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Home : Media : News Admin
NEWS | Jan. 25, 2024

USS Topeka Conducts Change of Command

By Courtesy Story, Commander Submarine Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet

The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754) conducted a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Jan. 25, 2024. Cmdr. Chris Clevenger, from Palos Verdes, California, relieved Cmdr. James Fulks, from Oklahoma City, as commanding officer.

“What a profound experience serving as Topeka's captain has been,” said Fulks. “This has been the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of my career. It has been a fantastic honor to work alongside my crew and do incredible things together. I’ll never forget it.”

Fulks took command of Topeka in May 2021, and while in command, led his crew out of shipyard and back to the sea. Their tasking included supporting two submarine command courses, participating in exercise RIMPAC 2022, and completing a deployment where they performed missions in the Indo-Pacific region.

Capt. Paul Davis, Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) Director of Maritime Operations, served as the ceremony’s guest speaker.

“James and the crew of the mighty warship Topeka have done just about every challenging thing we ask our submarines to do,” said Davis. “When he assumed command, Topeka was completing a maintenance availability that had outfitted it with some of the most advanced warfighting capabilities in the world.”

Fulks’ next assignment will be to COMSUBPAC in Pearl Harbor, where he will serve on the Type Commander Readiness Evaluation team.

“James not only made a difference tactically and operationally, but he left a culture and a legacy that will resonate long after the band stops playing this morning,” said Davis. “Chris, thank you for accepting the charge of command and volunteering to lead this team of warriors. You come with tremendous credentials and have a broad depth of experience that will serve you well.”

Clevenger most recently served as the Deputy Commander for Submarine Squadron 7 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

“Seeing all the extraordinary accomplishments the Topeka has done over the past years and the fantastic turn over I have received has made me not only excited to be the CO of this great submarine but grateful for the opportunity to lead this amazing crew,” said Clevenger. “James will do amazing things as part of the TRE team and I will continue the excellence he has kept onboard.”

Topeka was commissioned on Oct. 21, 1989, is the oldest fast attack submarine in the U.S Pacific Fleet and is the fourth U.S. Navy vessel named after the capital of Kansas. The crew is made up of approximately 130 Sailors and 17 officers. Topeka is highly capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.