio native, relieved Commander Robert L. Underhill Jr. a native of Richmond during the ceremony, held in the Lott Center.
When Underhill assumed command at NRD Richmond 18-months ago, recruiting goals were going up and he said everyone assumed those goals were unachievable. He decided to have the command train and empower his Sailors to embody the ideals of what he calls Team Beast' and they rose to the challenge.
"With the same amount of personnel, this command's production rose over 40% during my time as the CO," he said. "Proof positive that these Sailors could achieve the unachievable."
Underhill said the thing he is most proud of is the accomplishments of his Sailors. saying, one of his command tenants is to make a difference' and he feels the command managed to do that in his Sailor's lives and the community.
"Over 23% of the command have advanced in rank, 213 Sailors have received a personal award, 9 personnel received Regional recognition and 2 Sailors were recognized nationally," he added.
Underhill said his time at NRD Richmond was extremely rewarding both personally and professionally and thanked all the people in the command because they were the ones who made it that way.
"Every accomplishment this command has earned is only because of the hard work and dedication of all the people who live Team Beast' on a daily basis," he said proudly. "To win the East you must beat the Beast!"
To Klaiber, his successor, Underhill said for him to be himself. To take care of his Sailors and they will take care of him. He also added a bit of advice one of his prior COs told him, "when in command, command."
Klaiber, who served as the Executive Officer for NRD Richmond, relieved Underhill. Klaiber's previous tours include the U.S. Southern Command in Miami Florida and the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He also embarked on four consecutive operational tours as a Naval Flight Officer of the E-2C Hawkeye where he deployed and flew more than 2,200 hours in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, and numerous other contingencies and joint and multi-national exercises.
Klaiber said his primary goal is simply to assist his Sailors in achieving their goals, both personal and professional because making mission is just one part of what it is the command needs to do.
"If a Sailor hasn't accomplished their personal and professional goals by the time they leave NRD Richmond, I would consider that a failure as their Commanding Officer," he said.
As a Naval Flight Officer, Klaiber said he learned everything he knows about Navy Recruiting during his 18-months as the NRD Richmond Executive Officer. Specifically, that recruiting is not easy and there are many factors beyond the recruiting district's control.
"I appreciate the time it takes to guide a Future Sailor or Future Officer throughout the recruitment process," he stated. "I also realize the enormous pressure and stress that high goals places on our Sailors and their families."
Klaiber said he wants to be sensitive to these matters and empower his support staff to be responsive to the needs of the recruiters in the field and be proactive in identifying and resolving issues that stand in their way.
Klaiber told his Sailors they would not see any drastic changes from Underhill's command philosophy.
"He has done an outstanding job leading this command and I am excited to assume command of an already well-oiled machine."
The Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 20 Navy Recruiting Districts and six Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,300 recruiting stations with a total force of more than 6,100 personnel across the globe. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America's Navy.
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