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Amphibious Squadron 2 Changes Command

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS091023-06
Release Date: 10/23/2009 11:26:00 AM

From Amphibious Squadron 2 Public Affairs

USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 2 held a change of command ceremony Oct. 22 aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5) during a port visit to 5th Fleet's Area of Operations.

Capt. Paul L. McElroy, III relieved Capt. Jack L. Sotherland as PHIBRON 2 commanding officer.

"We've been through a lot together," Sotherland said in his remarks to Bataan Sailors, Marines embarked with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and special guests. "I have watched this staff over the past 15 months with great satisfaction and pride as they have met and exceeded the expectations of our Navy and Marine Corps in training and executing as a superb team. Being your commodore has been a tremendous honor."

Sotherland, who took command of the squadron in August 2008, led the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) through several maintenance and training operations, as well as five months of a deployment to conduct maritime security operations in 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Operations. While deployed, the Bataan ARG also participated in five multinational exercises designed to strengthen coalition partnerships and reinforce regional security and stability, including the recent Bright Star 2009 exercise.

Sotherland read his departing orders and turned the command over to McElroy, who expressed his appreciation to the members of the command.

"I am blessed to be in command of this staff and ARG," said McElroy, who had previously served as the deputy commander for PHIBRON 2. "I am honored to be a part of this incredible team with the MEU and the flagship."

Sotherland will attend training at the Defense Attaché School and the Defense Language Institute and will then report to the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines as the naval attaché officer.

The mission of PHIBRON 2 is to exercise tactical control over and coordinate the employment of the amphibious forces of the Bataan ARG, which consists of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship Bataan, the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 6, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2, ACU 4 and Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 2.

For more news from USS Bataan, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lhd5/.

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