By Lt. j.g. Jonathan Peterson, USS Curtis Wilbur Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) held a change of command ceremony, Sept. 1.
Cmdr. Amy Graham relieved Cmdr. Hans De For as Curtis Wilbur's commanding officer during a ceremony on board Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka.
While De For was in command, Curtis Wilbur reached a milestone for sustained readiness as she completed an extended dry-dock selected restricted availability (EDSRA). The planned maintenance period was part of the DDG Modernization program and focused on mid-life upgrades to hull, mechanical and engineering systems. Lasting 335 days, it was the longest and most extensive overhaul in Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) history to date.
"Taking the ship through an extended yard period, where the ship is completely ripped apart and then built again is not an easy task," said Capt. Christopher Sweeney, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. "But [Cmdr. De For], you made it look easy, and ensured Curtis Wilbur was ready to fight and win."
Upon leaving the dry-dock, Curtis Wilbur's schedule has been compressed with training events and inspections, making her operationally ready and prepared to provide maritime security to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
"This was a fantastic tour," said De For. "It was an honor to be able to serve amongst the finest America has to offer."
With those words, De For saluted his relief, former executive officer, Graham, and transferred the absolute authority, responsibility and accountability of his command.
As executive officer, Graham played a critical role in ensuring the ship returned to peak operational readiness after the maintenance availability period. De For is confident that Graham is ready to face the challenges ahead and strongly believes in the crew's ability to tackle the future.
"To take the reins from Cmdr. Hans De For is bittersweet. I could not have asked for a better commanding officer to serve as executive officer," said Graham. "[Cmdr. De For], you gave me the latitude to learn and grow, all the while preparing me for this day. Your mentorship, sage advice, professional expertise, and friendship have made me a better officer. Thank you! We will keep [Curtis Wilbur] on course."
Curtis Wilbur is one of seven Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.