– Captain Cathal O’Connor relieved Captain Bradley Lee as Commander, Amphibious Squadron (CPR) 11 in a change of command ceremony in the hangar bay of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in Sasebo, Japan, on August 2.
During his eighteen month tenure as Commodore, Lee lead four ships and nearly 5,000 Sailors and Marines of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the Bonhomme Richard 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,” Lee said. “It’s been very rewarding serving as the commodore of the Essex and now the Bonhomme Richard 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.”
Lee is confident the command will continue to enjoy its success and distinguished reputation in the fleet under O’Connor’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 Lee. “These Sailors and Marines are dedicated, trained, and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice and are in good hands with Captain O’Connor.
I’m certain they’ll continue to exceed all expectations and will be ready for whatever challenges they’re faced with.
I wish the staff and its new commodore only the best.”
Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Task Force Seventy-Six and Expeditionary Strike Group Seven, was the ceremony’s keynote speaker. Harley commended Lee for his dedication and leadership throughout his tenure as the commander of CPR 11.
“Captain Lee has been a driving force for success and an integral part of the many accomplishments of our forward deployed amphibious forces, to include Operation TOMODACHI.
I could think of no better ambassador for the Navy to our numerous regional partners than Brad Lee,” Harley said during his remarks.
Harley also presented Lee with the Legion of Merit at the ceremony.
Captain O’Connor assumes command as the 16th squadron commander of Amphibious Squadron Eleven since its initial activation in July 1966 and has been serving as the Deputy Commodore since Feb. 2011.
“It’s a privilege to continue to be a part of the CPR 11 team,” said O’Connor. “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.”
O’Connor’s previous assignments include Chief of Staff of ESG 7, Command of USS Rushmore (LSD417), Plans, Exercise and Tomahawk Strike Missile Officer for CSG 5, Executive Officer of USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and Department head tours on COMPHIBRON FIVE (CPR 5) and USS Essex (LHD 2).
Ashore, he has served at Surface Warfare Officer School and tours on the Chief of Naval Operations’ Staff, the Joint Staff and in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (OSD(P)).
Amphibious Squadron Eleven commands the only forward-deployed Amphibious Ready Group. It is based aboard its flagship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), and is comprised of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9), the amphibious dock landing ships USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Tortuga (LSD 46). The Bonhomme Richard ARG embarks the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet.