Nigerian makes history, set to take command of US Destroyer

Nigerian born Navy Commander Kelechi Ndukwe, has made history as he is set to be the first Nigerian-American to take command of a U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer, USS HALSEY (DDG-97).

A Surface Warfare Officer, Commander Ndukwe has served on multiple warships to include destroyers, cruisers, and mine countermeasures with extensive deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, Horn of Africa, Arabian Gulf, Western Pacific Ocean, and South America.

At sea, he qualified as Surface Warfare Officer aboard USS THORN (DD-988), where he served as Auxiliaries Mechanical Engineering Officer; USS NORMANDY (CG-60) as Fire-Missile Control Officer; Forward Deployed to Yokosuka, Japan aboard USS FITZGERALD (DDG-62).

He is also a very experienced Weapons Launching and Combat Systems Officer; Executive and Commanding Officer of USS DEVASTATOR (MCM-6), a minesweeper based in Bahrain; and most recently as the Executive Officer, USS HALSEY (DDG-97) in Pear Harbor, Hawaii.

Ashore, Ndukwe served in the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs, representing the Navy on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Liaison Officer. Further, he served as Surface Strike Requirement Officer-OPNAV 96 at the Pentagon, Washington DC; Deputy Executive Assistant to the Director for Surface Warfare on the Navy Staff, Washington DC; and Surface Warfare Branch Chief, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff.

Commander Ndukwe graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering through Navy ROTC scholarship and earned a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategy from the U.S. Naval War College. His command selection will contribute immensely to our forward deployed forces.

Ndukwe has been recognized with various personal, unit-level, and campaign awards including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

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