SANTA RITA, Guam – USS Antietam (CG 54) held a change of command ceremony at U.S. Naval Base Guam, May 30, 2019. During the ceremony, Capt. Tadd Gorman relieved Capt. George A. Kessler as the ship's Commanding Officer of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser. The ceremony was held at the Big Screen Theater. Rear Adm. Karl Thomas, Commander, Task Force 70 made the opening remarks.
“There is nothing like ending a command with a successful exercise,” Thomas said during his opening remarks. “Pacific Vanguard was another opportunity for your leadership to shine. Thank you for always stepping up to a successful exercise and your team for answering the nation’s calls.” (Quote pulled from excerpts in his speech).
The ceremony was held to mark the end of a highly successful 23-month command tour for Kessler. During his time as the commanding officer, Kessler successfully took the ship out of emergency dry dock and led the ship in multi-national exercises, such as Multi-Sail 2018, Malabar 2018 and Pacific Vanguard 19.
"I am thankful, honored and humbled to have commanded Antietam," said Kessler. "The ‘Power to Prevail’ has been our model over the last 2 years. It has been amazing to see the motivated and dedicated crew that is a part of Antietam. You are my family and will always have a home. I wish you fair winds and favorable seas always."
Captain Kessler is a native of Albany, Missouri, and commissioned from the United States Naval Academy in June of 1995. His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; and various other medals, unit and campaign awards.