SOUTH CHINA SEA –
A time-honored change of command ceremony was held aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) while underway in the South China Sea, June 25.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Thomas Zerr assumed command of Kidd from Cmdr. Gabriel Varela., marking the end of three years of command for Varela.
“It is extremely bitter-sweet that I leave behind the greatest crew I’ve ever had the privilege to serve with,” said Varela. “Kidd has performed magnificently over the past three years that I’ve had the honor to be assigned to her, and you all have done everything that your country and I have asked of you.”
Before officially being relieved, Varela assured the crew of his confidence in Zerr as their new leader.
“I leave you all in the extremely capable hands of Cmdr. Zerr, the most competent and capable officer I have ever served with,” said Varela. “Under his charge, I have no doubt that Kidd will rise to the next level of performance.”
Zerr, who previously served as the ship's executive officer, opened his remarks by speaking of his humble beginnings that have shaped him as a leader. He also thanked his family, ship’s wardroom, chief's mess and crew for their support.
“I am incredibly excited to be your commanding officer, and I look forward anxiously to the hard work ahead,” said Zerr. “Together, we will continue to accomplish every mission and work together, and we will continue to set the standard even higher in proper Kidd fashion.”
Kidd, homeported in San Diego, is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.