THS grad Gabriel Burgi assumes command of USS Harpers Ferry
A Tehachapi native and 1996 graduate of Tehachapi High School took command of the dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry during a ceremony in San Diego on April 7.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Gabriel Burgi, who lived with his family in Bear Valley Springs, took command of the first-in-class warship during a ceremony held at Naval Base San Diego, becoming the ship’s 23rd commanding officer.
Tehachapi residents were among people around the world watching the ceremony via live stream on Facebook Friday afternoon.
Burgi relieved Cmdr. Eric Winn as the ship’s newest captain after serving more than 20 months as the ship’s executive officer.
He is the son of former BVS residents Dennis and Susan Burgi and sibling of Ann Marie Russo, THS class of 1995, and Sarah Burgi, THS class of 1999.
Burgi enlisted in the Navy in 1997 and served eight years as a Machinist’s Mate before earning a commission from the University of Idaho Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit in 2005.
He is also a 2013 graduate of Oregon State University, where he earned a master of natural resources degree. In 2020 he graduated from the Air Command and Staff College, earning a master of arts degree in military operational art and science.
Burgi served in four operational commands before reporting to Harpers Ferry as the executive officer in June 2021. This is his first assignment as commanding officer.
“It is my most humble pleasure to return to the Harpers Ferry as commanding officer,” he said in a statement released by the Navy. “Cmdr. Winn is an amazing leader who has left a definitively inspirational legacy for me and the crew of the Navy’s most accomplished amphibious ship to carry forward.”
Harpers Ferry is a cargo variant of the amphibious dock landing ship class bearing its name. It was launched on Jan. 16, 1993, and commissioned on Jan. 7, 1995.
Claudia Elliott is a freelance journalist and former editor of the Tehachapi News. She lives in Tehachapi and can be reached by email: email@example.com.