USS Spruance holds a Change of Command Ceremony on the USS Midway Museum on April 14, 2023. Photo by Ensign Eva Knowles.

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO- The guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance held its change of command ceremony aboard the USS Midway Museum on April 14, when Cmdr. Christopher Ivey relieved Cmdr. Douglas Robb during the time-honored ceremony.

With the crew of USS Spruance in attendance, Robb passed command to Ivey on the historic carrier’s flight deck. Ivey became Spruance’s 10th commanding officer since the ship’s commissioning in 2011.

Spruance is a Flight IIA guided-missile destroyer named after Admiral Raymond Spruance, whose decisive leadership during World War II determined American victory at the turning point of the war in the Pacific: the Battle of Midway.

Admiral Spruance’s success in defending Midway Island makes the USS Midway Museum, a retired Aircraft Carrier moored in downtown San Diego, a natural choice for this momentous occasion, organizers said.

Two of Admiral Spruance’s grandchildren—ship’s sponsor, Ellen Spruance Holscher, and Raymond Ames Spruance II—attended the ceremony.

“I’m lucky — to lead a tough and resilient crew whose operational accomplishments in the Western Pacific and back here in San Diego will be the stuff of waterfront legend for years to come,” Robb said. “Lucky to lead the highest-performing Chief’s Mess with which I’ve ever served. Lucky to lead such a talented Wardroom, including the best cadre of department heads ever assembled.”

Robb graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2005 and, upon commissioning, served as the communications officer and navigator on USS Halsey. Other seagoing assignments include Operations Officer on USS Kidd; Operations Officer for Commander, Destroyer Squadron SEVEN; and Executive Officer of Spruance.

Robb also served as a liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives at the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs; Surface Strike/Tomahawk Missile Requirements Officer in the Surface Warfare Division; and Speechwriter for the Chief of Naval Operations.

Some of Robb’s notable accomplishments include bringing Spruance safely back from her 2022 7th Fleet Deployment where she served as the USS Abraham Lincoln’s sole destroyer escort and was regularly activated as Air and Missile Defense Commander.

Spruance also tracked myriad foreign-flagged submarines to provide continuous protection above, on, and below the ocean’s surface.

Additionally, in Fall 2022, Spruance pioneered at-sea missile rearmament concepts to reduce deployed combatant “off-station” time during a potential conflict, and hosted the Secretary of the Navy onboard to provide operational recommendations to expand this initiative.

Robb’s next assignment will be as the Navy’s Hudson Fellow to St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

Ivey previously served as the executive officer of Spruance. During his speech, Ivey thanked the official party, the chiefs and officers that supported him throughout his career, and the current Spruance crew, with a special thanks to Robb.

Ivey hails from Weston, Mass., and Lake Sunapee, N.H. He graduated from Boston College in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and from Northeastern University Business School in 2014 with a Master of Business Administration degree.

Ivey’s sea tours include operations division officer aboard USS Boxer; Main Propulsion Assistant and plank owner aboard USS Independence; Chief Engineer aboard USS Sampson; Chief Engineer aboard USS Lake Champlain, and Executive Officer aboard USS Spruance, all homeported in San Diego.

He also served as lead engineering and ship handling instructor for the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship engineering officer course at the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, R.I.

Additionally, he served as cruiser and destroyer Placement Officer at PERS-41, Surface Officer Assignments, Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn. and as Deputy Executive Assistant to the Commander, Naval Surface Forces/Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in San Diego.

Ivey is taking command of Spruance as she exits the depot and modernization phase and prepares to enter basic phase.

USS Spruance is a Flight IIA DDG stationed in San Diego, and currently completing a Chief of Naval Operations Selected Restricted Availability in the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard.

Story by Ensign Eva Knowles

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