The Navy’s biggest, most expensive and technologically advanced warship has a new commanding officer.
Capt. James A. Kirk relinquished command of the USS Zumwalt to Capt. Scott A. Tait during a ceremony Tuesday at Naval Base San Diego.
Kirk had led the new destroyer since it departed Maine shipbuilder Bath Iron Works in September. The $4.4 billion vessel was plagued by problems, including a highly publicized breakdown in the Panama Canal, during its monthslong journey to its homeport in San Diego.
“No matter how hard things got or how busy things got [Kirk] was always there,” Chief Petty Officer David Aitken said in a Navy statement. “We knew everyone had a job to do, no matter who you were. There was always something that needed to get done to improve the ship to get it from Maine to here.”
Tait, who joins the Zumwalt from the Joint Staff J5 Directorate, expressed his gratitude to Kirk and the 147-member crew during the ceremony.
“That next chapter would not be possible if not for the effort that has gone into bringing Zumwalt to her current state,” he said. “Words cannot express my gratitude, or my admiration, for the ship and crew that Capt. Kirk is turning over.”
Kirk’s next assignment is with Surface Warfare at the Pentagon, the statement said.