170615-N-TB177-0042 MANAMA, Bahrain (June 15, 2017) Sailors assigned to USS Devastator (MCM 6) give three cheers to Lt. Cmdr. Robert Burke, former commanding officer of Devastator, before departing during a change of command ceremony at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Devastator is the sixth of 14 Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships and the second ship to bear its name. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin J. Steinberg)
USS Devastator Changes Command

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The Avenger-class mine countermeasure ship (MCM) USS Devastator (MCM 6) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, June 15.

Lt. Cmdr. Kurt Albaugh relieved Lt. Cmdr. Robert Burke as commanding officer. Cmdr. Kendall Bridgewater, commodore of Coastal Patrol Squadron (PCRON) 1 presided over the ceremony.

Burke "fleeted up" to the job following a tour as the executive officer.

"Since arriving at Devastator to assume duties as executive officer, I was awestruck by the strong sense of community onboard," said Burke. "But this sense of community was not limited to life on the Devastator."

Burke went on to thank Naval Security Forces for protecting the ship, the families for their support, the port operations for making sure Devastator had the services they needed pier side and Naval Support Activity for standing watches in all weather conditions.

Burke leaves Devastator to assume duties at Naval Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center in San Diego. Albaugh, prior to taking command, served as Devastator's executive officer. Albaugh said he was elated and thankful for the opportunity to command Devastator.

"This is a great honor," said Albaugh. "Standing here today as the new commanding officer, the overwhelming feeling I have is that of gratitude. Gratitude for colleagues up, down and across the chain of command."

Devastator is part of Task Force 52, which is the mine countermeasure force of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. It ensures freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the Arabian Gulf and the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse comprises 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

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