USS Mason (DDG 87) held a change of command ceremony on the ship’s flight deck, Feb. 28.
Cmdr. Mikal Phillips relieved Cmdr. Wilson Marks as the commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer.
“Today is a bittersweet day as I will be joining my wife and children in Virginia while leaving my Mason family behind,” said Marks. “It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve as Mason’s captain. This crew has exceeded any expectation I ever had for a ship under my command. I leave knowing that Mason is in superb hands.”
During the ceremony, Marks received the Meritorious Service Medal for his achievements while serving as Mason’s commanding officer from July 2012 to February 2014. He will report to Naval Surface Forces Atlantic in Norfolk.
Phillips took command of Mason after serving a tour as the ship’s executive officer under Marks.
“Cmdr. Marks’ passion and unwavering commitment to the mission and the crew has been inspirational to me during my time as Mason’s executive officer,” said Phillips. “I look forward to continuing the standard of excellence, pride and professionalism synonymous with Mason and her crew.”
Phillips also remarked on the impact Marks had on the ship.
“Cmdr. Marks has been an amazing leader and mentor,” said Phillips. “He has shown us aboard Mason that ‘Proudly We Serve’ is not just the ship’s motto, it is our way of life.”
Mason is currently deployed as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Press Release, March 6, 2014, 2014; Image: Wikimedia