By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class N. Ross Taylor, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan — A new commanding officer took command of Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) during a ceremony at Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Fleet Theater, June 12.
During the event, Capt. James T. Jones turned over command of the warship to Capt. Kurush F. Morris.
Guest speaker, Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet, congratulated Jones and his crew for their accomplishments.
“Jim, you leave behind a winning team,” said Montgomery. “I can say without a doubt that you have led the Shiloh and her crew to great successes with unfailing strength and wisdom. Kurush, welcome aboard. This job will challenge you, but I am confident you will find it one of the most rewarding jobs in the Navy.”
Jones expressed his gratitude to his crew for all of their perseverance.
“To the wardroom, chief’s mess, and the crew of USS Shiloh, my warmest thanks for your hard work and dedication,” said Jones. “The cohesiveness of our ship is one of the prime reasons for our success.”
As the commanding officer since August 2011, Jones led his crew through several demanding and complex exercises and missions. He continued by highlighting some of the successes Shiloh had under his command.
“In total, we have sailed 47,100 nautical miles and executed 142 special evolutions up to and including the largest and most intricate ship’s maintenance availability that the Yokosuka waterfront has ever attempted, and strengthened international cooperation by being the first U.S. Navy ship to visit the People’s Republic of China since 2009,” said Jones.
Jones attributed his success as commanding officer to the outstanding performance and character of the men and women who served under him.
“I am better for having known all of you, for having the chance to serve alongside you, and to be able to call myself your captain,” Jones said. “This is the best job I will ever have, and it is a bittersweet day today because I must say, ‘good bye.’”
As Jones’ final act as Shiloh’s commanding officer, he led the officers and crew in the Sailor’s Creed. Thereafter, he reminded them of a credo they had become very familiar with during Jones’ tenure.
“Remember Shiloh, if you’re going to do it,” he said and was joined by the more than 300 Shiloh Sailors in attendance, “do it right!”
Morris thanked Jones for his leadership and leaving him in care of an outstanding warship.
“Capt. Jones, I appreciate your outstanding accomplishment in building this group of exceptional Sailors who have consistently excelled at every task given,” said Morris. “You are turning over a focused and motivated team, and I am convinced there is no better ship or group of Sailors to work with on the waterfront.”
Morris previously served as Division Chief, J-39 Special Actions Division, on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jones’ next assignment will be in Washington, D.C. working on the staff for the Chief of Naval Operations.
Shiloh, forward deployed to Yokosuka, is the Navy’s 21st Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser and reports to Commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet.