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USS Bulkeley Changes Command

August 20, 2018 at 10:08 AM UTC
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sara Eshleman

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) held a change of command ceremony during a scheduled port visit in Faslane, Scotland, Aug. 17, 2018.


During the ceremony, Cmdr. John Lucas relieved Cmdr. William Harkin as commanding officer.

Guest speaker Command Master Chief Reginald McCallum praised Harkin on his accomplishments aboard Bulkeley, reflecting upon their extensive history working together.

“What do you say about a person who has done so much and invested so much into the mentorship and development of his officer and enlisted Sailors alike?” said McCallum. “Well, when I first met Lt. Harkin at the time onboard the Reuben James, he was a very confident and competent chief engineer and tactical action officer. Even back in 2004, he believed in taking care of Sailors while executing the mission – whatever that mission was.”

McCallum acknowledged that much of Bulkeley’s success could be attributed to Harkin, and the ship has thrived under his command.

“To all my chiefs here today,” said McCallum. “My advice to you is to train and develop your department heads and [division officers] because one day they may become a Mac Harkin - a commanding officer who believes and is invested in what we bring to the fight and the capabilities of the Sailors under him. To the department heads here today – I’ve seen you grow so much under his leadership. I am sure the phrase ‘have a plan or leave with my plan’ will resonate with you when he leaves.”

Harkin also had some advice for his crew as he addressed them for the last time.

“Wolfpack, three things I want to leave you guys with,” said Harkin. “Number one – make the most of your opportunities, number two – remember that a life lived for others is the only life worth living and number three – have fun.”

In his closing remarks, Harkin reflected on his time on Bulkeley.

“Over the last few days, I’ve been taken back by the amount of ‘thank yous’ I’ve gotten from many of you,” said Harkin. “It catches me off guard because I’m really the one that should be thanking you and I don’t believe thank you is a strong enough word to cover all of that. The achievements on Bulkeley are a result of the leadership from the chiefs and the officers to my left and to my right and the tremendous efforts of the men and women standing in front of me. You’re the ones that have to execute day in and day out – you’re the ones who stand watch every hour of everyday. If I had any role, it is to create an opportunity and give you what guidance I could. And I caution you – be careful when you ask for an opportunity. Thomas Edison famously once said ‘opportunity is missed by most people because its dressed in overalls and looks like work.’”

As Lucas assumed command of Bulkeley, he echoed Harkin’s gratitude and spoke to the crew about their future.

“Thanks for becoming valued stakeholders in what we’ve got going on here aboard eight-four,” said Lucas. “Continue your efforts and keep getting caught in the act of doing right by ship and shipmate. But more importantly, keep doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. You’ve got no way of being caught, that’s when your warrior integrity is on full display. Even if you’re the only one who knows, we are all benefitting from this kind of buy-in. You are truly the most enthusiastic, talented and creative crew in the U.S. Navy, and this has been reflected in your advancement and retention rates among other places.”

Bulkeley, homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.