By MCSN Raymond Diaz, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) received a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony, Dec. 11.
Cmdr. Michael A. Smith relieved Cmdr. Scott C. McClelland after 18 months of service aboard the ship.
Commander, Destroyer Squadron 15, Capt. Paul Lyons said the opportunity for command at sea is a chance to make a real difference.
“It is said to beware of command, but I look at it quite differently,” said Lyons. “I see it as the opportunity to make things better. To make a difference from stem to stern, keel to mast, and from E-1 to O-5. There is no greater opportunity than command at sea.”
McClelland, after receiving the Meritorious Service Medal presented by Lyons, addressed his Sailors.
“Sea Devils, we are a ship of the line,” said McClelland. “We stand for freedom and liberty and we execute missions with purpose and direct effect. We bare superior war fighting capability and do not shy from danger.”
The name Sea Devil comes from the namesake of the Lassen and is used to describe Sailors assigned to the ship.
McClelland served as commanding officer since June 2012. Lassen has participated in many exercises and operations under McClelland, which recently included humanitarian assistance to the Republic of the Philippines during Operation Damayan, and Annualex 2013 with the George Washington Strike Group and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
“Sea Devils, It has been my honor and privilege to have been your commanding officer,” said McClelland.
McClelland’s next assignment will be as commanding officer of Afloat Training Group West Pacific in Yokosuka, Japan.
Smith, a native of Waterbury, Vt., served as Lassen’s executive officer, before assuming command.
“It is an honor to take command of this ship,” said Smith. “There is no organization in the world like DESRON 15.”