U.S. Navy Commander, Kelechi Ndukwe
Kelechi Ndukwe. Photo credit: US Mission Nigeria

The United States Mission in Nigeria, has congratulated Kelechi Ndukwe, a U.S. military officer of Nigerian descent, on his new role as a commander of U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer.

The Mission in a congratulatory message shared via its twitter handle, @USinNigeria, said Ndukwe, by his appointment, has become the first Nigerian-American to achieve the feat.

“Kudos to Kelechi Ndukwe on his new role as commander of a U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer. The University of Notre Dame and the U.S. Naval War College alumnus becomes the first Nigerian-American captain of a U.S. Navy ship. Congratulations,” the mission said.

Early last month, Ndukwe made history as the first Nigerian to be appointed to take command of a U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer, USS HALSEY (DDG-97)

A U.S. Navy Commander, Ndukwe became the first Nigerian and Nigerian-American to take command of a U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer, USS HALSEY (DDG-97).

He officially took over on the 2nd of April 2021.

Until his new role, Ndukwe was a U.S. Navy Officer serving on the Joint Staff in the Force Structure, Resource, and Assessment Directorate.

As a Surface Warfare Officer, Commander Kelechi served on multiple warships which 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, Commander Kelechi 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 (DGG-97) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Ashore, Commander Kelechi served in the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs, representing the Navy on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Liaison Officer. He also 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 Kelechi holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Notre Dame and a master’s degree in National Security and Strategy from the U.S. Naval War College.

Ndukwe has been recognized with 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.