USS Boxer
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Hopkins, USS Boxer Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) held a change of command ceremony in the ship's hangar bay Jan. 22.

Capt. Frank J. Michael relieved Capt. Mark E. Cedrun as commanding officer.

Michael, a former SH-60B Seahawk helicopter pilot, has served in a variety of assignments during his 20-year career, including maintenance officer for Helicopter Squadron Light (HSL) Squadron 32, flight instructor and administrative officer for Helicopter Training Squadron 18, and commanding officer of HSL 47 before reporting to Boxer in August 2008 to serve as executive officer under Cedrun. In his acceptance of command speech, Michael expressed his thanks for the support of his former COs, colleagues and family, and special thanks for Cedrun. "You are leaving behind a superior command and a grateful and admiring crew," Michael said.

In his farewell speech, Cedrun shared his appreciation for the crew's comittment.

"During my tenure as Boxer's commanding officer, I have watched with great pride and amazement the enduring fortitude and patriotism of the ship's crew," Cedrun said. "I will always remember [Boxer Sailors'] resolve during the hectic pre-deployment work-up schedule, their faith as they faced the bitterness of a long separation as the ship deployed in January 2009, and their focus in executing daily operations at sea."

"In San Diego and on the other side of the globe, they performed their duties without question, without complaint and with dedication and devotion in their hearts," he added.

Under Cedrun's command, Boxer completed a successful 2009 Western Pacific deployment during which the ship acted as the command ship for Combined Task Force 151, an international coalition of navies patrolling the waters off the east coast of Africa. At the time, Boxer played host to special warfare units and participated in the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips, captain of the hijacked cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama.

Cedrun's next assignment will be as chief of staff for Rear Adm. Earl Gay, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 3, headquartered in San Diego.

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