McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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August 1, 2013

McAlester Naval commander honored

McALESTER — McAlester native Cmdr. Peter Nilsen stepped down from the helm of the USS Cole on Friday in Norfolk Va., according to a press-release.

During the change of command ceremony onboard the USS Cole, Cmdr. Dennis L. Farrell relieved Cmdr. Nilsen as the 12th commanding officer of USS Cole at the ship’s home-port in Norfolk, Va.

 During Nilsen’s tenure as commanding officer, Cole successfully completed a nine-month deployment in support of maritime cooperation in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

Nilsen is a graduate of McAlester High School, Southern Illinois University and holds a Masters degree from Troy University.

He said he will be transferring to Navy Air Missile Defense Command in Dahlgren, according to the press-release.

“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to have served aboard Cole, Nilsen said

“ The sailors and officers who have served on her while I’ve been in command have been phenomenal.”

Cole is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer based in Norfolk, Va. 

Her crew is comprised of 303 officers and enlisted Sailors. "Glory is the Reward of Valor," the ship’s motto, underscores the spirit of Sergeant Darrell S. Cole, his extraordinary heroism, his unwavering loyalty to his country, and his bravery in facing adversity without fear, according to

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at

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