Command of USS Stout (DDG 55), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, officially changed hands during a ceremony May 2 at Naval Station Norfolk.
Cmdr. Andrew Fitzpatrick assumed command from Cmdr. Bob Alpigini.
Past and present crew members, friends, and family attended the time-honored change of command ceremony which concluded Alpigini’s 21-month tour as Stout commanding officer (CO). It began in September 2012, just as the ship was emerging from the shipyard and beginning the training cycle in preparation for a Ballistic Missile Defense deployment. On Stout’s 2013-2014 deployment to the Mediterranean, he led the ship through joint naval exercises and operations with NATO and allied nations.
“It has been the ultimate honor and privilege to serve as commanding officer of Stout,” said Alpigini. “Just like every previous step in my career, I am unendingly grateful to every crew member I have served with, without whom none of our myriad successes would have been possible.”
Alpigini is moving to Washington D.C. to assume a position on the Joint Operations Directorate, under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Fitzpatrick attended Sequim High School in Sequim, Wash. and enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an Electronic Warfare Technician. In 1996 he earned his bachelor’s degree and commission from Oregon State University through the Enlisted Commissioning Program. After serving as Stout’s executive officer for the last 20 months, he “fleets up” and is expected to command the ship for approximately 18 months.
“I have had the privilege of working with Stout Sailors and families for the last year and a half,” said Fitzpatrick. “Few crews are more dedicated or more accomplished than these extraordinary men and women. I look forward to continuing our service together for the next 18 months as we perform our Nation’s tasking.”
This was not the first time that Alpigini and Fitzpatrick served together. They were both on the commissioning crew of USS Mahan (DDG 72) as first-tour division officers, Alpigini as the Damage Control Assistant, and Fitzpatrick as the Electrical Officer.
“To round out our history together,” said Alpigini, “we were privileged to have our first CO, Capt. William James, as our guest speaker this afternoon. Andrew’s and my place in the ancient and sacred succession of command started with him as our outstanding role model.”
An 8,300-ton guided-missile destroyer, Stout is the sixth ship in its class. She is named for Rear Adm. Harold Stout, a decorated World War II destroyer captain, and Adm. Arleigh Burke’s most trusted subordinate throughout the war in the Pacific. Stout recently returned from an Eastern Mediterranean deployment, where her crew monitored the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons, led multinational naval exercises, and recently re-took the renegade oil tanker Morning Glory.
Press Release, May 5, 2014; Image: US Navy