Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Meet Your Local Navy Leaders: Captain Pete Riebe

Captain Pete Riebe, Commanding Officer of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), addresses his Sailors on the Flight Deck. US Navy File Photo courtesy of CVN 72 Media Team.

Coronado is the birthplace of Naval Aviation and home to Naval Air Station North Island, the Navy’s master helicopter base that is also the homeport for three nuclear powered aircraft carriers. Captain Pete Riebe, the Commanding Officer for USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) has spent the majority of his Navy career in Coronado, starting in 1998 as a student pilot at Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 41, serving in four different helicopter squadrons on his way to command of the Battle Cats of Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron 73, and most recently taking command of an aircraft carrier.

Capt. Riebe taking command of USS Abraham Lincoln from Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt. Photo courtesy of the Riebe Family

Capt. Riebe and his family have been entrenched in the Coronado community throughout his career, leaving for only short periods to serve in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff and go through Nuclear Power School in Charleston, SC to prepare for his time as a carrier Executive Officer (XO) and now Commanding Officer (CO).

Pete showing off his catch with his older brother and sister and their father. Photo Courtesy of the Riebe Family.

Capt. Riebe grew up on a farm in the small town of Arlington, Washington, the son of a farrier and a homemaker, and the youngest of three children. He was drawn to the Navy as a way to pay for college and had friends who enlisted in the Navy so saw the opportunity and enlisted in 1990 as a nuclear electricians mate. While at nuclear power school he applied and got a direct appointment to the Naval Academy. CAPT Riebe studied systems engineering, was on the heavyweight crew team and earned his commission in 1996 before heading to flight school as a student Naval Aviator. As a student in flight school, Capt. Riebe met his future bride, Liz Lascell, in Pensacola, Florida.

Photos of the 20 year reunion with his heavyweight crew team. During his fisrt year ever rowing, his boat took second place for Freshman in Nationals. Photos courtesy of Capt. Andy Berner.
Midshipman Riebe during his time at the United States Naval Academy. Photo courtesy of the Riebe Family

While at the Naval Academy, Riebe said his most memorable moment was the night he found out he earned a Navy pilot slot. “We were part of the Top Gun generation and the movie was very influential in my childhood and became my dream at the Naval Academy,” said Riebe. Things came full circle for Capt. Riebe when as the Executive Officer on USS Theodore Roosevelt, numerous scenes of Top Gun: Maverick were filmed on board both in port and at sea.

After six tours flying helicopters, the last of which was in command, Riebe reflected on the growth and development through his career and what it meant transitioning from flying helicopters and leading smaller teams to the vast leadership roles on big deck ships. “Three back to back sea tours in leadership positions on Theodore Roosevelt, Anchorage and now Abe has kept me busy, but is also very much the reason I continue doing what I do.

Capt. Riebe and San Diego Padre Fernando Tatis who visited USS Anchorage while Capt. Riebe was in Command.

It is rewarding mentoring young JOs and Sailors, creating a winning culture; I believe leadership is about creating a culture where you get the best out of people and build a team that enjoys coming to work, having fun and still being effective and strive to be the best.”

CAPT Riebe on the bridge of USS Abraham Lincoln. Photo courtesy of CVN 72 media team.

When asked what it feels like to be in command of an aircraft carrier that is named for President Abraham Lincoln, Riebe said, “It is absolutely humbling, I consider Abraham Lincoln to be the most remarkable, notable and historically significant president. When you think about standing on the shoulders of giants, this is it, taking command of a ship named after Lincoln is an honor and very fulfilling.”

The Riebe Family enjoying their family time in Coronado. Photo Courtesy of Liz Riebe.

All three of the Riebe children have grown up going through Coronado Unified Schools. Wyatt, a senior at Coronado High School, is the Associated Student Body President and is an Eagle Scout.

Wyatt Riebe with his Dad on USS Anchorage for his Eagle Scout ceremony.

Wyatt was also just awarded a Navy ROTC Scholarship and wants to follow in his father’s footsteps to be a Naval Aviator. Quinn is also at Coronado High School and a member of the varsity sailing team and an avid hiker; she started the CHS Hiking Club and has climbed Mount Whitney. George is at Coronado Middle School, plays rugby and water polo and is also working toward becoming an Eagle Scout.

The Riebe family, photo courtesy of Liz Riebe.

Liz Riebe, a beloved member of the Coronado community, volunteers on a number of boards and organizations to support the local schools and the Navy community, and has also worked for a Coronado non-profit. “Liz has focused on providing a stable foundation for our family, which has allowed me to give 100% when I am at work, and she has a great support network here in the Coronado Community,” said Riebe. When asked what he loved about Coronado, Riebe said “The support network in Coronado is wonderful. We love going to the beach here and we enjoy spending time on the bay, either on a boat or the stand up paddle boards. Coronado is a great place to live, it is idyllic and we are fortunate to be here.”

Capt. Riebe with Wyatt, Liz and Quinn during a homecoming from one of his many deployments.


Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a retired Naval Aviator and Public Affairs Officer whose post-Navy career includes freelance writing, PR Consulting and a two year stint as the San Diego Padres Military Affairs Advisor. Having been stationed in various parts of the country including Washington D.C., Florida and Hawaii, Jeannie appreciates how amazing the Coronado community is and loves the experience her children have had growing up here. Jeannie earned her BS in Marine Biology from Auburn University, her MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego and her MA in Communication and Media Relations at San Diego State University. A life-long learner and avid traveler Jeannie enjoys writing travel pieces, Navy stories and anything else that will broaden her perspective. When she is not working you will find her watching her boys play sports, walking Odin at dog beach, hiking, playing beach volleyball or spending time with the family.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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