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Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic

USS Leyte Gulf Changes Command at Naval Station Norfolk

by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Ryan Colosanti, George H.W. Bush Strike Group Public Affairs
14 February 2022

USS Leyte Gulf Changes Command at Naval Station Norfolk
SLIDESHOW | 2 images | USS Leyte Gulf Changes Command at Naval Station Norfolk 220210-N-YD731-1010 NAVAL STATION NORFOLK (Feb. 10, 2022) Rear Adm. Richard Cheeseman, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10, awards Capt. Andrew Bates, commanding officer of the guided-cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the Legion of Merit during a change of command ceremony, Feb. 10. Capt. Michael Weeldryer relieved Bates as commanding officer of Leyte Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Novalee Manzella)
 The guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) completed a change of command aboard Naval Station Norfolk, Feb. 10, 2022.
 
Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10 Rear Adm. Rick Cheeseman presided as Capt. Michael Weeldreyer relieved Capt. Andrew Bates as the ship’s commanding officer.
 
“With the foundation that Capt. Bates laid throughout the maintenance period and in basic phase training, I know team Leyte Gulf is prepared for whatever the world has to offer,” said Cheeseman.
 
For 23 months, Bates led the ship through a complex depot maintenance period and the basic phase training cycle amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
“It has been an incredible honor and privilege to lead this crew as we rebuilt readiness and capability in Leyte Gulf,” said Bates. “And to the crew of Leyte Gulf, I give thanks. Thank you for sharing and amplifying my belief that there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. Thank you for everything you do.”
 
Bates’ next assignment is Chief of Staff for Commander, Carrier Strike Group 4.
 
Weeldreyer previously served as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Russell (DDG 59). He also completed a tour in the Secretary of Defense’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) Directorate, later attending the National Defense University where he earned a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy and Policy with a concentration in Acquisitions Management and Missile Defense.
 
“To the crew of the Leyte Gulf, America’s battle cruiser, I pledge my loyalty,” said Weeldreyer. “I am committed to your personal and professional development and I look forward to serving with you.”
 
USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55)’s type commander is Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic, and is under the operational leadership of Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10.


 
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