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The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) held a change of command ceremony, Jan. 20.
In the ceremony, Capt. Stephen Froehlich relieved Capt. Judd Krier, as USS Iwo Jima’s Commanding Officer.
“I’m excited to continue the next phase of our Iwo experience together,” said Froehlich. “I’m inspired and encouraged by our potential to continue our climb, and there’s no team of professionals I’d rather be doing this with.”
The guest speaker was Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic, and the presiding official was Rear Adm. Tom Williams, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2.
“Captain Krier’s leadership was instrumental in developing Iwo Jima, not only into a crew of warfighters, but also into a tight-knit family,” said McLane during the ceremony. “This ceremony represents the culmination of a truly remarkable tour, where you led this fine group of Sailors.”
After serving as the ship's executive officer during a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of operation, Capt. Krier assumed command as CO and led the crew of Iwo Jima during a homeport shift from Mayport, Fla. to Norfolk and an extended maintenance period.
“I am very proud of the crew and the work we accomplished, while focusing on Iwo Jima’s core values of learning, improvement, wellness, ownership, and safety,” said Krier. “Working together, we demonstrated how to make a challenging maintenance period a great experience.”
Krier’s next assignment is in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV), Expeditionary Warfare.
His previous sea-duty assignments include USS Vicksburg (CG 69); USS Truman (CVN 75); USS Ponce (LPD 15); USS Enterprise (CVN 65); and as CO of USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).
His assignments ashore include the United States Naval Academy, the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Nuclear Propulsion Program Management in OPNAV, and the CO of the Nuclear Power Training Unit in Ballston Spa, N.Y.
Froehlich is a native of Houston, Texas.
His previous sea-duty assignments include Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 43, the “Battlecats”; USS Juneau (LPD 10); Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51; USS Nimitz (CVN 68); and Carrier Strike Group 3. He served as CO of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51, in Atsugi, Japan.
His assignments ashore include aide to the Commandant of the Joint Forces Staff College; Fleet Replacement Squadron Maintenance Officer for Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 41, the “Seahawks”; and U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Neb.
Capt. Brian Hamel, a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., assumed duties as Iwo Jima’s new Executive Officer.
USS Iwo Jima is at General Dynamics, NASSCO Shipyard in Norfolk for a scheduled maintenance period.
Amphibious assault ships, such as USS Iwo Jima, project power and maintain presence by serving as the cornerstone of the Amphibious Readiness Group and Expeditionary Strike Group.
Amphibious Readiness Groups provide the Marine Corps with a means of ship-to-shore movement by helicopter in addition to movement by landing craft.
USS Iwo Jima has supported major humanitarian-assistance and combat operations in which the United States has been involved.
USS Iwo Jima is named for the battle of Iwo Jima fought in 1945, in which three divisions of U.S. Marines took control of a tiny island from more than 20,000 enemy defenders.
The ship’s motto is a quote from Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz: “Among the Americans who served on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
Twenty seven U.S. service members were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima, more than any other single operation during World War II.