By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) held its change of command ceremony at Naval Station Rota, Spain, on May 3, 2019
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Matthew Powel was relieved by Donald Cook’s executive officer, Cmdr. Kelley Jones, as commanding officer of the ship. The guest speaker was Capt. Matthew Lehman, commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 60, and commander, Task Force (CTF) 65.
The ship's 300-member crew, family, and friends were in attendance to commemorate the event.
"This has been the most challenging, and most rewarding, tour in my nearly 20 year career,” said Powel. “The crew on board and the shore support team here in Rota have continually impressed me with their dedication, professionalism, and courage. In the last three years, this ship has embodied her motto – Faith Without Fear. I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for the hard work that you put in, I can only say that it’s been the honor of my life to be your captain.”
Powel has been commanding officer of Donald Cook for three years.
"It has been an honor to serve as the executive officer of this ship through some extraordinary events," said Jones. "And I am only more excited to see what the future holds for us. I am confident that I’m taking command of the finest ship the United States Navy has to offer."
Powel’s next assignment is chief staff officer for readiness at DESRON 60.
Donald Cook returned to Rota in March following its eighth Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.