New Commander Assigned to USS Essex
Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) conducted a change-of-command ceremony at-sea, Oct. 17.
Capt. Brian Quin relieved Capt. Pete Mantz during a ‘flight lead change’ conducted.
Mantz took command of Essex on May 28, 2014, following a successful tour as the ship’s executive officer, and commanded Essex through an extensive maintenance availability period and pre-deployment exercises before the ship departed San Diego in May 2015 for a regularly-scheduled deployment to the 7th and 5th Fleet area of operations.
During his farewell, Mantz attributed the ship’s success to the hard work and dedication of the crew.
Following the traditional signing over of the deck logs and a mess deck reception, Mantz and Quin lifted off from the flight deck of Essex to conduct their flight lead change.
A flight lead change is a tradition in the naval aviation community when command of a squadron is passed to the new commanding officer.
Mantz and Quin, flying in separate MH-60 aircraft from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO-ONE (HSC-21), the ‘Blackjacks’, flew by the ship in formation as Quin took the lead from Mantz, signaling that he now had command of Essex.
Essex, with her new commanding officer, is currently deployed to the 5th Fleet area of operations as the flagship of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is operating in support of maritime security and Operation Inherent Resolve.
Image: US Navy