NEWS | Sept. 18, 2021

U.S. Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System Romania Changes Command

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

The U.S. Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System Romania (USAAMDSRO), located aboard Naval Support Facility (NSF) Deveselu, held a change of command ceremony in Deveselu, Romania, Sept. 17, 2021.

Cmdr. Frederick G. Hettling relieved Cmdr. Michael S. Dwan as commander, USAAMDSRO, during the ceremony, which was presided over by Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (CNSL) and Capt. Jonathan D. Lipps, Commander, Task Force (CTF) 64.  

“I am honored and grateful to be a part of this time-honored tradition, one spanning over 200 years and held sacred among all services and service members of the United States military,” said Rear Adm. McLane. “This is a joyous occasion for the family watching virtually today, and the Sailors and contractors here today that support this important mission.”

USAAMDSRO is under the operational control of the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet based in Naples, Italy, and is part of the European Phased Adapted Approach (EPAA), which protects European NATO allies and U.S. deployed forces in the region. This land-based missile defense facility is designed to detect, track, engage, and destroy ballistic missiles in flight outside the atmosphere. Its technology is nearly identical to and works in coordination with the systems used on the four forward-deployed naval forces Europe Aegis destroyers.

CDR Dwan assumed command of USAAMDSRO in August 2020 and led his team to many firsts. USAAMDSRO competed and was selected for the Maritime Warfare (Black "E") and Command Control Communications and Information Warfare (Green "E") command excellence awards by CNSL.  The command also completed its first ever Material Inspection (MI) by the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), scoring above 90% in six functional areas, with an unprecedented 100% during the Ballistic Missile Defense demonstration, for an overall score of 87%, setting the benchmark standard for all other sites to follow. 

Other highlights included hosting site tours and capability demonstrations for the Secretary of the Navy, Commander U.S. Sixth Fleet, CNSL, several members of Congress, and Romanian Parliament members. These tours demonstrated the importance of the mission executed by the watch teams in defense of the NATO alliance against ballistic missile threats.

USAAMDSRO also earned the AN/SPY-1 RADAR Readiness Honor Roll for 17 consecutive months. The command has the highest operational availability for SPY readiness in the fleet.

“This is a testament to the hard working operators, technicians, and logisticians onboard,” said Dwan.

Along with these successes, USAAMDSRO was awarded the Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic Retention Excellence Award (Gold Anchor) for calendar year 2020.

"Everyone knows that Aegis Ashore is 'here', but no one truly knows what it is that we actually do until they come and witness for themselves all the incredible talent and dedication that goes into being mission ready day in and day out,” said Dwan. “My Sailors are dedicated professionals.  They make rate and advance here.  They earn higher qualifications here.  They raise the tactical and technical bar here.  They are more than ready to stand the watch.  They are ready to fight ... and win!  I could not be more proud of each and every one of them.  It has been the pinnacle of my career and I am extremely humbled to have had the privilege of commanding the absolute finest Sailors in the Fleet."

Hettling assumes command following his most recent tour as the Defense Support of Civil Authority Planner, Future Plans Branch for U.S. Fleet Forces.

“I am honored to join this team,” said Hettling. “The officers, chiefs, Sailors, and civilians assigned to USAAMDSRO perform a very important mission in being always on mission and ready to defend Europe from ballistic missile attack.”

NSF Deveselu provides essential support to AAMDS Romania in core mission areas such as safety, security and quality of life, and works jointly with the Romanian 99th Military Base to ensure the security and safety of the AAMDS site.  

U.S. Sixth 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.