SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Cmdr. Thomas P. O'Donnell relieved Cmdr. Patrick Friedman as commanding officer of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) in a time-honored change of command ceremony at Naval Base Point Loma, August 12.
Guest speaker Capt. Brian Davies, commander, Submarine Squadron 11, praised Friedman and his crew for overcoming the challenges they faced together.
"Cmdr. Friedman consistently demonstrated exceptional performance," said Davies. "He inspired and led the dedicated crew of Oklahoma City to excel during a challenging transition period as they essentially deployed from their homeport of Guam to undergo this maintenance period here in San Diego."
Following his remarks, Davies turned the podium over to Friedman, where he reflected on his time in command.
"As Captain, one of my jobs was to make sure the men next to you were ready to do their job," said Friedman. "It sounds simple when you say it, but in practice it's a bit more complicated. I have been truly blessed to work with some of the finest officers and chiefs in the fleet. They are my fire and forget missiles. I just point them in the right direction and let them take care of the rest."
Friedman, a native of Albany, Louisiana earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University and was commissioned in 1997 at Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Pensacola, Florida. His other sea tours include USS Helena (SSN 725), USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) and USS Pennsylvania (Blue) (SSBN 735). He also served as commanding officer of USS Columbia (SSN 771).
After O'Donnell assumed command of Oklahoma City, he described his excitement to work with his new crew.
"Karen and I are honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to stand at the helm of this awesome warship and take her back to sea in the western Pacific to defend our great nation," said O'Donnell. "We recognize the sacrifices that you and your families make day-in and day-out in order to accomplish this mission. You can trust that every day I will do my best to lead the Oklahoma City to success in all we do."
O'Donnell earned a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 2000 and holds a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College.
His previous sea tours include USS Maryland (Gold) (SSBN 738), USS Virginia (SSN 774) and USS Providence (SSN 719).
USS Oklahoma City was commissioned on July 9, 1988. Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,300 tons, Oklahoma City has a crew of approximately 150 Sailors. Oklahoma City is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Oklahoma City is assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, but is currently in the dry dock Arco (ARDM 5), for an extensive docking availability.
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