JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii - Command of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) was passed today, Oct. 30, as Cmdr. Timothy Poe was relieved by Cmdr. Jacob A. Foret during a time-honored ceremony at the submarine piers on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Poe expressed his deep appreciation in having a great crew that showed resilience and determination through the high operations tempo, as well as a strong namesake city relationship with support from the USS Santa Fe Committee and others throughout the city of Santa Fe and the state of New Mexico.
"The Sailors are the heart and soul of this ship," said Poe. "I like to remind them they are the best crew, any time, any place.
"And one of the most rewarding aspects of my command tour has been rekindling the relationship the ship has with our namesake city," said Poe.
During the last three years, Santa Fe Committee members have attended each of the last two homecomings, support visits for more than 20 crew members to experience the hospitality, dedication and uniqueness of "the city different," and has continuously provided the ship with local-flavor coffee and cuisine from New Mexico.
"The respect and appreciation shown to these Sailors by the people of northern New Mexico cannot be described in words," said Poe.
While in command, Poe led his submarine through the completion two deployments and five missions vital to national security, and participated in Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2014. On liberty, his crew participated in community relations projects abroad and during visits to New Mexico, adopting causes like Kitchen Angles, an organization that provides meals to shut-ins.
"If these young men are representative of our country's future, we are in good hands and the future is bright," said Poe.
The ceremony's guest speaker, Rear Adm. Phil Sawyer, deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, praised Poe for bringing the best out of his crew.
"You and your team have succeeded across the board; success for the submarine force, the Pacific Fleet, the U.S. Navy and for our nation," said Sawyer. "Deploy forward to be where it matters, when it matters, is what Santa Fe has done; quietly, but relentlessly, under Cmdr. Poe's leadership for the past three years.
"During the ceremony, Poe was awarded the Legion of Merit medal for his performance aboard Santa Fe from November 2012 to October 2015.
As Foret assumed command, he thanked Poe for turning over a strong, mission-executing crew, and passed along guidance to the crew.
"Serving as a submariner, we recognize that there are no extra personnel on board, and each of us plays an essential role in ensuring the warfighting readiness of our boat," said Foret. "My challenge to you is to rise each day, dedicated to making your service on Santa Fe count.
"Santa Fe is the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of the capital of New Mexico. An improved Los Angeles-class fast-attack nuclear-powered submarine, she features an advanced fire control system, retractable bow planes, and 12 vertical launch tubes for Tomahawk cruise missile strikes.
Santa Fe combines stealth, endurance, and agility to provide a highly cost-effective and capable ship, ready on a moment's notice to carry out a multitude of missions. A versatile platform, it is equally at home in the roles of tactical intelligence gathering and surveillance, regional sea denial and task group support. Should conflict arise, her inherent covertness, near invulnerability to attack, and cruise missile capability provide Santa Fe a unique ability to be in place and undetected offshore for precision strike or ground warfare support.