USS STOCKDALE, At Sea - Cmdr. Bo Johns relieved Cmdr. Lex Walker as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) during a change of command ceremony at sea, May 2.
"It is certainly a bittersweet moment," said Walker. "To achieve success and make it through a command tour is a huge accomplishment and something to be celebrated, but at the same time it marks the end of a relationship that you poured your heart and soul into and leaving behind the men and women that you created a bond with is always sad."
Walker assumed command of Stockdale Oct. 14, 2011, and led the ship through basic and integrated training with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group as well as participation in the multi-national Rim of the Pacific Exercise in 2012. He has led the ship through half of its current nine-month deployment to the U.S. 5th fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR).
He said the success of his tenure had more to do with the Sailors than his command.
"The biggest accomplishment I had as commanding officer of Stockdale was establishing the culture and command climate that I set out to achieve," said Walker. "It was a huge deal because the roughly 315 members of the crew had to agree that we would make this a passionate, open and friendly ship."
Johns reported to Stockdale Nov. 10 2011, and served as executive officer as part of the executive officer (XO) to commanding officer (CO) fleet-up plan that was implemented in 2006. The basis of the plan is to have an XO serve 18 months and then become the CO on the same ship.
Johns said the fleet-up model served him well because it gave him and the crew time to get to know one another before he assumed command of Stockdale.
"The way Cmdr. Walker and I operated together provided me with a great example of how, as the captain, I too could look toward the long term health of the ship and work with the XO and command master chief to always do what is best for the command in the future," said Johns. "It feels exciting and daunting, but most of all it feels humbling to get the opportunity to command this warship and this great crew."
Stockdale is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR promoting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.