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Rear admiral retires after nearly 35 years of Naval service

RADM Chip Rock was instrumental in guiding the Navy's Mid-Atlantic Region's installations through privatized housing crisis.

NORFOLK, Va. — It's a time-honored tradition in the military, as the mantle of command is passed from one leader to the next.

In a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Rear Admiral Charles "Chip" Rock on Thursday said goodbye and passed the baton after four years at helm of the Navy's Mid-Atlantic Region.

He had the responsibility of leading the Navy's Mid-Atlantic Region through some very challenging times since July 2018.

Rock oversaw all shore-based naval personnel and shore activities in the Mid-Atlantic region, which encompasses 20 states and 14 installations from Wisconsin through North Carolina.

He is retiring after almost 35 years.

"Tomorrow when I wake up and I'm not wearing the uniform anymore, it will be the people that I miss the most," he said.

During his time, Rock guided the region through one of its most difficult chapters: the military housing crisis.

Privatized housing companies had exposed up to 200,000 military families across the country to mold, lead paint, water damage, and infestations, and perhaps most concerning, general indifference from the firms contracted to manage the properties for the country's warfighters and their families.

Thirty-five of those neighborhoods are located in Hampton Roads, owned by three companies: Lincoln, Hunt, and Balfour Beatty.

Rock insisted that they must do better and he oversaw the beginning of vastly needed improvements, including a tenants' bill of rights.

"Foundationally as leaders, it's our responsibility to provide support for those we have the privilege to lead," he said. "And housing is up there as a top priority. There's no doubt we had had some challenges, but I'm also confident that we've overcome those. And we're in better shape than we were."

Additionally, Rock led the region's installations through numerous health protection condition changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. And he worked to upgrade facilities to contend with resilience concerns related to severe weather, tidal flooding, climate change and sea-level rise.

Assuming command is Rear Admiral Christopher "Scotty" Gray. He is an E-2-C Hawkeye naval flight officer and a Virginia Beach native.

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