SAN DIEGO – Guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson hosted a change of command ceremony Sept. 15, while moored at Naval Base San Diego.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Timothy LaBenz relieved Cmdr. Scott Patrick O’Mahoney as the ship’s commanding officer.
The guest list consisted of all 325 Sampson Sailors and honored guests such as guest speaker Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Capt. Bill Daly, Destroyer Squadron 23 Deputy Commodore, and the ship’s sponsor, Clara Parsons, great granddaughter of the ship’s namesake, Rear Adm. William Sampson.
The event signified the end of a tour for O’Mahoney who served as commanding officer from June 2015 to September 2016. During O’Mahoney’s speech, he specifically stressed the importance of teamwork, acknowledging the Sailors and civilian maintenance community that got Sampson to where it is today.
“It takes an exceptional amount of teamwork to succeed in what we do, an incredible amount of patience, and an immeasurable amount of energy just to keep up with the intense lifecycle of a ship,” O’Mahoney said.
He focused on the high level of expertise that exists on Sampson not only in the Chief’s Mess and the Wardroom, but most importantly on the deck plates.
“Over the last three years I have witnessed a crew that has stopped at nothing short of excellence,” he continued. “Inspired at every juncture, I have felt fortunate to be part of such an exceptional team of patriots.”
O’Mahoney will continue on to Newport, Rhode Island for his next assignment as an instructor at the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS).
LaBenz, who served as Sampson’s executive officer since April 2015, expressed his sincere thanks to O’Mahoney for inspiring the crew and building upon the strong Sampson legacy.
“You (O’Mahoney) have led Sampson in achieving remarkable results during the three years you dedicated to Sampson and her crew,” said LaBenz. “You anchored success in ownership, training, and maintenance, tenets that make Sampson the finest ship she is today.”
LaBenz addressed the crew and expressed his expectations of “setting the example, pursing excellence, and proving ourselves everyday” he reflected on the privilege it was to be assuming command from someone like O’Mahoney.
Sampson is currently in the basic phase training cycle. She is the fourth ship named after Sampson and is optimized for helicopter operations and warfare areas such as anti-submarine, surface, air, and strike.