An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News Admin
NEWS | May 16, 2023

USS Seawolf (SSN 21) Conducts Change of Command

The fast-attack submarine USS Seawolf (SSN 21) conducted a change of command ceremony at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, May 16, 2023. Cmdr. Douglas Hagenbuch, from Utica, Illinois, relieved Cmdr. Jeffrey Fassbender, from St. Marys, Kansas, as commanding officer.

“It has been an absolute honor to command Seawolf and serve alongside these extraordinary sailors. Thank you to all of the families – their sacrifices made our successes over the past two years possible.” said Fassbender. “I look forward to watching Seawolf’s continued excellence as the most dominating force in the deep. Beware the Wolf!”

During his time as commanding officer, Fassbender led his crew through two deployments, completing missions in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. Seawolf was awarded back-to-back Battle Efficiency Awards (Battle “E”) in 2021 and 2022, the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy, and the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award - signifying the most battle ready ship in the entire fleet.

Capt. Wesley Bringham, executive assistant to the director for operations Joint Staff, J-3, served as the ceremony’s guest speaker.

“Jeff, you’ve done an absolutely fantastic job wearing the command pin. Seawolf performed spectacularly under your leadership,” said Bringham.

Seawolf, whose motto is “Beware the Wolf,” was commissioned July 19, 1997, is the lead ship of its class, and is the fourth U.S. Navy submarine named after the solitary fish. Seawolf, which operates under Submarine Development Squadron (DEVRON) 5 in Silverdale, Washington, is more than 350 feet long and has eight torpedo tubes. The Seawolf-class submarine dives deeper, goes faster, and carries more torpedoes than any submarine in the fleet.

DEVRON 5 commodore Capt. Gary Montalvo had high praise for Fassbender’s leadership.

“Cmdr. Fassbender operated at the tip of the spear, professionally answering our nation’s call time and time again, all while maintaining the highest operational tempo of any submarine. He met every challenge thrown his way – and knocked them all out of the park. I can think of no better naval officer to lead and teach prospective submarine commanding officers,” said Montalvo. Fassbender’s next assignment will be at Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet as the PCOI, or instructor for prospective commanding officers.

“The Olympic Pier has proven its capability as the new home of Seawolf-class submarines, and our future plans will allow us to maintain the success and lethality of our fast-attack submarines in Bangor,” continued Montalvo.

Hagenbuch most recently served as the chief of staff at Commander, Submarine Group 8 in Naples, Italy.

“My turnover has been nothing short of excellent, and I am so grateful to join this elite team,” said Hagenbuch. “Seawolf is widely recognized as the most capable fast-attack submarine in history, and it is an absolute privilege to lead the best crew, on the best boat, in greatest Navy in the world.”

Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.