SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors stood in formation on the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) while pierside at Naval Base San Diego to take part the time-honored Navy tradition of a change of command ceremony, Aug.8.
With the traditional exchange of salutes, Cmdr. Shawn Johnston turned over command of the newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship to Cmdr. Peter Kim.
Capt. Randy Garner, commander of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1, presided over the ceremony and Capt. Ryan Tillotson, commander of Destroyer Squadron 14, served as the guest speaker.
The ceremony marked the end of a very successful 34-month command tour of 'The Royal Punch' for Johnston. He led the gold crew/LCS crew 204, one of Coronado's two pre-commissioning crews, through an extensive fleet introduction process.
Highlights of his tour included hosting the ship's commissioning ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island in April with more than 5,000 guests in attendance, final contract trials, successful execution of a busy underway schedule in support of combat systems ship qualification trials, and the first developmental testing of the surface warfare mission package aboard an Independence-variant littoral combat ship.
Additionally, the crew interacted closely with allied and partner navies during the multi-national Rim of Pacific 2014 exercise where Coronado showcased innovative employment concepts for explosive ordnance disposal dive teams and U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance teams.
"I will always remember my time as the commanding officer of 'The Royal Punch' and Coronado as a challenging and rewarding experience," said Johnston. "The efforts of the crew inspired me on a daily basis and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead and serve alongside such a dedicated group of Sailors."
Johnston said that he would miss the group athletic events and small crew camaraderie most of all.
"I am leaving behind a great group of Sailors and feel confident that 'The Royal Punch' and Coronado rests in good hands," said Johnston.
Johnston's next tour will be as part of the LCS requirements shop in the Chief of Naval Operations Surface Warfare Directorate (OPNAV N96) in Washington, D.C., after completing a 10-week joint professional military education course student at the Joint Force Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.
Kim most recently served as the executive officer on board Coronado.
"It is truly an honor to take command of LCS Crew 204 and Coronado," said Kim. "I have thoroughly enjoyed working with this fine crew as the executive officer and I look forward to the exciting times ahead."
Coronado is currently continuing core seaframe initial testing and surface warfare mission package developmental tests and will undergo an extensive post-shakedown availability later this fall. Coronado is currently moored at its homeport of Naval Base San Diego and is assigned as part of LCS Squadron 1.