Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2 held a change of command ceremony aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), June 27.
During the ceremony, Capt. Fred I. Pyle relieved Capt. Stephen J. Coughlin as commodore of DESRON 2 in a time-honored ceremony on the flight deck of Churchill.
“It is an incredible honor to be associated with the long and storied history of Destroyer Squadron 2,” said Coughlin. “As the longest standing destroyer squadron in the U.S. Navy, this squadron has served and fought around the globe over our entire history as a modern Navy, in almost every major naval battle and campaign.”
Coughlin, who served as deputy commodore prior to assuming command as DESRON 2 commodore in December 2012, will next report to OPNAV N96.
During his time as commodore, Coughlin successfully guided three of the squadron’s destroyers through independent deployments. The deployments supported ballistic missile defense missions and maritime security operations in the 5th and 6th Fleet area of operations (AOR).
“To be the commander of this squadron has been a remarkable professional experience for me in every possible way,” said Coughlin. “I could not have asked for a better setting or a better group of fine Americans to celebrate the U.S. Navy with me.”
Rear Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, was the guest speaker for the ceremony.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be standing here before you all today,” said Lewis. “One of the great things about my job is that I get to say farewell to outstanding leaders and welcome new ones to carry on the tradition that has been set before them.”
During the ceremony, Lewis presented Coughlin with the Legion of Merit in recognition of his accomplishments as commodore.
Pyle, a native of McAlisterville, Pa., assumed command on the decks of Churchill, the very destroyer he commanded from January 2008 to July 2009. Before taking over as commodore, Pyle served as deputy commodore of DESRON 2.
“Today is a humbling experience for me as I begin my major command tour,” said Pyle. “When I look back at the list of warriors who have served as commander of Destroyer Squadron 2, I am reminded of the privilege and immense responsibility of having command.”
DESRON 2 is currently composed of six guided-missile destroyers. In addition to Winston S. Churchill, the warships include USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mahan (DDG 72), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).
“We must operate forward where it matters and be ready when it matters,” said Lewis. “To do that we have to have leaders in place that can make the hard decisions, not falter and not deter from the mission. I am able to sleep well at night because I know that the leaders before you can make the hard decisions. Decisions that officers like Steve [Coughlin] and Fred [Pyle] make with sound and decisive judgment on a daily basis.”
DESRON 2 falls under the command of CSG 12 and select units will get underway as part of the Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group during future deployments.
Click here to view more photos from the event.
By Lt. j. g. Courtney Callaghan, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs