USS Stethem DDG 63
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By Lt. j.g. David A. Medici, USS Stethem Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) held a change of command ceremony at Harbor Master Pier Dec. 11.

Cmdr. Henry C. Adams relieved Cmdr. Shan M. Byrne as Stethem's commanding officer. Guests in attendance included the family of Robert Stethem, the ship's namesake, and keynote speaker Capt. Charles Williams, commander, Destroyer Squadron 15.

During Byrne's 18-month command tour, Stethem made ports of call in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Guam/Saipan, Thailand, and Russia while participating in numerous multinational exercises and high-priority missions. Highlights of his tour include real-world ballistic missile defense and anti-submarine operations.

"The real-world operations in Seventh Fleet are unique and challenging," said Byrne. "Our schedule has been dynamic to meet operational needs and at every turn, Stethem's Sailors have excelled in everything they've done. Their hard work, resiliency and commitment to excellence have made Stethem what it is today – a top-rate destroyer that is ready for operations at a moments notice. I'm humbled by their selfless dedication and feel privileged to have been a part of this command."

Byrne's is from Huntington, N.Y. and is a 1989 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He holds a bachelor's degree in General Science and a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the National War College.

His sea duty assignments include: USS Fox (CG 33) as anti-submarine warfare officer and first lieutenant; USS Moosbrugger (DD 980) as combat systems officer; commanding officer USS Monsoon (PC 4); executive officer USS Antietam (CG 54); and chief staff officer Destroyer Squadron 50.

Ashore he served as a seamanship and navigation instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy; air defense and anti-ship missile defense instructor for Royal Navy primary warfare officers and prospective commanding officers in Portsmouth, England; current operations officer, assistant chief of staff for operations, and executive assistant for commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command /U.S. 5th Fleet. Byrne reported to Stethem in May 2008.

During the ceremony, Adams congratulated Byrne on his incredible tour and thanked him for turning over a well-disciplined and knowledgeable crew and materially sound warship.

Byrne's next duty station is U.S. 7th Fleet.

Adams received his commission and a bachelor's degree in History from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1991. He received a master's degree from St. John's College in 1998.

At-sea assignments include damage control assistant aboard USS Thomas C. Hart (FF 1092), commissioning first lieutenant and navigator aboard USS Stout (DDG 55), weapons officer aboard USS Russell (DDG 59), commanding officer aboard USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), executive officer aboard USS Port Royal (CG 73), and executive officer aboard USS Stethem (DDG 63).

Shore duty assignments include instructor of seamanship and navigation at the U.S. Naval Academy, duty on the Navy Staff in Washington, D.C. and joint operational planner in the U.S. Pacific Command Standing Joint Force Headquarters.

Stethem is named in honor of Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, killed by terrorists when they hijacked TWA Flight 847 in 1985. Petty Officer Stethem was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for the heroism he displayed that day. Stethem is part of the George Washington Strike Group and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, operating in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

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