By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Abby Rader, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan – The officers and crew of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) held a change of command ceremony on the ship’s flight deck while in port Fleet Activities Yokosuka, May 20.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. John Bradford assumed command of Stethem from Cmdr. Chris Adams, marking the end of 18 months of command for Adams.
“Thank you, Stethem crew, for all that you do,” said Adams. “You are Stethem, and in striving daily to make our namesake proud, you have made me ever so proud. It has been an honor to be your captain for the past 18 months, and your shipmate for the last 36 months.”
While under Adams’ command, Stethem contributed to regional stability and theater security operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The ship also participated in numerous operations and multi-national exercises, including carrier strike group operations, Valiant Shield, Foal Eagle, and Multi-Sail.
Before turning over his duties, Adams stressed his support of Bradford taking over as the next commanding officer.
“I leave Stethem knowing Cmdr. Bradford will continue to pour his heart and soul into looking after the ship and her crew, and under his leadership, Stethem will achieve greater accomplishments,” said Adams.
Bradford, who previously served as the ship’s executive officer, opened his remarks in giving thanks to Adams.
“I cannot conceive of a better officer to learn from or serve as executive officer ,” said Bradford. “Your inspirational leadership and mentorship has been extraordinary, and I hope to emulate your example in command.”
Bradford lastly thanked the crew, ensuring in them the continued success of Stethem.
“Thanks to your efforts we have attacked all challenges with the intensity of positive energy. We have sustained the legacy of this great warship and continue to honor the sacrifice of Robbie Stethem,” said Bradford.
“You are steadfast as we meet all challenges with honor, courage, and commitment.With selfless dedication we will ensure, no matter what the tasking,the success of Stethem. Thank you for allowing me to serve this team.”
Stethem is one of seven Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 which is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.