NORFOLK, Va. - The captain of a Norfolk-based ship that played a key role inthe dramatic rescue of an American ship captain held by piratesturned over the command of his guided missile destroyer Friday.
Cmdr. Frank Castellano was relieved as the Commanding Officer ofthe USS Bainbridge by Cmdr. Daniel Sunvold during a ceremony atNaval Station Norfolk. Sunvold was previously theship's Executive Officer.
Castellano was in command of the Bainbridge in April, 2009, whenCapt. Richard Phillips and his U.S.-flagged ship, the MaerskAlabama, were captured by pirates off the coast of Africa.
During the operation, the Bainbridge assumed duties as theon-scene commander coordinating hostage negotiation efforts,control of naval assets, and ultimately embarking SpecialOperations Forces.
In the end, the Bainbridge's efforts resulted in the rescue ofPhillips after Navy SEALS killed three of his captors. Oneother pirate was captured.
Castellano is going to Joint Forces Command College before hisnext assignment.
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