Capt. Brian L. Holmes assumed command of USS Boxer (LHD 4) from Capt. Matthew W. Cieslukowski during a ceremony at sea in the Pacific Ocean, Sept. 7.
After serving as Boxer’s executive officer for a year and a half, Cieslukowski assumed command of Boxer in August 2022, and will go on to serve at U.S. Strategic Command as battle watch captain.
As commanding officer, Cieslukowski led Boxer back to sea for Type Commander Sea Trials and Basic Phase events where the ship’s crew tested critical systems and operations, and verified personnel requirements needed for deployment, and certified in key warfare areas.
“Today is a celebration, not just of a commanding officer turning over to another, but a celebration of a series of accomplishments bigger than any one person, achieving something only a crew, a dedicated crew committed to serve to our nation and to each could product,” said Cieslukowski in his farewell remarks prior to his relief by Holmes.
Holmes graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 1998. He earned a Master of Science from the University of San Diego and a Master of Arts from the Naval War College in Newport. Holmes has completed five sea duty assignments across the fleet during his career. He previously commanded Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 and HSM 41. He served as the Boxer executive officer from July 2022 to August 2023.
Holmes reflected on how meaningful it was to assume command at sea, and that he was grateful to be a part of the Boxer team.
“I promise to lead humbly, to be a servant leader for you, to take care of this ship and its sailors,” Holmes said.
Boxer is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship commissioned February 11, 1995 and is the sixth ship to bear the name. Boxer’s crew is made up of approximately 1,200 officers and enlisted personnel and can accommodate up to 1,800 Marines.
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