YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) – Cmdr. Jeffery Benson relieved Cmdr. Douglas Pegher as the commanding officer of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) during a change of command ceremony while in port Yokosuka, Japan, Sept. 28.
Pegher served as Stethem’s commanding officer since May 2016 and will continue his career serving as the Acting Deputy Commodore for Destroyer Squadron 15. He was presented the Meritorious Service Medal Award in recognition of his accomplishments while commanding Stethem.
After the award presentation, Benson spoke to the crew, nicknamed the Steelworkers, on honoring their namesake’s legacy, Robert Dean Stethem, in addition to preparing for the ship’s upcoming patrol.
"We have no idea what our future may entail given world events in the Asia Pacific, but if our nation calls us to act, every Steelworker will be ready with the same courage as our namesake embodied.” Benson said, “we must uphold our duty to serve selflessly, strive to be the best in everything we do, and never give up regardless of what happens."
Stethem is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.