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New commanding officer for Naval Base Kitsap
BANGOR — Capt. Thomas A. Zwolfer relieved Capt. Peter M. Dawson as Naval Base Kitsap commanding officer in a change of command ceremony Aug. 9, at Naval Base Kitsap — Bangor.
Established in 2004, Naval Base Kitsap is the third-largest installation in the United States Navy, covering nearly 11,000 acres and home to more than 70 tenant commands.
Zwolfer, a native of Wood Dale, Ill., graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1988 with a bachelor of science in naval architecture. He subsequently earned a master's in business administration from Chaminade University in 1995.
Zwolfer's most recent assignment was as the Strategic Programs Branch Head within Undersea Warfare Division on the Navy Staff. He also commanded USS Bremerton (SSN 698) from December 2005 to March 2008.
Zwolfer's awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (two awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), and several other unit and personal decorations. He is married to the former Karin Patzer of Ellicott City, Md. and has two daughters.
Dawson, who assumed command of Naval Base Kitsap in April 2011, is retiring following a long, distinguished career in the U.S. Navy. He was born in Corvallis, Ore., graduated from Oregon State University and received his commission at Officer Candidate School.
His tour as Naval Base Kitsap commanding officer was highlighted by earning the CNO Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Award Five Star Accreditation for overall excellence in hotel lodging, SECNAV Energy and Water Management Gold Level Achievement, CNIC Winner for SECNAV/CNO Award for Achievement in Safety and, the Captain Edward F. Ney Award for the best large shore galley in the Navy at NBK Bangor.
Dawson's military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards).
He has a bachelor of science in chemistry from Oregon State University, a master of arts in National Security Affairs from the Naval War College, and a doctorate of philosophy in political science from Rice University.
Dawson is married to former Laurie Eubank of Wimberley, Tex. and has two sons and a daughter.