Decatur Holds Change of Command

By ENS Darin M. Andrews, USS Decatur Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO, CA – Cmdr. Christopher J. Sweeney relieved CDR Brian K. Shipman as commanding officer of the San Diego-based Arleigh Burke-Class guided missile destroyer, USS Decatur (DDG 73), in an official change of command ceremony held at Naval Base San Diego May 1, 2009.

The crew was assembled at Naval Base San Diego’s Pier 8 for the ceremony with more than 300 crew members and guests in attendance. Capt. William Nault, Commander, Destroyer Squadron Seven provided remarks as the keynote speaker for the event.

Nault’s remarks included praise for Shipman and his crew, specifically noting Decatur’s heavy task load over the last two years. Shipman persevered and took the ship through two intense training cycles, a compressed yard period, a Western Pacific deployment, and the preparation of his crew for a surge deployment.

“Being Commanding Officer has been a tremendous honor. There is nothing that compares to command at sea, and this crew has been the finest group of Sailors that I have ever had the pleasure of serving with,” Shipman said. “I am truly honored to have been their Commanding Officer.”

Highlights of Shipman’s 20 months as commanding officer included a maintenance period which included an outstanding inspection during the ship’s Board of Inspection and Survey, successful completion of a Presidential directive for Operation Burnt Frost, completion of the ship’s deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf in 2008 conducting rescue and assistance operations which resulted in the following awards: a third consecutive Green E, an Engineering Red E, an Information Warfare Black E and a Medical Health Green E.

Sweeney reported from Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information, Plans and Strategy Permanent Duty Station Washington, D.C. Shipman’s next duty station is in Dahlgren, Virginia.