BANGOR, Wash. (April 20, 2016) " Capt. Michael Lewis, from Bend, Oregon, receives the Legion of Merit medal from Rear Adm. David Kriete, commander, Submarine Group Nine, during a change of command ceremony for the Gold Crew of the guided-missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726). During the ceremony, held at the Bangor Chapel, Lewis turned over command to Capt. Gerald Miranda, from San Diego, California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray/Released) (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray)
BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The Gold Crew of the guided-missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726) welcomed a new commanding officer during a ceremony held at the Bangor Chapel, April 20.
Capt. Gerald Miranda, from San Diego, properly relieved Capt. Michael Lewis, from Bend, Oregon, and assumed the duties and responsibilities of commanding officer for the Ohio Gold Crew.
"Because so much is at stake, the Navy goes to tremendous lengths to ensure that only the right people are given command of a submarine," said Rear Adm. David Kriete, commander, Submarine Group Nine, the guest speaker for the event. "It is not a job for the faint of heart. You men and women of Ohio have been blessed to have one such man as your Commanding Officer, Capt. Mike Lewis. The unique challenges that you face on an SSGN, dictated that the Navy's leaders exercised even greater consideration in selecting only the right officer for this assignment. In Capt. Mike Lewis, they chose exactly the right officer."
Lewis, who assumed command of the Gold Crew in January 2014, guided Ohio through their longest Major Maintenance Period, with Ohio Gold owning the boat through nine of the 11 months in the shipyard. He also led the crew through one forward deployed mission period, which included support of strike and Naval Special Warfare missions and operations with U.S. and allied special operations teams. During his tour, 79 officer and enlisted Sailors received their submarine warfare insignia "dolphins".
"Submarining is a team sport, and success or failure is not the result of one man, but the whole team," Lewis said. "Ohio Gold's triumphs were the result of very incredible teams helping me along the way."
Ohio's Gold Crew was awarded the 2014 Retention Excellence Award, along with winning the Battle "E" 2015 competitive categories for Deck Seamanship White "D", Medical Department Yellow "M", and Information Technologies White "I", under Lewis' leadership.
"I take comfort in knowing that I am leaving Ohio Gold in very good hands, and know that you will continue her on the upward path to greatness," said Lewis. "Capt. Miranda, I wish the best of luck to you as you embark on a very challenging, yet rewarding second command tour."
Miranda comes to Ohio's Gold crew from the Pentagon, where he served as the Executive Assistant for Director, Undersea Warfare Division (OPNAV N97).
"I am humbled that the Navy chose me to assume command of this awesome warship," said Miranda. "There is no better command tour than to serve as CO afloat. If you didn't know, 40 years ago last week, Ohio's keel was laid. She's definitely old, but no less lethal. She is a modern marvel of engineering excellence. I proudly accept responsibility of commanding her and her crew."
Ohio is the first of four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines. The Navy's guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Armed with up to 154 tactical missiles and equipped with superior communications capabilities, guided-missile submarines are capable of launching missile strikes and supporting Special Operation Forces (SOF) missions.
Measuring more than 560 feet long and weighing more than 18,000 tons when submerged, Ohio is one of the largest submarines in the world. Ohio is homeported in Bremerton, Washington and is currently forward deployed out of Guam.