FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — A Fairmont native is now in charge of the largest Navy recruiting district.

According to a press release sent by the United States Navy, Cmdr. Clinton E. Blankenship recently relieved Cmdr. John P. Hiltz to become the 31st commanding officer of Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Pacific Northwest during a ceremony at the Seattle Yacht Club.

The United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps color guard parade the colors during the national anthem at a change of command ceremony at the Seattle Yacht Club. NTAG Pacific Northwest oversees Navy recruiting efforts in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Washington. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jessica Vargas)

“I stand before you, a kid from West Virginia, humbled, honored, and truly grateful to serve as your commanding officer of the finest NTAG in the Navy,” Blankenship said upon assuming command. “My dad, a Marine machine gunner in Vietnam, raised me to dedicate myself to making a difference in any way possible. Whether it was playing baseball, serving the community, or leading sailors and Marines in the Fleet, it was always with the goal of making a difference. So the opportunity to lead a command that will ultimately make a difference in people’s lives and man the fleet to fight and win is a dream come true.”

The West Virginia native will lead almost 200 sailors and civilians across Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, the Navy says the area encompasses 904,000 square miles, making it the largest of any Navy Talent Acquisition Group.