By Lt.j.g. Claire Longabaugh

USS The Sullivans PAO

Arleigh Burke-class ballistic missile defense guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) held a change of command ceremony Aug. 4 aboard the ship at Naval Station Mayport. Cmdr. Russell L. Moore relieved Cmdr. Gilbert E. Clark Jr. as commanding officer.

Capt. David Maxey, commander, Naval Surface Squadron Fourteen, presented Clark with a Meritorious Service Medal, gold star in lieu of second award for his accomplishment.  Clark's next assignment will be Commander, Afloat Training Group in Yokosuka, Japan.

"Gil, you've accomplished so much in your time on The Sullivans," said Capt. Maxey. "From an emergency anchorage in the Suez to an incredibly successful deployment to fighting Hurricane Matthew inport to leading the way to a successful basic phase, you should be proud."

Of Cmdr Moore, he said, "I remember sitting your command board with other commanding officers in the basin, and we recognized how much potential you have - you're taking this Battle E ship and you have the ability and an incredible opportunity to keep making her even better. Enjoy this experience!"

Moore joined the ship two months into a seven and a half month deployment in Sixth and Fifth Fleet, where the ship supported the Truman Strike Group and Operation Inherent Resolve, maintained air defense of the Gulf during the carrier gap, conducted small boat operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf, and provided air defense during Operation Odyssey Lightning. 

The Sullivans was awarded the Battle Efficiency Award for all her accomplishments during 2016 for sustained superior performance during his tenure as executive officer.

"I'm humbled by the opportunity to come back as the CO, "said Moore. " You, the crew, humble me every day by your efforts, willingness to work hard, and your dedication to getting your job dome whether it's maintenance or certification events. I look forward to the next 18 months where we take this team on deployment to support American efforts in critical areas."

Moore is from Dryersburg. Tenn., a 1999 graduate from University of Mississippi with a degree in Political Science, and received his commission through Officer Candidate School in 2000. 

Moore's two previous tours aboard USS The Sullivans include Damage Control Assistant and Executive Officer before fleeting up as the nineteenth commanding officer. 

Other previous assignments prior to assuming command include First Lieutenant in USS Underwood (FFG 36); (DDG 68); Operations Officer in USS McInerney (FFG 8); and Operations Officer in USS Gettysburg (CG 64). He is 2013 a graduate of Air Command and Staff College.

The Sullivans was commissioned in 1997 and is the second ship to be named for the five Sullivan brothers who lost their lives at Guadalcanal in 1942. The 505-foot ship has a crew of 32 officers and 311 Sailors.