USS Ralph Johnson Holds Change of Command Ceremony
Navy file photo

EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) –USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) held a change of command ceremony July 3 at Naval Station Everett.

During the ceremony, Cmdr. Jason Patterson turned over command of the guided-missile destroyer to Cmdr. Casey Mahon.

As commanding officer, Patterson led Ralph Johnson through precommissioning, delivery, and acceptance trials including crew certifications in engineering, force protection, seamanship, and combat systems. The ship and crew arrived in Everett on April 27.

"It’s been a tremendous honor to be the first commanding officer [of the ship] named after an American hero such as Pvt. 1st Class Ralph Johnson, “said Patterson. "The crew of Ralph Johnson has simply done an amazing job commissioning a ship reading to fight."

Prior to assuming command of Ralph Johnson in July 2016, Patterson served as assistant chief of staff for cruiser/destroyer readiness for Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Mahon, joined the Ralph Johnson crew in Feb. 2016 as executive officer. A native of Syracuse, New York, Mahon graduated from Norwich University in 2001. He received his commission through the Norwich Naval ROTC Program. He completed sea tours aboard USS Mahan (DDG 72), USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). He also commanded USS Zephyr (PC 8), USS Typhoon (PC 5), USS Monsoon (PC 4), and USS Firebolt (PC 10) as the commanding officer of Patrol Craft Crew Foxtrot.

The Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Ralph Johnson was commissioned in a ceremony at Charleston, South Carolina, March 24. The ship is named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Pvt. 1st Class Ralph Johnson. During the Vietnam War, Johnson smothered a grenade with his body, absorbing the majority of the blast. He was killed instantly, but saved the lives of his fellow Marines.

Ralph Johnson is en route to Naval Base San Diego to conduct combat systems and weapons testing as the final acceptance trial prior to fully entering U.S. naval service.

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