Come Friday, 12 April 2021, Navy Commander Kelechi Ndukwe will make history as the first Nigerian and Nigerian-American to take command of a US Navy Guided Missile Destroyer, USS HALSEY (DDG-97).
According to his biography obtained from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Commander Ndukwe as a Surface Warfare Officer served on multiple warships to include destroyers, cruisers, and mine countermeasures with extensive deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, Horn of Africa, Arabian Gulf, Western Pacific Ocean, and South America.
At sea, he qualified as Surface Warfare Officer aboard USS THORN (DD-988), where he served as Auxiliaries Mechanical Engineering Officer; USS NORMANDY (CG-60) as Fire-Missile Control Officer; Forward Deployed to Yokosuka, Japan aboard USS FITZGERALD (DDG-62) as Weapons Launching and Combat Systems Officer; Executive and Commanding Officer of USS DEVASTATOR (MCM-6), a minesweeper based in Bahrain; and most recently as the Executive Officer, USS HALSEY (DDG-97) in Pear Harbor, Hawaii.
Ashore, Ndukwe served in the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs, representing the Navy on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Liaison Officer.
He further served as Surface Strike Requirement Officer-OPNAV 96 at the Pentagon, Washington DC; Deputy Executive Assistant to the Director for Surface Warfare on the Navy Staff, Washington DC; and Surface Warfare Branch Chief, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff.
Commander Ndukwe graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering through Navy ROTC scholarship and earned a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategy from the US Naval War College. His command selection will contribute immensely to our forward-deployed forces.
Ndukwe has gnarred various personal, unit-level, and campaign awards including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.