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SUBIC BAY, Philippines - The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) held a change of command ceremony April 13 in Subic Bay. Capt. Christopher Herr relieved Capt. Colby Howard, who had previously taken command of Wasp on Dec. 13, 2017.
Presiding officer, Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, noted that during the course of Capt. Howard’s time aboard as both executive officer and commanding officer, Wasp and her missions have put the ship and its crew in the forefront of national awareness with its captivating list of accomplishments.
“Your crew’s achievements speak for themselves… when the light has shined the brightest on you, with the pressure at its highest, you have been at your best, always answering the call with precision and force,” said Cooper. “Your journey among the oceans and seas during this tour has been simply remarkable.”
After a successful homeport shift transit which concluded in the beginning of January 2018, Wasp and her crew participated in multiple security patrols in the surrounding areas, conducted drills with allies, including the 35th iteration of Exercise Balikatan, embarkations of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and making history as the first ship to operationally deploy with the F-35B Lightning II aircraft.
“It has been a great honor to serve as your commanding officer, and prior to that, executive officer over the last three years,” said Howard during his remarks. “I have thought about how to capture my time at Wasp in a few remarks, and I determined it came down essentially to two things: Thank you, and well done.”
Howard also lauded the accomplishments of the crew, highlighting their tenacity and dedication.
“Because of you, we have done the absolute impossible on many occasions,” he said. “You have met every mission. You have achieved every task… it has been a truly remarkable story that you have written on Wasp, and I am absolutely honored to have been a part of it.”
Howard will next serve as commander of Naval Surface Group Western Pacific, in Yokosuka, Japan.
Herr took command of Wasp following the reading of orders and official transfer of command. He reported aboard Wasp as the executive officer Dec. 5, 2017.
“It is with great humility and focused purpose that I take responsibility as the 23rd commanding officer of USS Wasp,” said Herr, upon assuming his new duties. “I owe you everything I have as your commanding officer, and I will ask much of you… together we will excel in upholding our model of honor, tradition, and excellence.”
Herr’s operational assignments include Detachment 11 operations officer for Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51 on the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). He transitioned to the SH-60B and served with HSL-40 Detachment 2 on USS Thach (FFG 43) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) before transitioning to the SH-60R and taking command of the Spartans of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 on USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). Capt. Herr’s shore assignments include flag aide to the president of the Naval War College, deputy director at Naval Personnel command (PERS-43), and most recently command of the MH-60R Seahawks Fleet Replacement Squadron (HSM) 41 in Coronado, California.