Suffolk resident assumes command of USS Stout

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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By Rick Burke

Navy Office of Community Outreach

Cmdr. Desmond Walker, a resident of Suffolk, relieved Capt. Scott Rosetti as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer, USS Stout, during a change of command ceremony recently held at Naval Station Norfolk.

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“To the Officers and Sailors of USS Stout, I am humbled and honored to be your captain,” Walker said as he assumed command. “I am proud of you. I am proud to lead you. Courage, Valor, Integrity… let’s work.”

Walker joined the Navy 27 years ago.

“I joined the Navy to see the world,”  he said. “The Navy provided opportunities to expand my horizons while learning what I wanted out of life.”

Walker graduated from Norfolk State University in 2005 with a bachelor of science in electronics technology where he was commissioned through the Seaman-to-Admiral 21 program. Additionally, Walker graduated from Old Dominion University in 2012 with a master of science in engineering management and from Central Michigan University in 2020 with a master of business administration. Walker also completed Joint Professional Military Education Phase I in 2015.

USS Stout is a guided-missile destroyer that provides a wide range of warfighting capabilities. The destroyer is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.

More than 300 sailors serve aboard Stout. Their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times, according to Navy officials.

“Becoming the commanding officer of a ship is the chance to work with some of the best talent our nation has to offer,” Walker said. “Sailors and officers of different backgrounds, across generations, coming together for a common goal…support and defend the Constitution of the U.S. against enemies foreign and domestic. And, through that journey, helping others become the best version of themselves.”

With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

“Our mission remains timeless — to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”

Serving in the Navy means Walker is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy contributes to our national defense through its ability to cover practically the globe and with the ability to respond to the call of service, in defense of our allies and partners or to protect our own national interests,” Walker said.

Walker and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“Hand-picked to assume command of USS Stout is my proudest accomplishment in the Navy to date,” he said. “The officers and sailors of this mighty warship are preparing for the call to help America maintain its maritime dominance and I’m humbled and honored to lead them, even if into harm’s way.”

As Walker and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.

“I have the opportunity to be an example of leadership for the officers and sailors that are coming up the ranks behind me,” he added. “I did not see a lot of black officers when I was enlisted, but I believed it was possible. Now, as a senior officer, I’m in a position to help anyone, regardless of their demographic, become the best version of themselves as part of the world’s greatest Navy.”

Walker’s sea duty assignments include well deck and small boats division officer and assistant training officer aboard USS Bataan, reactor laboratories division officer aboard USS Harry S. Truman, operations officer on USS Carney and chemistry/radiological controls assistant aboard USS Carl Vinson. Most recently, he served as executive officer of the USS Bainbridge.

His decorations and awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, six Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and various unit awards and citations. Additionally, Walker received the Career Achievement in Government Award at the 36lll Black Engineer of the Year Awards STEM Conference in February 2022.


Reprinted courtesy of the U.S. Navy Office of Community Outreach.