SAN DIEGO – The guided missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) conducted a change of command ceremony while in homeport at Naval Base San Diego, Dec. 17.
Cmdr. Chanden S. Langhofer, from Bayard, Neb., relived Cmdr. Jana A. Vavasseur, a native of Jonesville, Mich., as commanding officer during a ceremony on the pier.
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Capt. H. Thomas Workman, Commander Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) Two Three.
“You know your commanding officer as a superior tactician and ship handler, an impeccable manager, a strong communicator and a respected leader,” Workman told the ship’s officers and crew during the cermeony.
He also spoke about the ship’s high level of readiness and superior inspection results throughout Vavasseur’s tour as commanding officer, especially during the recent deployment.
“The completion of a 10-month deployment means the dedicated team that stands here today has been underway for deployment or workups for nearly the entirety of the past 13 months,” said Workman. “And Cmdr. Vavasseur will have served approximately two-thirds or more of her command tour underway.”
Workman also thanked Vavasseur for helping to continue the legacy of the late Rear Adm. William P. Lawrence with her inspirational leadership, tactical prowess and managerial acumen.
“The privilege with which I was briefly trusted to command this amazing warship and her crew is beyond anything that words can express,” said Vavasseur, who took command of the ship in April 2012. “No amount of deck log or message traffic review or sea story sharing can do justice to what I have been so blessed to experience.”
Vavasseur recognized the ship’s port engineer and maintenance team, as well as the crew, in helping to keep the ship fully mission capable during her tour as commanding officer. She also recognized her family for their support during her time away from home.
“Shipmates, and I mean that with the greatest respect, we put over 70,000 miles on our ship since we were last assembled like this,” Vavasseur told the officers and crew. “Take care of this ship has you always have.”
Under Vavasseur’s leadership, the command obtained 16 surface warfare officer qualifications and one surface warfare supply officer qualification. In addition, 133 Sailors received enlisted surface warfare specialist pins and 11 Sailors advanced to Chief Petty Officer.
The ship and crew returned to San Diego in November after completing a 10-month maiden deployment as part of Carrier Strike Group Eleven and DESRON Two Three. During this time, William P. Lawrence steamed more than 70,000 miles, visited seven ports and conducted 37 strait transits throughout U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
Vavasseur’s next assignment will be in the Training and Readiness (N7) office on the staff of Commander, Naval Surface Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet in San Diego.
Langhofer had served as the ship’s executive officer from March 2012 to December 2013 prior to assuming command.
“I stand here today both honored and humble,” said Langhofer after assuming command. “Words can’t fully express how thankful I am for the opportunity to lead our nation’s greatest Sailors on the world’s finest warship.”
Langhofer spoke about the critical training he received early in his career from his first chief petty officer and from senior leadership as a young naval officer. He also thanked his family for supporting his naval career.
“For almost two years it’s been my privilege and pleasure to serve as your executive officer,” said Langhofer. “You are the finest crew I have served with and I am honored to stand here today as your commanding officer.”
Commissioned June 4, 2011, William P. Lawrence is named after Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence, a naval aviator, former Vietnam prisoner of war and former commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet.