SAN DIEGO, CA – Guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) held a change of command ceremony in the drydock of BAE Systems’ Shipyard, May 6th, 2011.
Cmdr. Kevin Brand turned over command of Benfold to Cmdr. David Oden in the ceremony, which took place under the ship’s propellers.
A part of the ship’s original crew when she was commissioned in 1996, known as a “plankowner,” Cmdr. Brand returned to Benfold twelve years later. Cmdr. Brand served first as Executive Officer and later took command on November 6, 2009. During his tenure, Benfold excelled. The ship and her crew completed a Western Pacific deployment, Rim of the Pacific international war games, Ballistic Missile Defense exercises, live missile firings, a training cycle, maintenance availabilities, a major ammunition offload, a grueling material inspection by the Board of Inspection and Survey, and many other missions.
In his farewell remarks he spoke of how appreciative and impressed he was of Benfold’s accomplishments during his command. “I don’t know of too many crews anywhere in the world who could have pulled off what you have accomplished.”
Cmdr. Oden was previously assigned as Benfold’s Executive Officer and is “fleeting up” as Commanding Officer in the midst of a major overhaul to the ship.
"I am very excited and humbled by this opportunity to command USS Benfold," said Oden. "I have an outstanding crew who is ready, willing, and able to take this great ship in harm’s way, and they are no doubt as eager to get her back in the water as I am.”