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USS Shoup Holds Change Of Command Ceremony in Pearl Harbor

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060711-12
Release Date: 7/11/2006 6:56:00 PM

By Lt. j.g. James L. Carlson, USS Shoup Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Cmdr. Mark A. Johnson relieved Cmdr. Christopher H. Halton as commanding officer of the Aegis destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) during a change of command ceremony on the ship's flight deck, July 5.

In his remarks to the crew before turning over command, Halton reflected on his tenure as the commanding officer, thanking the crew, the officers and his family for supporting him along the way.

He praised the crew for their relentless positive attitude, perseverance and “can do” work ethic. These qualities guided the crew during a strenuous operational tempo as a surge status platform.

Halton assumed command of Shoup in January 2005. Under his leadership, Shoup immediately provided tsunami relief off the coast of Sumatra as part of Operation Unified Assistance in January 2005.

Furthermore, Halton led Shoup during work-up exercises in the Pacific area of operations, and two six-month deployments. The latter included four months of operations in the Western Pacific in support of Exercise Foal Eagle 2006, Valiant Shield 2006 and several goodwill diplomatic port visits.

"It is an honor that this great charge has been placed upon me,” Johnson told the crew after assuming command.

Johnson is a native of Bethesda, Md., and a 1987 graduate of Miami University, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in history. He was commissioned via ROTC in December of that year.

At sea, Johnson has served aboard USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51), USS Ramage (DDG 61), and USS Gettysburg (CG 64). His most recent sea duty assignment was as executive officer of USS Hue City (CG 66) from 2001 to 2003, deploying for Operation Enduring Freedom. This is his first tour as commanding officer.

His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Army Commendation Medal as well as other personal and unit-level awards and citations.

Shoup is a critical member of Carrier Strike Group 9, which includes USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and USS Russell (DDG 59).

Shoup is currently on a routine Western Pacific Deployment, supporting the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations.

For related news, visit the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.

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