SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Cmdr. Don Tenney relieved Cmdr. Trent Hesslink as commanding officer of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) during a ceremony on Naval Base Point Loma, Aug. 28.
Retired Rear Adm. Michael McLaughlin, a former commander of Submarine Squadron (CSS) 11, was the guest speaker at the ceremony. He congratulated Hesslink and the crew of Albuquerque on a job well done.
"To the crew, [Cmdr. Hesslink] will receive some sort of award and recognition for the success of the ship over the past two years, but he and I both know that has something to do with his leadership and everything to do with your hard work and dedication," said McLaughlin. "In the commercial nuclear world, we say success has everything to do with how well your organization performs five years after you're gone. Looking at this crew and listening to your accomplishments, I am confident [his] and your legacies are safe."
Albuquerque recently completed its final deployment, a six-month deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility where the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operations' maritime strategy in supporting national security interests and maritime security operations. In its more than 32-year career, Albuquerque deployed more than 15 times, steamed more than 500,000 miles, and visited nearly 20 countries. Albuquerque was also one of the first nuclear submarines to experience combat, gaining the moniker of "Sure Shooter of the Submarine Force."
Capt. Gene Doyle, commander, CSS-11, presented Hesslink with a Meritorious Service Medal.
"During the tour, the ship has done things I would have never thought I would have done," said Hesslink. "There is an 'it' on this ship, an 'it' where the crew feels a togetherness like no ship I have been a part of before. The feeling is part coworker, part teammate, part family. It's difficult to put into words, but it is most certainly the engine of this ship. It's what makes this crew the best crew in the Fleet. This togetherness is what makes this ship so successful, and this ship has been extremely successful over the past 19 deployments and 32 years."
Hesslink is scheduled to report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in D.C.
Albuquerque is scheduled to transit to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, in Bremerton, Washington, later this year for its inactivation and decommissioning.
"I am truly honored and humbled by the responsibility the Navy has entrusted me with," said Tenney. "I am incredibly excited about serving as your commanding officer. I look forward to working with you as we bring Albuquerque's distinguished service to the United States to a close."
Tenney enlisted in the Navy in 1989, and following Nuclear Power training, graduated from the University of Arizona in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering, earning his commission through the enlisted commissioning program. He reported from CSS-11, where he served as the deputy commander for readiness.
Albuquerque was commissioned May 21, 1983. Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Albuquerque has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Albuquerque is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.