Cmdr. Corey Odom relieved Cmdr. Michael O’Reilly as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) during a change-of-command ceremony onboard the ship Nov. 13. The presiding officer was Capt. James Kenny, commander, Destroyer Squadron 28.
As the ship’s seventh captain, O’Reilly assumed command in August 2019. He led Gravely through the final stretch of an eight-month deployment, operating in Arctic waters. The ship and crew also completed an 11-month maintenance period at General Dynamics-NASSCO shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, and recently returned to underway operations and sea trials.
“Commanding Gravely has been a tremendously rewarding experience,” O’Reilly told the crew. “Leading and serving alongside this crew has been the greatest honor I can imagine, and I am humbled by the effort, commitment and pride that you bring to the ship each and every day.
"You have worked tirelessly to get Gravely through a year-long maintenance availability, and it was a wonderful feeling to see your hard work pay off as we got underway for sea trials, returning Gravely to operational status and back into the fight," he said.
O’Reilly received his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2001 with a degree in systems engineering. He is also a graduate from the Naval Postgraduate School. He previously served as Gravely’s executive officer from December 2017 to May 2019.
Odom assumed command after completing a 16-month tour as Gravely’s executive officer. Previously, he completed a tour as the deputy branch head in the training department at U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
“I am both honored and humbled for the opportunity to take command of such a wonderful ship and crew,” Cmdr. Odom said in his address to the crew.
Odom enlisted in the Navy in 1990 and served ten years in the submarine warfare community. In 2001, he earned his commission through the Navy’s Enlisted Commissioning Program. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University, Johns Hopkins University, and the Naval War College.
The 56th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Gravely is homeported in Norfolk and named after Vice Adm. Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr. Adm. Gravely became the first African-American to command a U.S. Navy warship, the first African-American to command an American warship under combat conditions, the first African-American to command a major naval warship, the first African-American admiral, the first African-American to rise to the rank of vice admiral, and the first African-American to command a U.S. Fleet. Adm. Gravely was highly decorated with the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal.