JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii – The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) held a change of command ceremony at the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Ford Island, Hawaii, March 30.
Commander John C. Roussakies, from Homosassa, Fla., properly relieved Cmdr. William A. Patterson, from Holliston, Mass., and assumed the duties and responsibilities as the commanding officer of USS Hawaii.
The ceremony’s guest speaker, Rear Adm. Richard A. Correll, Director of Joint and Maritime Operations U.S. Fleet Forces Command, was Patterson’s commanding officer when they served aboard the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754).
“Bill was the navigator, senior watch officer, and essentially ran the ship as a department head,” said Correll about his experience serving with Patterson. “I have had a great sense of admiration and pride as I’ve watched Bill Patterson excel in command of Hawaii.”
Under Patterson's leadership, USS Hawaii completed a successful Western Pacific deployment, was awarded the Navy’s Retention Excellence award for three consecutive years in a row and 11 Sailors were advanced to chief petty officer.
Patterson praised the USS Hawaii’s crew for their success and encouraged them to hold onto their warrior spirit.
“Hawaii is a great ship. To become a great ship, you need a great chief’s quarters, a fantastic wardroom and outstanding men,” said Patterson. “I could not have been luckier with the leaders that the Navy has provided as my supporting cast.”
In one of his last acts as commanding officer of USS Hawaii, Patterson emphasized his boat’s special connection to the island by having the warship blessed by Hawaiian priest, Kahu Kordell Kekoa.
“What truly makes commanding USS Hawaii special is the engagement with the state of Hawaii and the community at large,” said Patterson to a crowd which included former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle and current governor David Ige. “The Hawaii ‘ohana’ is something special.”
Patterson's next assignment will be in Yokosuka, Japan where he will assume the position of deputy director of operations for Commander, Submarine Group Seven.
As Roussakies assumed command, he congratulated Patterson on his successful deployment and assured him he would maintain the honor of USS Hawaii.
“I will lead this team with the same passion and dedication as you and all of the previous Hawaii commanding officers,” said the new commanding officer. “I am honored and humbled to join this elite fraternity as a commanding officer of a United States fast-attack submarine.”
Roussakies graduated from the University of Florida in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He holds a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School, as well as completing the Naval War College Non-Resident program.
Roussakies' operational tours include serving as division officer aboard USS West (SSBN 736) (Gold Crew), executive officer aboard Submarine NR-1, and executive officer aboard USS Houston (SSN 713).
Ashore, Roaussakies served as the operations officer at Submarine Squadron 4, deputy chief of staff for Country Engagement, Plans and Exercises at Submarine Group 7 and deputy commander at Submarine Squadron 21.
Commissioned on May 5, 2007, USS Hawaii is the third submarine of the Virginia class and is the first commissioned warship named after the Aloha State. She spans a length of 377 feet and displaces 7,800 tons. Submarines of this class are expertly employed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare and strike missions.