SAN FRANCISCO – Cmdr. Carl W. Meuser relieved Cmdr. Winton Smith, Jr., as commanding officer of USS Higgins (DDG 76) during a change of command ceremony in San Francisco Dec. 12.
Capt. Troy Stoner, Commodore of Destroyer Squadron 23, presided over the ceremony. Friends and families of Smith and Meuser were in attendance.
Smith assumed command of the destroyer in the Arabian Sea in May 2007. As commanding officer, he oversaw the execution of an arduous six-month deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility and a four-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. Cmdr. Smith will be the director of department head course at the Navy’s Surface Warfare Officer’s School in Newport, Rhode Island.
Meuser assumes command following a tour on the staff of the Commander, Naval Surface Forces. During previous sea tours, he served as the executive officer of USS Antietam (CG 54), weapons officer and combat systems officer aboard USS Port Royal (CG 73) and electrical officer, strike officer, and main propulsion assistant aboard USS O’Brien (DD 975).
"I am thrilled to take command. Higgins has an exceptional reputation and an even more impressive crew,” Meuser said. “Their record of accomplishment has been astonishing and I look forward to the great things we will accomplish together."
Higgins was in San Francisco enjoying a brief port visit before returning to her home port of San Diego. Prior to pulling into San Francisco, Higgins played a crucial role in a Ballistic Missile Defense exercise in the Gulf of Alaska.