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USS Columbus Changes Command Following Western Pacific Deployment

By Mass Communications 2nd Class Michael Lee, Commander Submarine Forces Pacific | | Sept. 21, 2017

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) – The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Columbus (SSN 762) held a change of command ceremony at the submarine piers on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Sept. 21.

Cmdr. Peter French relieved Capt. Albert Alarcon as the commanding officer of Columbus.

Retired Navy Capt. William Drake was the honored guest speaker for the ceremony, and commended Alarcon for Columbus’ numerous accomplishments and leadership during his three-year tour aboard Columbus.

“Your legacy is not this great warship, we’re standing on, but the crew of highly trained, highly successful submarine professionals seated before you,” said Drake. “This is your legacy. You gave this job your all and the results speak for themselves.”

Capt. Robert Ronscka, commander, Submarine Squadron Seven, awarded Alarcon with a Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding achievements and service.

Prior to his relief, Alarcon thanked his crew and attributed successful missions of Columbus to the hard work of the crew.

“Rather than focusing on the individual, we all know that it is the crew that brings a front-line fast-attack submarine to life, and it is the crew that allows her to accomplish the missions so vital to our freedom, our democracy and our national security,” said Alarcon. “Their story is one of resiliency, commitment to each other, ownership and dedication to the mission.”

As French assumed command, he thanked Alarcon for a smooth transition and the crew for the warm welcome as their new commanding officer.

“Thank you for the warm welcome and support to make this a seamless turnover,” said French. “You accomplished every mission tasked to you, and you did exceptionally well. It is an honor to serve with you, and I look forward to the next several years together."

Following his command at sea, Alarcon will report for duty at Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

USS Columbus is the 51st Los Angeles-class submarine and the 12th improved version of this class, which includes a vertical launch system for Tomahawk cruise missiles and an improved hull design for under-ice operations. In June 1994, she completed a post-shipyard maintenance availability in Groton, Conn., after initial construction and shakedown operations. In September 1994, the ship conducted an inter-fleet transfer to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force.

For more news from the Pacific Submarine Force, visit www.csp.navy.mil.