By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Amanda S. Kitchner,
Navy Public Affairs Support Element Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Cmdr. Hans De For relieved Cmdr. Joseph Femino as commanding officer of guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) in a change of command ceremony held aboard the ship, Dec. 9.
The official party included guest speaker Commander, Destroyer Squadron 15, Capt. Paul Lyons who also presented an end of tour award to Femino.
“I am honored to have served as Curtis Wilbur’s commanding officer,” said Femino. “I am excited to see the continued movement toward more mission capability and success under the leadership of Cmdr. De For.”
Femino served as commanding officer of Curtis Wilbur from April 2012 to December 2013. During the reading of Femino’s award, Curtis Wilbur was recognized for flawlessly executing all operational tasking, and was the recipient of multiple command, Navy and national level awards.
“It’s been incredible to see the professional and personal growth of each and every one of my Sailors,” said Femino. “The sincere joy of seeing my extended families growing will likely be some of the most lasting memories I take from this tour.”
Next, Femino will be moving on to European Command Headquarters in Stuttgat, Germany. Femino will be joined by his wife and their two children.
A native of Austin, Minn., De For served as a Torpedoman aboard USS Josephus Daniels (CG 27) and as a reservist in the Subbase Pearl Harbor Unit from St. Paul, Minn., before earning his Bachelor’s degree in history and receiving his commission in 1996 from the University of Minnesota’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit.
“Curtis Wilbur is the living embodiment of American goodwill and love of freedom,” said De For. “I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve with her fine crew and it is my distinct honor to assume command of the ‘Steel Hammer’ of the Republic.”
Curtis Wilbur is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan in support of regional security and stability in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.