By Leah Eclavea, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs
SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 held a change of command ceremony aboard U.S. Naval Base Guam April 29.
Cmdr. Benjamin Cipperley relieved Cmdr. Oscar Rojas as EODMU-5 commanding officer.
Guest speaker Capt. Christopher Merwin, commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group 1, praised Rojas for the many successful missions executed by EODMU-5 under his command.
"On Oscar's watch, the Mobile Unit 5 team has disposed of over 80,000 pounds of unexploded ordnance," Merwin said. "(The team) conducted highly sensitive political and environmental ordnance recovery and disposal operations."
During his time on Guam, Rojas deployed personnel to 47 joint and combined exercises and engagements that spanned 21 countries within 7th Fleet's Area of Responsibility. He also established a human intelligence program that is the first of its kind within the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.
Merwin presented Rojas with the Meritorious Service Medal for his time in command. Rojas will report to the Chief of Naval Operations office in Washington D.C. for his next assignment.
"What I am going to miss the most about Guam and EODMU-5 is truly the people, that's what has made our assignment here memorable," Rojas said. "The local community is so supportive in everything that we do and our command members are so dedicated to the mission that it's going to be tough to put them behind us."
Cipperley served as the deputy operations officer and staff EOD officer for commander of Task Force 76 in Okinawa, Japan. He commended Rojas for his leadership of the command as well as for entrusting him with a great support team in the Sailors of EODMU-5.
"To the warriors and patriots of EODMU-5, I am honored and humbled to be a part of this incredible command during one of the most dynamic periods in military history," he said. "The strategic pivot to the Pacific has fostered an environment of expanded engagements in tactical advancement and you have seized the initiative to expand the realm of the possible."