By Ensign Erik M. Selberg, Vandegrift Public Affairs Officer
SEMBAWANG, Republic of Singapore – The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) held a change of command ceremony while in Singapore.
Cmdr. Joseph R. Darlak relieved Cmdr. Brandon S. Bryan as commanding officer.
Bryan moves on to his next tour at the Naval Mine and Anti-submarine Warfare Command in San Diego, and said his time on Vandegrift will not soon be forgotten.
"While it is certainly bittersweet for me to leave Vandegrift, I am so honored to have served with the finest crew in the Navy," said Bryan. "Looking back on everything the ship has accomplished over the past year and a half, I could not be more proud of this crew."
Darlak was born in North Tonawanda, N.Y., attended Rochelle Township High School, and graduated from Clarence Central High School in 1986. He received his commission after graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1990. He assumed command of Mine Warfare Training Center April 9, 2009 in Ingleside, Texas and completed command realignment to San Diego in March 2010. Darlak is now resides in Coronado, California.
Darlak becomes Vandegrift’s seventeenth commanding officer and said he is ready to lead Vandegrift into the next phase.
"It is an incredible and humbling honor to assume command of this great warship," said Darlak. "I am excited and eagerly looking forward to leading this outstanding crew during the remainder of our current deployment and beyond."
“Vandegrift Sailors can be with all certainty, justifiably proud of the important work they are doing,” said Commander, Naval Forces Korea, Rear Adm. William McQuilkin.
Vandegrift deployed in May 2012 and is in Singapore participating in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2012. CARAT is a series of bilateral military exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste.