SASEBO, Japan – Captain Bradley Lee relieved Captain Mark E. Weber as Commander, Amphibious Squadron (CPR) 11 in a change of command ceremony in the hangar bay of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) in Sasebo, Japan, on Jan.19.
During his one-year tenure as Commodore, Weber lead four ships and nearly 5,000 Sailors and Marines of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) through numerous bilateral and multinational exercises, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, and operations throughout the Pacific Fleet area of responsibility.
“This tour has undoubtedly been the pinnacle of my naval career,” Weber said. “It’s been very rewarding serving as the commodore of the Essex ARG. I’ve truly enjoyed being that ‘tip of the spear’ as the only forward deployed amphibious squadron. Serving with the professional men and women on the blue-green team alongside our partners and allies throughout the region has made it all worthwhile.”
Weber is confident the command will continue to enjoy its success and distinguished reputation in the fleet under Lee’s leadership.
“I have no doubt the ships assigned to CPR 11 will continue to be successful in every task they’re asked to carry out,” said Weber. “These Sailors and Marines are dedicated, trained, and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice and are in good hands with Captain Lee. I’m certain they’ll continue to exceed all expectations and will be ready for whatever challenges they’re faced with. I wish the crew and its new commodore only the best.”
Rear Adm. Richard B. Landolt, Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Task Force Seventy-Six and Expeditionary Strike Group Seven, was the ceremony’s keynote speaker. Landolt, who served as Commander, Amphibious Squadron Eleven from 2003 through 2004, commended Weber for his dedication and leadership throughout his tenure as the commander of CPR 11.
“Captain Weber has been a driving force for success and an integral part of the many accomplishments of our forward deployed amphibious forces. I could think of no better ambassador for the Navy to our numerous regional partners than Mark Weber,” Landolt said during his remarks.
Landolt also presented Weber with the Legion of Merit at the ceremony.
Captain Lee assumes command as the 15th squadron commander of Amphibious Squadron Eleven since its initial activation in July 1966 and has been serving as the Deputy Commodore since Feb. 2010.
“It’s a privilege to continue to be a part of this CPR 11 team,” said Lee. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead such a dedicated crew of Sailors and Marines and am looking forward to future deployments knowing that together this Navy and Marine Corps team will meet all challenges.”
Lee’s previous assignments include Command of USS San Antonio (LPD 17), Executive Officer of USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), Chief Staff Officer of Amphibious Squadron Eight, Department head tours on USS Nassau (LHA 4), USS Butte (AE 27) and USS Kansas City (AOR 3). Ashore, he has served as an instructor at Surface Warfare Officer School, Newport Rhode Island, Tactical Training Group, Atlantic, and as the Branch Chief for Global Strike for the Deputy Director of Global Operations on the staff of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as the lead for the Director’s Action Group for Navy Irregular Warfare (OPNAV N3/N5). Captain Lee holds a master’s degree from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.
Amphibious Squadron Eleven commands the only forward-deployed Amphibious Ready Group. It is based aboard its flagship USS Essex (LHD 2), and is comprised of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9), the amphibious dock landing ships USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and USS Tortuga (LSD 46). The Essex ARG embarks the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet.