SAN DIEGO –The officers and crew of the guided missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) held a change of command ceremony while in homeport at Naval Base San Diego, March 7.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Mikael A. Rockstad relieved Cmdr. Jake B. Douglas as commanding officer.
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Capt. Brian K. Shipman, Commander Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21.
The ceremony marked the end of a very successful 20-month command tour for Douglas during which he led Dewey through a rigorous basic training phase in which 20 of 20 warfare areas exceeded certification requirements.
During his tour, Dewey also supported the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) sustainment exercise as well as a U.S./Canadian Task Group exercise. Additionally, Douglas was responsible for earning the highest advancement rate of any U.S. Navy ship in 2012 and has since maintained a 96% retention rate.
“Today I leave the job I consider to be the pinnacle of a Navy officer’s career, command at sea,” said Douglas. “An individual’s ability to succeed depends on family, friends, superiors, peers and juniors and I want to thank you all for helping me to get here and be successful as a Commanding Officer.
Douglas also thanked the crew for their hard work and dedication during his time as commanding officer.
“Crew Dewey, you have been incredible to serve with and I hope I have met your expectations of a commanding officer,” said Douglas. “Not only have you exceeded my expectations in everything you do, but you have exceeded ATG’s [Afloat Traing Group], our commodore’s and our admiral’s expectations.”
Douglas’s next tour will be as Commander, Patrol Costal Squadron One in Bahrain.
Rockstad is a 1996 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and earned his master’s degree in national security and strategic studies. He completed sea tours aboard USS Antietam (CG 54) as strike officer, USS Gary (FFG 51) as fire control officer, USS Thach (FFG 43) as auxiliaries and electrical officer and navigator, and USS Howard (DDG 83) as the weapons officer and combat systems officer. He served as executive officer aboard Dewey before assuming command.
“I am honored to be the newest commanding officer of Dewey and I am grateful to Cmdr. Douglas for his leadership and for the efforts of the crew,” said Rockstad. “I look forward to serving the crew of USS Dewey as their commanding officer.”
Dewey is named in honor of Admiral of the Navy George Dewey (1837-1917), who commanded the Asiatic Squadron from the cruiser Olympia. Shortly after the onset of the Spanish-American War, Dewey led his squadron of warships into Manila Bay on April 30, 1898. The next morning, his squadron destroyed the Spanish fleet in only two hours without a single American loss.
A widely popular hero of his day, Dewey was commissioned Admiral of the Navy in March 1903. Two previous ships have proudly carried his name.
The current USS Dewey (DDG 105) is assigned to Commander, Carrier Strike Group 3 and will be deploying with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group later this year.