The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) held a change of command ceremony while on board Naval Station Mayport, Fla.
Cmdr. Chris Turmel relieved Cmdr. Paul Cassutti as commanding officer, Apr. 8. Family, friends, and the crew were in attendance for the celebrated event.
"I could not be more honored or humbled to have served as Lassen’s Commanding Officer or to have served with such an outstanding crew,” said Cassutti. “From a nine-month deployment, to a challenging maintenance and basic phase where the ship also executed a number of operational tasks at sea, this crew performed exceedingly well and I remain impressed by the honor, courage, and commitment they displayed throughout. As I move on, I will always look back fondly on my time onboard and will always consider myself to be a Sea Devil."
Cassutti, a native of Northport, N.Y., took over as the executive officer aboard Lassen in June 2019. During his time as executive officer, he completed a successful nine-month deployment that spanned across U.S. 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Fleets and multiple underways and availabilities. After taking command in November 2020, Cassutti led Lassen through challenging shakedown and basic phases, laden with operational tasking. Cassutti leaves the ship to enjoy retirement with his family.
During the ceremony, Cassutti read his orders and transferred command to Turmel, who read his orders, assumed responsibility of command, and addressed the audience as the new commanding officer of Lassen.
“Having served with Cmdr. Cassutti and the Sea Devils over the past 18 months, I could not be more honored and humbled to take command of Lassen,” said Turmel. “The crew is incredible and has excelled through every challenge that has come our way. I look forward to seeing what amazing things we can accomplish as we move forward.”
Turmel, a native of Elizabeth City, N.C., assumed command of Lassen after serving as the executive officer from November 2020 to February 2022. His previous sea assignments include Division Officer tours onboard USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) and USS Cleveland (LPD 7) and a department head tour onboard USS Stockdale (DDG 106) as the Weapons and Combat Systems Officer. Following his tour on Stockdale he served as the commanding officer of USS Tempest (PC 2), forward deployed to Bahrain.
Commissioned in 2001, USS Lassen is named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient, Cmdr. Clyde Everett Lassen, the first Naval Aviator to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam. Cmdr. Lassen flew with the Sea Devils of HC-7, the mascot that the ship uses to this day. USS Lassen is assigned to Naval Surface Squadron (SURFRON) 14 and is homeported in Mayport, Fla.