TALAMONE, Italy -- United States Navy Capt. Edward C. Zurey, relieved U.S. Navy Capt. James E. O’Connor, as Commander, Maritime Pre-positioning Ship Squadron One (MPSRON ONE), II Marine Expeditionary Force, off the coast of Talamone, Italy, June 28.
Along with a war-ready crew, Zurey inherited a ship rich with history and tradition.
The ceremony took place aboard MV 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo, flagship of the six-ship Maritime Pre-positioning Ship Squadron One, deployed to the U.S. European command area of responsibility.
The ship is named after Marine 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo, who earned the Medal of Honor posthumously as a result of his courage in combat in Vietnam. Bobo was hit with a mortar round and lost his right leg below the knee. He refused to be evacuated, instead manning a firing position with a tourniquet on his leg.
Bobo was mortally wounded while firing the weapon, but his contribution inspired his unit and enabled them to gain a protective position to arrest the enemy’s attack.
Along with MV Bobo, the four other ships within MPSRON ONE carry enough combat equipment and supplies to support 17,000 U.S. Marines for up to 30 days of combat. One ship, MV Tech Sgt. John A. Chapman, carries supplies for the U.S. Air Force.
MPSRON ONE military staff members serve one-year tours and are continuously underway in a forward-deployed status. The MPSRON ONE ships move from port to port in many allied nations of Europe throughout the year, rarely traveling together.
“The U.S. is prepared to face regional crises in any geographic location, with little to short notice,” said Master Sgt. Jeffrey S. Christie, assistant operation chief, II MEF G-4 MPF Cell. “Highly trained Marines and sailors [are] ready to link up with MPSRONs in an area of operation in a matter of days.”
While contracted merchant mariners perform the day-to-day operations of the ships, the MPSRON ONE staff's main job is to keep the vessels and their cargo ready at all times until an order to deploy is given. Given 24-hours notice, every MPSRON ONE ship can leave port and sail literally anywhere in the world to bring combat and support equipment needed by U.S. military services to accomplish their mission.
Zurey’s most recent assignment was Supreme Allied Command, Transformation, Norfolk, Va. Prior to that, Zurey served aboard the USS Peterson (DD-969), USS Conolly (DD-979), USS Deyo (DD-989), USS George Washington (CVN-73) and USS Nassau (LHA-4).
“This is an extremely exciting time to be assigned to a Maritime Pre-position Squadron Staff. In the past year, the MPSRONs have contributed to missions as diverse as tsunami disaster relief in Asia, sealift support to Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom as well as maintaining a robust exercise schedule in the Pacific and European areas. I'm looking forward to a great year working with the staff and squadron,” he said.
Zurey is a 1978 graduate of Pennsylvania State University and has a Master of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and the National War College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Old Dominion University.
O’Connor reports to Afloat Training Group Pacific after leaving the Bobo.
While commodore of MPSRON ONE, O’Connor was able to gain ship access to more ports and increase the number of Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), and Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) training exercises.
MV Bobo was involved in the annual Baltic Operation in 2004 and 2005 as well as exercises Prism Flame and Noble Dina for the first time this past year.