SAN DIEGO -- Capt. James L. Storm relieved Capt. Sean G. McLaren as commanding officer of the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) during a change of command ceremony, Oct. 20, on the flight deck, in the cruiser's home port of San Diego.
The ceremony’s guest speaker and presiding officer, Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, director of Surface Warfare (N96) on the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations staff, presented McLaren the Legion of Merit Award.
"Under Sean’s adroit leadership, Mobile Bay answered every call. Whether in the South China Sea, the waters off Korea, in RIMPAC, or one of the many other multinational exercises - I knew I could count on this ship to execute," said Boxall. "To both Captains, I wish ‘fair winds and following seas.’ To the crew of USS Mobile Bay, continue to carry Captain Storm with the same standard of excellence that is befitting of the great naval battle for which you are named."
McLaren assumed command in March 2015. He led Mobile Bay through an intensive maintenance inspection, seven month deployment in the Indo-Asia Pacific, RIMPAC 2016, and completed pre- and post-deployment maintenance availabilities, all while serving as the Air Defense Commander for the John C. Stennis carrier strike group.
McLaren’s next duty station will be at Naval Forces Korea as the deputy commander.
"To the officers, chiefs, and crew of Mobile Bay, I owe you much more than a few simple words of thanks can convey. You have been a family to me. You have inspired me, challenged me, and made my time here worthwhile," said McLaren. "Because of you I can paraphrase President Roosevelt and say ‘there are Commanding Officers who may have served here longer, but few have had more fun here than me.’ We worked hard, achieved our goals, and had fun doing it. Thank you shipmates, life is good."
Capt. Storm is a Roanoke, Ill. native who received his bachelor's degree from California State University. His most recent tours include commanding officer of USS Laboon (DDG 58) and commanding officer of Afloat Training Group, San Diego.
"It is truly an honor to assume command of Mobile Bay today and I am humbled to be a member of this great team,” said Storm. “It is said that a ship’s crew provides the heart and soul of a ship, and in my time in the Navy, I have never experienced this more than I have the past week during my turnover in Mobile Bay."
"Thank you Sean for your leadership and stewardship of the women and men of Mobile Bay. I am honored to lead them. Blessings, fair winds, and following seas to you and your family as you continue your Navy journey in Korea,” continued Storm.
Mobile Bay is preparing for an extended maintenance availability in early 2017.