SAN DIEGO - USS Milius (DDG 69) held a change of command ceremony today. CDR Nicholie Bufkin turned over command of the guided ballistic missile destroyer to CDR Stephen Shedd.
The ceremony marked the end of a very successful 18-month command tour for Bufkin. She led Milius through an 8-month independent deployment in support of maritime security operations and ballistic missile defense. During the deployment, the crew interacted extensively with several foreign navies in the Fifth and Seventh Fleet areas of operation.
During this period, Milius established sea control and maritime domain awareness with daily patrols throughout the Persian Gulf. Milius worked at length with allied forces and participated in maritime security operations, enhancing relationships with foreign coastal states and providing security to local merchantmen. Milius also participated in numerous joint exercises with foreign navies and United States Air Force and Army forces. In addition, Milius earned the reputation as the finest ballistic missile defense ship in Fifth Fleet while on station and set the precedent for maintaining the SPY radar in an enhanced state of readiness.
“My time on Milius has gone by incredibly fast. It has been an extremely satisfying experience because of the never-ending efforts of my officers and crew in succeeding at every challenge. From a major material inspection (INSURV), to basic and intermediate training, to deployment – they are always working hard and making the ship better,” said CDR Bufkin. “It is with great pride in the ship and her crew’s accomplishments that I turn over.”
CDR Bufkin’s next tour will be on the staff of Commander Carrier Strike Group Eleven stationed out of Bremerton, Washington.
CDR Shedd, incoming Commanding Officer, is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and Naval Postgraduate School where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering and a Master of Science in Computer Science. He previously completed sea tours as South Asia/Oceania Policy and Exercise Officer on the staff of U.S. Seventh Fleet embarked aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), Combat Systems Officer and Commissioning Weapons Officer in USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), Tomahawk Mission Planner at Afloat Planning System Pacific (APSPAC) with concurrent assignment as OIC of the Carrier Group Five APS Detachment embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), and Damage Control Assistant in USS O’Brien (DD 975). He recently completed the Executive Officer portion of his Fleet-up tour onboard USS Milius.
“I’m a fan of our Fleet-up career path,” said CDR Shedd. “There are no surprises as I take command. I’ve had ownership in the challenges and successes we’ve had over the last 18 months, the crew knows me, I know them and now it’s time to get back to work.”
CDR Shedd will lead MILIUS through an extensive mid-life overhaul over the next several months as part of the AEGIS destroyer mid-life overhaul process.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us during this overhaul,” commented Shedd, “but I wouldn’t want to go through it with any other crew in the U.S. Navy. The high caliber of Sailors I have aboard amazes me.”
USS Milius is in Destroyer Squadron 21.