MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6 held a change of command ceremony aboard the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in Manama, Bahrain, April 12.
During the ceremony, Capt. Joseph O’Brien relieved Capt. Daniel S. Blackburn as PHIBRON 6 commanding officer.
Blackburn took command of PHIBRON 6 in March 2016.
“It’s been a tremendous privilege to be your commodore and to have had the opportunity to be on your team,” said Blackburn to the PHIBRON 6 staff. “As I’ve always said, once you’re a part of this family, you’re always a part of this family.”
Blackburn led USS Wasp (LHD 1) and Kearsarge amphibious ready groups through the integrated phase and two combat deployments to the U.S. 5th and 6th fleet areas of operation.
While deployed, he conducted sustained distribution amphibious ready group operations across three geographic combatant commands, and two numbered fleets, while simultaneously supporting Operations Odyssey Resolve, Deliberate Resolve, Inherent Resolve, and Freedom’s Sentinel.
As deputy commander, his superb leadership enabled Wasp, USS San Antonio (LPD 17), and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Air Combat Element to conduct 372 AV-8B Harrier and 216 AH-1W Super Cobra strike sorties in support of Operation Odyssey Lightning, culminating in the liberation of Sirte, Libya from the Islamic State.
“I am keenly aware that this is most likely the last time I will have the opportunity to be in command of operational forces at sea,” Blackburn said. “That is a very bittersweet thing for me because in my opinion, there is simply no better job in the Navy.”
O’Brien is a native of Manasquan, New Jersey and graduated with merit from the United States Naval Academy in 1993. He most recently commanded USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7).
“I am coming into the middle of a phenomenal Kearsarge and 22nd MEU team and I am humbled by that,” said O’Brien. “The synergy I’ve seen out here and the camaraderie and the way I’ve seen things get done is impressive. I just hope I am able to continue the stellar reputation that this ARGMEU team has.
Blackburn is scheduled to report to Navy Personnel Command Reserve Officer Recall as the Executive Assistant to the Chief of the Navy Reserve.
Captain Blackburn is a native of Holdrege, Nebraska. He was commissioned in 1991 from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Program at Northwestern University. He is a career Surface Warfare Officer. In addition, he is a Navy Reserve Full Time Support Officer.
Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
For more news from Commander, Amphibious Squadron 6, visit https://www.public.navy.mil/surflant/cpr6/Pages/default.aspx
For more news from USS Kearsarge, visit https://www.public.navy.mil/surflant/lhd3/Pages/default.aspx/
For more news from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd3/.