SASEBO, Japan - USS Denver (LPD 9) held a change of command ceremony aboard the ship Oct. 24 while in its homeport of Sasebo.
Capt. Michael Donnelly relieved Capt. Kevin P. Lenox as commanding officer, becoming the 31st commanding officer of Denver since the ship's commissioning in 1968.
"I am extremely humbled to have the opportunity to lead Denver through the opportunities and challenges ahead," said Donnelly. "As part of America's forward deployed forces, Denver and her crew-with the U.S. Marine Corps-play a unique role in maintaining a constant national presence with demonstrated military capability and seamless interoperability with our regional allies. She has over 45 years of bold legacy, with a current crew that has achieved a multitude of recent accomplishments. I look forward to continuing this great tradition with Denver."
Capt. Michael "Buzz" Donnelly is a native of Kent Island, Md. In 1989, he graduated with a bachelor of mechanical engineering degree from Villanova University and was commissioned via the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC). He holds a master of arts in national security studies and strategic affairs from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
The ceremony brought to a close a successful 12-month command tour for Lenox. During that time Denver completed a seven-month maintenance availability period and steamed to Okinawa, the coast of Australia, and Timor-Leste (East Timor) in support of joint-force exercises and operations with the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Readiness Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Denver conducted exercise Koolendong, the 31st MEU's certification exercise (CERTEX), and Talisman Saber 2013.
"I am incredibly proud of the success of this crew," said Lenox. "Every challenge [the crew] faced on this patrol, from material challenges to long hours to schedule uncertainty; they met each with resolve and high spirits. It's humbling to have led such a capable crew and I'm proud I brought every single one of them home to Sasebo after our successes this year."
Lenox's next assignment will be as Director, Missile Warning Center at the USSTRATCOM Combat Operation Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Denver reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald and is part of the Bonhomme Richard ARG.