by Ensign Sean A. Brophy, USS Lassen Public Affairs
– At Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, USS Lassen (DDG 82) marked her sixth Change of Command ceremony on Dec. 17, 2010. Commander Hung B. Le turned over his duties as commanding officer to Commander Walter C. Wrye IV. Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk, and Commander, Task Force 70 Rear Adm. Dan Cloyd were in attendance for the ceremony. Captain William Wagner, Commodore, Destroyer Squadron Fifteen, was the guest speaker at the ceremony and awarded Cmdr. Le the Meritorious Service Medal for his leadership and actions as Lassen’s commanding officer.
Assuming command of Lassen in April 2009, Cmdr. Le led his crew of 300 sailors and embarked helicopter detachment through a successful tour, excelling in numerous multinational and joint exercises, real-world operations, and exchanges with foreign militaries. Lassen was recognized as one of the finest warships in Seventh Fleet earlier this year by earning the 2009 Commander, Naval Surface Forces Battle Effectiveness Award. In the entire surface fleet, only 36 of 168 ships qualified and only 27 ships were awarded the Battle "E" for 2009. Reflecting on his experiences in Lassen, Cmdr. Le remarked, “Lassen has excelled because of her officers and crew—I’ve been the beneficiary of a great team. I'm proud to be their shipmate and will cherish the memories of serving with them in a region of the world where our actions clearly make a positive impact every day.”
Over the past 20 months, Lassen had the opportunity to make port calls to several countries in the Western Pacific, including Cmdr. Le’s native country, Vietnam. Born in Hue, Vietnam, he was raised in Northern Virginia, where he graduated as valedictorian from Gar-Field Senior High School in Woodbridge, VA. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated with merit in May 1992, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. Cmdr. Le has served in USS Ticonderoga (CG 47), USS Wasp (LHD 1), USS Hue City (CG 66) and as Executive Officer in USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. His staff assignments included tours in the Requirements, Policy, and Experimentation (N8/9) directorate at U.S. Second Fleet and in the Joint Training (J-7) directorate at U.S. Joint Forces Command.
Cmdr. Le graduated with distinction from the Naval Postgraduate School with a Master of Science degree in Operations Research. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree summa cum laude from Touro University International and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College Non-resident Seminar Program and of the Joint Forces Staff College. Cmdr. Le’s next assignment will be as the Executive Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Wrye congratulated Cmdr. Le on his successful tour and thanked him for turning over a great warship and remarkable crew. “I look forward to joining the Lassen and her crew as we continue to execute the missions of the Navy and build alliances in the Western Pacific.”
Cmdr. Chip Wrye hails from Plymouth, Massachusetts and earned his commission from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1993. After initial training, Cmdr. Wrye reported aboard USS Arkansas (CGN 41) where he served in Engineering Department and then subsequently as First Lieutenant, deploying in support of Operation Desert Strike. He later served in USS McInerney (FFG 8) as Combat Systems Officer, deploying in 2001 to the Eastern Pacific in support of counter narcotics operations, and then served in USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) as Reactor Electrical Assistant, participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. His most recent sea tour was in USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) where he served as Executive Officer while forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. Ashore, Cmdr. Wrye served as an instructor at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, UK and as the Surface Nuclear Officer Community Manager at the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Millington, TN. He recently completed an assignment as Executive Officer at the Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission (Navy) in Umm Qasr, Iraq.
Cmdr. Wrye holds a Masters of Science in National Security Affairs from the United States Naval War College, a Masters of Science in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas and a Bachelors of Science in Ocean Engineering from the United States Naval Academy.
Approximately 200 participants and guests were present for the Change of Command. A reception was held following the ceremony to welcome Cmdr. Wrye as Lassen’s new commanding officer and to honor Cmdr. Le’s successful tour. With the Change of Command complete, Lassen soon will begin a Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) in preparation for her next deployment.