USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS Rueben James (FFG 57), USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) and USS Cheyenne (SSN 773)
DESRON 31 Holds Change of Command Ceremony
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR - Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31 at a change of command ceremony at the DESRON 31 headquarters building on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Jan. 21.

Capt. David Welch relieved Capt. Richard Clemmons as commander of DESRON 31 at the ceremony.

Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, served as the guest speaker and offered remarks to those in attendance.

"As the commodore of DESRON 31, Capt. Clemmons couldn't have done a better job than he has," noted Hunt. "If there is one thing that I would characterize about him, it is his great work ethic and leadership ability. It is something that can be counted on each and every day, and our Sailors and our Navy are clearly better for it."

Hunt also stated that he looked forward to what the future holds for Welch as the commander of DESRON 31.

"You have my full confidence, and I am looking forward to working with you in the near future," said Hunt. "You did an excellent job as the deputy commander of DESRON 31, and I'm sure you will do great things as the commodore."

During the ceremony, Clemmons thanked those involved during his tenure as commander.

"Ceremonies such as this are the very fabric of the Navy. They symbolize honor, courage and commitment, but more than anything, these ceremonies allow the outgoing commander to say 'thank you' and 'a job well done,'" said Clemmons. "I want to thank the more than 2,000 Sailors aboard the eight ships that comprise DESRON 31. You are truly making a difference in this world and your sacrifices have not gone unnoticed."

After the reading of orders and assuming command from Clemmons, Welch took the opportunity to address the audience.

"To the officers, chiefs and Sailors of DESRON 31, I have watched you in action and I am humbled to stand before you," said Welch. "We are based in a strategic location, and we must remain prepared to go forward at a moment's notice. This forward thinking and forward mentality will permeate everything that we do."

In May 2008, DESRON 31 assumed duties as immediate superior in command for all Pearl Harbor-based destroyers and frigates under an operational alignment to increase force presence and surge capacity in the Western Pacific under Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. DESRON 31 was also assigned as a task group commander for bilateral naval exercises in Southeast Asia.

DESRON 31 moved to Pearl Harbor from San Diego in 1991 and adopted the motto "Ke Koa O Ke Kai," which means "warriors from the sea."
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