By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christian Senyk, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) held a change of command ceremony May 28. Cmdr. Chad Graham relieved Cmdr. Chase Sargeant as McCain's commanding officer.
While Sargeant was in command, McCain steamed more than 53,000 nautical miles of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, making her one of the most actively deployed warships in today's U.S. Navy Fleet.
"The Asia-Pacific environment is constantly changing," said Capt. Shan Byrne, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. "It is a theater full of friction and challenges, with the pace only quickening."
McCain's schedule is dense with training and inspections, all in part of making her operationally ready and prepared to be a forward presence in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
"I can never repay you for the energy, blood, sweat and tears you gave to this command and this navy," said Sargeant to his Sailors during the ceremony. "It has been my honor and my privilege to be your captain. Take care of each other; take care of our ship and thank you."
With those words, Sargeant saluted his relief, former executive officer, Graham, and transferred the absolute authority, responsibility and accountability of his command.
Graham has played a critical role in the past two years of McCain's operational success and says he is ready to face the challenges ahead and that he remains confident in the crew's ability to tackle the future.
"The challenges that lay before us are not small by any measure," said Graham. "We are charged with bringing 'Big Bad John' back together and taking her to sea, where a warship belongs."
McCain is forward-deployed to DESRON 15 in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, and is currently dry docked in Yokosuka, Japan.