SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) held a change of command ceremony June 28 at Naval Base San Diego.
Joined on the ship by family, friends and the ship’s crew, Capt. Jennifer Ellinger turned over command to Capt. Allen Johnson.
Ellinger assumed command on Sept. 28, 2017. The ceremony marked the end of her 21-month tour aboard Lake Champlain.
Under Ellinger’s leadership, Lake Champlain deployed to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility with the Carl Vinson Strike Group and later conducted independent operations in the 4th Fleet area of responsibility, providing air and missile defense for the Summit of the Americas and participating in the bi-annual Silent Forces Exercise (SIFOREX) with the Peruvian and Columbian navies. After returning from deployment in May 2018, the Lake Champlain team participated in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) with 25 partner nations in the Hawaii area of operations. Lake Champlain completed the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) in November 2018 and was awarded the 2018 Vice Adm. Thomas Copeman III Material Readiness Award and Unit Tactics Award. In February 2019, the Lake Champlain team participated in Malibu Navy Days.
Ellinger reflected positively on her time aboard Lake Champlain, praising her Sailors, family and friends for their endless support and hard work.
“Each and every one of you, individually and collectively, has made a positive impact during my time on Lake Champlain,” said Ellinger. “The crew is truly the heart and soul of any command and what makes every evolution, mission, or certification a success. Our successes throughout our deployment to the South China Sea and the South Pacific, SIFOREX, RIMPAC, and INSURV could not have happened without each of you. I am extremely proud and blessed to have had the honor to serve as your commanding officer and shipmate.”
Capt. Ellinger leaves Lake Champlain to command Amphibious Squadron Seven (CPR 7) in San Diego.
Guest speaker, Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, commander of Carrier Strike Group One, commended the crew on its execution of all tasks throughout Lake Champlain’s extended sustainment phase.
“When it comes to success and leadership, there are three key words that come to mind – goals, strength and determination,” said Holsey. “Those are the things that dreams are made of and those are the things that breed success – your success and the success of any organization.”
Capt. Johnson said he looks forward to successfully completing upcoming milestones with the Lake Champlain crew.
“It will be challenging to get the necessary repairs and system upgrades this 31-year-old ship needs in a short period of time,” Johnson said to the crew. “But I have no doubt that you will overcome the obstacles and get Lake Champlain back out to sea where she belongs.”
“I’m truly excited for the opportunity to take command of Lake Champlain,” added Johnson. “It will be an honor and a privilege to lead the dedicated and highly capable officers and crew. I am humbled to be a part of the proud tradition of this venerable ship.”
Lake Champlain is the Navy’s 11th Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser and is currently part of the Carl Vinson Strike Group. The ship is named for the Battle of Lake Champlain more commonly known as the Battle of Plattsburgh.
Previous ships bearing the name Lake Champlain are a cargo ship acquired by the Navy in 1918, and an Essex-class aircraft carrier CV 39.
For more news from Naval Surface Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnsp/.