A Feb. 7 change-of-command ceremony marked the transition from the inaugural commander of the USS Arlington to his successor.
In ceremonies held in Norfolk, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Darren Nelson was succeeded by Cmdr. Gregory Baker.
Nelson commanded the USS Arlington even before the ship was commissioned last April. He served as a public face of the ship in its relationship with the Arlington community, and at the Feb. 7 ceremony received a proclamation signed by County Board Chairman Jay Fisette, thanking him for his service and his outreach to the community for which the ship was named. Also at the ceremony, Nelson was presented with the Navy’s Meritorious Service Medal for the achievement of bringing the ship on line without a single significant discrepancy in testing throughout the process.
The new commander worked his way up from the enlisted ranks to achieve his current command.
Enlisting in the Navy in 1984 as a cryptologic technician, Baker was selected for participation in the Enlisted Commissioning Program and attended Marine Maritime Academy, where he graduated and received his commission. He later earned a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.
Since commissioning, Baker has served on the USS Anchorage, USS Enterprise, USS Harpers Ferry and USS San Antonio – the last, like the USS Arlington, a landing platform dock. He also has served in shore assignments, and spent a year at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.
Nelson is a native of Nebraska, and prior to serving as commander of USS Arlington served on USS Bainbridge, USS Barry, USS Saipan and USS Gunston Hall, and well as shore assignments.