NORFOLK, Va. (WPRI) - A Rhode Island native is now in command of the Navy's newest aircraft carrier.
At a change of command ceremony Thursday morning, Captain Andrew Loiselle of Cranston took command of the USS George H.W. Bush, a Nimitz-class supercarrier.
The nuclear-powered warship is almost 1,100 feet long and carries about 90 aircraft. There are only 10 Nimitz-class carriers in service, and the George H.W. Bush is the last ship of the class.
Loiselle relieved Captain Brian Luther, who led the ship through its first combat deployment in 2011.
Loiselle began his career as a naval aviator, earning his wings in 1991 and flying the F-14 Tomcat, and has logged 3,400 hours in the air.
No stranger to aircraft carriers, he has previously served aboard the carriers USS Kitty Hawk, USS Carl Vinson and USS John C. Stennis. He later graduated a nuclear engineering course and was then posted to the USS Theodore Roosevelt as the ship's Executive Officer in 2008.
His most recent command was the USS Gunston Hall, a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship.
His brother, Cranston Police Lieutenant Alan Loiselle, was among the many friends and family who headed down to Norfolk for Thursday's ceremony.