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JUNE 24, 2010

USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) changes hands

   Panama CDR L. Doug Stuffle relinquished command of USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) to CDR Scott F. Robertson during a ceremony held at anchor off the cost of Panama on May 29. 

   CDR Doug Stuffle, a 1986 graduate of Orofino High School and a 1990 graduate of the University of Arizona, has commanded USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) since November 2008.  Under CDR Stuffle’s command, Rodney M. Davis completed a successful Counter Narco-Terrorism to the South Pacific. 

   During this period Rodney M. Davis conducted various counter narcotic missions with an embarked helicopter and Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.  Rodney M. Davis participated in a historic event by providing the first test case of the Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act of 2008. Under this new law signed in September 2008, operating a vessel whose sole purpose is to conduct unlawful operations becomes a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

   Vessels of this type are known as self-propelled semi-submersibles (SPSS), and resemble the lower portion of a sailboat with approximately one foot of vessel above the water.  Due to their nature, these vessels are challenging to detect.  Rodney M. Davis provided the first test of this new law by her interdiction of an SPSS vessel in December 2008. The individuals detained were ultimately sentenced to nine years in prison.

    Rodney M. Davis’ counter narcotics operations under CDR Stuffle’s command helped prevent over 22 metric tons of contraband, primarily cocaine, from entering the United States.

   In addition to the ship’s 2009 deployment, CDR Stuffle’s time in command was characterized by significant improvements in ship readiness as he led the ship and her crew through an extremely quick turn-around prior to a May 2010 deployment.

   Rodney M. Davis conducted all major combat systems and engineering inspections during an extremely busy year and also completed a nine week $6.5 million selected restricted availability in which many needed repairs were completed.  CDR Stuffle’s leadership of Rodney M. Davis was characterized by impressive combat readiness and ship-wide improvements in efficiency.

   During his change of command speech, Commander Stuffle fondly reminisced about his time onboard. 

   “I’ve enjoyed the evenings of watching for the “green flash” at sunset, seeing the Engineers hoist their leader on their shoulders after an Ultra-E inspection win, climbing a volcano in Guatemala, catching Mahi – Mahi off the fantail, skiing at Mt. Baker, the heroic and daring all night efforts to put out a burning boat-load of marijuana and recovering detainees from multiple aggressive Counter Narco-Terrorism take-downs.

    I’ll never forget the late night struggles of equipment problems prior to inspections and seeing ship-wide cooperation to turn what looked like certain failure into memorable victories; or the late evening walks around the ship seeing sailors exchange Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist information on the messdecks or engaged in a good nature game of cards.  Good and bad, these and a hundred memories like them will be with me for a lifetime.”

   “I am honored to be entrusted with this fine ship and her exceptional crew.  I will continue to foster the environment of excellence CDR Stuffle has established onboard”, said CDR Scott Robertson, following the Change of Command ceremony.  CDR Robertson is a graduate of Norwich University, the Military College of Vermont and received his commission through the Naval ROTC Unit.  Prior to assuming command of Rodney M. Davis, he served as Executive Officer in USS Gettyburg (CG 64).

   CDR Stuffle’s next assignment will be to staff duty as Commander, Third Fleet in San Diego California.

   USS Rodney M. Davis’ motto is “By Valor and Arms” and she continues to live up to this by her operations to prevent drugs from entering the United States. USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) is named for Sergeant Rodney Maxwell Davis, who was post-humously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in September, 1967.

   Commander Doug Stuffle is a graduate of the University of Arizona where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Astronomy. He was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training (NROTC) program.

   Commander Stuffle’s first sea duty tour was in USS Marvin Shields (FF 1066) where he served as Gunnery Officer.  His next assignment was in USS Harry W. Hill (DD 986) as Fire Control Officer, Auxiliaries Officer and Assistant Operations Officer.  While assigned in USS Harry W. Hill, he completed a six-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf. 

   As a Department Head, Commander Stuffle served as Combat Systems Officer in USS Sides (FFG 14), completing a deployment to the Western Pacific in support of Corporation Afloat for Readiness and Training (CARAT).  Sides won the Battle “E” during his tour.  His second Department Head tour was as Operations Officer, Destroyer Squadron Twenty One deployed in USS John C Stennis as the Battle Group Sea Combat Commander and Maritime Interdiction Force Commander.

   In 2003, Commander Stuffle reported as Commanding Officer USS Gladiator (MCM 11) home ported in Ingleside, TX.  USS Gladiator won the 2004 Battle Efficiency Award during his Command Tour.  In November of 2008, he reported to USS Rodney M Davis for his second Command tour.  

   In 1996, Command Stuffle matriculated at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA where he earned a Master of Science Degree in Physics.  In addition he earned a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 2008.  Commander Stuffle also served ashore as a Surface Officer Detailer and Placement Officer assigned to the Navy Personnel Command (NPC) in Millington, TN and as a Requirements Officer on the Chief of Naval Operations staff in Washington DC. 

   In 2006, Commander Stuffle served in Basra, Iraq as the Naval Liaison Officer to Multi-National Forces – Iraq. 

   Commander Stuffle’s personal decorations include three Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal.