In a downsized and socially distanced change of command ceremony, Cmdr. Christopher R. Cummins relieved Cmdr. Emily M. Wall as commanding officer of USS Mahan (DDG 72) Aug. 19, at Naval Station Norfolk.
Wall reported to Mahan as the executive officer in April 2017, during the ship’s 5th and 6th fleet deployment. She assumed command during Mahan’s extended availability in February 2019 and led Mahan through the Basic Phase making preparations for deployment.
Speaking to the crew during the ceremony, Wall noted, “It has been an honor and a privilege to lead this crew out of an extended availability towards a combat ready ship. This crew continues to grow as professional mariners. From the first underway conducting a Hurricane Sortie to the last, each of you have grown into skillful tacticians, confident operators, and attentive watchstanders.
“I am extremely proud of you and will give you my one last challenge. Keep up the positive attitudes, the hard work, and keep Mahan ‘Built to Fight.’“
After exiting an extended availability, Mahan commenced the Basic Phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan. Over the past the 18 months, Mahan has completed numerous certifying events across several warfare areas and supported fleet tasking to include opposing forces for the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group Composite Training Unit Exercise; Submarine Sea Trials escort, and Exercise Burmese Chase.
The crew received command achievement in Excellence in Maritime Warfare; Engineering Survivability; Logistics, and Safety. Additionally, Mahan was recognized as the fiscal year 2020, Quarter Two Self-Sufficiency Award winner.
Cummins’ previous sea duty assignments include tours aboard USS Klakring (FFG 42); USS Carney (DDG 64); and USS Higgins (DDG 76).
“It was an honor to serve with Cmdr. Wall and sail with this incredible team for the past 18 months,” said Cummins, addressing the crew. “I am amazed by all that you have accomplished and look forward to seeing your continued success as we ready Mahan for deployment.”
The 22th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Mahan is homeported in Norfolk and named after sea power naval theorist Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan. His book “The Influence of Sea Power Upon History” continues to influence strategic and geopolitical thinking throughout the world.
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