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USS Nitze Conducts Change of Command

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110505-04

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Stuart Phillips, Southern Seas 2011 Public Affairs

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) held a change of command ceremony aboard the ship while in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 1.

Cmdr. Chris Nerad relieved Cmdr. Richard Brawley as USS Nitze commanding officer during the ceremony on the flight deck.

"To command is both a gift and a privilege that yields immense personal satisfaction and yet it simultaneously carries a burden of unrelenting responsibility and pressures," said Capt. Marc Weeks, Task Group 138.0 commander. "It is without question, the single most defining achievement of any officer's career."

Brawly, who reports to the staff of Strike Group 12 as the surface operations officer, received a Meritorious Service Medal for his professional service and dedication as a leader before he was relieved as commanding officer.

The change of command was held during a port call in conjunction with the advanced planning phase of UNITAS Atlantic (LANT) 52. The ceremony took place at the end of nearly a week of symposiums, receptions and sports competitions among the participating nations of UNITAS LANT. Participating ship captains and task group commanders from Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico attended the ceremony.

"Four receptions in four days, wow," said Brawley. "One benefit of course is that we know each other much better. That was always an important goal of this exercise. We are certainly much better neighbors now, and our ship looks forward to phase two."

Brawly, who served as commanding officer from June 2009 to May 2011, praised the crew for their dedication and reminded them of the importance of teamwork.

"It truly takes teamwork to make this ship what it is," said Brawly. "Without a trained and disciplined crew, this ship is a useless machine, despite the technology. I think you are not only capable of going into battle, but dominating. I very much appreciate your efforts and all I can do is say thank you."

As the newly appointed commanding officer, Nerad addressed the crew, outlining his approach as a leader.

"We will look forward, not backward, and crush adversity," said Nerad. "To win, we must ensure that our gear works. To win, we must ensure we can operate our gear, often in austere environments. To win, we must execute in an honest, forthright and forehanded manner."

USS Nitze, guided-missile frigates USS Thach (FFG 43) and USS Boone (FFG 28), and USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907), along with six ships from the partner nations, got underway after the ceremony to continue UNITAS LANT.

UNITAS, Latin for "unity," is a combined South American and U.S.-sponsored annual exercise series. Active participants for the Atlantic phase, running April 15-May 9, include Brazil, the U.S., Argentina and Mexico. The U.S. Coast Guard is also participating.

COMUSNAVSO/C4F supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

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