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USS HOPPER (DDG 70) Change of Command

A U.S. Navy file photo of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper
A U.S. Navy file photo of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) underway on the Pacific Ocean by Stephen M. Votaw (Photo I.D. 302528/released)

04/21/20 08:24 PM

Story by Chief Petty Officer Adam Congello, USS Hopper Collateral Duty Public Affairs Officer

PEARL HARBOR - During the ceremony held on the ship’s flight deck, Cmdr. Kathryn J. Dawley relieved Cmdr. Holman R. Agard as commanding officer.

“The Hopper crew is an amazing group of Sailors who are incredibly resilient despite any challenge in front of them. They always bring high energy and a positive attitude to whatever the task is,” said Agard. “There are so many great memories that I can’t just name one – we had a ton of great victories,” he continued. “The best ones are where Sailors get huge wins like meritorious advancement, enlisted surface warfare specialist (ESWS) pinning, reenlistments, Sailor of the Quarter and Sailor of the Year; victories that never get old.” However, I also enjoy the huge team victories: Navigation Assessment, mast and ship preservation, etc.”

Cmdr. Agard’s next assignment is as executive assistant to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet, in Manama, Bahrain.

Cmdr. Dawley, a Guthrie Center, Iowa native became the first female commanding officer of USS Hopper and of a United States Navy warship named after a female in naval history. She enlisted in the Navy in 1997 and received her commission from Old Dominion University in 2003.

“Hopper has been my dream since I commissioned,” she said. “As a role model, Rear Adm. Grace Hopper [ships namesake] embodied the qualities of a naval officer that I strive to be; strong, confident, and fearless,” said Dawley.

Dawley’s message to the crew is simple yet effective, “Be the best version of you every day,” she said. “The energy and spirit that each of you bring to this warship are unlike any that I have seen in my career. I am honored to work for you and to be a part of this team. Dare and Do!”