Destroyer Squadron Seven Welcomes New Commodore

by Lt. Lauren Chatmas, U.S. Navy, Destroyer Squadron SEVEN Public Affairs
11 February 2021

CDS Welcomes New Commodore
CDS Welcomes New Commodore
CDS Welcomes New Commodore
CDS Welcomes New Commodore
CDS Welcomes New Commodore
Photo By: CNSP
VIRIN: 210330-N-N0831-0007
SINGAPORE -- Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 held a change of command ceremony in Singapore, Feb. 11.
 Capt. Ann McCann relinquished command of the DESRON to Capt. Tom Ogden in a virtual ceremony with in-person attendance by immediate family, ceremony staff and key personnel.
 
“Commodore Ann McCann’s leadership, from Littoral Combat Ship operations to theater security cooperation events across the region, enabled DESRON 7 to punch above its weight time and time again throughout Seventh Fleet’s Area of Responsibility,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7, Task Force (CTF) 76.  “As a previous DESRON 7 commodore, I take great pride in how far this command has come during its first decade forward deployed to this theater.”
 With an emphasis on COVID-19 mitigation measures and in accordance with all Singapore national COVID restrictions the ceremony was officiated by Capt. Ed Thompson, deputy CTF 76, virtually, from his office in Sasebo, Japan.
 McCann arrived at DESRON 7 in September 2018, first serving as the command's deputy commodore before assuming the role of commodore in November 2019.  As deputy, McCann supported the firstever rotational deployment of two simultaneous Independence-variant littoral combat ships USS Montgomery (LCS 8) and USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) to the Indo-Pacific.  She also spent four months as the director of the international coordination cell conducting United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) enforcement against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) maritime activity.
 “This is the most dynamic area of operations in the world,” said McCann.  “It has been both thrilling and challenging to work in this environment, particularly as we navigated through continuing operations and presence during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
 
One of the highlights during McCann’s tenure was the operational command transition of DESRON 7 from CTF 73 to CTF 76, which aligned DESRON 7 with the 7th Fleet commander’s warfighting vision for the Indo-Pacific.  Additionally, operations around the region were highlighted with Gabrielle Giffords integration with ESG 7, operating with USS America (LHA 6) and the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to practice command and control and tactical maneuvers.
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY COMMANDER, EXPEDITIONARY STRIKE GROUP 7 COMMANDER, DESTROYER SQUADRON 7 PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER TEL: 011-81-98-954-1615 011-65-8299-3325 EMAILS: CTF76PAO@FE.NAVY.MIL USN.CHANGI.CDS7.LIST.PAO@MAIL.MIL

 “DESRON 7’s efforts to further integrate LCS into Seventh Fleet’s operations highlights one of this command’s greatest strengths - its versatility,” said Kacher.  “On any given day, this team could be operating as Sea Combat Commander for a Seventh Fleet strike group to overseeing LCS operations as we work side by side with maritime nations as varied as Singapore and Bangladesh.  There is quite simply no other command like it in the United States Navy.” 
 
Another major line of effort during McCann’s time as commodore included working alongside allies and partners in events such as Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), and persistent presence operations and freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.  The continued training, exercises, and other engagements with counterparts from Southeast Asian countries ensured peace and stability throughout the region.
 
“Participating in three annual iterations of CARAT with 13 nations was a superb way for us to build upon our interoperability and readiness, and DESRON 7 remained a familiar face to our partner navies,” said McCann.  “Also, the routine presence of our LCS reaffirmed that the U.S. supports the efforts of our allies and partners in the lawful pursuit of their economic interests.”
 With her DESRON 7 chapter now closed, McCann looks forward to serving in Northern Virginia for Chief of Navy Personnel, supporting manpower, personnel, training and education plans for the Navy.
 “It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve alongside the Golden Arrows of DESRON 7.  I am humbled by your tremendous professionalism and resilience,” said McCann.
 
As DESRON 7 looks forward, the command plans to continue to build on their successes by participating in complex exercises and operations throughout U.S. 7th Fleet in 2021.
 
“I am fortunate to be able to continue to serve in the Indo-Pacific and in Singapore,” said Ogden.  “It is an honor to build on what the previous 67 Commodores at DESRON 7 have set as the standard and our job now is to ensure we set a course that enables us in both the short and long term.”
 
Ogden arrived in October 2019, following time as a White House Fellow, where he was the Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Familiar with U.S. IndoPacific, previous tours saw Ogden serve at U.S. Pacific Command as the Executive Assistant to the Director for Operations and as a Future Operations Planner, and at U.S. Pacific Fleet as the Director of the Strategic Initiatives Group and Special Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.  
 
 “I know you will continue the warfighting first ethos of DESRON 7 and continue to expand multimission roles throughout Seventh Fleet AOR,”  said Thompson.
 
As deputy, Ogden headed DESRON 7 staff during an embark in USS Ronald Reagan’s (CVN 76) fall patrol.  Immersed with DESRON 15 during exercise Valiant Shield, Ogden led staff exchanges that included discussion on watchstanding principles, air operations and planning, anti-submarine warfare, and Sea Combat Commander (SCC) best practices.
 The SCC training came in parallel with DESRON 7 staff’s participation in the CARAT exercise series, marking the eighth consecutive year DESRON 7 has been the lead planners for these bilateral exercises.  To continue advancing tactical prowess, the staff is scheduled to participate in multiple high-end exercises and training opportunities throughout the region in 2021.
 
“As one of two forward deployed DESRONs in the Indo-Pacific, DESRON 7 looks for all opportunities to develop and hone our warfighting skills,” said Ogden.  “As commodore, I look forward to continuing to integrate DESRON 7 staff and assets throughout the theater, further refining the execution of the warfighting and operational concepts that support our regional and national strategies.”

 As the U.S. Navy’s destroyer squadron forward-deployed in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.
 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet and employs 50 to 70 ships and submarines across the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. 7th Fleet routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting missions to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region.


 
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