The U.S. Navy reported that Cmdr. Patrick M. Foster of Severn, Md., relieved Cmdr. Thomas J. Dickinson of Whitehall, Mich., as commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) during a change of command ceremony held April 25. USS Barry is currently at BAE shipyard receiving modernization and shipboard upgrades.
Past and present crew members, friends and family attended the ceremony at the BAE Shipyards to watch as Foster assumed command of the 9,000-ton guided-missile destroyer.
Foster enlisted in the Navy in 1986 and served as an Operations Specialist until receiving his commission in 1996. He graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelor's in education. After serving as the ship's executive officer for the last 18 months, he "fleets up" to commanding officer and is expected to command the ship for another 18 months.
"I have had the privilege of working with the Sailors and families of USS Barry for the last year and a half," said Foster. "Few crews are more dedicated or more accomplished than these extraordinary men and women. I look forward to continuing our service together for the next 18 months as we perform our nation's tasking."
Dickinson began his 18-month tour as the Barry's commanding officer in November 2012, just after the ship completed the basic training phase. He led the ship through an inspection with the Board of Inspection and Survey, USS Harry S. Truman Composite Training Unit Exercise, and a nine-month 2013 Ballistic Missile Defense deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility. Dickinson also brought Barry into her most recent maintenance availability, where she is receiving the newest Aegis equipment as part of her upgrade.
"It has been the ultimate honor and privilege to serve as commanding officer of USS Barry," said Dickinson. "From senior to junior, the Sailors here support each other and face every challenge with teamwork and professionalism, excelling at every turn. This is by far the most professional and accomplished group of Sailors I have had the honor of calling my shipmates in 18 years of service."
Dickinson is moving to Newport, R.I. to instruct prospective commanding officers and executive officers at the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center.
Barry is named for Commodore John Barry, America's first commissioned naval officer as awarded by President George Washington in 1797. Barry is the fourth ship to bear the name.