By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Alan Gragg, Amphibious Squadron 5 Public Affairs
USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea - Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 held a change of command ceremony aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), while the ship was underway in the Arabian Sea Feb. 12.
Capt. Donald R. Cuddington relieved Capt. Humberto L. Quintanilla II.
PHIBRON 5 is deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which includes the command ship Makin Island, amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
"The ability under a stressful situation, to find the right answer, and to generate combat capability is the task we all have [as unit commanders]," said Col. Michael Hudson, 11th MEU commanding officer, who served as guest speaker. "[Capt. Quintanilla], you've done an absolutely outstanding job. It has been my honor and privilege, and I've learned and grown as an officer and as a professional having worked with you."
Hudson also congratulated Quintanilla on the achievements of the Makin Island ARG team.
Quintanilla thanked members of the squadron staff for their team cohesion and dedicated work while he was in command. He then addressed Cuddington, who served as his deputy commander.
"Thank you for being the most extraordinary deputy that any commodore could ever have," said Quintanilla. "You know my prayers are with you, and those are prayers of joy, that your day is here. It's your turn now, to lead this extraordinary squadron into the future."
After his speech, Quintanilla read his orders to report as commander, Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Pacific, and Cuddington read his orders to served as commander of PHIBRON 5.
"Capt. Quintanilla, thank you for the foresight and leadership you provided that enabled us to become this highly effective and successful organization," said Cuddington. "We will endeavor to maintain the spirit of cooperation that you molded into this team."
The Makin Island ARG is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
The mission of the Makin Island ARG is to help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and provide humanitarian/disaster response as well as supporting the nation's maritime strategy when forward deployed.