NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Capt. Grady Musser relieved Capt. Daniel Sunvold as commanding officer of guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) during a change of command ceremony held May 11, 2018.
Capt. Sunvold assumed command of the Leyte Gulf in November 2016 and successfully led her through a seven-month deployment in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation, in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
Sunvold's last assignment was as Intelligence Support Chief and, subsequently, Deputy Commander, Joint Planning Support Element (JPSE), Joint Enabling Capabilities Command (JECC), United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), in Norfolk, Virginia, from August 2014 to October 2016. Captain Sunvold is a native of Sacred Heart, Minnesota, and a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
"Every day the crew set a standard of excellence and epitomize 'The Cruiser Standard'" said Sunvold. "You delivered every time and I could not be more honored to have served with you."
Sunvold's next assignment will be on the staff of Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Presiding over the ceremony was Rear Adm. Kent Whalen, commander, Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12). Rear Adm. Whalen remarked on the hard work of Captain Sunvold and the Leyte Gulf sailors saying "Hats off to the Leyte Gulf crew!"
Leyte Gulf's new commanding officer, Capt. Musser, previously served as executive assistant to the director of surface warfare on the Chief of Naval Operation's staff (OPNAV N96), and most recently commanded the USS Farragut (DDG 99). Capt. Musser graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1996.
"I am honored and humbled for this opportunity to serve aboard America's Battle Cruiser," said Musser. "We will build on your recent successes to develop tough, competent, and high-functioning teams that are combat ready."
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser was commissioned on Sept. 26, 1987 and is now homeported in Norfolk. Armed with Tomahawk missiles, standard SM-2 surface to air missiles, two 5-inch dual purpose guns, and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, Leyte Gulf is operated by a crew of more than 350 Sailors.
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