YOKOSUKA, Japan - The guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) held a change of command ceremony, May 24, at Fleet Activities Yokosuka.
Cmdr. John Rummel relieved Cmdr. Jeff W. Benson as commanding officer. Benson assumed command of Stethem in September 2017, and will serve his next tour in Washington, D.C. as a Federal Executive Fellow.
During his 20-month tour, Benson commanded Stethem throughout the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, including two Taiwan Strait transits, tri-carrier operations in the Sea of Japan, operations in the South and East China Seas, and multiple U.S. and allied exercises.
“If our nation should ever call Stethem into battle against any adversary, rest assured, Steelworkers will uphold Robbie’s legacy, and be ready to follow in his footsteps; to make that ultimate sacrifice without fear, but with courage,“ said Benson.
Rummel is a California native, and most recently served as executive officer aboard USS Chancellorsville (CG 62).
Stethem’s namesake honors Steelworker Second Class Robert D. Stethem, a Navy diver who was killed by terrorists after the hijacking of Flight TWA 847.
Presently, the ship is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Stethem is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15.