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NEWS | Sept. 5, 2023

USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By LTJG Benjamin Cusimano, USS Arleigh Burke Public Affairs

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) held its change of command ceremony at Pier 1 in Naval Station Rota, Spain, August 24, 2023.

Cmdr. Tyrchra A. Bowman relieved Cmdr. Peter C. Flynn as Arleigh Burke’s commanding officer, in a ceremony presided over by Capt. Ed Sundberg, Commodore, Destroyer Squadron 60.

“This team demonstrated that a ship is only as good as the crew who sails her,” said Cmdr. Flynn during the ceremony.  “It takes a crew of dedicated and skilled individuals to ensure excellence on the high seas. Just like our namesake, Admiral Arleigh Burke, once said, ‘This ship is built to fight,’ and time and time again, this crew lived up to that motto. Over my time in command of Arleigh Burke, we have accomplished incredible things, and I am forever grateful.”

Cmdr. Flynn, with Cmdr. Bowman as Arleigh Burke’s executive officer, led the ship through multiple NATO exercises and operations during two Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) patrols, and one surge patrol. During exercise ATLANTIC THUNDER 22, Arleigh Burke and the U.K. Royal Navy planned and executed a force maritime strike demonstration, resulting in a successful SM-6 launch on its first anti-ship target. In Arleigh Burke’s subsequent surge underway, she integrated with French Carrier Task Force 473, conducting multiple maneuvering exercises, helicopter operations, underway replenishments, and gunnery exercises in support of the Charles De Gaulle Strike Group’s mission, ANTARES Phase I, in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Arleigh Burke also participated in the U.K.-led JOINT WARRIOR 23-1 and gained more proficiency, interoperability, and experience in the surface, subsurface, and air domain with NATO allies, to include Denmark, France, Norway, Poland, and the U.K. To conclude Cmdr. Flynn’s and Cmdr. Bowman’s partnership as CO and XO, Arleigh Burke was a featured participant during exercise AFRICAN LION 23, U.S. Africa Command’s largest annual combined, joint exercise with over 8,000 participants from 18 nations . Together, Flynn and Bowman executed 47 Sea and Anchor details, with port calls in Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Scotland, and Sweden. Arleigh Burke also performed 26 strait and canal transits and traveled more than 45,000 nautical miles, navigating the world’s most challenging waterways, including the Straits of Dover, Skagerrak, Kattegat, Gibraltar, Sicily, and the Suez Canal.

Flynn, a native of East Aurora, New York, commanded Arleigh Burke during two multi-mission, patrols throughout the U.S. Sixth Fleet and Fifth Fleet area of operations in support of regional and national security interests, operating in the Arctic Circle, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Red Sea, reassuring regional allies and partners with the ship’s impressive antisubmarine warfare, integrated air and missile defense, surface warfare, and expeditionary warfare capabilities.

As a career surface warfare officer, Cmdr. Flynn completed his division officer tours as Anti-submarine warfare officer aboard USS Port Royal (CG 73) and reactor electrical division officer aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73). For his department head tours, he served as chief engineer aboard USS Thach (FFG 43) and USS Mobile Bay (CG 53). Prior to assuming command, he served as Arleigh Burke’s executive officer.

Bowman, a native of Eutawville, South Carolina, served as executive officer aboard Arleigh Burke since April 2022. He completed his division officer tours as electrical and auxiliaries officer aboard USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and assistant scheduling officer of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2. For his department head tours, he served as chief engineer aboard USS Truxton (DDG 103) and navigator aboard USS Essex (LHD 2).

“I am proud of the accomplishments Arleigh Burke has garnered during my time as executive officer,” said Cmdr. Bowman during the ceremony. “Cmdr. Flynn leaves a culture of excellence and operational efficiency from his tenure as the commanding officer. While I have significant shoes to fill, his mentorship and daily leadership examples have prepared me well.  I know first-hand what this ship with this crew can do, and I am thrilled to be given this opportunity and honor to serve as the 23rd commanding officer. I look forward to the exceptional things the Arleigh Burke family will accomplish in the near future. Let us continue the legacy and tradition of excellence aboard Arleigh Burke and be ever mindful that ‘This Is Our Ship.’”

Cmdr. Bowman will take Arleigh Burke to sea for the first time as commanding officer during its fourth FDNF-E patrol. He will command the ship and crew in executing operations in the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) areas of responsibility, including sea lines of communication protection, maritime interdiction operations, direct support to NATO combined and joint operations and exercises, counter-terrorism operations, counter-piracy operations, Africa maritime law enforcement partnership operations, whole of government Africa partnership deployments, and theater security cooperation activities in-port and underway.

Today, there are 78 commissioned Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers in active service. USS Arleigh Burke leads the way, not only as the first in her class, but also as one of the most technologically capable warships despite her age.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the USEUCOM and USAFRICOM areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.