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NORFOLK (AP) -- The USS Ponce has a new commanding officer.

Capt. Jon P. Rodgers relieved Cmdr. Cole Hayes as commanding officer of the afloat forward staging base on Monday during a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk.

The Ponce was originally an amphibious transport dock, but is being converted into an afloat forward staging base. The Navy says the Ponce will serve as a floating base for special operations forces and support mine counter measures, coastal patrol ships and aircraft operations.

The Ponce will serve as a floating base under the direction of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. operations in the Middle East.

Rodgers graduated from Cornell University in 1990 with a degree in agricultural engineering technologies. He is also a graduate of the Defense Acquisition University.

AP-WF-04-17-12 2145GMT

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