SAN DIEGO - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) held a change of command ceremony on Naval Base San Diego March 22 where Cmdr. Mike Weeldreyer turned over command to Cmdr. Ann McCann.
The guest speaker, Commodore Destroyer Squadron One Capt. Michael Elliott, praised Weeldreyer for his exceptional performance while in command.
"When I talk about a ship's crew, it is a reflection of the command leadership, and I couldn't have asked for a better triad," said Elliott. "The life, heart and breathe of the ship and crewmembers is a direct reflection of the commanding officer, and this is a phenomenal crew. I appreciate every single thing the crewmembers do on a daily basis."
The ceremony marked the end of a successful 20-month command tour for Weeldreyer on board both Halsey and Russell. While on board Halsey, he successfully oversaw the completion of a condensed training phase followed by a six-month deployment during which Halsey defended the sea lanes of communication while securing regional stability and peace near the Horn of Africa in the Gulf of Aden. Upon returning from deployment, Halsey conducted numerous operations to include torpedo testing and Tomahawk Missile Operational Test Launch 423. Throughout Weeldreyer's command tour, Halsey maintained active participation in Seattle Sea Fair, Santa Barbara Navy League 9/11 Honor and Remember Reception, Indiana Children's Make-A-Wish Fund, and, providing the backdrop for the filming of TNT's pilot, "The Last Ship". Halsey was awarded the Battle Efficiency Award for both 2011 and 2012 during Weeldreyer's command tour.
Beginning Jan. 8, 2013, Weeldreyer and the Halsey crew conducted a hull swap with Cmdr. Gary Cave and Russell. On Jan. 25, 2013, Weeldreyer assumed command of Russell. Following the hull swap, Russell entered a maintenance phase. Weeldreyer's follow-on duty will be to the Chief of Naval Operations, N96 Surface Warfare Staff.
"It has been an honor and privilege to serve with this crew, and an absolute joy to watch this team's talent and hard work achieve victory after victory," said Weeldreyer. "I look forward to hearing about their future accomplishments."
McCann, a native of Clearfield, Utah, is a 1996 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a 2007 graduate of the Naval Command and Staff program at the Naval War College with a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
After receiving her commission, McCann was assigned to USS Hayler (DD 997), where she served as Electronic Warfare Officer and Strike Officer. Other operational assignments include Navigator and Administrative Officer aboard USS Ashland (LSD 48), Operations Officer aboard USS Porter (DDG 78) and Operations Officer for Commander, Destroyer Squadron Fifty. McCann's most recent tour was as Executive Officer aboard USS Halsey under Weeldreyer.
"It is a tremendous honor to be entrusted with this ship and her crew," said McCann. "I look forward to my tenure as commanding officer."
Russell is currently scheduled to enter an extended maintenance phase in the summer of 2013 and will commence unit level training in early 2014.
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