By Ensign Jim Vika, USS Spruance Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- During a rare rainy day in San Diego, the officers and crew of the guided missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) held a change of command ceremony while pierside at Naval Base San Diego, May 15.
With the traditional exchange of salutes, Cmdr. Daniel Cobian turned over command of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to Cmdr. Manuel Hernandez.
The ceremony marked the end of a very successful 18-month command tour for Cobian. He led Spruance through a six-month deployment as an independent deployer in support of operations in 7th Fleet.
During the deployment, the crew made 11 port calls, increasing vital ties between the U.S. Navy and partner nations in the Pacific. The Spruance crew also earned a meritorious unit citation for their performance while on deployment.
During this period, Spruance was vital to information gathering and freedom of navigation operations throughout the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. Upon returning to homeport, Spruance participated in the Portland Rose Festival in Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles Navy Days, in San Pedro, California, effectively carrying out the Navy's recruiting and public relations mission.
During a busy 2014, she was involved in Rim of the Pacific 2014 exercise in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Spruance's participation included an in port period with multi-national events and extensive anti-submarine warfare exercises with more than 40 ships, bolstering the vital ties that the U.S. enjoys so much with Pacific partner nations.
"I will always remember my time as the commanding officer of Spruance as a challenging and rewarding experience," said Cobian. "The enthusiasm and efforts of the crew inspired me on a daily basis and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead such a dedicated group of Sailors."
Cobian said that he considered the crew to be an extension of his family and that he would miss them all upon his transfer.
"I am leaving behind an incredible group of professionals and feel confident that Spruance rests in good hands," said Cobian.
Cobian's next tour will be at the Naval Surface Warfare Development center in Coronado, California.
Hernandez most recently completed a successful 18-month tour as the executive officer on board Spruance as part of the DDG fleet-up process.
"To the Spruance crew, it is an absolute honor, a great privilege and a humbling experience to have the opportunity to lead you during the next 18 months," said Hernandez. "Together we will continue the trajectory of success, that under the command of Cmdr. Cobain, we have achieved. Steady as she goes, full speed ahead and God bless."
Spruance is currently in the basic phase of training and is ramping up in support of an upcoming, independent deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet. Spruance is assigned as part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 and expects to shift to DESRON 21 in late May.