By Lt. Fallon Puppolo

Littoral Combat Ship Squadron TWO Public Affairs Officer

Capt. Michael Johnston relieved Capt. Paul D. Young as commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron Two (LCSRON TWO) July 14 during a change of command ceremony held at Naval Station Mayport.  

Under Young's leadership, LCSRON TWO set the Navy standard for LCS operations.  He became LCSRON TWO's first commodore when he assumed command in November 2014.  During his tenure, the squadron successfully homeport shifted two Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) here from San Diego, completed Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials and Final Contract Trials on USS Detroit (LCS 7) and Full Ship Shock Trails onboard USS Milwaukee (LCS 5).  Additionally, LCSRON TWO successfully prepared, trained and supported their crews for future operations.  

 "It has been an absolute pleasure to serve alongside the men and women bringing LCS to Mayport," said Young. "Between the staff, our crews, Southeast Regional Maintenance Center, the Naval Station and our other partners, there is no better place for LCS to call home. I'm very excited to see what this team will do in the years to come."

Young will next serve on the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations staff, as the Deputy Director of Surface Warfare for Ships (OPNAV N96E). 

Johnston, a native of North Carolina, graduated from North Carolina State University and was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in December, 1993. In December 2000, Johnston graduated from Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., with a Master's Degree in Operations Research. 

A Surface Warfare Officer, Johnston's sea duty assignments include division officer tours aboard USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS Enterprise (CVN 65); department head tours as weapons officer and combat systems officer aboard USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55); executive officer aboard USS The Sullivans (DDG 68); and commanding officer of LCS Crew 204, where he commissioned the USS Coronado (LCS 4) and conducted developmental tests for the Surface Warfare mission package. 

His shore duty assignments include congressional liaison officer for the Navy's Officer of Legislative Affairs (OLA); planner at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Joint Forces Command; chief staff officer for LCSRON 1; and Future Frigate Requirements branch head in the Surface Warfare Directorate for the Chief of Naval Operations. 

"My family and I are energized and excited to return to Jacksonville and continue our Navy journey," said Johnston. "I look forward to the challenges and rewards that await Littoral Combat Ship Squadron TWO in the coming years as we push USS Detroit (LCS 7) forward on deployment next year. This will begin another important chapter for the Navy as Littoral Combat Ships begin to deploy to forward operation stations in larger numbers."

LCSRON TWO will oversee Final Contract Trials onboard Milwaukee and the shipyard maintenance period for Detroit before receiving USS Little Rock (LCS 9) this Fall and USS Sioux City (LCS 11) in 2018.  Additionally, they will undergo an intensive training period in preparation for deployment with Milwaukee next year.