EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) – Capt. Kyle J. Colton relieved Capt. Douglas W. Kunzman as commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 during a change of command ceremony Feb. 9 aboard Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG-100) at Naval Station Everett.
Kunzman served as commander since Aug. 2016, performing an integral part in the integration of DESRON 9 with the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68), Carrier Air Wing Eleven (CVW-11) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59).
“From the moment I met him, I knew that I was looking at a true leader,” commented Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, the guest speaker during the ceremony. “For 38 years he has worked hard, tirelessly earning a reputation as somebody that’s willing to do what it takes to get the job done and get the job done well.”
After Harris’ speech, Kunzman was presented the Legion of Merit, recognizing Kunzman’s exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service since the beginning of his leadership of DESRON 9.
Kunzman then gave his remarks regarding his time at DESRON 9, specifically recognizing all of the Sailors within the squadron.
“The Sailors around us today are amazing men and women that deserve our best, all of us, for all the right reasons," said Kunzman. "Destroyer Squadron 9 is no exception. They are the best.”
Kunzman also recognized his relief, noting that DESRON 9 was being left in good hands and thanking Colton for his service as deputy commander.
“For my relief Kyle, thank your for your timeless dedication and heartfelt leadership as you were truly a co-commander of DESRON 9," said Kunzman. "We did it together. You deliver results everyday with loyalty and care and as we faced extraordinary challenges and obstacles and as we molded DESRON 9 into a team ready to fight and exceed the nation’s call.”
Reading of orders then commenced and Kunzman was officially relieved by Colton as commander. Colton proceeded to the podium and addressed the DESRON 9 team as its new commander, now responsible for the crew, training and material readiness of six guided-missile destroyers and the tactical execution of Sea Combat Commander duties within the Nimitz Strike Group.
“To the Sailors of DESRON 9, it is my honor and privilege to be your commodore, thank you.”