SAN DIEGO - The officers and crew stood in formation on the flight deck as command of the guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) officially changed during a pierside ceremony at Naval Base San Diego, March 3.
With the traditional exchange of salutes, Capt. Timothy Kott turned over command of the Ticonderoga-class cruiser to Capt. Sean McLaren.
The ceremony’s guest speaker, Rear Adm. Ronald A. Boxall, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Three, praised Kott for his commitment and actions during his speech to the attendees.
“Under his command, Mobile Bay has performed to the highest standard in everything that they have done as noted by the strong waterfront and strike group reputation that the ship has earned,” said Boxall. “You will leave with the pride of knowing that you did your duty, that you served your crew, your Navy, and your nation with honor. And most importantly, you brought your Sailors safely home.”
The ceremony marked the end of a very successful 24-month command tour for Kott. He led Mobile Bay and her crew through completion of a 2013 surge deployment to U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations, seven months of sustainment operations, an eight-month Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) selected restricted availability, and oversaw the certification of Mobile Bay in numerous training events.
Under his inspirational leadership, Mobile Bay was one of the most decorated ships in the Pacific Fleet, earning two consecutive Battle Efficiency Awards, two unit tactics awards, the CNO’s Safety Award, the Secretary of the Navy Safety Award, and two consecutive Retention Excellence Awards.
Kott said that he would miss working for the dedicated and talented men and women who make the Mobile Bay the great ship she is most of all.
In his speech, he credited the hard work of the crew, especially those who arrived as seamen or firemen and will leave as first and second class surface warfare qualified petty officers.
“You will not find 377 finer young Americans anywhere else. They represent the best of our service and country,” said Kott. “Through every challenge faced, including a crew returning from back to back deployments in 2013, the greatest compliment ever made about Mobile Bay was about the quality and resiliency of her crew.”
Kott's next tour will be on the CNO Staff, Programming Division as Head of Programming Planning and Development Branch (OPNAV N801).
McLaren most recently served at the Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers, Europe in Mons, Belgium.
"I started my sea duty career as a cruiser Sailor in San Diego. In a lot of ways, this is my career coming full circle," said McLaren. "I am excited and eager to get to work."
Mobile Bay is currently undergoing advanced phase workups for a future deployment. Mobile Bay is assigned to the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group and Commander, Carrier Strike Group Three.