SINGAPORE (NNS) -- Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 held a change of command ceremony at the C2 Coordination Centre on Changi Naval Base, June 8.
Capt. Alexis Walker assumed command of the only forward-deployed DESRON in Southeast Asia, from Capt. H. B. Le, in front of the "Golden Arrows" of DESRON 7.
"I am honored to lead the Golden Arrows of Destroyer Squadron 7," said Walker. "I've worked with the men and women on this team for 20 months, and there is no better cadre of Sailors in our profession of arms."
Walker assumed command having already been exercise commander for three Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises, including the second-annual multilateral exercise with the Royal Thai and Republic of Singapore navies earlier this year. He also led DESRON 7 staff while embarked aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in Sept. 2016, as sea combat commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7 during exercise Valiant Shield.
After reporting as deputy commodore in Jan. 2015, Le assumed command in August, 2015, and led DESRON 7 staff through a multitude of bilateral and multilateral exercises and operations, including the CARAT series, the Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise and anti-submarine warfare exercise Guardian Sea with the Royal Thai Navy.
Additionally, in March 2016, Le and portions of DESRON 7 staff embarked USS Boxer (LHD 4), serving as sea combat commander (SCC) for Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 during the biennial exercise Ssang Yong with the Republic of Korea Navy and Marine Corps. Last year also saw DESRON 7 lead the U.S. Navy's first-ever participation in exercise Kakadu in and around Darwin, Australia, and exercise Deep Sabre in Singapore and the South China Sea.
Le's tenure as commodore also included the first-ever rotational deployment of an Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) to Southeast Asia.
"It's been a privilege to serve with the professional Sailors of DESRON 7," said Le. "They're a team of winners who continue to make an impact in this dynamic region, and I won't forget them or their families. They have my profound thanks, as do the first commodores in Southeast Asia, Rear Adm. (select) Schlise and Rear Adm. (select) Kacher, whose groundbreaking efforts, smarts and persistence made possible what we do today. I also appreciate the great leadership and support of our task force commanders during my time here, Rear Adm. Williams, Rear Adm. Hurley and Rear Adm. Gabrielson. I know Capt. Walker will take 'the Golden Arrows' higher, farther, faster."
On behalf of Commander, Task Force 73, Destroyer Squadron 7 conducts advanced planning, organizes resources, and leads the execution of maritime engagements such as the CARAT exercise series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multilateral SEACAT exercise with Bangladesh, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
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