SAN DIEGO - Amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) held a change of command ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum, Dec. 6.
Capt. Paul C. Spedero Jr. assumed command from Capt. John D. Deehr.
Command Master Chief David Dearie, who served as Peleliu's command master chief under Deehr's command, spoke of Deehr's leadership while delivering the opening remarks.
"If you were to allow me to paint a simple picture about the man, who for the past three-years influenced us all, the humility, passion, and high standards that Captain Deehr displays are infectious and Peleliu could not ask for a better leader," said Dearie, currently assigned to Commander, Navy Region Southwest. "He creates an atmosphere through his leadership that pushes Sailors to perform better."
Deehr thanked friends and family for years of support and concluded by addressing the crew.
"You've provided me with unbelievable support and dedication over the past three-years. It has been a privilege and absolutely my greatest honor to be your 22nd commanding officer. I will forever be in debt to each and every one of you for the sacrifices you made in order to successfully accomplish the mission. Because of your dedication I know you will continue to provide Captain Spedero the same support. I look forward to reading about all of your future successes," said Deehr.
Deehr ended his speech by reading his official orders. Once completed he ceremoniously turned over command to Spedero whom read his official orders as well.
"Today I've been blessed with tremendous opportunity to command a ship with a proud name and a distinguished history," said Spedero. "More importantly I've been given the opportunity to lead the best crew on any ship in any Navy. I am honored by this opportunity and humbled by the confidence placed in me."
Capt. Spedero is reporting after a tour as USS Carl Vinson's (CVN 70) executive officer.
Deehr served as Peleliu's executive officer from Dec. 18, 2010 to June 21, 2012 prior to assuming the position of commanding officer. As commanding officer he prepared the ship for a Western Pacific deployment to the U.S. 7th and 5th fleet areas of operations from September 2012 to May 2013.
"Finally, to the officers and crew of the USS Peleliu, I could stand up here and talk for over an hour of all of your accomplishments during my three-years on board as XO and CO," Deehr said. "Very briefly let me remind you, you completed all your inspections, and maintained all required certifications. You got Peleliu underway on time, every time. We steamed and navigated in total, during my time on board as XO and CO, more than 100,000 nautical miles, and safely transited the world's most dangerous waterways without an incident. Ultimately you answered the nation's call when the phone rang."
Deehr will report as the commanding officer of Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at the University of Washington in Seattle Jan. 6.
"As I depart Peleliu, and you continue our legacy I would like our Sailors and Marines to remember a few things," said Deehr. "What you do as a member of the United States military is special. The fact that you wear the cloth of our nation makes you special."