POLARIS POINT, Guam (NNS) -- The submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) held a change of command ceremony pierside on Polaris Point, Aug. 26.
In front of Frank Cable crew, dignitaries, commanding officers, family and friends, Capt. Andrew St. John relieved Capt. Mark Benjamin as Frank Cable's commanding officer during a change of command ceremony held on the pier.
Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the guest speaker at the ceremony where he congratulated Benjamin and the crew of Frank Cable on a job well done.
"Mark, you and your team, which is a hybrid crew of civilian mariners and Sailors, can be justifiably proud of all they have accomplished together," said Sawyer. "To all of the men and women of Frank Cable, please accept my profound gratitude for everything you do day in and day out. Everything you do matters and helps form the most formidable Navy in the world."
Sawyer presented the Legion of Merit award to Benjamin for his accomplishments during his time as commanding officer.
During Benjamin's tenure as commanding officer, the ship completed more than 522 thousand man-days in support of submarines and surface vessels in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility and earned numerous awards including the Battle Efficiency Award.
"I am so proud of this crew. When I took command, I tasked them with making tenders more relevant while increasing our repair capacity," said Benjamin. "They have done exactly that. Frank Cable has restored capabilities onboard that were lost and we have become more relevant to the Navy. We are doing things now that haven't been done since our fathers and grandfathers were on these ships."
Benjamin will report to Commander, Submarine Group 7 as chief of staff in Yokosuka, Japan.
St. John, a native of Texas, received his commission in 1991 after graduating from Rice University with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. He most recently served as the chief of staff for Joint Interagency Task Force West, the executive agent for DoD counter-narcotic efforts within U.S. Pacific Command.
St. John said he is excited to command Frank Cable, and hopes to exemplify the significance of the Navy's submarine tender force during his time aboard.
"Across these decks, have walked some of the giants in the United States Navy and the crew assembled before us today is no less impressive, added St. John. "The future of Frank Cable is bright and you, her crew, should be proud of all your accomplishments in making Frank Cable a true warship that fixes warships."
Frank Cable, forward-deployed to the island of Guam, conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.