Posted by: arbeam | January 17, 2013

Submarine Group 9: Looking back at 2012

Rear Admiral Dietrich H. Kuhlmann Commander, Submarine Group NINE

Rear Admiral Dietrich H. Kuhlmann Commander,
Submarine Group NINE

Just a few short weeks ago, I assumed command of Submarine Group 9. I am glad to be back in the Pacific Northwest, and like my predecessor, Rear Adm. Bob Hennegan, I am honored to have the opportunity to lead such a dynamic group of men and women in the world’s finest Submarine Force.

During the past 12 months, the outstanding team of submarines and support commands based in Bangor has had many highlights. It would be impossible to list them all, but it’s worth reflecting on some of the highlights and achievements from our Sailors.

Throughout 2012, our ballistic missile submarines stationed at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor – USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730), USS Alabama (SSBN 731), USS Nevada (SSBN 733), USS Nebraska (SSBN 739), USS Maine (SSBN 741) and USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) continued to perform their vital duty of strategic deterrence, maintaining a legacy of deterrence which dates back more than 50 years.

We honored that legacy on July 20, when the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation to all 14 SSBNs and their support commands for excellence in strategic deterrence from July 16, 2007 to Jan. 28, 2011. Our ceremony, at Bangor’s Deterrent Park, paid tribute to the eight SSBNs based here, their Sailors, and their performance in the nation’s service.

– One of those SSBNs, USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735), returned to Bangor in September after the completion of a 32-month engineered refueling overhaul (ERO) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. After successfully completing sea trials, Pennsylvania was welcomed back into Submarine Squadron 17 in a November ceremony. At the same time, USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) entered PSNS to begin her own overhaul.

– Our two guided-missile submarines – USS Ohio (SSGN 726) and USS Michigan (SSGN 727) – both returned home to Bangor in 2012 after successful forward deployed mission periods in Guam. Through their forward deployments to the U.S. Seventh Fleet area of responsibility, Ohio and Michigan continue to demonstrate the versatility of the Ohio-class platform in the areas of forward presence, strike capability and special operations.

2012 marked a special year for Michigan, which celebrated 30 years of service to the U.S. Navy on Sept. 11. Michigan earned its second straight Battle Efficiency Award, or Battle “E”, for Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 19 – this time earned by the Gold Crew, which also claimed the prestigious 2012 Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award for outstanding food service in the Submarine Force.

– The Submarine Force also witnessed history in 2012, as the first women assigned to U.S. Navy submarines completed their qualifications and were formally designated as “Qualified in Submarines.” The first female supply officer and two of the first female line officers to receive their dolphins were from the Pacific Northwest – Lt. Britta Christianson, supply officer for Ohio’s Gold Crew, who received her pin in June, and Lt. j.g. Amber Cowan and Lt. j.g. Jennifer Noonan of Maine’s Blue Crew, who were honored in a ceremony in December.

– For the second straight year, Nebraska was honored with the Battle “E” for SUBRON 17. Both Nebraska crews were presented with their Battle “E” on Jan. 11. USS Connecticut (SSN 22) received Battle “E” honors for Submarine Development Squadron (SUBDEVRON) 5; Connecticut was also selected in April as the SSN recipient of the 2011 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Afloat Safety Award for Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

– All three submarine squadrons based in Bangor welcomed new leaders in 2012. Capt. John Tolliver relieved Capt. Paul Skarpness at SUBRON 17 in January, Capt. Jeffrey Jablon replaced Capt. Brian Howes at SUBDEVRON 5 in August and Capt. Jerry Logan took over for Capt. Dennis Carpenter at SUBRON 19 in September.

– We also welcomed visits from our nation’s top military leaders. In addition to Adm. Greenert, we also hosted Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Cecil Haney; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey; and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West.

– Throughout 2012, our Sailors took the message of the Submarine Force with them on namesake visits to communities throughout the country, including Reno, Nev.; North Platte, Neb.; Baton Rouge, La.; and Cleveland, Ohio. We also welcomed a namesake visit in May, as the fast attack submarine USS Bremerton (SSN 698) visited Kitsap County for the first time in nearly three years.

– To close out the year, Bangor hosted the annual major commanders symposium for the Submarine Force, welcoming the commander of the U.S. Submarine Force, Vice Adm. Michael Connor, and Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell Jr.

Our outstanding team of Submarine Force Sailors in the Pacific Northwest continues to set the standard for the entire U.S. Navy, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished as a team. I am looking forward to 2013 and the achievements to come.

Northwest Navigator

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: