SAN DIEGO – The officers and crew of USS Milius (DDG 69) attended a change of command ceremony while in homeport at Naval Base San Diego, May 2.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Michael J. Rak assumed command of Milius from Cmdr. Stephen F. Shedd.
The ceremony marked the end of a very successful 18-month command tour for Shedd. He led Milius through a 12-month Extended Dry-docking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) and initial basic phase training cycle events.
During EDSRA, Milius was placed out of the water in a dry dock and received extensive repairs and maintenance to the hull, sonar system, engineering plant, shaft and propellers, and various combat system suites. The maintenance period served as Milius’ mid-life overhaul and was the first dry-dock in twelve years.
The basic phase training cycle is a series of certifications and inspections that encompasses all missions of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The crew must display materiel readiness and crew proficiency in missions ranging from basic seamanship to advanced war fighting and integrated exercises.
Shedd first came to Milius as the executive officer and completed a successful 5th and 7th Fleet ballistic missile defense deployment.
Upon completing his executive officer tour, he “fleeted up” and became the commanding officer in November 2012.
“I continue to be a huge fan of the fleet-up program,” said Shedd. “The corporate knowledge built over three years is enormous and benefits the readiness of the ship. I am proud of the crew. I am proud of the ship.”
Shedd’s next tour will be going to Joint Force Component Command – Integrated Missile Defense located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Rak is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and Naval Postgraduate School where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation, his United States Coast Guard Third Mates License, and a Master’s degree in National Security Affairs.
His operational assignments include division officer tours as electrical officer and first lieutenant on board USS Cape St. George (CG 73) and Navigator on board USS Elrod (FFG 55). He served consecutive department head tours as chief engineer on USS Mustin (DDG 89) and USS San Jacinto (CG 56).
Rak completed a tour at U.S. Joint Forces Command in the Resources, Requirements and Analysis Directorate. He served as aide to Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic and also as Deputy Director of the Vice Adm. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at United States Naval Academy. He recently completed the executive officer portion of his fleet-up tour on board Milius.
Rak will lead Milius through the completion of her integrated training cycle and afterwards a deployment in support of ballistic missile defense.
His comments to the Milius crew underscored the traditional and unique responsibilities inherent to destroyer Sailors.
“We are Destroyermen. No one else in the Navy does what we do. We train to fight, and we operate forward, often alone,” said Rak. “Destroyer Sailors don’t sit back. We are aggressive and proactive at every rank. We expect each other to always have a bias toward action and we stand on the legacy of not only Paul Milius, but on those Destroyermen who have sailed before us.”