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Commander, Submarine Group Two


 
 

Submarine Squadron Four Changes Commanders

GROTON, Conn. - Capt. Robert E. Clark II turned over command of Submarine Squadron Four (CSS4) to Capt. Michael Bernacchi during a change of command ceremony aboard the Historic Ship Nautilus at the Submarine Force Library and Museum April 9.

Clark, a resident of West Chester, Pa, has been selected to be the 84th Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA). As commandant, Clark, a USNA Class of 1984 graduate, will be responsible for the military and professional development of the approximately 4,400-member Brigade of Midshipmen.

"This is a bittersweet occasion for Bob Clark," said guest speaker Rear Adm. Michael McLaughlin, Commander Submarine Group Two. "I know he thoroughly enjoys what he does here. He's a leader with contagious enthusiasm and is professional and competent in his trade."

During Clark's tenure as commodore, Squadron Four helped build a strong foundation for the Navy's newest class of submarines - The Virginia. There were significant accomplishments in Virginia-class tactical employment and warfighting readiness, including completion of the final phases of Virginia-class Operational Evaluation and transition to fully-operational status.

The Virginia-class reached several milestones under Clark's leadership, including:

* First European Command deployment for Virginia-class submarine - USS New Hampshire (SSN 778)

* First full six-month Virginia-class deployment - USS Virginia (SSN 774)

* First Virginia-class under-ice operations - USS Texas (SSN 775)

Also under Clark, Squadron Four was a Submarine Force leader in Retention and Attrition.

Clark called his staff and the command teams of Squadron Four's submarines "superstars and are the sole reason for Squadron Four's success." He added, "I've had the honor and privilege to lead and - more importantly - learn from the very best."

Bernacchi, from Pleasant Ridge, Mich., said "(Clark) has organized and optimized the staff to help the ships," and that he was "honored to have the opportunity to try and continue (Clark's) work." Bernacchi also thanked his family and supporters who attended the ceremony, including his wife, Kristin.

"She takes care of everything. She is the rock and foundation for the children. I never worry about the home front when I am at sea," said Bernacchi, who previously served as Deputy Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program Manager. His sea duties include Commanding Officer of Los Angeles-Class attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN 757).

"Mike has always been known for his leadership," said McLaughlin. "He demonstrated his abilities with two Battle Efficiency E's while serving as commanding officer in Alexandria in addition to the Navy League's John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership."

Bernacchi was commissioned through Officer Candidate School after graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Detroit with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. In 1993 he was assigned to the University of Michigan as part of the Advanced Education Program, where he earned Master of Science degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Industrial Engineering.

- USN -

GROTON, Conn. (April 9, 2010) – Capt. Robert E. Clark II reads his orders during a change of command ceremony as USS Memphis (SSN 691) returns to Naval Submarine Base New London.  Clark turned over command of Submarine Squadron 4 to Capt. Michael Bernacchi during the ceremony aboard the Historic Ship Nautilus. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers
GROTON, Conn. (April 9, 2010) –  Submarine Squadron 4 staff members prepare to lower the commodore’s pennant during a change of command ceremony aboard the Historic Ship Nautilus as USS Memphis (SSN 691) returns to Naval Submarine Base New London.  During the ceremony, Capt. Michael Bernacchi relieved Capt. Robert Clark II as commodore.  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers
GROTON, Conn. (April 9, 2010) – The Submarine Squadron 4 quartermaster lowers Capt. Robert Clark’s pennant during a change of command ceremony aboard Historic Ship Nautilus. Capt. Michael Bernacchi assumed command of the squadron from Clark. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers
GROTON, Conn. (April 9, 2010) – Capt. Robert E. Clark II, right, turns over command of Submarine Squadron 4 to Capt. Michael Bernacchi as Rear Adm. Michael McLaughlin, Commander Submarine Group 2, observes. Clark will next serve as the 84th Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.
GROTON, Conn. (April 9, 2010) – Capt. Michael Bernacchi, Commander Submarine Squadron 4, departs through the sideboys following the Submarine Squadron 4 change of command ceremony. Bernacchi assumed command of the squadron from Capt. Robert E. Clark II. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers