SAN DIEGO - Command of the guided missile destroyer USS BENFOLD passed from Cmdr Rich Lebron to Cmdr Michele Day in the traditional change of command ceremony on March 14.
A large audience of family, friends, and Navy and civilian dignitaries assembled Friday to watch the guard shift from Cmdr Lebron to Cmdr Day, but for the crew the ceremony was especially significant.
Only days earlier the BENFOLD moved from pier 3 at the British Aerospace Engineering Shipyard to pier 10 of Naval Base San Diego as the ship transitioned past the midway point of an ambitious overhaul and combat systems upgrade. The Deck Division worked nearly round the clock scraping away rust and applying paint after a mass of scaffolding and cables was removed, demonstrating the tremendous dedication BENFOLD's sailors have to their ship and their leadership.
Cmdr Lebron leaves the BENFOLD after leading her through a Fifth Fleet deployment, FTM-19, and finally starting the CNO Availability upon returning to port.
Cmdr Lebron lauded the crew when he said “As Isaac Newton once remarked, If I have seen further, it’s because I stand on the shoulders of Giants. Team BENFOLD, you are truly giants and I thank you for lifting me up on your broad shoulders these past three years.”
Cmdr Lebron will continue making waves as a Surface Warfare Officer ashore and looks forward to returning to sea.
Cmdr Day, already well acquainted with BENFOLD and esteemed by its crew, discussed both her excitement and vision for BENFOLD's future, stating, "It is an honor to serve with this amazing crew and I look forward to growing as a team."
At the completion of BENFOLD's maintenance period, Cmdr Day will command the second Navy warship to be outfitted with the highly capable Aegis Baseline 9 Combat Weapon System in its primary mission area; Ballistic Missile Defense. For the latest USS BENFOLD (DDG 65) news visit www.benfold.navy.mil