USS Harpers Ferry
"First In Freedom"
USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) held a change of command ceremony on Naval Base San Diego
USS Harpers Ferry Change of Command
SAN DIEGO - The amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) held a change of command ceremony on Naval Base San Diego, Apr. 11. Cmdr. Brian Edgar Delaney turned over command of the amphibious ship to Cmdr. Stephen James Ilteris.

The ceremony was an important landmark for Delaney. Due to a motorcycle accident, he became paralyzed and was placed in the Intensive Care Unit for over a month. Delaney was unable to turn over command in January as originally planned, however after months of recovery and being able to adjust to his new life, Delaney was able to participate in the ceremony.

Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Vice Adm. Tom Copeman attended the ceremony as the guest of honor. Copeman recognized Delaney for his years of sea service and his leadership.

“You have taken on the hard task” Copeman said to Delaney. “You are a true mariner.”

The ceremony marked the end of a successful 37-month tour aboard Harpers Ferry for Delaney, with 20 months as the executive officer and 17 months as commanding officer. He led Harpers Ferry through an 18-month Extended Docking Phase Maintenance Avail (EDPMA). During this period, Harpers Ferry completed a complete overhaul of over 200 systems, worth more than $20 million.

“You are the best there is at what you do,” said Delaney. “Focus on the here and now because that’s what is most important.”

The crew joined together and gave a robust and hearty “Guns Up” for their departing commanding officer. “Guns Up” is his ship’s motto.

Ilteris is a 1996 graduate of Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Marine Engineering. He also earned a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He completed sea tours aboard USS Cleveland (LPD 7) as Operations Division Officer, USS Hue City (CG 66) as the Engineering Maintenance and Training Officer, USS Tortuga (LSD 46) as the Chief Engineer and USS Guardian (MCM 5) as the Executive Officer. He also served as J35, Future Operations Plans Division, United States Strategic Command. He then served as the Harpers Ferry Executive Officer and fleeted up to Commanding Officer in November 2012.

“To the officers and crew of Harpers Ferry, it has been a pleasure and honor being your commanding officer” said Ilteris. “I look forward to continuing to be your commanding officer and maintaining Harpers Ferry’s reputation as the best and fastest LSD in the fleet”.

Harpers Ferry is part of the Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group and is scheduled to deploy in August 2013.

For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit or follow the Surface Force at; and on Twitter, @surfacewarriors 
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