Everett, Wash. – Captain William M. Triplett relieved Captain Mark A. Johnson as Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) NINE in a ceremony onboard USS FORD (FFG 54).
Captain Johnson served as both the Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) for four guided-missile destroyers and three guided-missile frigates, based at Naval Station Everett and Naval Station San Diego, as well as the Sea Combat Commander for the Carrier Strike Group NINE.
As Carrier Strike Group NINE SCC, Captain Johnson coordinated the surface and sub-surface defense of USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN while deployed to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as the Arabian Gulf, from December 2011 to July 2012. While in FIFTHFLT Captain Johnson acted as the Sea Combat Commander for CTF-50, requiring him not only to coordinate defense of USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN but also to plan for and track the readiness of surface all combatants assigned to CTF-50; a challenge magnified by a rotating pool of available ships and aircraft from multiple coalition partners as well as complex mission requirements for the entire FIFTHFLT. Following a shift of homeport for USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Captain Johnson took over the same duties for USS RONALD REAGAN.
Guest Speaker Rear Admiral Hall, Commander, Carrier Strike Group NINE spoke highly of Captain Johnson’s work during this time. “By any measure Captain Johnson’s performance has been superb. Operating in the most challenging environments with poise and professionalism and bringing everyone back safely.”
Upon returning from the nearly 8 month deployment, Captain Johnson immediately ramped up DESRON NINE to support the independent deployments of USS SHOUP, PREBLE and MOMSEN while participating in the multinational exercise DAWN BLITZ, CCSG-9 FRTP events including exercise RED DAWN and laying the groundwork for multinational exercise RIMPAC 2014.
“I’m fond of saying that the sun never sets on Destroyer Squadron NINE,” said Captain Johnson. “And it’s quite literally true. For almost the entirety of my tour, we have had ships operating in as many as four theaters at a time, across the eleven time zones, from South America to the Arabian Gulf and all points between. It has been an honor to work with you.”
Captain Johnson’s next assignment is to Newport, Rhode Island where he will serve as Director of the Command Leadership School. Captain Triplett has served as the Deputy Commander, Destroyer Squadron NINE since December 2011, and is “fleeting up” to relieve Captain Johnson.
“Sir, it has truly been an honor to work with and for you. You have truly been a great mentor and friend,” said Captain Triplett of Captain Johnson. And to the other guests, “I would like to thank the destroyer squadron nine staff and the ships in the squadron, thank you for all of your hard work. I look forward to continuing to serve as your Commodore.”