Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 10 September 2010 00:00
A retirement ceremony for Captain James Gregorski, the Roslyn Heights native who rose to become commander of the USS Kearsarge will be held on Friday, Sept. 17 in Norfolk, VA.
The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at the U.S. Fleet Forces Command NH-95 Auditorium Naval Support Activity Compound in Norfolk.
Captain Gregorski took command of the Kearsarge on Feb. 16, 2007. He replaced Captain Joseph Sensi, Jr., Kearsarge’s former commander. Captain Gregorski assumed command following a tour as Kearsarge executive officer from February 2005 to August 2006.
During his illustrious career, Captain Gregorski served as Naval aviator with more than 3,800 flight hours and 679 carrier arrested landings, Captain Gregorski has commanded Sea Control Squadron Thirty-One and served as executive officer of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. His personal decorations include four Meritorious Service Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals, and various other campaign awards. Prior to active duty, he was a graduate of the Naval War College and holds a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
A highlight of Captain Gregorski’s years as Kearsarge commander were the triumphant homecomings as the ship often took part in Fleet Week ceremonies in New York City.
“It’s nice to come back and have the opportunity to showcase these great Sailors and Marines,” Captain Gregorski told The Roslyn News in February 2007. “To take part in that after having roots so close to Ground Zero is an honor to me. It will be nice to be back in town.”
A 1975 graduate of Roslyn High School, Captain Gregorski got the inspiration to fly while viewing a Blue Angels air show over Coney Island one summer. Other inspiration came from just growing up on Long Island and its heritage of aviation, from the legacy of Charles Lindbergh to the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
Kearsarge departed for her maiden deployment on March 22, 1995. Kearsarge served as the primary platform for the rescue of Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady after he was shot down over Bosnia.
Other deployments in her history include those in Congo, Sierra Leone, Albania, Kosovo, Turkey, and Italy, Operation Iraqi Freedom in January 2003, and most recently, Pakistan and Haiti. Many of the above deployments were rescue missions, evacuating, for instance, American citizens and foreign nationals from Sierra Leone and assisting with earthquake victims in Turkey and hurricane victims in both Pakistan and Haiti.