Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2 held a change of command ceremony aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), Sept. 11.
In a ceremony with minimal attendance, DESRON 2 bid farewell to Capt. Christopher Follin and welcomed Capt. Matthew Kawas as the new DESRON Commodore. In response to travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and operational commitments, there were no guests present at the event.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to witness the unprecedented accomplishments of the DESRON 2 Greyhounds over the past 15 months,” said Follin. “Through a ten-month around the world deployment, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) escort, maritime homeland defense, theater anti-submarine warfare, submarine commander’s course, surface warfare advanced tactical training, Task Force Exercise and counter narcotics operations; the Greyhounds have raised the bar for high end warfighting. These Sailors are truly second to none and I am fortunate, humbled and forever grateful to have sailed with them through it all!”
Follin assumed command of DESRON 2 in June 2019. While in command he led nine destroyers through all phases of readiness, from ship yard maintenance periods to operations in the U.S. second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh fleet areas of responsibility.
During the ceremony Follin was presented with the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as Commodore. Following the award presentation, Follin and Kawas officially changed command by reading their orders.
Kawas fleeted-up from his position as Deputy Commodore, DESRON 2. His previous assignments include Executive and Commanding Officer of the “Rough Riders” of LCS Crew 103, Reactor Officer aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and Operations Officer aboard USS Donald Cook (DDG 75)
“I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to serve as the commander for the incredibly talented and dedicated staff and ships that I've worked with over the last 15 months,” said Kawas. “Commodore Follin's leadership through deployment, COVID and force generation has brought the Greyhounds great success, and I look forward to building on their hard work as we provide Fleet Commanders with ready, lethal forces to carry out our nation's tasking.”