SAN DIEGO – The crew of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), family and friends gathered on the flight deck of the historic USS Midway CV 41) Museum in San Diego to welcome aboard a new commanding officer, April 24.
In the time-honored ceremony of transferring command authority and responsibility, Cmdr. DeWayne Sanders was relieved by Cmdr. Judd Krier during the ceremony.
Guest speaker Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, spoke on the many accomplishments of Sanders.
“Although much has changed in our Navy over the years, there is one thing that has not changed,” said Ponds. “The Navy still selects its commanding officers based on a clear set of principals; honor, character and integrity. Cmdr. Sanders embodies those qualities, and much more. Still to this day we look to our commanding officers to lead and put into motion a vision, a vision that quite often does not reveal itself until the very end, a vision of brilliance. The man sitting before you today has done just that.”
Sanders spoke on how he considered it an honor to lead a crew and ship with such a historic and significant namesake.
“Commanding a ship with this namesake was a humbling experience,” said Sanders. “Couple that with awesome responsibility of leading 400 Sailors; I can honestly say I was honored every time I crossed the brow of the ship.”
He also explained the significance of holding the change of command ceremony aboard the Midway Museum.
“Pearl Harbor is undergoing a 185 million dollar modernization and maintenance package to bring forth a ship with a more robust capability,” said Sanders. “The extensive upgrades throughout the ship will allow Pearl Harbor to meets the ever-changing threat environment ensuring this country’s freedom remains protected against those who wish to do us harm. That is why we are here aboard USS Midway.”
Krier is assuming command after a 15-month tour as executive officer. He thanked Sanders for his guidance and leadership during that time.
“You’ve been a great boss and mentor, but most importantly you’ve been a great friend,” said Krier. “I’ve learned a lot from you and I know that knowledge will help me lead the crew of the Pearl Harbor and continue being successful.”
He also thanked the crew for their hard work and resilience.
“You have endured a long and complex overhaul period and I know you are ready and eager to complete this maintenance availability and get underway so we can show our Navy your professional and tactical excellence,” said Krier. “Our mission is to honor the namesake of our ship, the men and women of Pearl Harbor who represented the fighting spirit of America. I am confident in your abilities, I am honored to be your command officer and I look forward to accomplishing this mission together.”
Also in attendance were members of the San Diego Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
“We pause to honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women who fought so valiantly and bravely on that December morning and who continued to serve our nation so proudly during the Second World War,” said Ponds “They were our heroes then and they remain our heroes today. As we reflect on those who live their lives for their country and gave their lives so their country could live, let us rededicate our efforts to ensure their legacy of sacrifice was not in vain; you will never be forgotten.”