Peleliu Hosts Amphibious Squadron 3 Change of Command Ceremony
U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY – Amphibious Squadron Three held a change of command ceremony in the forecastle of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), Dec. 20.

Capt. Shawn Lobree assumed duties as commander, Amphibious Squadron Three from out-going commodore, Capt. Mark Sakaguchi.

Sakaguchi will report next as commander, Afloat Training Group Pacific in San Diego.

The ceremony featured remarks from Sakaguchi, Lobree and Col. Scott Campbell, commanding officer, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

“I always say, ‘train your relief,’” said Sakaguchi. “I have done that, and I could not leave the command in better hands [than Lobree.] I am proud of my staff and I am leaving with confidence that COMPHIBRON Three and the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group will work well together in the future. This is a solid team under the leadership of Capt. Lobree and Col. Campbell.”

During the past year, Sakaguchi led the Peleliu ARG, comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) through weeks of predeployment workups. The PELARG completed integrated and composite training exercises, ending the summer with a certification exercise that tested the squadron’s mettle and capabilities to conduct amphibious maritime operations leading to the current deployment to the western Pacific Ocean and Middle Eastern region.

“The integration of the blue-green team has been phenomenal,” said Sakaguchi. “My advice to the Sailors and Marines aboard is to study, continue to learn and execute boldly.”

Lobree reported to COMPHIBRON Three in May 2011 as the deputy commander. Now as the commander, he shared his thoughts and experiences with the PEL ARG thus far and the skills of the crew.

“I am excited, honored and humbled by the chance to lead Peleliu ARG,” said Lobree. “I have seen the ships go from the deep phases of maintenance, to completing work ups, to now three months into deployment. There is talent everywhere, from the ships’ crews, Marines to my terrific staff.”

Farewell gifts were presented to Sakaguchi during the ceremony by Campbell and Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Victor Servian, COMPHIBRON Three’s senior enlisted advisor, with a “Fair Winds and Following Seas” plaque and an ornamental command pennant adorned with his staff’s signatures and comments.

Following the ceremony, Lobree hosted a farewell reception prior to Sakaguchi’s departure flight.

Peleliu is the flagship for the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and, along with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

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