Destroyer Squadron 9 Holds Change of Command Ceremony

by Chief Petty Officer Ryan Tabios
14 January 2022
Destroyer Squadron 9 Holds Change of Command Ceremony
220114-N-DU622-1086 EVERETT, Wash., (January, 14, 2022) Capt. Elaine A. Collins reports to Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander, Carrier Strike Group 11 that she has been relieved as commanding officer of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. DESRON 9 is currently in port preparing for future operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin McTaggart)
Destroyer Squadron 9 Holds Change of Command Ceremony
Destroyer Squadron 9 Holds Change of Command Ceremony
220114-N-DU622-1086 EVERETT, Wash., (January, 14, 2022) Capt. Elaine A. Collins reports to Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander, Carrier Strike Group 11 that she has been relieved as commanding officer of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. DESRON 9 is currently in port preparing for future operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin McTaggart)
Photo By: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin McTaggart
VIRIN: 220120-N-N0831-0005
Capt. Elaine A. Collins, a native of Shoreline, Wash. was relieved by Capt. Adam L. Fleming as commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 during a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Everett, Jan. 14.

Collins served as commodore of DESRON 9 since October 2020 and oversaw the execution of maintenance, training, and deployment preparations for eleven ships including USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Howard (DDG 83), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Sampson (DDG 102), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), and USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114).

Collins also performed duties as Nimitz Carrier Strike Group Sea Combat Commander. Under her leadership, destroyers executed freedom of navigation operations, dual carrier operations with the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Groups, and a cooperative deployment with the Indian Navy in U.S. 7th Fleet.

While operating in U.S. 5th Fleet, Collins’ destroyers played a critical role in Carrier Strike Group 11 operations taking part in maritime security operations such as Operation Octave Quartz, patrolling the Bab el Mandeb Strait and Strait of Hormuz, and supporting Coalition Task Force (CTF) Sentinel, the operational arm of the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC). As Sentinel ships, the three destroyers under her command spent more than 54 days in direct or associated support of the task force to ensure the free flow of commerce and provide overwatch for more than 517 critical chokepoints transits.

Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, who served as the ceremony's guest speaker and presiding officer, presented Collins with the Legion of Merit and shared some thoughts with the audience. “Today, we find ourselves in an era of Great Power Competition, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, potentially looking at one of the most turbulent decades in our lifetime,” said Sweeney. “Yet I have complete confidence in our ability to compete, fight and win…because of commanders like Elaine who lead the world’s finest Sailors by keeping professional competency at the starting point of every day, having no room for complacency, ensuring her command was ready – from basic fundamentals to the most challenging high-end warfighting – and providing our adversaries no vulnerabilities to exploit.”

Collins then recognized the DESRON 9 team for their work throughout the tour before turning over command. “My Squadron has been nothing short of outstanding. My staff, my ships, and all of my Sailors continue to work incredibly hard to ensure we have the Navy that our nation needs. I'm very proud and very humbled to have the opportunity to lead this squadron full of remarkable and talented Sailors and our mighty warships. As I leave DESRON 9, I can honestly say I gave my absolute best to you and worked tirelessly to ensure that you had the time and the resources to carry out our mission. I am proud of all that we have accomplished together. As we look to the future, I am excited to hear of all of your continued success.”

After relieving Collins as Commodore, Fleming spoke to the squadron staff now under his command. “I can't thank you enough for the hard work and sacrifice you have put in and I look forward to conquering challenges that lie in front of us. What we do as a service and as a squadron is not easy. And especially during these tumultuous times, we need to create stability where we can. This is where the "team" mentality comes in. It is built on a foundation of trust, respect, and unconditional support. Knowing you have people you can rely on provides refuge when there is none and I challenge you to remain ‘En Garde!’”

Both Collins and Fleming were previously assigned to DESRON 9 ships earlier in their careers as commanding officers of attached ships. Collins served aboard USS Momsen (DDG 92), and Fleming aboard Meyer. Fleming most recently served as the Deputy Commodore of DESRON 9. Collins will go on to serve on the staff of Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11 until her retirement.

 
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Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 2841 Rendova Rd. San Diego, CA 92155-5490

This is an official
U.S. Navy website

U.S. Pacific Fleet
2841 Rendova Rd
San Diego, CA
92155-5490

Email:
Public Affairs Officer
Webmaster

 
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