Commander, Submarine Group Two

Cmdr. Eugene LaCoste is rendered honors during the change of command
ceremony. Photo provided by Fort Eustis TASC Enterprise Multimedia Center

NSTF Yorktown Welcomes New Commanding Officer

YORKTOWN, Va. – Cmdr. Eugene D. LaCoste relieved Cmdr. Michael Dargel as commanding officer of Naval Submarine Torpedo Facility Yorktown during a change of command ceremony, a time-honored product of the Navy's rich naval heritage, July 22.

After reading his orders Lacoste emphasized the role teamwork has on an organization.

"With teamwork anything can be accomplished," said LaCoste. "I look forward to getting started."

Robert M. Tompkins, the guest speaker, who is recognized nationally and internally as an expert in underwater weapons systems spoke highly of Dargel's innovative accomplishments at NSTF Yorktown.

"The list of Dargel's accomplishment is just too long to go through," said Tompkins. "This facility is better to have had you for the past two years."

Tompkins was selected as the U.S. Navy's technical area expert for torpedoes in 2007. In this capacity he holds the technical warrant for all aspects of U.S. Navy torpedo systems.

Dargel, who was raised in East Lyme, Conn., bestows an equally impressive background. Dargel received his commission through the NROTC program at Norwich University in 1990 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He earned a Master's Degree in Engineering Acoustics at the Naval Postgraduate School. Dargel is a graduate of the Naval War College and the Joint Forces Staff College.

During the ceremony, Dargel reflected on the unique qualities of the men and women assigned to NSTF Yorktown, as well as the highlighting the historical significance of the area.

"I love the history that surrounds this facility. The road most of you drove in here on today, Old Williamsburg Road, is the same road that carried George Washington and the continental army to the Yorktown battlefied 228 years ago. The victory won only a few miles from this spot established the United States as a sovereign nation," said Dargel.

Rear Adm. Michael McLaughlin, Commander, Submarine Group Two, delivered Dargel's end of tour award and praised his leadership capabilities that enabled his command to accomplish their mission.

"I am here today to recognize his, and this organization's role, in maintaining the proficiency of our force. Because of Mike's leadership and the dedication of the crew at Yorktown, the submarine force could carry out our mission. This command's contribution to the overall mission is a vital necessity, for our submarines, and by that, the nation," said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin highlighted the contributions of NSTF Yorktown in actually numbers conveying the support they provide to the submarine force.

"Over the past two years, Cmdr. Dargel and his staff have produced more than 700 torpedoes. That's more than 1.4 million pounds of ordnance produced with near perfect performance in the water. And, more importantly, there is not one single commanding officer who questions the reliability and performance of their torpedoes because they know their weapons are built by the professionals of Yorktown," said McLaughlin.

Dargel's next assignment will be Operational Test and Evaluation Force.

The Navy Submarine Torpedo Facility builds the most sophisticated undersea weapon in the world, the MK 48 heavyweight torpedo. The crew of NSTF Yorktown consists of military and civilian expert engine-builders, electronics technicians, ordnance handlers, facility maintenance personnel and test equipment technicians.