SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The crew of amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) held a change of command ceremony June 22, aboard the USS Midway Museum.
Capt. John J. Barnett relieved Capt. Peter Collins as commanding officer of San Diego.
“I am honored to have been given the opportunity to command a unit in our great Navy again, but not just any unit, the USS San Diego in San Diego, no other ship has the distinction of being homeported in its namesake city,” said Collins. “No other current serving ship can boast the storied history of USS San Diego. The light cruiser USS San Diego (CL 53) won 18 battle stars during World War II, without losing a single Sailor. That is a lot to live up to.
“We continued our tradition of excellence and built a culture that continually raises our collective performance through respect, learning and knowing what right looks like and having the guts to do something about it,” continued Collins.
While addressing the guests of the ceremony, Collins gave all of the credit for his successful tour to his Sailors and embarked Marines.
“We have definitely weathered some challenges, and done some great things in the process. If you haven’t been on a true amphibious ship conducting well deck launches, small boat operations, flight operations, self-defense of close aboard surface and air threats and coordination of all these moving pieces, all at the same time, it is an awesome sight to see,” said Collins. “Living and working with this team on a daily basis has been an inspirational pleasure and I will miss the team immensely.”
Collins, San Diego's fifth commanding officer, began his tour as the ship's executive officer in July 2015 and assumed command on Feb. 2, 2017. Under his leadership, San Diego reached many milestones, including the ship’s 2nd deployment to the Western Pacific, Mediterranean and the Middle East.
“It’s all about building a team culture. Blending surface warriors, aviators, Marines, EOD and others into a team by treating each other with dignity and respect. By focusing the entire team on the mission, the goal and the task,” said Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, Rear Adm. Gregory N. Harris, the ceremony's guest speaker. “That is the lesson that I believe our nation can learn from Pete, his team and the U.S. Navy at large.”
Barnett arrived in February 2017 to serve as the executive officer of San Diego. A native of Clearwater, Florida, he graduated from the Maine Maritime Academy in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Transportation. He was subsequently commissioned in the United States Navy through the Merchant Marine Reserve program. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.
“To my family and the entire San Diego Family, thank you for your persistent and unyielding support and patience. Service to our country and to our ships is no individual endeavor, but a family commitment. May our shared sacrifices be rewarded by a stronger and more secure nation,” said Barnett. “To my shipmates, the officers, chiefs, and crew of San Diego, I commend you for your service to Capt. Collins, our great ship, and our great nation.
“As the ship is repaired during this maintenance period our work is no less important. I charge you to maintain a steady stream of effort and to keep excellence in our daily routine,” added Barnett.
Barnett's sea tours include assignments as communications officer on USS Thorn (DD 988), as a Landing Craft Utility (LCU) detachment officer-in-charge at Assault Craft Unit Two, operations officer on USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), operations and plans officer on the staff of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, executive officer on USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and commanding officer on USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and USS Ashland (LD 48).
San Diego, the fourth ship to bear the name, is currently moored at BAE Systems San Diego shipyard for an extended maintenance period.
San Diego, the only U.S. Navy ship stationed in her namesake city, was built at Northrop Grumman's Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and is the sixth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. Delivered to the U.S. Navy on Dec. 19, 2011, the ship was commissioned on May 19, 2012, in San Diego.