ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Capt. Rob Thompson relieved Capt. Mark Oberley as commanding officer of the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) during a change of command ceremony Oct. 2.
The ceremony took place at sea on Vella Gulf's flight deck while deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
"I still remember the short change of command ceremony on top of the roof of the barge on a rainy November day," said Oberley during his remarks. "It's much better to be underway on a ship in my opinion."
Oberley assumed command of Vella Gulf Nov. 10, 2015, and led the ship through the remaining eight months of a 20-month yard period at BAE Systems Norfolk. His tenacious leadership returned Vella Gulf to operational status following extensive repairs. Upon completion of an accelerated certification timeline, he led Vella Gulf and her crew through six months of deployment as the ballistic missile defense commander in the 5th Fleet AOR. Oberley's next assignment will be in the nuclear propulsion department for Commander, Naval Air Force U.S. Pacific Fleet in San Diego.
Thompson reported to Vella Gulf after serving in the Budget and Appropriations Affairs Division for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). This will be his second command at sea, previously commanding the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). Roosevelt was awarded the Battle "E" three times while under his command.
Vella Gulf was commissioned in 1993 and is homeported in Norfolk. The ship is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.
For more information about Vella Gulf, visit http://www.vella-gulf.navy.mil/
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/csg11/.