Cmdr. Jon Williams, USS St. Louis (LCS 19) commanding officer, relieved Cmdr. Eric Turner, St. Louis (Blue Crew) commanding officer, during a ceremony onboard St. Louis Jan 13.

The ceremony marked the end of a nearly two-year command tour for Turner, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Under his command, St. Louis conducted a rigorous Post-commissioning Availability at BAE Shipyard for its Combining Gear.

“It was the honor of a lifetime to be your commanding officer,” said Turner In the past, I have shared with you my recipe for excellence – it takes tears, sweat, lots of hard work, a sprinkle of passion, and a whole lot of dedication. There are no shortcuts, there is no magic wand, there is no magic pill. You put in the work, you struggle, you do your job, and you succeed!

Rear Adm. James Aiken, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet and presiding officer during the ceremony, took the time to recognize Turner’s hard work and expressed his gratitude for the crew for successfully completing the availability and getting the ship ready for sea.

“During his time with St. Louis, Turner answered that call,” said Aiken. “Whether achieving qualifications, advanced training, greater retention, and overall operational readiness It was his brand of leadership – determined, passionate, and innovative – that empowered the men and women to take charge of St. Louis’ future.”

“Eric has been an effective and dynamic leader for this ship and crew,” said Barbara Broadhurst Taylor, the Ship’s Sponsor. “The success of St. Louis is a testament to his leadership. He proudly represents the ship, the crew and the great city of St. Louis and we are proud to recognize his service and leadership.”

For Williams, a native of Houston, Texas, St. Louis will be his sixth tour onboard a surface combatant and his first time in command. Williams most recently served as executive officer of USS Little Rock (LCS 9) Blue from September 2021 to January 2023. After the ceremonial change of command, Williams addressed the crew and his vision for their future.

“St. Louis, much will be asked of you and your families in the coming months as we build our team and prepare to sail our ship over the horizon towards threats, known and unknown,” said Williams. “Thank you for your continued commitment, determination and energy that you bring to the fight every day. What we do as individuals and as a team matters to our nation and our Navy. Never forget that each of you plays a critical role here.”