KEYPORT, Wash. -- The Blue crew of the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) welcomed a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony, January 13.
Cmdr. Steven Everhart, from Great Falls, Montana, relieved Cmdr. John Cage, from Jefferson City, Missouri, during the ceremony held at the Keyport Undersea Museum.
“That’s what I will remember most about my command tour – the crew – my crew,” said Cage. “I will never forget each and every one of you – your honor, your courage, and your commitment. Three years ago I told you that I considered it an honor to serve as your commanding officer and that is even more true today. Thank you to every Sailor for making my command tour the most rewarding time of my life.”
Cage assumed command of Pennsylvania’s Blue crew March 28, 2014. During his leadership, the crew completed four strategic deterrent patrols, they received the Pacific Fleet Outstanding Trident Award, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the retention excellence award. Also, 121 officers and enlisted Sailors received their submarine warfare qualifications, or "dolphins" during Cage’s time in command.
Most notably, the Blue crew recently returned from a 92-day patrol, where they conducted a scheduled port visit to Apra Harbor, Guam. This was the first time since 1986 that an SSBN has pulled into Guam.
Cage's next duty station is Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he will serve as the Director for Strategic Forces, Nuclear Weapons, and Force Protection at Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
“To the crew, the ones who really deserve all of the credit for the success of Pennsylvania during my tour, you stand a watch that most people never think about, yet it’s the one that has helped keep our country safe for almost 60 years,” said Cage. “But as hard as it is to say goodbye, I’m also excited for Pennsylvania’s future. I have had the good fortune to serve with your new commanding officer, Steve Everhart, and I know from that experience that he’s a tremendous submariner. I look forward to watching your continued success under his command.”
Everhart comes to Pennsylvania from Washington D.C., where he served as the executive officer of the Operations, Evaluation and Training Branch of Strategic Systems Programs.
Pennsylvania is one of eight Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, providing the most survivable leg of the nation's strategic deterrent forces.