WASHINGTON — Capt. Ricardo Vigil relieved Capt. Scott Moran and assumed command as the 40th commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory during a ceremony June 17.

Capt. John Gearhart, Assistant Chief of Naval Research, was the guest speaker.

“Capt. Moran’s leadership of the Naval Research Laboratory has been outstanding,” said Gearhart. “His leadership was instrumental in accelerating the development of new technologies for our Sailors and Marines, and leading the command through a period of great change.”

Capt. Ricardo Vigil, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)’s new commanding officer, addresses the audience

Capt. Ricardo Vigil, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)’s new commanding officer, addresses the audience at the change of command ceremony in Washington, D.C., June 17, 2019. Vigil became the 40th NRL commanding officer after being the executive officer for NRL for two years. (U.S. Navy photo by Jonathan Steffen)

Moran was presented with the Legion of Merit for his service as commanding officer for NRL from July 2017 to June 2019. Under his leadership, 146 rapid technology initiatives were introduced into the broad range of acquisition programs and global operations.

Moran also enabled a multi-million-dollar aircraft recapitalization effort for the Naval Research, Development and Enterprise’s only flight Scientific Development Squadron (VXS-1) Warlocks.

“Serving as NRL’s Commanding Officer was the highlight of my Navy career,” Moran said. “This tour provided a unique opportunity to facilitate the efforts of superb professionals as they developed and matured new technologies for naval forces. I found it especially satisfying to plan for improvements with Director of Research Dr. Bruce Danly, and look forward to seeing Capt. Ric Vigil continue these efforts as he takes command.”

Vigil, a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School with a doctorate in applied physics, assumed command of NRL following his tour of duty as the executive officer.

“Truly, our mission of delivering unmatched technological advantage is realized by the teamwork of a talented and diverse workforce who are passionate, creative, and dedicated to serving our country,” Vigil said. “I am humbled and honored to serve as the commanding officer of this extraordinary team.”

Capt. John Gearhart, Assistant Chief of Naval Research, gives opening remarks

Capt. John Gearhart, Assistant Chief of Naval Research, gives opening remarks during the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) change of command in Washington, D.C., June 17, 2019. Capt. Scott Moran, the 39th commanding officer of NRL, was relieved by Capt. Ricardo Vigil. (U.S. Navy photo by Jonathan Steffen)

Vigil’s previous military assignments include serving as the principal assistant program manager (APM) for Directed Energy Weapons branch in the Above Water Sensors Program Office (PEO IWS 2.0) from October 2014 to March 2017; and as the APM for the Command and Control Systems (PMW-150) program office from February 2009 to April 2010.

During his Engineering Duty Officer qualification tour, he served at Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center Pacific as a project officer for shipboard computer network defense. He then reported as officer-in-charge for SPAWAR Middle East Detachment at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, United States Fifth Fleet in Bahrain from February 2009 to April 2010.

Vigil’s at sea assignments include tours aboard Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59); and Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, Key West, Florida, and Monterey, California, and employs approximately 2,500 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.

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