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Inaugural Change of Command Held On Mesa Verde

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090310-13
Release Date: 3/10/2009 6:04:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Hodges Pone III

NORFOLK, Va (NNS) -- Service members and civilians alike gathered aboard USS Mesa Verde's (LPD 19) flight deck to welcome aboard the ship's new commanding officer (CO) during a change of command ceremony March 6.

Cmdr. Larry LeGree assumed command of the ship, relieving Capt. Shawn Lobree; Mesa Verde's first commanding officer.

"Today is the end of a long and rewarding journey for me and my family," said Lobree. "Like a father, watching a son or daughter grow up, I have seen Mesa Verde grow from a set of drawings to a fully operational warship. I couldn't possibly be more proud."

During Lobree's tenure, he brought the ship from Pascagoula, Miss. to her homeport, Naval Station Norfolk. Also during his tenure as CO, the ship was awarded for the various community relations projects completed around Norfolk and received numerous accolades.

Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, U.S. Fleet Forces Command deputy chief of staff for Global Force Management and Joint Operations served as guest speaker. He praised the accomplishments of Lobree and welcomed LeGree to his new assignment.

Capt. Lobree extended his thanks to the service members aboard Mesa Verde for their hard work.

"No matter what was thrown at us, your professionalism, dedication, good cheer and skill impressed me daily," said Lobree. "It has been a great honor to be the commanding officer of such a fine ship and crew. Our country is lucky to have such fine men and women serving in the fleet."

Cmdr. LeGree was grateful for the opportunity to lead the crew and believes there is a lot to be accomplished as commanding officer of Mesa Verde.

"It is an honor to serve with you on board Mesa Verde," said LeGree. "The first deployment of this ship will occur under our watch. That alone is historic. I charge each of you with individual responsibility for excellence as that, and that alone, will do credit to the history and heritage of our great service."

Members of the crew were honored to take part in the ceremony and wish their former CO, and the first commanding of Mesa Verde, well in his future Navy endeavors.

"It's been a great experience and a memorable time," said Personnel Specialist 1st Class (SW) Jairo Martinez of the ship's Human Resources Department. "I've seen the ship come alive under Capt. Lobree's leadership. The crew wishes him the best, and we thank him for being a key player in Mesa Verde's success around the fleet."

"I feel proud and sad to be going, but I leave knowing the ship is in good hands with Cmdr. LeGree and [the] highly trained crew of Mesa Verde," said Lobree.

For more news from USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), visit

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