BUSAN, Republic of Korea -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) held a change-of-command ceremony in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK), May 1.
Cmdr. William M. Bencini relieved Cmdr. Adam C. Soukup as the commanding officer of Sampson.
“I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside the professionals of Team Sampson,” said Soukup. “They impressed me daily with their unmatched grit, tenacity and motivation, and it was my honor to be able to serve them and learn from them in command of this warship.”
Soukup, a South Dakota native, received his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He assumed command of Sampson Dec. 7, 2020 leading the ship through its recent COMPTUEX, and current deployment and will serve his next tour at the Pentagon on OPNAV staff.
Bencini received his commissioning from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and has a master’s degree in public administration from The University of Memphis. He arrived aboard Sampson as executive officer Oct. 9, 2020.
"I am honored and humbled to be back in your presence and serving alongside you again," said Bencini. "Your wins at sea are a testament to the heart, grit and grind each one of you fiercely brings every day. Sampson's sustained readiness lies in the simple fact that she is manned by the best, brightest, and irreplaceable men and women our nation has to offer."
Sampson is assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 and conducts operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. CTF 71/DESRON 15 is the Navy's largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet's principal surface force.
U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.