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USS Paul Hamilton Change of Command

by Vice Admiral Roy Kitchener
28 April 2022 USS PAUL HAMILTON (DDG 60)

 VADM (ret.) Rowden, CDRE Flemming, Commanders and Commanding Officers, Officers and Crew of PAUL HAMILTON, family and friends, and other honored guests… Good morning.  It’s a pleasure to be here to mark this significant occasion with all of you. Let me first acknowledge CDR Keith Turner [OUTGOING CO], who is joined in virtual attendance by his wife Mary and daughters Helen and Rose. In addition to Keith’s family, joining CDR Jake Ferrari [INCOMING CO] is his wife Laura, daughters Lily, Lucy, and Eleanor, and son Jack.

None of us who serve this nation and our Navy could do so without the encouragement, support, and sacrifices of our families. Thank you for all you do; these ceremonies are your ceremonies too.

According to Naval Regulations, the Change of Command is conducted for the crew of a warship, displaying an official transfer of command from one officer to another – the crew must know and more importantly understand who carries the mantle of Command.

The greater symbolism of this ceremony today, which has endured through centuries of Naval History, is reinforcing the importance of command. With COMMAND comes absolute and indivisible responsibility; it is omnipresent, unconditional, and never absolved through delegation. There is no single attribute that defines the ideal Commanding Officer. Although, I would submit our Commanding Officers must be of high moral character, compassionate, competent mariners and tacticians, calm in the midst of chaos, and finally, possess a steeled ruthlessness.

While the job of the Captain is not easy nor always appreciated, it is the most satisfying role in which a Naval Officer will ever serve. So what is so alluring about this job of extremes where your actions are judged and debated daily? The answer is all around us – it is the opportunity to lead Sailors, to build a Team, by working with them, learning with them, suffering with them, and most importantly winning with them!

A Commanding Officer must foster and maintain a steadfast trust within their lifelines. That trust, however, does not appear overnight.

Our Captains ferociously guard the welfare of their Sailors, pushing them to train aggressively in the most taxing situations so they can win in war; but also ensuring their families and loved ones are cared for so our sailors can focus on the training or mission at hand.

This trust that is built during times of calm is the foundation a Captain leans on during the times of chaos. This investment empowers our Sailors to follow orders that in peacetime may seem completely irrational,

But in the height of battle are the difference between winning and losing!  Our job, the job for all of you in uniform, is to train hard and win at sea; the job of CDR Turner and now CDR Ferrari is to enhance and maintain the warfighting capability of this ship and, more importantly, the trust of this crew. Because every act and decision of the Captain builds towards a decisive moment in which trust defines success.

For you, the Sailors of Paul Hamilton, who have brought this ship through a nine month overhaul, modernizing and preparing your ship for the fight ahead and in the crucible that is Basic Phase training you honed operational, tactical and technical skills readying Team HAMILTON for more complex and advanced training. Now, your mission changes.
As you prepare for deployment, use your upcoming SWATT, Group Sail, and C2X to plan to practice, make mistakes, learn and strategize.

Our training cycle is NOT, nor was it, designed to be easy. It’s meant to test you, to stress you -with multiple objectives that must be accomplished in a limited time. Most importantly, it is designed to prepare you for both the known and unknown in the fight ahead.  In extremis we rise to the level of our training. It’s up to each and every one of you to determine whether that’s above or below the waterline. The Navy needs you and this ship for the fight to come just as it needed previous ships named, PAUL HAMILTON.

Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, was an ardent proponent of military preparedness and instrumental in the creation of naval hospitals –focusing on our naval power and the care of our Sailors. Since that time, two other Destroyers were honored with this namesake. DD-307, a Clemson-class Destroyer, which served in the Pacific Battle Fleet from 1920 until early 1930. And DD-590, a vaunted Fletcher-class Destroyer, which saw action across the Pacific fighting in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, assisting the Marines in the Battle of Iwo Jima,

And providing Naval Surface Fire Support during the Battle of Okinawa –ultimately earning seven battle stars.  And you, the Sailors of DDG-60, must carry on this storied legacy. Many of you remember, your last deployment where this team completed a monumental nine months enforcing freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, coordinating ballistic missile defense in the Arabian Gulf, and conducting joint operations with Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well as our allied partners to achieve our National objectives. We need you once again to be ready to meet whatever objective our nation and Navy dictates. You will be ready.

CDR [Keith] Turner, Captain, you have excelled in your first command tour. You have displayed the character, built the competence, and fostered the connections of your crew. You’ve developed a professional and tenacious climate aboard Paul Hamilton that is felt from the Wardroom, through the Chief’s Mess, to the deckplate. Presented with the challenge of leading your ship through a lengthy and complex Maintenance Availability, you led your team to finish early. That’s the drive we want from all our Commanders, that’s the Competitive Edge we need to produce more ready ships.

Keith, you kept your crew focused and never gave up the ship - proudly earning the Battle “E” or Efficiency Award, the Unit Tactics Award, the Logistics Readiness Award, the Retention Excellence Award, as well as numerous accolades from Commanders across the Force. This teamwork, camaraderie, and trust is illustrated throughout your career and I expect we will see it repeated as you move into more complex assignments. Thank you Keith for your exceptional leadership onboard PAUL HAMILTON. I know what we ask of you, all of you, is not easy but Command is always satisfying - it truly is a labor of love.

To your family – your wife Mary and children Helen, and Rose – thank you for supporting your husband and father through a job that demands so much from an individual -but you should know that Team Turner provided the energy he needed to complete this task. Keith, as you move back to Virginia and over to SURFLANT, it’s reassuring to know you will have a hand in preparing our fleet for tomorrow’s fight. Sharon and I wish you and your family the best.
CDR Ferrari [Jake], as you assume Command ensure you understand the demands of being the Captain, they’re never ending and sometimes not readily apparent. It takes a personal commitment and professional curiosity to which the depths remain unknown. But what is known is this, Command is a gift that must be earned every day. You are the Officer for this assignment; and from you I demand you maintain your crew’s focus and prepare them for the fight to come, wherever and whatever it may be. Teach them how to manage risk and prioritize the myriad tasks we give them, listen to them, Their expertise will provide you the missing pieces to the most complex puzzles. Most importantly empower them to become the boldest and most courageous Sailors who will give pause to any adversary that seeks to challenge us on the world’s seas.
For all of you, always have The Courage to Prevail!

Thank you and good luck to you all.

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

Public Affairs Officer

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