PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) held a change of command ceremony at Bravo Pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Dec. 17.
Cmdr. Matthew Hall relieved Cmdr. Andrew Thomson as commanding officer of John Paul Jones.
Thomson expressed how proud he is of having had the opportunity to be in command of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and to work with some of the finest Sailors in the fleet.
"My time here in John Paul Jones has been nothing short of fantastic. What we did here to install, test and operate the Navy's newest Aegis baseline is remarkable. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of and lead such a fine crew," said Thomson.
In command since June 21, 2013, Thomson led the ship and crew through a demanding training cycle and modernization program. During Thomson's tenure in command, the ship was awarded the Capt. Edward F. Ney Award for Food Service Excellence. Furthermore, the team sailed more than 60,000 nautical miles while conducting various unit level training and certification events, an inspection by the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) and conducted combat systems qualification trials, including four live-fire exercises in support of the Aegis Baseline 9C development and certification program.
During the ceremony, Thomson was awarded a Meritorious Commendation Medal for his successes in command of John Paul Jones from June 2013 to December 2014. Thomson will report to Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems for his next assignment.
Hall, who recently completed his executive officer tour aboard John Paul Jones, thanked Thomson for his guidance and leadership and called Thomson a "peerless professional" who he was honored to relieve.
Hall then addressed the crew on their future under his command.
"The combat potential of this destroyer means little without the men and women of this crew. You bring life and credibility to all that we do; you are the soul of this ship," said Hall.
"I thank you for the professionalism, dedication and commitment that has brought our team to this point. I am truly humbled by the opportunity to serve as your commanding officer and I look forward to the challenges and adventures that lie ahead."
John Paul Jones is the third Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the first to be homeported on the West Coast. John Paul Jones is the first guided-missile destroyer to receive the latest Commercial Off-the-Shelf open architecture computing infrastructure, SPY-1D transmitter upgrades, and Multi-Mission Signal Processor. Together, these upgrades provide the backbone for the new Baseline 9C, which will soon be implemented throughout the surface fleet.
In August, John Paul Jones conducted a change of homeport to Pearl Harbor, where she remains a part of Destroyer Squadron 23.