PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) conducted a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Oct. 26.
Cmdr. Robert McDowell Jr., from Elkhart, Indiana, relieved Cmdr. Steven Dawley, from Joplin, Montana, as Jefferson City’s commanding officer, during the ceremony which was held on the submarine’s brow at the historic submarine piers.
“The thing I will miss most about this command is the Sailors,” said Dawley. “This group of Sailors have no idea how incredible they are or how remarkable their achievements are — they give their best every day and it is inspiring to watch them grow, learn, and emerge as leaders. They truly embody the command’s mantra, ‘be our best today, and then be better tomorrow.’”
Capt. Mike Majewski, commodore, Submarine Squadron 7, was the presiding officer of the ceremony.
“Cmdr. Dawley had an outstanding tour on Jefferson City,” said Majewski. “Under his leadership and through the hard work of his crew, Jefferson City was able to successfully transition from an extended maintenance availability to a frontline warship, overcoming the unique challenges that we face every day. Cmdr. Dawley has turned over to Cmdr. McDowell a boat that is ready and capable of taking submarine operations to the next level with continued success.”
Dawley’s next assignment will be on the staff of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
“There are too many moments that made me proud serving as the commanding officer of Jefferson City,” said Dawley. “But the proudest would have to be pulling away from the pier for the ship’s first underway in five years. Having the crew be able to see the fruits of all their hard work and knowing that Jefferson City was back in the game.”
McDowell comes to Jefferson City from Naval Reactors where he established new policies to improve junior officer retention.
“My ultimate goal is to conduct a successful deployment and deliver a high-performing ship to Submarine Group 7 for continued successful operations at the tip of the spear,” said McDowell.
Jefferson City was commissioned Feb. 29, 1992 and is the only ship of her name in the United States Navy. Measuring 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Jefferson City has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Jefferson City is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.