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JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (JBPHH), Hawaii — Cmdr. Christopher J. Forch relieved Cmdr. Kevin T. Louis as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) in a ceremony held at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, March 1.
Forch served as Michael Murphy’s executive officer from June 2017 to December 2018. His previous sea tours include USS Shrike (MHC 62), USS Russell (DDG 59), and USS Truxton (DDG 103). Ashore, he has completed tours at Afloat Training Group in Norfolk, Virginia, and at USSTRATCOM in Bellevue, Nebraska.
Louis, the ship’s fifth commanding officer, assumed command of Michael Murphy in August 2017. He previously served as the ship’s executive officer from February 2016 to June 2017.
“Serving as the Commanding Officer for this crew has been the honor of a lifetime,” said Louis. “The responsibility of commanding a naval warship is not an easy job to take on, but it is exciting, rewarding, and tremendously fulfilling to make a positive difference for over 300 Sailors.”
While in command, Louis led the ship and her 300-plus crewmembers through two Western Pacific deployments, Carrier Strike Group One (CSG 1) sustainment training exercise, Portland Rose Festival and several other underway periods totaling over 260 days away from homeport.
Further, he oversaw the completion of the ship’s Ready-for-Sea Assessment; anti-submarine warfare and strike warfare certification validations; six maintenance availability periods; and numerous community and public relations events.
“Michael Murphy’s high operational tempo has kept us all busy over the last three years,” said Louis. “Despite this, the crew consistently overcomes every challenge thrown at them, demonstrates a high level of tactical and professional excellence, and continues to uphold the legacy of the ship’s namesake with pride. I am grateful for their hard work and dedication and for the opportunity to have been a part of the USS Michael Murphy team.”
For his next tour, Louis is headed ashore to Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center in San Diego.
Commissioned in 2012, Michael Murphy is named after Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan in 2005. Lt. Murphy was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan and was the Navy's first Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War.