PHILIPPINE SEA - Capt. James Morgan assumed command of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 in a change of command ceremony on board the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) April 12.
Morgan relieved Capt. Peter M. Driscoll Jr., who had served as commodore of DESRON 7 since July 2009.
In his farewell remarks Driscoll, whose next assignment is at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, acknowledged the hard work and dedication of those under his command.
"To the men and women of Preble, Benfold, Decatur, Gary, Howard and Thach, you are the best and brightest our country has to offer," Driscoll said. "I am awed at what you are able to accomplish and I have been privileged to watch you work. I am incredibly proud to have served with you."
Morgan takes command of DESRON 7 following his previous assignment as its deputy commander, a position he has held since June 2010.
"I know I have big shoes to follow in," Morgan said. "I will do my best to carry on the high standards of excellence in planning, execution and warfighting Capt. Driscoll brought to the strike group and DESRON."
A DESRON 7 commander serves as the administrative commander or immediate superior in command (ISIC) of the ships assigned to the squadron. Each one of those ships is equipped to operate in a high-density, multi-threat environment either independently or as an integral member of a carrier strike group (CSG) or expeditionary strike group (ESG).
DESRON 7 is assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) CSG 7, currently deployed to the U.S. Seventh Fleet area of responsibility.
Commander, CSG 7, and guest speaker, Rear Adm. Robert Girrier presented Driscoll with the Legion of Merit medal, and offered remarks about the opportunities ahead for Morgan and DESRON 7.
"You have a unique and trusted responsibility ahead of you, not only to prepare and lead our forces forward, but also to teach, guide and develop those you command," Girrier said. "Good commodores inspire good commanding officers to do the right thing on a daily basis — to dig deep, to know their ships, know their equipment, know their people and know their job."
DESRON 7 has been embarked aboard the Ronald Reagan to serve as the sea combat commander for the Ronald Reagan CSG since May 2004. As sea combat commander, DESRON 7 is responsible to the CSG commander for the overall planning and execution of maritime operations, including surface and subsurface warfare, maritime security operations, mine warfare, and force protection.
The ships of DESRON 7 include guided-missile destroyers USS Preble, USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Decatur (DDG 73), and USS Howard (DDG 83), and guided-missile frigates USS Gary (FFG 51) and USS Thach (FFG 43).