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NEWS | June 25, 2021

Petrovic Relieves Vigil as the 41st NRL Commander

By Ashley Wall, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Corporate Communications

Capt. Gregory Petrovic relieved Capt. Ricardo Vigil and assumed command as the 41st commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory during a ceremony June 25, 2021. Petrovic assumed command of NRL following his tour of duty as the executive officer.

Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, was the guest speaker and presented Vigil with a Legion of Merit award for his service as commanding officer for NRL from June 2019 to June 2021.

“Capt. Vigil led a great team at NRL through some of the most challenging moments, including a pandemic, without missing a beat when it comes to providing our Sailors and Marines with the best capabilities in the world,” Selby said. “We wish him fair winds and following seas, and I am looking forward to continued outstanding leadership at NRL under Capt. Petrovic.” 

Vigil oversaw more than $1.3 billion for sponsored research and advanced technology development, including more than $216 million for basic and applied research with superb potential for scientific breakthroughs.

During his tenure he implemented long-lasting organizational improvements and was faced with a global pandemic. His strategic thinking enabled nearly 4,000 employees to safely perform their vital mission.

Vigil reflected on a variety of NRL science and research efforts that will one day support Sailors and Marines in the Fleet, such as testing of firefighting foams for use on ships and aircraft, quantum information, developing and improving ocean atmospheric modeling. He also highlighted Advance laser weapon technology, software based encryption systems, artificial intelligence, advance fluid dynamics and hypersonics research aircraft Scientific Development Squadron (VXS) 1 “Warlocks,” predictable space weather, wireless power transfer and new clocks clock developments for Position Navigation and Timing.

“Finally, science and technology research areas that I mentioned earlier are just a small sample of the entire portfolio,” Vigil said. “It represents current and Future Naval Power and the dedication and passion of a truly amazing workforce.  It was an honor and a personal dream to be able to lead the talented workforce at the Naval Research Laboratory. Thank you.”

Vigil will report next as deputy director for the U.S. Navy Office of Low Observable and Counter-Low Observable Policy, Technology, and Advanced Projects (PMR-51). 

Petrovic is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the Eisenhower School of National Security. His prior military assignments include the Division Chief for Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare and International Engagement, at the Undersea Warfare Development Center, San Diego, California.

Petrovic was assigned to the Joint Chiefs Staff at the Pentagon, serving as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director for Requirements and Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) Assistant Branch Chief.

Following his Pentagon tour, Petrovic assumed command of the “Mad Foxes” Patrol Squadron (VP) 5, where he led the inaugural P-8 aircraft deployment for VP-5 to Okinawa, Japan. His military decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards, one with valor), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various other campaign medals and unit awards. 

About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory 

NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL is located in Washington, D.C. with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Key West, Florida; Monterey, California, and employs approximately 3,000 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.

For more information, contact NRL Corporate Communications at (202) 480-3746 or

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