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Commander, Submarine Group Two


 
 
NORFOLK, Va. (December 14, 2011) – Cmdr. T.R. Buchanan (center) salutes
Cmdr. David S. Soldow as he is relieved of his duties as the commanding
officer of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753)
during a change of command ceremony held Dec. 14, at Naval Station
Norfolk. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
Todd A. Schaffer / Released)
 
 
Soldow Assumes Command of USS Albany
 
 
NORFOLK, Va.  – Cmdr. David Soldow relieved Cmdr. Thomas “TR” Buchanan as commanding officer of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753) during a change of command ceremony on December 14, 2011 at Naval Station Norfolk.
 
Rear Adm. Barry L. Bruner, Director, Undersea Warfare Division (N87), was the featured speaker at the ceremony. 
 
“The main reason we are here today is for Cmdr. Buchanan and the performance of the ship,” said Bruner.  “Command is the greatest opportunity we have in the U.S. Navy. With it you have the greatest responsibility and accountability.  It’s hard work, but it also reaps the greatest benefits, and Cmdr. Buchanan has had a phenomenal tour. 
 
“During one six-month deployment in the European Command his ship performed superbly, and in generic terms the ship brought home the bacon in a big way.  As a result, Cmdr. Buchanan ended up briefing the highest levels of our government on what his team and ship accomplished.  Also, primarily as a result of that deployment the ship was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, the first one in the history of Albany.  But it’s not just the Navy where he has had impact, but also the community.  He balanced it all in leading his crew to great success.”
 
Bruner then presented Buchanan with his fourth Meritorious Service Medal citing him for “demonstrated extraordinary leadership and keen intellect as he led his men in flawless execution of two missions vital to the nation’s security in the most challenging submarine environments.”
 
Buchanan, a second-generation submariner who is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, then reflected upon his command tour.
 
“For the past 26 months, Albany and the men who bring her to life, have been my home, my family, my passion and my life,” said Buchanan, whose next duty assignment will be at Commander, U.S. Fifth Fleet.  “To the crew of Albany, I want to thank you for your dedication and your attitude.  There is nothing that happens to this ship that is not caused by or influenced by you.  You are the heart and soul of this vessel.  Because of this I know how fortunate I have been over the past two years.  You are an exceptionally fine crew, and I am proud to have been your shipmate and your captain.  Treat this ship and each other as national treasures.
 
In steaming more than 34,000 miles during deployed operations and thousands of miles since, Albany earned the Navy Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service, and Arctic Service Ribbons.  Albany also won the Commander, Squadron Six Battle Efficiency Award in 2010.  But most of Albany was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for deployed operations from February to August 2010, the first for Albany in its 21 years of commissioned service.  These were not my achievements, they were your achievements. 
 
Thanks for being wonderful shipmates and for making this an enriching and immensely fulfilling two-plus years.  I look forward to hearing of the continued success of Albany, while you continue ‘Still Making History’ together.  As our paths will likely cross again in the future, I look forward to your profound contributions to the success of the submarine force and to the security of our nation.  Certainly, my memories of command will last a lifetime.”
 
Buchanan’s first sea command was onboard the Los Angeles-class attack submarine  USS Asheville (SSN 758), with follow-on sea assignments as Engineering Officer on the Ohio-class ballistic-submarine USS Florida (SSBN 728)(Gold), and as Executive Officer on the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Norfolk (SSN 714).
 
His shore assignments have been as Special Assistant to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation and Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command; Action Officer on the Joint Staff and on the Chief of Naval Operations staff; and as an Aide to the Director, Naval Reactors.
 
Soldow becomes the 10th commanding officer of Albany.  He attended the Virginia Military Institute and Oxford University, graduating in 1992 as the Distinguished Naval Graduate and Burke Scholar.  His previous assignments were as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Head at Tactical Training Group Atlantic and as commanding officer of the now decommissioned Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Philadelphia (SSN 690).
 
“Shipmates - past, present, and future, friends – old and new, and most importantly family, I am truly humbled to stand before you today to continue the most revered of Naval traditions – exchange of command,” said Soldow,.  “Few understand the burden of command, even still fewer are afforded a second opportunity.  The privilege, the opportunity and the covenant are not lost on me. 
 
“To Cmdr. Buchanan and the men of USS Albany, your reputation and accomplishments precede you.  Albany has always been known for not only her impressive accomplishments but even more so for her truly outstanding Sailors.  I am deeply committed to working for you and am honored to be a part of this great team that is ‘Still Making History.’”
 
Albany, whose motto is “Still Making History,” is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of New York’s capital city.  Built by Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat Division, Albany was commissioned April 7, 1990 as the 43rd nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class submarine.  The 360-foot ship was the last one to slide down the incline of the greased wooden shipways at Newport News Shipbuilding.  Albany’s crew compliment includes 13 officers and 121 enlisted Sailors. 

 

NORFOLK, Va. (December 14, 2011) – Rear Adm. Barry L. Bruner, director, Undersea Warfare, presents Cmdr. T.R. Buchanan the Meritorious Service Medal  during a change of command ceremony aboard the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753) held Dec. 14, at Naval Station Norfolk. Bruner was the guest speaker for the ceremony in which Buchanan was relieved as commanding officer by Cmdr. David S. Soldow. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Todd A. Schaffer / Released)

 

 

NORFOLK, Va. (December 14, 2011) – Rear Adm. Barry L. Bruner, director, Undersea Warfare, shares a laugh with Cmdr. T.R. Buchanan during a change of command ceremony aboard the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753) held Dec. 14, at Naval Station Norfolk. Bruner was the guest speaker for the ceremony in which Buchanan was relieved as commanding officer by Cmdr. David S. Soldow. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Todd A. Schaffer / Released)