MANAMA, Bahrain --
The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Devastator (MCM 6) was moored pierside with her red, white and blue banners and adorned railings as her leadership changed command on Naval Support Activity Bahrain, July 10.
The ceremony where Lt. Cmdr. Billy Green relieved Lt. Cmdr. Kurt Albaugh was presided over by Cmdr. Christopher Gilbertson, deputy commodore of commander, Naval Surface Squadron (CNSS) 5, a former USS Devastator commanding officer.
"Command is tough," said Gilbertson. "We have discussed this many times, and you certainly recognize this. You have made many difficult decisions in command in regard to your ship and crew, yet you have embraced all of these challenges, made the right call, and succeeded. We ask much of these ships and crews. You have certainly stood up to the task. Your crew, the ship, and the Navy are better off for your service."
Devastator, one of four MCM ships forward deployed to Bahrain and attached to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command's (NAVCENT) Task Force (TF) 52, is a mine sweeper/hunter-killer capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines in U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
"This crew has not settled for good enough," said Albaugh. "This crew has demonstrated that a one waterfront mentality works, and that we all win and lose together. They have demonstrated that winning has to start in our hearts and minds before it can manifest at sea. Thank you for setting that example."
Albaugh is headed to the Pentagon to be the official speechwriter for the Chief of Naval Operations.
Before relieving Albaugh as commanding officer, Green served as Devastator's executive officer. After taking command of the ship, Green addressed his crew.
"I could spend hours and days up here talking about our success in the past, but I need all of us focused on the now," said Green. "We are at a tipping point onboard USS Devastator. It is a time in our ship's life where we will leave this pier and set out to explore the dangerous waters of the Arabian Gulf. We are maritime warriors. This is a team that I am proud to be a part of. Thank you."
TF 52 is the mine countermeasures force of the Coalition Forces Maritime Component Command overseen by the U.S. 5th Fleet. It operates regularly to ensure freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the Arabian Gulf, one of the world's most critical bodies of water for international maritime traffic.
U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse comprises 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.