USS BOXER, At Sea - Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) held a change of command ceremony in the hangar bay while underway Jan. 11.
Capt. John E. Gumbleton relieved Capt. Kevin P. Flanagan as commanding officer.
Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, Rear Adm. Gerard P. Hueber, flew via helicopter to preside over the ceremony and award Flanagan with a Legion of Merit for his exceptional service as commanding officer.
Hueber thanked Flanagan for his work and added that the Boxer crew gets every job done.
"Boxer gets it done, plain and simple," said Hueber. "There are not many ships on the waterfront who need less help or any help at all than Boxer."
Flanagan expressed his feelings toward the change of command.
"The change of command is designed for the crew," said Flanagan. "I can't be any happier to do it underway."
Under Flanagan's leadership, Boxer successfully completed a Western Pacific Deployment and a nine-month Planned Maintenance Availability. Also, the ship was awarded the Retention Excellence Award for outstanding retention during fiscal year 2011 and the 2011 Battle Effectiveness Award (Battle "E"). His next assignment is at Naval Beach Group 1 in San Diego.
Flanagan expressed his thoughts on his duty aboard the ship.
"I would like to give you all a hearty well done for the last three years because this isn't about my accomplishments, this is about three years of your accomplishments," said Flanagan. "From the bottom of my heart, I'm not going to say thanks, I'm going to give you all a no kidding 'Bravo Zulu.' Well done, shipmates."
Gumbleton complimented Flanagan's ability to command the ship and her crew and said he looked forward to the future.
"Together I know we will meet every challenge, carry out any mission and defeat any enemy," said Gumbleton.
Hueber added his remarks about the ship's new commanding officer.
"I have the greatest respect for Captain Gumbleton professionally and personally," said Hueber. "I think you're all going to get an absolutely tremendous commanding officer." Gumbleton added he is looking forward to getting the ship ready for deployment later on this year.