• Sherrills Ford native assumes command of U.S. Navy warship

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    The guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG-59) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Base San Diego on Oct. 23, 2019. Cmdr. Matthew W. Foster turned over the role of commanding officer to Cmdr. Ryan K. Rogers a native of Sherrills Ford, North Carolina.

    "It is a great honor to have the opportunity to lead the outstanding officers and crew of Russell," said Rogers.

    Rogers assumed command of Russell in accordance with the Navy’s Fleet-up Program after serving as Russell’s executive officer. His previous assignments include sea tours aboard USS Reuben James (FFG 57) as main propulsion assistant, USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) as navigator, and USS Mason (DDG 87) as chief engineer and combat systems officer.

    “It has been an honor and privilege to serve with the sailors and officers aboard Russell, and I am extremely humbled and proud of their accomplishments,” said Foster. This has been my most rewarding tour. I am confident Commander Rogers will continue the valued traditions and operational excellence of USS Russell.

    The ceremony marked the end of a very successful 18-month command tour for Foster. During Foster’s tenure, Russell successfully completed an arduous 22-month maintenance availability and a full work-up cycle, certifying the ship and crew in all missions’ areas. Foster also successfully led Russell through exercise Northern Edge in the Gulf of Alaska operating area and launch of two SM-2 missiles for Live Fire with a Purpose.

    Foster leaves the ship to join the staff of the commander, Naval Surface Forces.

    During the ceremony, Foster read his orders and transferred command to Rogers, who read his orders, assumed command, and addressed the audience as commanding officer of Russell.

    Commissioned in 1995, Russell is named for Rear Adm. John Henry Russell and his son, Commandant of the Marine Corps John Henry Russell, Jr. Assigned to Destroyer Squadron 23, Russell is homeported in San Diego.

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