Sasebo, Japan – In front of more than 300 special guests, Sailors, friends and family, Cmdr. Jimmie J. Jensen relieved Cmdr. Severn B. Stevens as commanding officer of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) during a change of command ceremony in Sasebo, Japan Dec. 21.
Stevens assumed command of Germantown on May 12, 2016 and led the crew through a number of critical warfare area certifications and inspections while also earning numerous unit awards. The command earned Secretary of the Navy Energy Conservation Award, Unit Tactics Award, Intelligence Excellence Award, Vice Adm. Bulkeley Afloat Safety Culture Award, Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award, Pacific Fleet Health and Wellness Unit "Green H" award, Navy Surgeon General's Health Promotion and Wellness "Blue H" award, and the Retention Excellence "Golden Anchor" award during his tenure.
"I truly am honored to have the ability to serve you [Germantown]," said Stevens.
“The work that was done over the 282 days in the Dry Dock will ensure that this ship can operate for at least another 10 to 15 years and this ship will be able to accomplish all missions […] next year” said Stevens.
"Keep these diesels running. You exemplify the deepest joy I have in hard work. You see the rewards, physically, and I know you are going to get back with another unrestricted engineering operations certification in March,” said Stevens. “We only had one deployment together, but it was a great one with some great transits,” he continued.
Stevens concluded his speech by saying, "It's a tough day and I’m proud to turn the ship over ‘cause it’s a great crew. You all have a lot to be proud of over this year, the work that you’ve done. You’ve got a lot to look forward to, you’ve got a great year of operations and you are going to do great things."
With those words, Stevens saluted his relief, former executive officer, Jensen, and transferred the authority and responsibility of his command.
Jensen served as Germantown's executive officer since September 2016 and stated he is ready for the challenges ahead with the confidence built through the teamwork and trust forged during their time together leading the crew.
Addressing the crew for the first time as commanding officer Jensen said, “The ship looks great! Thank you for the hard work you put forth every day. I believe it is a fitting time in this period for a change of command as we transition from the maintenance phase to the operational phase. Keep up the energy and the enthusiasm that you’ve displayed during the dry dock. My challenge to you is to always be operationally ready and be combat minded. It’s going to be a great year as we rejoin the expeditionary strike group underway and operate forward with professionalism and style so that [as] our motto says so that others may continue to follow in our footsteps.”
Germantown is forward-deployed to Amphibious Squadron 11 and is currently undergoing a Dry-docking Selected Restricted Availability in Sasebo, Japan while also preparing for her certification cycle in February.