New Commander aboard USS Lassen

US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) held a change of command ceremony May 13, while moored at its forward-deployed home port in Yokosuka, Japan.

As the ship’s company and invited guests looked on Cmdr. Michael Smith was relieved by Cmdr. Robert Francis during the traditional ceremony held pier-side at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY). The ceremony was nearly moved inside due to a typhoon brushing near CFAY the day prior, but the weather cleared allowing for the ceremony to go forward as planned.

Smith was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) from the ceremony’s guest speaker Capt. Shan M. Byrne, Commander Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 for his time as Lassen’s commanding officer. Smith had commanded the Lassen since December 2013.

According to the MSM award presentation, the Lassen while under Smith’s command, proved herself through the most demanding and intensive inspection a ship goes through, Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). Additionally, during the past 17 months, Lassen has made port calls to several countries in the Western Pacific, including Guam, Donghae, Republic of Korea Okinawa, and Pyongtaek, Republic of Korea.

Cmdr. Smith’s next assignment will be at the Joint Staff (JS) Ballistic Missile Defense Asia Pacific Cell in the Pentagon.

Lassen will change homeports from Yokosuka to Mayport, Florida, following the ship’s next patrol this spring.

Image: US Navy

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