SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) held its change of command ceremony at Naval Base San Diego Dec. 2, 2016, as Cmdr. Manuel Hernandez turned over the role of commanding officer to Cmdr. Joshua M. Menzel.
The ship's 325 member crew, family and friends, along with family members of Admiral Raymond Ames Spruance, from whom the ship is named in honor of, were in attendance for the celebrated event.
"There is no better Sailor than a Spruance Sailor," said Hernandez. "You have contributed immensely to the significance of my life. I have always believed that leadership is first and foremost an act of service."
Hernandez, Spruance's fourth commanding officer, leaves the ship to join the Destroyer Squadron 21 team.
Midway during Spruance's recent deployment, Menzel, who was the ship's executive officer, left the ship to attend prospective commanding officer (PCO) school.
"Eighteen months ago it was my privilege to be assigned and take over as executive officer of this amazing ship," said Menzel. "To date it has been the best tour of my career. I am excited for what the next 18 months have in store. I am humbled and honored to take command of the number one wardroom, the number one Chief's mess and by far the number one crew."
During the ceremony, Menzel spoke about serving under Hernandez's leadership.
"It has been my privilege to serve with you," said Menzel. "I have learned much from your mentorship, leadership and above all your friendship. As you have said many times, there is no higher compliment that we can pay a shipmate than to say: 'Sir, Spruance is better because you commanded her.' I'll miss you brother."
Spruance returned to San Diego Nov. 14, 2016 following a seven-month deployment to the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility where it was the first-ever Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG), under Commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31.
Spruance successfully executed Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI), Cooperative Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia and a bilateral exercise with Republic of Korea (ROK).
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