Pittsburgher Clemmons takes naval command

SINGAPORE (NNS)—Capt. Richard L. Clemmons Jr. relieved Capt. William A. Kearns III as commander, Destroyer Squadron (COMDESRON) 31 in a ceremony held aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) July 30 at Changi Naval Base.

“To say it has been a remarkable 17 months in command of DESRON 31 would be an understatement,” said Kearns, whose next assignment will keep him in Hawaii as Executive Assistant to Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “I can’t imagine a commodore having a more fulfilling tour.”


During his command tour at DESRON 31, which began in January 2008, Kearns implemented the Pacific Fleet’s Middle Pacific Surface Combatant Operational Employment concept.

Kearns also served as mission commander for Pacific Partnership 2008, a humanitarian mission aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), as well as task group commander for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, a series of bilateral exercises in Southeast Asia.

During the four-month Pacific Partnership mission, more than 90,000 patients were treated by embarked medical teams in various locations and 26 engineering projects were carried out in various locations in Southeast Asia and Oceania.

“From the jungles of Papua New Guinea to the marshes of Mindanao, and to so many other people and places in need, you brought hope and goodwill ashore,” Kearns said of his staff’s involvement in Pacific Partnership.

The MPSC concept enhances the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s war fighting readiness and operational effectiveness by capitalizing on the strategic location of Pearl Harbor and increasing surface combatant presence in the Western Pacific.

Prior to assuming command of DESRON 31, Clemmons served as Executive Assistant for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5). The Pittsburgh native previously commanded the guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) from March 2005 to November 2006, receiving the 2006 Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale Award for his leadership during his time in command.

“I firmly believe that today, there is no destroyer squadron with a stronger reputation for operational excellence than DESRON 31,” Clemmons said. “You are an extraordinarily talented and accomplished squadron, and you should be justifiably proud of that fact.”

In addition to commanding DESRON 31, Clemmons will also assume responsibility as Commander, Task Group 73.5 for future CARAT exercises.

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