JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- The Virginia-class, fast attack submarine USS North Carolina (SSN 777) held a change of command ceremony at Sharkey Theatre on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Jan. 20.
Cmdr. Gary Montalvo, commanding officer of North Carolina, was relieved by Cmdr. Matthew Lewis.
Capt. Robert Roncska, commander, Submarine Squadron Seven was the guest speaker for the ceremony and shared stories of his time working with Montalvo and thanked him for his leadership and dedication to the North Carolina crew.
"There is no doubt in my mind the secret ingredient that made North Carolina so successful was Gary Montalvo’s leadership,” said Roncska. “Gary is the leader others try to emulate.”
Roncska also welcomed Lewis to the waterfront .
“I can’t think of a finer naval officer to entrust with this great North Carolina crew,” said Roncska. “I know the crew is extremely lucky to have you as their commanding officer and I know you will fill these big shoes well.”
During the ceremony, Capt. Richard Seif, commander, Submarine Squadron 1 presented Montalvo with a Legion of Merit Medal for exceptionally meritorious conduct while serving as commanding officer of the USS North Carolina from June 2014 until January 2017.
Montalvo took time to thank all in attendance and specifically the North Carolina crew.
“The tarheel crew is truly the force of the ship,” said Montalvo. “Your sacrifices are welded in my memory and I am forever in awe of your patriotism.”
Lewis addressed his new crew for the first time and commended them on their recent accomplishments.
“To the crew of North Carolina, you have celebrated many achievements and have a proven track record,” said Lewis. “As we work to return our ship to sea, we will tackle many challenges ahead of us, and I’m excited for our continued success in the future.”
Lewis served as executive officer aboard USS Oklahoma (SSN 723), where he completed numerous deployment cycles form the homeport of Guam. He most recently attended the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy and earned his Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy.
Commissioned May 2008, North Carolina is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to carry the name North Carolina. The Virginia-class boat was built by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn. and Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. and joined the fleet in December 2006.
The state-of-the-art submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
For more news from the Pacific Submarine Force, visit www.csp.navy.mil.