USS Gridley (DDG 101) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Everett on January 27th. Family, friends and the ship’s crew were among the guests in attendance as Commander Marc Crawford turned over command of the Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer to Commander Michael Mortensen.
The ceremony honored the end of a 35-month tour onboard GRIDLEY for Cmdr. Crawford. Crawford served as the Executive Officer for 18 months and took command on September 18, 2015.
Since taking command, GRIDLEY has been actively involved in tasking in the Third Fleet area of operation, including Search and Rescue operations off O’ahu, Hawai’i in support of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing; escort duties for a decommissioned submarine; the sinking of a navigational hazard, Independence Day celebrations in Vancouver, British Columbia; Seattle SeaFair; a homeport shift to Naval Station Everett, Wash.; and the ship’s first dry docking.
The guest speaker Captain Henry Adams, Commodore of Destroyer Squadron Two One, commended the crew on their excellent execution of all tasks while under Carrier Strike Group One and Destroyer Squadron One, and warmly welcomed GRIDLEY to Destroyer Squadron Two One and Carrier Strike Group Three.
Emphasizing the hard work of GRIDLEY’s crew, Crawford recited the famous “Man in the Arena” quote from former President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech. He reflected on the many operational successes accomplished onboard GRIDLEY throughout his three-year tour, thanking the crew for their continued dedication and service.
“You never cease to amaze me and I am honored and humbled to have been your Captain. I will never forget each and every one of you; your honor, your courage, and your commitment, and I very much look forward to hearing of your many and continued successes,” said Crawford.
Crawford’s next duty assignment will be at Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific in San Diego, CA.
Prior to assuming command, Cmdr. Mortensen served as the Executive Officer onboard USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), staff at Naval Surface and Mine Warfare Development, and Executive Officer onboard GRIDLEY since June 2016.
“I feel a deep sense of pride and ownership by the crew of GRIDLEY,” said Mortensen. “I am very honored to have the privilege to command such a fine warship and the Sailors who make her breathe. To the crew, you are the heart and soul of GRIDLEY.”
Cmdr. Mortensen looks forward to a strong finish to GRIDLEY’s dry docking availability and maintenance phase. “There will be challenges ahead as we finish putting GRIDLEY back together and preparing her to go back out to sea. But, no matter the circumstances, I know you will rise to any occasion and take it head on.”
USS Gridley was commissioned on February 10, 2007. She is named after Captain Charles Vernon Gridley who command Admiral George Dewey’s flagship Olympia during the Battle of Manila Bay. Its motto Ignis Ubi Paratus means “Fire When Ready.” Other ships named in honor of Captain Gridley are CG 21 (DLG 21), DD 380, and DD 92.