SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The USS Safeguard received a new skipper Thursday as Lt. Cmdr. Doyle K. Hodges relieved Lt. Cmdr. Ed Thompson in a change-of-command ceremony.

Thompson assumed command of the Safeguard, the Navy’s only forward-deployed rescue-and-salvage ship, in July 2003. He said his most challenging salvage operation was the August 2003 recovery of an amphibious assault vehicle in 176 feet of water off the coast of Okinawa, according to a Navy news release.

“For a relatively small crew,” Thompson said, “they are highly capable and have always met the mission. No matter what challenge was thrown at them they always succeeded. I would like to serve with them again; they are superstars in my book.”

Thompson’s next assignment is to attend Naval War College in Rhode Island.

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