NORFOLK (NNS) -- Cmdr. James Von St. Paul relieved Cmdr. David P. Wroe as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) today in front of friends, family, special guests, and crewmembers during a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk.
Wroe, a native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, joined Cole in December 2014 as executive officer. After assuming command in April 2016,Wroe led the crew through a work up cycle and a 7-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of maritime security operations for the U.S. 5th Fleet commander.
"It has been an amazing privilege to serve this great crew of professionals and to have sailed with them in harm's way over the last 18 months," said Wroe. "I cannot be more proud of their accomplishments, what we achieved together as a combat team and the unyielding spirit of our 'determined warriors.'"
Under Wroe's leadership, Cole also conducted numerous port visits along the East Coast, including a visit to New London, Connecticut, to attend the annual Maritime Heritage Festival. These visits help to strengthen the bonds between crewmembers and local communities.
Von St. Paul, a native of Clark, New Jersey, graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering and was commissioned via the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program in 1999. He also earned a Master's degree in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. His service has included tours on USS Antietam (CG 54); USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71); USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79); and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). He previously served as Cole's executive officer.
"I'm honored to continue working with the great Sailors on board Cole," said Von St. Paul. "Their hard work was evident during our successful deployment and I'm confident we will continue to set the standard for excellence."
DDG 67 was commissioned in 1996 and was the first warship named for Marine Sgt. Darrell S. Cole (1920-1945). Cole posthumously received the United States' highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his service at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.
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