SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) held a change of command ceremony while moored at Naval Base San Diego, June 8.
During the formal ceremony, Capt. Daniel A. Nowicki relieved Capt. Joseph R. Olson as America's commanding officer. Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander Expeditionary Strike Group 3, presided and served as the ceremony's guest speaker.
The event marked the end of a successful tour for Olson, who served as commanding officer since August 2016. During his speech, Olson reflected on his experience as the ship's executive officer and as America's third commanding officer in the ship's history. He expressed his sincere appreciation of the crew's hard work and dedication throughout America's journey from Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 through its deployment in 2017.
"What made deployment so great? Teamwork," Olson said. "I really appreciate all the hard work we put into it. Thank you for taking the time to do things right."
Olson said that this tour was special for him because of the incredible support from the crew, embarked Marines, and Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3 staff.
"It's kind of a bittersweet day, as I conclude more than 40 months as executive and commanding officer on board USS America," said Olson. "It's been an incredible tour. To the crew, thank you for all of your hard work and expertise in making this the best ship on the waterfront."
Nowicki, who served as America's executive officer since August 2016, expressed his thanks to Olson and for helping the crew continue America's legacy as a mission-capable ship on the waterfront.
"No one cared more," Nowicki said to Olson. "You're a great ship handler and a great captain. I learned so much from you. Thank you. "
Nowicki addressed the crew during his speech, stating the ship still has an important responsibility ahead.
"What makes some teams good and others great is the same thing that sets these ships apart. The difference is people," said Nowicki. "Just because you work together doesn't make you a team. How we work together is what matters."
America recently returned from a seven-month deployment and is currently in a planned maintenance availability. America is the fourth ship named "America" and the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa class of amphibious assault ships. It is optimized for aviation, and is capable of supporting the tiltrotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
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