PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii –
The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721) conducted a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 7.
Cmdr. Andrew J. Kopacz, from Hartford, Wisconsin, relieved Cmdr. Chance Litton, from Lubbock, Texas, as Chicago’s commanding officer, during the ceremony, which was held on the historic submarine piers.
“The thing that I want to express most to the crew and their families is my immense sense of gratitude,” said Litton. “They have always accomplished what I asked them to do and often gone above and beyond. It takes a lot of sacrifice - blue days underway away from their families, long working hours in port conducting maintenance and training - and I was continually amazed by their ability to rise to the challenge and work together as a tight knit team."
Under Litton’s command, Chicago departed Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard following a maintenance availability. Two-weeks after sea trials, Chicago was given national tasking, a first since World War II. They also completed one Western Pacific deployment in which they participated in Sea Dragon 2021, a joint anti-submarine warfare exercise, and Valiant Shield 2020, a biennial field training exercise.
According to Litton, maintaining Chicago's equipment and crew battle-readiness not only improves our odds for victory, but our very readiness helps prevent war.
During the ceremony, Chicago was presented the 2020 Weapons Readiness Excellence (White “W”) and Supply Readiness Excellence (Blue ”E”) award for Commander, Submarine Squadron 7.
Litton’s next assignment will be at Commander, Submarine Squadron 4, in Groton, Connecticut, where he will serve as the deputy for training.
Capt. Michael Majewski, commodore, Submarine Squadron 7, presided over the small ceremony.
“I am extremely proud of the work Chicago has done under the leadership of Cmdr. Litton,” said Majewski. “They have been my go to boat since I became commodore of Squadron 7 last year, time and again answering the call. This team has developed a war-fighting mentality that will last, and I look forward to continued success from this team.”
Kopacz comes to Chicago from the Eisenhower School for National Security.
“To the crew, I am extremely excited to work for you, to continually improve Chicago, making her the finest warship in the Navy,” said Kopacz.
Chicago was commissioned September 27, 1986, and is the Navy’s 34th Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine. Measuring 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Chicago has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Chicago is capable of supporting various missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, surveillance, and reconnaissance.