PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) — The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Tucson (SSN 770) held a change of command ceremony, pier side at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Sept. 20.
Cmdr. Douglas Pratt, from Nashua, New Hampshire, relieved Cmdr. Chad Hardt, from Aiken, South Carolina, and assumed the duties and responsibilities of the commanding officer following the successful completion of a Western Pacific deployment.
“The crew of Tucson performed admirably through a wide-range of submarine operations during this extended seven-month deployment,” said Hardt. “These Sailors formed a cohesive team that rose to the challenge on every occasion, enabling the ship to execute exceptionally well. I am extremely proud to be associated with this group of submariners — they were fantastic representatives of the city of Tucson, the Navy, and the United States.”
Rear Adm. Jimmy Pitts, commander, Submarine Group 7, was the guest speaker of the ceremony, which was attended by distinguished visitors, family, friends, and crew.
“The importance of our submarine force for the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific cannot be overstated, starting with World War II, continuing in the Cold War, and throughout the subsequent decades of peace and prosperity across this vital region of the world,” said Pitts. “This was most recently evident by Tucson’s significant contributions to 7th Fleet high priority warfighting objectives during a Western Pacific deployment.”
Since Tucson’s departure in February, they completed six port visits in the 7th Fleet area of operations, which enhanced and strengthened relationships with allies and partners. Also, 17 crew members advanced to the next pay grade, 13 reenlisted, and 22 crew members earned their submarine warfare qualifications.
“Our crew ethos is, ‘we are professionals, we are family, and we are warriors.’ Combat readiness and battle-mindedness were themes that were pervasive both during the training and workup to deployment, as well as throughout execution. We consistently viewed our operations through the lens of readiness for future combat and ensured that our Sailors did as well,” said Hardt.
Hardt’s next assignment will be on the staff of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Pratt previously served on the staff of Commander, Submarine Squadron 21, based out of Naval Support Activity, Bahrain.
“The crew you see assembled here are some of the finest Sailors I’ve ever seen,” said Pratt. “It amazes me how much talent is onboard. Every day you remind me why the United States Navy’s submarine force is so great. I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to be your captain.”
Tucson’s return to Pearl Harbor marks the completion of five deployments since the last major overhaul period, and 11 total deployments completed since its commissioning on September 9, 1995. Tucson is the second ship of the U.S. Navy to be named for the Arizona city. It is the 59th Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine and the 20th of the improved Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines to be built. Twelve vertical-launch missile tubes for Tomahawk cruise missiles provide Tucson with great offensive capability. Retractable bow planes give the ship increased maneuverability and under ice surfacing potential.
For more new from the Pacific Submarine Force, visit www.csp.navy.mil.