EVERETT, Wash.--USS Gridley (DDG 101) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Everett on July 20.
Family, friends and ship’s crew were among the guests in attendance as Cmdr. Michael Mortensen turned over command to Cmdr. Joel Uzarski.
The ceremony honored the end of a 25-month tour on board for Mortensen. While Mortensen was in command, Gridley undocked from Vigor Shipyard in Seattle as part of a extended Docking Ship Restricted Availability (DSRA). The ship then went on to go underway several times to accomplish Basic Phase events. Gridley also hosted Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, to discuss a variety of topics with the crew.
Capt. Murzban Morris, the commodore of Destroyer Squadron 21, commended the crew on their completion of all recent Basic Phase certifications and wished the crew good luck on all upcoming inspections.
Emphasizing the long days in dry dock, Mortensen quoted Neil Armstrong’s famous line, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” He reflected on the many successes accomplished onboard Gridley throughout his tour and thanked the crew for their continued dedication and service.
“We have come a long way since the dry dock. You are all ready to perform at the next level, and I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of you,” said Mortensen.
Mortensen’s next duty assignment will be on the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) in Norfolk, Virginia.
Prior to assuming command, Uzarski served as the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) Mission Modules program executive officer, and served as the executive officer aboard Gridley since December 2016.
“It is my privilege to serve and lead this ship. I will put all my energy into this venture,” said Uzarski. “God bless you all. Fire when ready.”
USS Gridley was commissioned Feb. 10, 2007. She is named after Capt. Charles Vernon Gridley who command Adm. George Dewey’s flagship Olympia during the Battle of Manila Bay. Her current homeport is Everett.