SAN DIEGO - Amphibious transport ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) held a change of command ceremony aboard the USS Midway Museum July 30.
Capt. Carl W. Meuser relieved Capt. John V. Menoni as commanding officer.
While addressing the guests of the ceremony Menoni gave all of the credit to his Sailors and embarked Marines.
“Those people standing in the back, that group that represents the San Diego Navy and Marine Corps team is the best operational team out there, there’s nothing they couldn’t do,” said Menoni. “We weren’t perfect, nobody ever said we were, but as a team we accomplished great things.”
Menoni, San Diego's fourth commanding officer, began his tour as the ship’s executive officer in November 2012 and assumed command Feb. 7, 2014. Under Menoni's command, San Diego reached many milestones including an Underway Recovery Test (URT) for NASA's Orion Program and a successful maiden deployment.
“Commanding a ship at sea is the ultimate test of leadership and character, and that test for Capt. Menoni was a little bit harder onboard San Diego as he got the chance to take on a maiden deployment,” said Commander Amphibious Squadron Five, Capt. Stephen McKone, the ceremony’s guest speaker. “He had to build a culture of operational excellence that is normally already a part of a deployment tested ship and crew, and I can tell you that he succeeded brilliantly.”
Meuser, a native of Manchester, Okla., enlisted in the Navy in 1986. Designated as a Navy Journalist, he served at the Navy Broadcasting Detachment in Keflavik, Iceland, and as the independent duty journalist on USS Portland (LSD 37). In 1988, he was awarded a Naval Reserves Officers Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship to the University of Oklahoma where he graduated and was commissioned in 1991.
“I look forward to go down to the sea with our ship, in the prime of our lives and doing something bigger than ourselves, something of which we can be proud of for the rest of our lives. I look forward to go to sea with you all,” said Meuser. “I’m thrilled to be the commanding officer of USS San Diego; it’s a fantastic ship and the best crew I’ve ever served with.”
Meuser’s tours of duty include USS O’Brien (DD 975), USS Port Royal (CG 73), and Officer-in-Charge of Afloat Planning Systems Team Two. He served as Executive Officer of USS Antietam (CG 54) and Commanding Officer of USS Higgins (DDG 76).
San Diego, the fourth ship to bear the name, is currently moored at BAE Systems San Diego shipyard for an extended maintenance period.
San Diego, the only U.S. Navy ship stationed in her namesake city, was built at Northrop Grumman's Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and is the sixth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. Delivered to the U.S. Navy on Dec. 19, 2011, the ship was commissioned on May 19, 2012 in San Diego.