San Diego - On a day that was unusually cold and overcast for San Diego, the command of the USS Dubuque was passed from Captain Christopher E. Bolt to Lieutenant Commander Ivan A. Jimenez. LCDR Jimenez is a graduate of Fabens High School in El Paso, TX (1992) and of the University of Texas at El Paso (1997). The ship, one of the oldest in the Navy, is set to decommission this June.
Captain Bolt’s vision of showing his crew a traditional Naval ceremony was fully realized that day. Everything from the Sailors’ uniforms to the patriotic decorations and music was the same as it would have been almost 50 years ago, when the ship had her first change of command. The Dubuque has had 29 Commanding Officers since its commissioning in 1967. LCDR Jimenez will be the 30th and final commanding officer of the warship, and is the only one to hold a rank under that of Captain. The first ship he served on was the USS Cleveland, the Dubuque’s sister ship, which was commissioned only months before the Dubuque.
Lieutenant Commander Michael E. Foskett, Chaplain Corps, delivered the benediction and invocation for the ceremony. LCDR Foskett, a former Marine, served on the Dubuque during her final deployment. Also in attendance was Rear Admiral Earl L. Gay, the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group Three.
Upon decommissioning, the Dubuque will be towed to her final resting place in Bremerton, Washington. Her three biggest claims to fame are her extraction of the last operational Marine Corps helicopter from Vietnam in 1971, her presence in the first Amphibious Readiness Group on scene at the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, and her involvement in the takeover of the motor vessel Magellan Star in 2010. To the thousands of Marines, Sailors and even enemy prisoners of war who have called the Dubuque home over the past 43 years, however, she will be remembered for a lot more.