Rucker (right)—observes replenishent at sea from the starboard bridge wing on the USS McCampbell (DDG-85). (PHOTO Courtesy of the author)
In 2006, the surface Navy announced its transition to “Fleet-Up” for lieutenant commander and commander commands, where an officer serves as executive officer (XO) for 18 months before assuming command for a follow-on 18 months on the same ship. Previously, officers served distinct XO and commanding officer (CO) tours, typically with a shore assignment separating them. I was the first XO of the McCampbell (DDG-85) to fleet up to CO, and my experiences might be helpful to others.