An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News Stories
Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic

USS Mason Holds Change of Command

by By Lt.j.g Grace Rovira Melendez, USS Mason Public Affairs
30 September 2022

Cmdr. Justin B. Smith succeeded Cmdr. Stephen M. Valerio, as USS Mason (DDG 87) commanding officer during a Naval Station Mayport, ceremony Sept. 26.

A native of Buffalo, New York and raised in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Valerio assumed command of Mason in April 2021, and will go on to serve as executive assistant for the Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy for Policy. As commanding officer, he led Mason through the COVID-19 pandemic and oversaw maintenance and upgrades resulting in the total overhaul of the engineering plant, and combat systems, and led the ship through the successful execution of a reintroduction to INSURV. Under Valerio’s leadership, Mason received the Destroyer Squadron TWO Battle “E” award and FY-21 Retention Excellence award. Recently, Mason also successfully completed a homeport shift from Norfolk, Va., to Mayport.

“I was truly humbled to have had the opportunity to command such an amazing crew for the last 18 months, said Valerio. “Every day I’m proud to be your Captain. I know that whether it’s with me as your captain, or Cmdr. Smith, this crew will continue to be hard chargers and embody that NO QUARTER mentality that has made Mason so successful.”

“I am equally humbled at the honor to lead the Mason Blue Lion family,” added Smith. “As I accept the honor of being your captain, I understand the great responsibility I have to the crew, their families and our country and am ready to execute so this ship can continue to be one of the leading performers in the waterfront. Proudly we serve!”
The Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyer commissioned April 12, 2003, and is the third ship to bear the name. Mason’s crew is made up of approximately 320 officers and enlisted personnel.  |  |  Navy FOIA  |  DoD Accessibility/Section 508  |  No Fear Act   |  Open Government  |  Plain Writing Act  |  Veterans Crisis Line  |  VA Vet Center  |  FVAP  |  DoD Safe Helpline  |  Navy SAPR  |  NCIS Tips  |  Privacy Policy  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us   |  988 Helpline
Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic  |  1751 Morris Street  |  Norfolk, Virginia 23511-2808
Official U.S. Navy Website
Veteran's Crisis Line