Howard Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By ENS Jessica Kelz, USS HOWARD (DDG 83)

SAN DIEGO – Cmdr. Scott Switzer relieved Cmdr. Curtis Goodnight as Commanding Officer of the guided missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) in an official change of command ceremony at Naval Base San Diego May 8.

The ceremony, a proud and enduring symbol of Naval heritage and tradition, was attended by Capt. William Nault, Commander, Destroyer Squadron Seven, family members and friends of Switzer and Goodnight, local Navy leaders, as well as family members of the late Marine Corps First Sergeant Jimmy Howard, the ship’s namesake.

Switzer is reporting to Howard after serving as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Commander of United States Strategic Command. His most recent sea tour was as Commanding Officer of Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Crew Conflict, commanding USS Sentry (MCM 3), USS Gladiator (MCM 11), and USS Chief (MCM 14) in 2007.

Goodnight served as the Commanding Officer in Howard from January 2008 to May 2009. During his tenure, Howard completed an eventful deployment which included humanitarian assistance missions in the Philippines, national tasking in the Horn of Africa area of operations and was responsible for the successful interception of M/V Faina in September 2008. Howard also completed an extremely successful 3M Certification and earned the 2008 Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy Award during Goodnight’s tenure. Goodnight will be retiring after 20 years of loyal service and plans to enjoy spending more time with his family.

Switzer will be the sixth Commanding Officer of Howard and will lead the ship through her upcoming deployment with the Ronald Reagan Strike Group.