SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) held a change of command ceremony on the flight deck of the ship April 24.
Capt. Jeffrey A. Ward relieved Capt. Murray J. Tynch during the ceremony.
Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, the guest speaker at the ceremony, had high praise for the work Tynch had done while in command.
"Looking back on my commanding tours, I always wanted to leave the command better than when I arrived," said Wetherald. "And, as I look back on Capt. Tynch's tour, he clearly had the same belief. Bonhomme Richard is truly a better ship for his efforts."
Since assuming command of Bonhomme Richard in October 2013, Tynch led the crew through two deployments in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, completing several multinational training exercises and ensuring the Navy maintained an amphibious presence in 7th Fleet. Under Tynch's command, Bonhomme Richard was the 2014 recipient of the Navy's Battle Efficiency Award.
Tynch praised the crew for their unparalleled dedication to duty during his tenure.
"In my 27 years (in the Navy), I'm most proud of my Bonhomme Richard crew and what we've accomplished as a team," said Tynch. "I'll remember Bonhomme Richard for the spirit, positive energy and motivation the crew's brought to me the past three years. I'm the luckiest captain in the Navy and I thank you."
During the ceremony, Tynch, who will continue his naval service at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, was presented with the Legion of Merit for his performance as commanding officer from October 2013 to April 2015.
Ward officially assumed the title of commanding officer after orders were read and salutes rendered.
Ward served as Bonhomme Richard's executive officer from October 2013 to April 2015.
"This ship has done great things throughout the years and will continue to do great things," said Ward. "I'm honored today to take command of this warship and its incredible crew."
Bonhomme Richard, the lead ship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, is currently in port making preparations for her next deployment in U.S. 7th Fleet.