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Home : Media : News Admin
NEWS | Nov. 28, 2023

USS Hawaii Holds Change of Command Ceremony Aboard Historic Battleship Missouri

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

The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) conducted a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Nov. 21.

Cmdr. Daniel Jones, from Clarkston, Michigan, relieved Cmdr. Preston W. Gilmore, from Blacksburg, Virginia, as commanding officer during a ceremony which was held on the fantail of the historic decommissioned battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) with the crew and guests in attendance.

“This tour has been a privilege, because it has been an opportunity to impact people in a positive way and give them the tools to be successful in any environment,” said Gilmore.

Gilmore took command of Hawaii in April 2021, and he led the crew through the first ever Virginia-class CNO-level depot modernization period performed at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. Under his leadership, Hawaii undocked on time and the crew worked with the shipyard to complete thousands of individual work items.

“Working through a major shipyard period is tough. There are no individual heroes, just a crew of hard-working Sailors building a masterpiece,” said Gilmore. “On some days, the progress is difficult to measure, but the end product is a monument to the ingenuity of the American mind and the hard work of this crew.”

Gilmore also maintained a high standard of training and qualification for the Sailors and officers who worked for him by arranging more than 10,000 man-days underway on multiple submarines. During Gilmore’s time in command, 113 junior Sailors were advanced in rank, 11 Sailors were selected as chief petty officers, and 67 Sailors and officers earned their submarine warfare qualifications. Following the ceremony, Gilmore will retire after 26 years of naval service.

Capt. Neil Steinhagen, Assistant Deputy Director for Asia, Joint Staff J-5 attended the ceremony as the guest speaker.

“Being a commanding officer of a warship in a shipyard is no easy task,” said Steinhagen. “The USS Hawaii has done great things in support of our national security, but there comes a time in every ship’s lifecycle where modernization is necessary to provide Hawaii with the latest stealth and technology to maintain her tactical advantage over the adversary. This means deliberate investment to develop the ship’s capabilities to achieve strategic objectives in the future.”

Jones’ previous assignment was serving as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director for Foreign Relations and Public Affairs at Naval Reactors.

“To the crew and ohana of the USS Hawaii—thank you for your service and dedication; you are the heart and soul of the ship,” said Jones. “Preston, you have built an amazing team here, and I look forward to continuing that legacy as we close out our time here in Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and take Hawaii back to the open ocean in defense of our nation.”

Hawaii’s keel was laid down August 27, 2004 and was commissioned May 5, 2007. Hawaii is the first commissioned vessel of its name. The submarine was named to recognize the tremendous support the Navy has enjoyed from the people and state of Hawaii, and in honor of the rich heritage of submarines in the Pacific.

Measuring 377 feet long and displacing more than 7,800 tons, Hawaii has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Hawaii is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.