The Navy's director of communications will become commander of the Naval Surface Group in Long Beach.
Rear Adm. Alvar R. Gomez will replace Rear Adm. John Higginson early next year in the Long Beach post, which oversees the 38 warships and naval auxiliaries home-ported at the U.S. Naval Station on Terminal Island.
Gomez, a 30-year Navy veteran, is the former skipper of the guided missile cruiser Biddle and guided missile frigate R. L. Page, both of which received fleet awards for battle efficiency. He is a Brooklyn native who graduated from St. John's University and received a master's degree at George Washington University.
Higginson, a former Navy helicopter pilot who went on to command amphibious assault ships, was the first admiral assigned to Long Beach in 13 years when he arrived in 1986. He plans to retire after a 33-year career.