NEWS | Nov. 25, 2015

USS Jacksonville changes command

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Swink

 JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - Command of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) was passed today, Nov. 25, as Cmdr. Matthew Boland was relieved by Cmdr. Steven Faulk during a time-honored ceremony at the historic submarine piers of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Boland said submarining is a team sport and expressed how proud he was of his crew, comparing them to playing on a major league team like the New York Mets.

"Every member of my team is elite and well-trained," said Boland. "We have a challenging schedule with no off season, and you play to win."

While in command, Boland led Jacksonville through its 16th deployment, completing operations in support of U.S. Seventh Fleet, and conducting port calls in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Stirling, Australia; Singapore and Guam.

During the ceremony, Boland expressed his thanks to the crew for the last time in his role as commanding officer.

"Being your captain for the last three years has been an incredible experience," said Boland. "I will be bragging about your accomplishments for years to come."

The ceremony's guest speaker, Capt. Timothy Rexrode, commodore of Submarine Squadron One, praised Boland for overcoming significant challenges.

"The performance, both professional and personal, of the officers and crews assigned under their captain, in rough times as well as good ones, is the ultimate measure of his leadership," said Rexrode. "Under their captain, Jacksonville's crew served as ambassador in four separate ports, accomplishing numerous community and bilateral military relations, reflecting the highest credit on our nation as an ally in the Pacific."

During the ceremony, Boland was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his performance aboard Jacksonville from August 2013 to November 2015.

As Faulk assumed command, he thanked Boland for turning over a great, classic ship and addressed the crew.

"Thank you for the warm welcome, your aloha spirit and can-do attitude," said Faulk. "You set the standard for these other boats with your deployment accomplishments, and I am lucky to inherit this ship and crew."

Faulk challenged his crew to start preparing for their next deployment now.

"Own your piece, take care of each other and fight hard," said Faulk. "We are going to have a fantastic ride on The Bold One."

Commissioned May 16, 1981, USS Jacksonville is named after Jacksonville, the largest and most populous city in Florida, and is the first ship to bear the name. The boat's mission is to seek out and destroy enemy ships and submarines, and to protect U.S. national interests. At 360-feet-long and 6,900 tons, Jacksonville can be armed with sophisticated MK48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.