KEYPORT, Wash. (NNS) -- The Blue Crew of the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Nevada (SSBN 733) conducted a change of command ceremony at the Naval Undersea Museum, March 11.
Cmdr. Ryan Heilman, from Aurora, Colorado, relieved Cmdr. James McIver, from Boston, and assumed the duties and responsibilities of commanding officer for the Nevada Blue Crew.
"I am particularly proud to salute the spectacular leadership of the USS Nevada Blue, and the impact Cmdr. McIver's crew and him have had on national security," said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander, U.S. Strategic Command, the guest speaker for the event. "Cmdr. McIver, you have been part of something big, and I know that it couldn't have been done without the Sailors that support you and, of course, their families. Their professionalism and their hard work is evident in the recent announcement of the USS Nevada's selection as [the winner of] the 2015 Trident Outstanding Performance Award."
McIver assumed command of Nevada's Blue Crew on June 24, 2013. During his leadership, the crew conducted four strategic deterrent patrols with a total of 11 months at sea, two dry dock refits, and multiple inspections. Also, 162 officer and enlisted Sailors received their submarine warfare insignia, also known as "dolphins".
Nevada's Blue Crew was awarded the 2014 and 2015 Red Damage Control Awards; the 2015 Commander, Submarine Squadron 17 Battle Efficiency "E" Award; and the 2015 Trident Submarine Outstanding Performance Award under McIver's command.
"This is a bittersweet moment for me as I come to the end of my tour as commanding officer of Nevada," said McIver. "Time really does fly when you are having fun. Command at sea has its many challenges and comes with awesome responsibility. However, throughout all of those challenges, I can look back fondly on my command tour and not only say that I enjoyed it, but also had fun in the process."
As his final act as commanding officer, an awards ceremony was held where McIver awarded Sonar Technician 1st Class Wesley Lewison an end of tour Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and presented dolphins to Machinist's Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Jordan Larson and Machinist's Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class William Haverkamp.
McIver's next duty station is the United States Naval Academy, where he will serve as a battalion officer.
"The crew of the Nevada is the epitome of what it means to work together as a team through adversity, and be successful," said McIver. "This crew has faced all challenges, combined it with my command vision, and solved those challenges such that we always executed the mission. The ultimate mission of a ballistic-missile submarine, of course, is strategic deterrence. However, it takes the successful execution of several small missions in order to meet that ultimate goal."
Heliman comes to Nevada's Blue Crew from Commander, Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 17, where he served as the deputy commander for readiness.
"Commander McIver, thank you for a fantastic turnover and, especially, for turning over an aging warship in immaculate condition," said Heilman. "More importantly, thank you for turning over a high-performing crew who excels in their profession. I am humbled to continue this, the most important mission in the U.S. Department of Defense, as the commanding officer of the USS Nevada Blue."
Nevada will be celebrating 30 years since its commissioning, August 16. The submarine is one of eight Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.