PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Sailors, families and friends gathered aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) to bid farewell to the ship's commanding officer Capt. Patrick M. Kelly during a change of command ceremony, Nov. 14, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
After approximately three years as commanding officer of Chosin, Kelly was relieved of command by Capt. Kevin M. Brand.
Presiding over the ceremony was Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, who commented on the integral role Kelly has played in the U.S. Navy's rebalance of the Asia-Pacific Theater during his command of Chosin.
"This is a very important change of command, because this is one of the best ships in the Pacific Fleet," said Williams. "Chosin is the Battle 'E' Ship and they are the epitome of the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. As Admiral Harris [commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet] leads the Pacific Fleet and the nation through this rebalance, I can tell you we've counted on USS Chosin to play a key role in that effort."
Williams further commended Kelly on his long-standing commitment to excellence and congratulated him on the success he experienced while in command of Chosin.
"I see great things in [Kelly's] future," said Williams. "He will have key influence in the largest and fastest growing combat command in the world [and U.S. Pacific Command]. And there's no doubt he will be successful in moving the strategic rebalance forward in new ways based on the experiences and wisdom he gained aboard Chosin. [Capt. Kelly] and the great Chosin crew, congratulations on being the poster ship, the Battle 'E' ship, on the waterfront. Congratulations on a job well done."
Following his remarks, Williams presented Kelly with the Legion of Merit for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services as the commanding officer of USS Chosin."
Before turning over command, Kelly thanked those in attendance and addressed the crew aboard Chosin for the final time.
"As I transition from sea-duty to shore-duty, many people, including many in the crowd today, expect that I'll be looking forward to leaving the ship, but in truth, this is a very bittersweet event for me," said Kelly. "As much as I look forward to greater normalcy in my daily routine in order to tackle the 'honey do' list that has been growing these three years and to spend more time with my family, I'm going to miss working with the great people of Chosin.
"When I depart Chosin for the last time today I'll do so with no regrets," he continued. "I'm overwhelmed with the gratitude and pride for that we've achieved for these nearly three years together. If I'm able to leave a legacy behind ... I wish my legacy to be you, the officers, Chiefs and crew of Chosin. You are the future. You have proven repeatedly that you are the absolute best of the best. Continue to be the waterfront example and make me proud. Continue to be the model by which every inspection team that comes to Chosin holds up as the platform to emulate. Continue to exhibit the strength and character by which you are best known."
Under Kelly's command, Chosin completed a successful deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation, was awarded the Battle "E" Efficiency Award. Chosin also led the recovery efforts of a disabled Her Majesty's Canadian Ship oil replenishment (HMCS) Protecteur (AOR 509) due to an engine fire on February 27, 2014 that left it dead in the water approximately 200 miles off the coast of Hawaii.
Kelly also led Chosin through various naval exercises including Koa Kai 2014, Rim of the Pacific 2014 and Commander and Carrier Strike Group 11 Task Group Exercise.
Incoming Brand assumed all duties and responsibilities as commanding officer, after the reading of the official orders, and addressed the crew of Chosin.
"It truly is an honor to be here today and to have an opportunity to once again command a ship at-sea and to lead some of the best men and women, I think, in the world today, our Sailors," said Brand. "It's an awesome responsibility that I take very seriously.
"To the crew [of Chosin], my fellow commanding officers and the professional men and women throughout Pearl Harbor that make up the Hawaii waterfront, I look forward to working with each and every one of you," said Brand. "It is my sincere pleasure to rejoin all of you on the waterfront and to join the Hawaii ohana."
Brand previously served as Director of the Commander's Action Group for Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor.
Kelly's next assignment will be at United States Pacific Command in Hawaii.
Chosin is one of nine surface ships of Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. It is the first U.S. Navy warship named in commemoration of the First Marine Division's heroism at the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. The ship's motto is "Invictus," Latin for invincible or unconquered. U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers perform primarily multi-mission [Air Warfare (AW), Undersea Warfare (USW), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) and Surface Warfare (SUW)] surface combatants capable of supporting carrier strike groups, amphibious forces, or of operating independently and as flagships of surface action groups.