USS Michael Monsoor welcomes new commanding officer

07 March 2019

From Lt. Coleen Coombes, USS Michael Monsoor

Capt. James Edwards relieved Capt. Scott Smith as the recently-commissioned Zumwalt-class destroyer's second commanding officer, March 4.

SAN DIEGO - Zumwalt-class destroyer USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) held a change of command ceremony aboard ship, March 4, welcoming the crew’s second commanding officer after the ship was commissioned in January.

Capt. James W. Edwards relieved Capt. Scott M. Smith while the ship was moored in is San Diego homeport. Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, commander, Carrier Strike Group 1, presided over the ceremony and Rear Adm. William Galinis, Program Executive Officer for Ships, was the honorary guest speaker.

“The most important task we charge our commissioning commanding officers with, is building and training the ship’s first crew. Captain Smith has done exactly that; where he is a shining example of servant leadership. He empowered his team to take ownership of every aspect of their pre-commissioning unit, which set a rock solid foundation for future Monsoor Sailors," said Galinis. “He was the right leader at the right time to command the USS Michael Monsoor.”

The ship honors Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006. Smith discussed how the crew strived to embody the legacy of the ship’s namesake during his tenure.

“Mike [Monsoor] demonstrated that with our families behind us, our friends beside us, and faith in the future, we can accomplish even the most difficult undertakings. These Sailors have proven that,” Smith said before turning over command.

Having served as Smith’s executive officer, Edwards assumed all duties and responsibilities after his official orders were read and thanked Smith.

“It is an absolute privilege and honor to assume command of such a motivated and capable crew that endeavors daily to serve in a manner which honors our namesake, Michael Monsoor,” said Edwards. “Under Capt. Smith's leadership, this crew has met every expectation with vigor and zeal and it is a testament to his leadership that we are a cohesive team with mission accomplishment as our cornerstone.”

USS Michael Monsoor was commissioned Jan. 26 at Naval Air Station North Island, California. The 16,000-ton ship is 610 feet in length, has a beam of 87 feet, and a navigational draft of 27 feet. It can sail at speeds of up to 30-plus knots.

Zumwalt-class destroyers are the most lethal and sophisticated destroyers ever built. They provide deterrence and forward presence by bridging today’s innovation with future technology.

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