U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility - The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) held a change-of-command ceremony at sea, March 8.
Capt. Timothy Kott relieved Capt. Thomas Halvorson as commanding officer.
Guest speaker, Rear Admiral Mike Shoemaker, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3, praised Halvorson for his performance during his tour.
"Your team, Tom, has excelled," said Shoemaker. "You have flawlessly answered every strike group and higher headquarters tasking and raised the bar for surface ship performance across the board. In short, Mobile Bay has made a huge difference in this area of responsibility. You all should be extremely proud of your many accomplishments and contributions to warfighting readiness."
During his tour, Halvorson supported both Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom by leading Mobile Bay through their 2011 Western Pacific deployment and most of their current deployment. He said it is difficult to leave such a great ship behind, but is pleased to have Kott as the oncoming commanding officer.
"I've done everything I could for the combat readiness of this ship, and I leave knowing it will only get better," said Halvorson. "Tim Kott has that kind of reputation, and it is well deserved. It gives me great comfort in this change of command. Thank you all for making this tour so rewarding. Sail strong until the end, and I'll be watching for your safe return to San Diego."
Kott, who assumed command of Mobile Bay after serving on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff, Programming Division (N80), as the Ship and Submarine Programs Section Head, commended Mobile Bay's crew for their exceptional accomplishments achieved under Halvorson's leadership.
"Having walked the decks of Mobile Bay this past week I've gained first-hand insight into the large, large shoes of Tom Halvorson, which I will endeavor to fill in terms of leadership, tactical brilliance and strategic thought," said Kott. "You have my trust and confidence, and I will work tirelessly to earn yours. I ask that you stay focused, stay safe, and continue to do great things for your families, for each other, and for your ship. We will continue at full speed ahead, and I don't think you'd want it any other way."
Mobile Bay is deployed with the John C. Stennis strike group to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security corporation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.