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USS Tortuga Changes Command

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090911-14
Release Date: 9/11/2009 3:20:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Joshua J. Wahl, Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Sasebo, Japan

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- USS Tortuga (LSD 46), one of only two forward-deployed landing ship docks, held a change of command ceremony Sept. 10 while moored in Sasebo, Japan.

Capt. Mark E. Weber relinquished command to Cmdr. James P. Lowell, during a formal ceremony with crew and guests on the ship's flight deck.

Capt. Gary J. Haben, deputy commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, served as guest speaker and praised Weber's operational accomplishments and success during his time in command.

"It is all about leadership and not running when the going gets tough," said Haben. "The accomplishments of the Tortuga from where they were last January from where we are today are huge. And I owe that to the crew, the officers and chiefs but mostly to Capt. Weber who is the one who was leading the charge."

Haben highlighted Weber's commitment to ensuring the ship was a "warship ready for tasking and capable of sustained combat operations."

Weber praised the support from the officers and crew in and noted that living up to the motto, "tough, tall and tenacious" was the backbone to their success.

Weber said he has never seen a crew work so hard in his 27 years of naval service. "I could not be prouder."

Weber explained he would miss the crew of Tortuga, but that they were in good hands as he prepared to turn over his duties to Lowell.

"Cmdr. Lowell has had command twice previously and has all the right background," said Weber. "Lowell is the right guy to continue to move Tortuga to greater heights."

Lowell, who carries on a family tradition of 67 years of continuous naval service, said he looks forward to the opportunity to lead the crew of Tortuga.

For more news from Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit

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