NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) held a change of command ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station Feb. 18.
Capt. Herman A. Shelanski relinquished command to Capt. Joseph M. Clarkson.
The ceremony, which took place in the ship's hangar bay, marked the sixth time the ship has changed hands since its commissioning in 1998. Shelanksi has been in command since July 2006.
Shelanksi thanked Truman Sailors for a successful tour of duty.
"I couldn't have asked for a more fitting two and half years and a beautiful underway finale," he said to a large audience of family, friends and Sailors. "It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the captain of the USS Harry S. Truman. I have truly been blessed."
During Shelanski's tenure, Truman underwent two successful shipyard periods, a rigorous work-up cycle and a seven-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Maritime Security Operations. The ship completed 75,000 miles of safe steaming, 40 incident free replenishments at sea and 52 restricted water transits, while simultaneously completing shipyard maintenance in record-breaking time. Despite these accomplishments, Shelanski tempered his speech with humility by stating that the Sailors are the biggest factor for the ship's success.
"As big and as beautiful as it is, the heart and the soul of the ship is its phenomenal crew," said Shelanski. "Nineteen-year-olds from all states in the Union, representing every color and race, who are away from home for months during workups and deployment are the true patriots of this ship and our country."
For his dedication and service as Truman's commanding officer, Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10, presented Capt. Shelanski the Legion of Merit.
Fox praised the two as seasoned professionals and experienced leaders.
"With me today are the incoming and outgoing officers of USS Harry S. Truman, two remarkable men; they are national treasures," said Fox. "They both answered the call to serve. They both have taken different paths to get here. I'm honored to serve with them."
Capt. Clarkson, who served as commanding officer of USS Denver (LPD 9) before assuming command of Truman, took a few minutes to thank the crew for an enthusiastic welcome aboard.
"To say that I am thrilled, honored and humbled to be here is an understatement. Harry S. Truman has a tradition of team work and excellence that is second to none," Clarkson said. "Truman stands ready to execute our mission in defense of our nation and continues to be an integral part of the Strike Group 10 team."
Truman recently completed a seven-month Planned Incremental Availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and is beginning an arduous work-up cycle in preparation for her next deployment.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.