USS Howard conducts change of command ceremony at Yokosuka NB

Cmdr. Kenji Igawa, incoming commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), reads his orders during a change of command ceremony aboard the ship, forward-deployed to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Dec. 1. Howard is assigned to Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th fleet’s principal surface force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samantha Oblander)
Cmdr. Kenji Igawa, incoming commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), reads his orders during a change of command ceremony aboard the ship, forward-deployed to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Dec. 1. Howard is assigned to Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th fleet’s principal surface force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samantha Oblander)

USS Howard conducts change of command ceremony at Yokosuka NB

by Ensign Morgan Bollinger
Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15 Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan  – Cmdr. Kenji Igawa relieved Cmdr. Travis Montplaisir as commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) during a change of command ceremony aboard the ship, Dec. 1.

Montplaisir, a Missouri native, has served as commanding officer since August 2021. During his command, Howard completed two 7th Fleet patrols, a Wellington, New Zealand relationship building port visit, selected restricted availability, contractor sea trials and led the crew through the beginning of basic phase.

“This command was more rewarding than I could have ever hoped for, and it’s all because of the Sailors’ exceptional support and dedication to Howard and her mission”, said Montplaisir. “It has been the highest honor of my 28 year career to serve with each of you. Howard is the best ship with the best crew.”

Montplaisir’s next duty assignment is at the Australian Joint Staff College.

Igawa’s most recently served as Howard’s executive officer.

“I set my face boldly like a flint, looking at the challenges that will come, the tasks our ship will be called to, in support of our nation’s objectives, in support of our nation’s defense, because we go in to face no mission alone,” said Igawa. “We have each other, and together, we are Ready for Victory.”

Igawa’s previous sea assignments include Combat Systems Officer and Weapons Officer of USS Princeton (CG 59), Assistant Damage Control Assistant and Repair Division Officer of USS Tarawa (LHA 1), and Communications Officer of USS Stethem (DDG 63).

Ashore, he served as the Japan Desk Chief, Joint Staff Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5), Asia Directorate; Congressional Fellow in the office of Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06); Deputy Executive Assistant to the Commander of U.S. Third Fleet; and Company Officer at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Commissioned in 2001, the ship is named in honor of Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Jimmie E. Howard. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1967 by President Lyndon B. Johnson for his heroic efforts in the Vietnam War.

Howard is assigned to Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th fleet’s principal surface force.

U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.

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