Cmdr. Rob Niemeyer relieved Cmdr. Jon Hopkins as Commanding Officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69), during a change of command ceremony at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, July 17.
The ceremony marked the end of a successful tour for Hopkins, who led Milius through three extended 7th Fleet patrols and various multinational exercises to include Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT), Annual Exercise (ANNUAL EX) and Republic of Korea Cooperative Deployment (ROK CODEP). During these exercises, Milius worked closely with many U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region to reinforce the U.S. Navy’s mutual commitments to international maritime norms and promote regional stability.
Under Hopkins’ command, Milius was awarded the 2019 Pacific Fleet Bloodhound award and Battle Efficiency award.
“It has been my privilege and honor to lead the finest crew and command the most capable warship in the Pacific Ocean,” said Hopkins. “I have a lifetime of memories from this tour and I would like thank the crew and their families for the success we have enjoyed.”
Cmdr. Niemeyer is a St. Louis native who most recently served as Executive Officer onboard Milius.
"I am honored to take command and lead this incredibly talented and dedicated team,” said Niemeyer. “This crew has an outstanding reputation and I look forward to building upon the many successes that this team has achieved."
Milius’ namesake honors Capt. Paul L. Milius, a Navy pilot who gave his life to save seven crew members during an armed reconnaissance mission over Laos.
Milius is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Milius is assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy's largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet's principal surface force.