The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780) conducted a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Feb. 28.
Cmdr. Gieorag Andrews, from Gardnerville, Nevada, relieved Cmdr. Carlos Martinez, from Atlanta, as commanding officer of the Missouri during the ceremony which was held aboard the submarine, with the crew and guests seated pierside.
“Throughout my career I have heard how great submarine command is. And I’m here to tell you – the hype is real,” said Martinez, addressing his crew. “Serving with you all was loaded with experiences; it was a problem solving, decision-rich endeavor that was a thick blend of tactical, engineering and leadership experiences that I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to share with you.”
Martinez took command of the Missouri in September 2020. He led the crew through numerous significant events to include a deployment to the Western Pacific, two fleet readiness training periods, and a sustained level of performance which earned Missouri the Commander, Submarine Squadron (CSS) 1 Battle Efficiency “E” award for 2022.
“Solidarity is part of our command beliefs,” said Martinez, “and … solidarity is what makes us the best crew in the fleet. What we do is epic by every measure and [submarining] is a team sport of epic proportions.”
Martinez’s next assignment will be to CSS-7 in Pearl Harbor, where he will serve as the deputy commander.
Capt. Tyler Forrest, deputy commander, CSS-1, attended the ceremony as the guest speaker.
“Carlos and his team regularly rewrote the script for what ‘right’ looks like,” said Forrest. “To the crew of Missouri, keep leaning forward, push the envelope, set the standard and continue to cement the legacy that has come to define the ‘Mighty Mo’!”
Andrews’ previous assignment was to Commander, Submarine Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, where he served as the Force Nuclear Power Officer.
“What we do as United States submariners grows in importance every day, [and] the crew of Missouri is what makes this mighty warship the most lethal beast beneath the sea,” said Andrews. “Today I make a commitment to these volunteers, these brave souls, who make sacrifices day in and day out to defend our way of life.”
Missouri was commissioned July 31, 2010. Missouri is the seventh Virginia-class submarine and the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be named for the state of Missouri. It is 377 feet long with a beam of 34 feet. Virginia-class, fast-attack submarines have a crew of approximately 132, made up of 15 officers and 117 enlisted Sailors.