EVERETT, Wash. - Capt. Douglas W. Kunzman relieved Capt. Christopher M. Engdahl, a South Bend, Indiana native, as commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 during a change of command ceremony Aug. 5 in the Naval Station Everett (NSE) Navy Operational Support Center drill floor.
Engdahl has served as commander, DESRON 9 since Jan. 2015 and executed the transition from mixed destroyer/frigate squadron located in NSE to an all destroyer squadron spread throughout the entire Pacific region.
"Evolution has been the fundamental tenet of my tour," said Engdahl. "Evolution within the staff, our ships, and even myself."
Additionally, Engdahl acted as mission commander for the Pacific Partnership 2015, an operation providing humanitarian aid, disaster relief preparation and partnership building in seven countries throughout the western Pacific Ocean.
"Commodore Engdahl has provided the leadership, guidance and tactical savvy that set DESRON 9 on a trajectory for excellence," said Kunzman. "DESRON 9's future success is in all respects due to Commodore Engdahl's infectious positive attitude and boundless effort."
Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, Rear Adm. Rich Brown, the ceremony's guest speaker and presiding officer, presented Engdahl with the Legion of Merit, an award earned through exceptionally meritorious conduct.
"I've never seen a DESRON or commodore as tactically proficient as Engdahl was during Pacific Partnership 2015," said Brown.
Engdahl gave recognition to the exceptional work of his staff and the Sailors of DESRON 9.
"I have always promised that a tour with DESRON 9 would, I believe, redefine your perspective and place within the Navy," said Engdahl. "You would learn what excellence is and you would recognize the cost of achieving and maintaining it. It’s hard and rewarding work."
Kunzman, who was most recently the deputy commander of DESRON 9, takes the reins from Engdahl, who will assume duties as the executive assistant to commander, Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee.
As commander, DESRON 9, Kunzman is responsible for the crew, training and material readiness of six guided-missile destroyers and the tactical execution of Sea Combat Commander duties within the Nimitz Strike Group.