USS Spruance changes command in San Diego

U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) welcomed a new commanding officer during a ceremony held at Naval Base San Diego.

Commander Manuel Hernandez turned over the role of commanding officer to Commander Joshua M. Menzel.

The ship’s 325 member crew, family and friends, along with family members of Admiral Raymond Ames Spruance, from whom the ship is named in honor of, were in attendance for the celebrated event.

“There is no better sailor than a Spruance sailor,” said Hernandez. “You have contributed immensely to the significance of my life. I have always believed that leadership is first and foremost an act of service.”

Hernandez, Spruance’s fourth commanding officer, leaves the ship to join the Destroyer Squadron 21 team.

Midway during Spruance’s recent deployment, Menzel, who was the ship’s executive officer, left the ship to attend prospective commanding officer (PCO) school.

“Eighteen months ago it was my privilege to be assigned and take over as executive officer of this amazing ship,” said Menzel. “To date it has been the best tour of my career. I am excited for what the next 18 months have in store. I am humbled and honored to take command of the number one wardroom, the number one Chief’s mess and by far the number one crew.”

Spruance returned to San Diego Nov. 14, 2016 following a seven-month deployment to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility where it was part of the first-ever Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG), under Commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31.

Spruance executed Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI), Cooperative Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia and a bilateral exercise with Republic of Korea (ROK).