USS Fitzgerald Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By Ensign Eric Uhden, USS Fitzgerald

170513-N-HE318-143 SASEBO, Japan (May 13, 2017) Cmdr. Bryce Benson, left, and Cmdr. Robert Shu cut a cake after a change of command ceremony on the forward-deployed, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62). Cmdr. Bryce Benson relieved Cmdr. Robert Shu as the commanding officer of Fitzgerald. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann/RELEASED)

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) – Cmdr. Bryce Benson relieved Cmdr. Robert Shu as the commanding officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) during a change of command ceremony, May 13.

Shu has served as Fitzgerald’s Commanding Officer since December 2015 and will serve his next tour at Commander, Task Force 70 (CTF 70).

“It is coincidental that our change of command will not be in Yokosuka, and instead in Sasebo,” said Shu. “Both myself and Cmdr. Benson formally had commands in Sasebo on mine sweepers.”

Fitzgerald is returning from patrol in the Asia-Pacific region as part of a Ballistic Missile Defense mission. In February, Fitzgerald completed its Ship Restricted Availability (SRA) that included $21 million in upgrades and repairs. Since the repairs, Fitzgerald has participated in exercise Multi-Sail 2017 with Japan Maritime Self-Defense (JMSDF), completed multiple replenishments at sea, and held port calls in Guam, Subic Bay, Philippines, and Sasebo, Japan.

170513-N-HE318-020 SASEBO, Japan (May 13, 2017) Sailors on the forward-deployed, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) stand in formation during a change of command ceremony. Cmdr. Bryce Benson relieved Cmdr. Robert Shu as the commanding officer of Fitzgerald. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann/RELEASED)

“I look forward to being with my Fitzgerald family in support of future missions and exercises. This is the best ship and the best crew on the waterfront, hands down!” said Benson. “I am proud to work alongside the Navy’s best and brightest men and women who protect and support the Pacific region and our allies.”

Benson reported as the executive officer November 2015.

Fitzgerald is one of eight destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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