Capt. Beth Regoli relieves Capt. Mark Sohaney as commanding officer of Naval Air Station Key West during Thursday’s change of command ceremony. MANDY MILES / Weekly Keys

A new captain took the helm Thursday at Naval Air Station Key West. Capt. Beth Regoli relieved Capt. Mark Sohaney as commander of the Naval Air Station which encompasses hundreds of acres and thousands of people from Boca Chica to Key West.

Capt. Beth Regoli, commanding officer of Naval Air Station Key West, salutes Rear Adm. Wesley McCall. MANDY MILES / Weekly Keys

Regoli is the second woman to command NASKW, following Captain Lynn Hutton’s leadership from 1995 to 1997. She is a native of San Jose, Calif., a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, a career naval aviator and a former naval aide to Vice President Joe Biden in the White House. She was also an instructor at the Naval Academy and director of its sexual assault prevention and intervention program.

“She has high standards and a rare blend of humility and an intense drive to win,” Sohaney said at Thursday’s ceremony, which took place in an ornate fighter jet hangar at either end. of giant American flags.

Regoli’s parents, brother, niece, nephew and several friends were in the audience Thursday morning as his brother pinned the official command medal on his uniform.

In his remarks, Sohaney thanked all NAS Key West staff and sailors. “It was truly an honor for me to be your commander and to serve with you,” he said. “People first, mission always. This tour was the pinnacle of my career and Key West remains the best air navy in the world. station.

Captain Mark Sohaney delivers his farewell speech at NAS Key West. MANDY MILES / Weekly Keys

As he prepares to leave for his next assignment in Hawaii, Sohaney added, “All I have left to say to you is: mahalo.” (Hawaiian for thanks.)

Regoli thanked everyone for coming, wished Navy personnel a good long weekend and said she looked forward to getting to work on Monday.

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