Cmdr. James Walker relieved Cmdr. Isaac A. Harris as commanding officer of the Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) today during a shipboard change of command ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk..
Harris assumed command in April 2020, following the ship’s deployment to the 5th Fleet area of operations. During his time in command, he led the ship through a 13-month maintenance availability which culminated in the shipboard debut of the Navy’s Integrated Bridge and Navigation System throttle package, put in use during contractor sea trials.
Harris expressed gratitude for being able to helm the ship and its crew, who he deemed vital to its success as a naval asset.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead the extraordinary group of men and women that make Ramage the lethal force that it is,” said Harris. “Be it COVID-19, assessments, or deployment, the Ramage family has made ‘Par Excellence’ a standard to live by,” he added, in a nod to the ship’s motto.
Walker served as the ship’s executive officer for 18 months before relieving Harris. He began his naval career aboard USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), and followed with tours aboard USS Simpson (FFG 56), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), and USS Nitze (DDG 94).
“There is no higher honor than to be the commanding officer of a United States Warship,” said Walker. “I look forward to working with each person on board and continuing the already proud tradition of USS Ramage.”
Commissioned in 1995, USS Ramage received its name from World War II hero and Medal of Honor recipient Vice Adm. Lawson P. Ramage. Homeported in Norfolk, Va., the ship is assigned to Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT).
SURFLANT mans, trains and equips assigned surface forces and shore activities, ensuring a capable force for conducting prompt and sustained operations in support of United States national interests. The SURFLANT force is composed of nearly 80 ships, 15 pre-commissioning units, and more than 30 shore commands.