USS Russell
"Strength in Freedom"
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150612-N-ZS026-157 SAN DIEGO (June 12, 2015) Cmdr. James Harney (center), relinquishes command of the guided missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) to Cmdr. Gill McCarthy during the ship’s change of command ceremony at Naval Base San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh/Released)
USS Russell Holds Change of Command in San Diego
From Commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO – The officers and crew of the guided missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) held a change of command ceremony on board Naval Base San Diego, June 11.

During the ceremony, Cmdr. Gill McCarthy relieved Cmdr. James Harney as commanding officer.

The guest speaker for the event was Capt. Paul H. Hogue, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 23.

"To Cmdr. McCarthy, it's been an honor to serve with you as my executive officer. I know you will dedicate yourself to service to the ship, crew and Navy as commanding officer,” said Harney. “To the crew, wardroom and chief's mess, it has been an honor to serve as your captain and I wish you the best of luck in the future and a safe deployment."

Harney assumed command of Russell Jan. 24, 2014, leading the ship through an $84 million extended dry dock selective restrictive availability.

Harney’s next tour of duty will be at Afloat Training Group Mayport, Florida.

McCarthy most recently completed a tour as Russell’s executive officer as part of the DDG fleet-up process. He has also completed tours on board USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS Halsey (DDG 97) as well as on the staff of Destroyer Squadron 7.

"Cmdr. Harney, thank you for your leadership and friendship during our time together; it's been remarkable,” said McGill. “To the awesome crew of Russell - thank you all. I'm humbled to be part of the greatest crew to sail the high seas and I'm honored to have the opportunity to defend our nation together."

Russell is part of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis BMD program. The Navy embraces BMD as a core mission. According to the U. S. Missile Defense Agency, the Aegis BMD system is a keystone in the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) for missile defense in Europe. It is capable of defeating short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats with the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), as well as short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the SM-2. The system is also able to share targeting data with the rest of the United States’ ballistic missile defense system, including land-based interceptors in Alaska and California, thus enhancing homeland defense.

The ship and crew are currently in the basic training phase in preparation for a deployment later this year.
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