By Lt.j.g Ashley Valanzola USS Howard (DDG 83) Public Affairs Officer
SAN DIEGO - USS Howard (DDG 83) held a change of command ceremony in San Diego Sept. 21. Cmdr. Ande Bergmann was relieved by Cmdr. David Zook with family and friends assembled on the flight deck.
The ceremony took place in the British Aerospace Electronic Dry Dock during a scheduled maintenance period.
The ceremony marked the end of an 18-month command tour for Bergmann. Prior to arriving aboard USS Howard, Bergmann served in USS Boxer (LHD 4) as the assault division officer from February 1996 to May 1998. Her follow on division officer tour was in USS Oldendorf (DD 972) where she was assigned as the combat information center officer from May 1998 to December 1999. Commander Bergmann’s department head tours were on USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Higgins (DDG 76) and USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) where she served as weapons officer and fleeted up to combat systems officer. She has made three deployments to the 5th fleet area of responsibility and one deployment in support of 7th fleet operations. She arrived aboard USS Howard (DDG 83) as executive officer February 2010 and fleeted up as the commanding officer March 2011. While in command of Howard, Bergmann led the ship during a Western Pacific and Middle East deployment, the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) material inspection, and the ship’s transition into a dry dock availability period.
During her speech, Bergmann expressed the reasons why she held the ceremony in dry dock as opposed to a location out of the industrial shipyard.
“Why here? It doesn’t look like much of a ship right now, but it was important for me to have the ceremony on the ship. Why today? Today is an important anniversary for me. Today is my 19th year anniversary in the Navy. I went to boot camp 19 years ago today.”
After thanking family, friends and Howard sponsors for their dedicated support during her tour she proceeded to speak of the crew.
“You set the bar high. We promoted 37 Sailors, 7 chief petty officers, and 5 senior chief petty officers. This sends the message that if you come to Howard, you will be successful. That is why this is the best ship in the world.”
Bergmann closed her speech with a quote from Arleigh Burke on destroyermen:
“Destroyermen have always been a proud people. They have been the elite. They have to be proud people and they have to be specially selected, for destroyer life is a rugged one. It takes physical stamina to stand up under the rigors of a tossing DD. It takes even more spiritual stamina to keep going with enthusiasm when you are tired and feel that you and your ship are being used as a workhorse. It is true that many people take destroyers for granted and that is all the more reason why destoyermen can be proud of their accomplishments.”
Bergmann’s next duty assignment is at the Navy Personnel Command in Washington, D.C.
Zook received his officer commission through ROTC at Northwestern University in 1995, where he earned degrees in History and International Studies. After graduation he reported to USS Princeton (CG 59) where he held positions as electrical, auxiliaries, and assistant operations officer. October 1998 he reported to Amphibious Squadron 3 serving as combat systems/assistant operations/plans and schedules officer and acted as supporting arms coordinator and liaison the 50th Marine Expeditionary Unit. In August 2000, he reported to the University of Michigan as an NROTC instructor. From 2003-2005, he served as chief engineer on USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) in Yokosuka, Japan. For his next tour, he reported as commanding officer patrol coastal crew bravo in 2005. Zook then served as senior staff officer for schedules and exercises to the Western Canadian Fleet as a part of the personnel exchange program. His last assignment before reporting to Howard as executive officer February 2011 was as flag secretary to Commander, Military Sealift Command.
In his remarks, Zook had a few words to share with the crew.
“Through your grace, strength, skill, and hard work Howard has performed as one of the best ships on the waterfront, I look forward to continuing that great tradition as we take Howard to even higher levels of war-fighting readiness.”
He ended by thanking family, friends, Howard sponsors and the crew adding:
“I am honored to be here before you today and I look forward to leading you as Howard stands together as warriors in the tradition of Marine Corps 1st Sergeant Jimmie Howard in the conflict that our Commander in Chief has called the ‘War for freedom from fear.’ Thank you.”