Commander Submarine Group Two Changes Commanders
Distinguished visitors, area commanders and family members attended the Commander, Submarine Group (COMSUBGRU) Two change of command ceremony at the Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, April 15.
Rear Adm. Ken Perry relieved Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge during the time-honored change of command ceremony. Vice Adm. Michael Connor, Commander, Submarine Forces spoke at the ceremony praising Breckenridge for his achievements as the group commander for nearly two years.
Connor highlighted the significance of Breckenridge's time in command emphasizing that technology is one part of the solution, but it's the people that excel at the mission.
"The general public thinks that we can do all of these things because of our technology. I would say that the technology is necessary, but only part of the solution. The rest involves people, people who are skilled and well led. Rick has made a huge contribution in this area-as a teacher, as a mentor, and as a living example of high standards," said Connor. "Rick, congratulations on a job superbly well done."
Connor further reflected on the foundation of the undersea domain, which are the people.
"We need training that supports their growing mission set. We need to ensure we sustain a culture that values the contribution of every Sailor, and a balanced life style that recognizes and rewards our Sailors and their families for the extended time they spend at sea under austere conditions conducting the vital business of defending this great country," said Connor.
Connor further congratulated Breckenridge on his follow-on assignment wishing him the best of luck as he returns to Washington D.C.
"Rick and I once had the opportunity to run the halls of the Pentagon together as we did our best to sustain and grow the submarine force in the face of budgetary challenges. Rick will get to do that again, and, although I do not envy him heading back into that battle, Rick, I'm glad to know that the Submarine Force will be well represented by your wisdom, energy, creativity and experience," said Connor.
Breckenridge will depart Groton to assume the position of Director, Undersea Warfare Division (N97) in Washington, D.C.
Connor also praised both Breckenridge and Perry for their leadership capabilities and what they bring to the people of Group Two.
"For the men and women of Group Two, you are fortunate to have served alongside Admiral Breckenridge and you are fortunate that you will be serving alongside Admiral Ken Perry," said Connor.
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District spoke at the change of command ceremony and recognized both Breckenridge and Perry and thanked them for their service.
"We couldn't be luckier to have a great successor in Admiral Perry," said Courtney, who added that he met Perry more than five years ago when he rode aboard the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Alexandria (757).
Breckenridge assumed command of COMSUBGRU Two on Aug. 26, 2011. During Breckenridge's tenure at the Group, as submarines deployed worldwide and other crews prepared to deploy in turn, the admiral reflected on the vital important mission of our submariners.
"The most tangible outcome of effective operations at the Group level is getting our submarines deployed on time to where the operational commanders want them. The demand signal still remains incredibly high from our combatant commanders," said Breckenridge. "Every day we can have a submarine out deployed is vitally important and we've been able to accomplish that in my time here is large credit not to the commander, but to all of the personnel who work so hard to keep these ships out to sea."
Additionally, Breckenridge oversaw seven other submarines in various stages of new construction and maintenance overhaul. He praised the submarine shipbuilding industry for their outstanding support of the submarine force.
"We are very fortunate to have the healthiest segment of shipbuilding probably in the world," said Breckenridge. "They are delivering complex, state of the art, front-line warships under budget and ahead of schedule, that's pretty uncommon."
During his command tour, Breckenridge played a key role in the delivery of two Virginia-class submarines and served as the officer in tactical command for the sea trials of USS Mississippi (SSN 782) prior to her commissioning in June 2012.
While bestowing praise on the shipbuilding industry both at General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries, Breckenridge reflected on the Sailors who operate the submarines.
"What I've seen here as Group Two riding Virginia and Los Angeles class submarines with their motivated and inspired crews, is that it really still all comes down to the Sailors," said Breckenridge. "At the end of the day, it still comes back to those young Americans who sign up for this very challenging line of work to take these complex platforms out to sea and do the most incredible things with them."
Breckenridge emphasized the continuum of excellence, dedication and sacrifice he has personally seen as a new generation of submariners takes to the undersea domain.
"While in command of Group Two, I have had an opportunity to talk to a few of the new BESS and SOBC classes as these students come in our front door and get to see the fire in their eye, the recognition that what they're about to do is vitally important to their country," said Breckenridge, who also praised the families for their continued support as submariners deploy. "The young families that are supporting our submarines out at sea are as resilient as I've ever seen."
During the ceremony Breckenridge welcomed his successor who prior to arriving in Groton served as vice commander, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command and Commander Task Force 522, U.S. Fifth Fleet.
"I've had the privilege of seeing a lot of the world since I last served in New London. In Washington and in foreign capitals, in joint and naval headquarters, among U.S. leaders and allies and partners, no force has greater respect than the U.S. submarine service," said Perry. "Built by the world's best yards, and honed by expert and rigorous maintenance, training, and certification, their readiness is unmatched. No place is more central to the history and excellence of this force than right here in Groton, and no Group more focused on the readiness of that force than Submarine Group Two."
Perry reflected on the continuum of maintaining our submarines and submariners as a capable force in defense of our nation.
"I'm proud and honored to be the Group Two Commander and I look forward to working with everyone to keep our submarines and submariners the most ready, relevant and capable forces in the world," said Perry.
Both Breckenridge and Perry have sons who have followed in their fathers' footsteps by serving in the U.S. Navy. Breckenridge's eldest son, Lt. Ryan Breckenridge, based in California, attended the ceremony. Lt.j.g. Al Perry, who is assigned to a submarine in Hawaii, and Ensign Dave Perry, who is undergoing pilot training in Florida were both unable to attend.