SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Capt. Benjamin J. Allbritton relieved Capt. Michael S. Ruth as commanding officer during a change of command ceremony held on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), Dec. 8.
In attendance was guest speaker, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, Rear Adm. Daniel H. Fillion, who commended Ruth on his accomplishments and dedication to Boxer and awarded Ruth the Legion of Merit for his exceptional service as commanding officer.
"Throughout his tenure as commanding officer, Captain Ruth continuously demonstrated the highest standards of mentorship and leadership to USS Boxer," said Fillion. "Bringing the ship through an arduous work-up cycle and into a rigorous seven-month deployment, his dedication to the crew and mission never wavered."
Under Ruth's leadership as commanding officer, he guided Boxer through several multinational exercises and operations including Dawn Blitz 2015 and Ssang Yong 2016, and the ships' most recent deployment to the U.S. 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleet areas of operation in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security, and theater cooperation efforts.
Additionally during Ruth's tenure, the ship received the 2015 Retention Excellence Award, 2015 Green "H," 2015 Chief of Naval Operation's Safety Award, and the 2015 Battle Effectiveness Award, or Battle "E."
"Men and women of Boxer, the powerhouse crew, you always get the job done and do it right the first time," Ruth said. "For every crew member of Boxer, I say 'thank you.' You are the heart and soul of this award-winning ship."
He added his remarks about the ship's new commanding officer, and complimented Allbritton's ability to command the ship and Boxer's crew.
"Ben, this is the last time I call you XO (executive officer)," Ruth stated. "You are the right leader at the right time. We have taken this warship two-thirds of the way around the world, you know Boxer inside and out, and will be a great commanding officer."
During the ceremony, Ruth read his orders and transferred command to Allbritton, who read his orders, assumed command, and addressed the audience as commanding officer of Boxer.
"A few minutes ago, I just made a covenant with over 100,000 friends and family members of this great crew that I will take their Sailors into harm's way and return them safely," said Allbritton. "I cannot think of a more important responsibility. It is indeed an honor, privilege, and sacred duty to command this ship -- one that I will take seriously every moment. That is my covenant with you."
Allbritton assumed command after serving as executive officer of Boxer. His previous assignments include Fleet Combat Training Center Pacific; Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Engineering Assessments Pacific; guided-missile frigate USS John A. Moore (FFG 19); guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57); USS McClusky (FFG 41); and USS Antietam (CG 54). He previously commanded coastal patrol ship USS Hurricane (PC 3) and guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101).
Boxer is currently in its homeport of San Diego undergoing a phased maintenance availability.
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