USS Springfield Welcomes New Commander
GROTON, Conn. -- Command of Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761) changed hands during a change of command ceremony at the Naval Submarine Library and Museum in Groton on Jan. 20.
Cmdr. Enrique Panlilio turned over command of USS Springfield to Cmdr. Chris B. Williams during the ceremony.
During Panlilio's tour as commanding officer, Springfield conducted the full spectrum of submarine operations, encompassing several missions critical to national security, operations in support of counterterrorism and theater security cooperation. In November 2011, USS Springfield returned to Naval Submarine Base New London following a regularly scheduled six-month deployment.
"I am very proud of the men of Springfield who during my tour have taken this boat full cycle from the front lines on deployment, through an extensive maintenance period in the shipyard and back to the front lines. I leave Springfield as a ship that is ready to fight, ready to conduct the work of our nation's defense," said Panlilio.
Panlilio reflected on his career serving aboard attack submarines.
"I have aimed my entire career at commanding an attack submarine at sea, and the experience of command was more than I could have imagined. To lead these men has been an honor, and I am happy to turn the reins over to Cmdr. Williams today," said Panlilio.
Panlilio will remain in Groton and assume the duties of deputy commander, Submarine Development Squadron 12.
Capt. Michael Bernacchi served as the guest speaker during the time honored tradition of changing commanding officers.
"What is important is that we take a moment to recognize the great accomplishments of this fantastic warship," said Bernacchi. "Rick, I could not be more proud of you and your ship than I am today."
Bernacchi recently participated in his own change of command ceremony on Jan. 13. Bernacchi's next assignment is chief of staff, Commander, Submarine Group 2. He will relieve Capt. Frank Lowery as chief of staff in February.
Prior to Williams' arrival in Groton, he previously served as executive officer of USS Michigan (SSGN 727) (Blue) and Submarine Program Analyst in the Programming Directorate on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV N80). Most recently, Williams attended a year studies at the National War College where he earned a Master's of Science in National Security Strategy with an emphasis on Latin American issues.
Williams added that he looks forward to both his tour as commanding officer of USS Springfield and working with the crew.
"Springfield is a great ship with a great crew. I'm honored to serve with them," said Williams.
USS Springfield was built by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and is the 50th Los Angeles class submarine delivered to the Navy. The submarine's crew compliment includes 15 officers and 110 enlisted Sailors.
Since her commission in 1993, USS Springfield has conducted a total of eight deployments and has been awarded the Military Unit Commendation, along with numerous accolades for operative, engineering, weapons, food service, and retention excellence.
120120-N-AW342-031 GROTON, Conn. (Jan. 20, 2012) Cmdr. Enrique Panlilio makes his final remarks as commanding officer of USS Springfield (SSN 761). Panlilio was relieved by Cmdr. Chris B. Williams during a change of command ceremony held at the Naval Submarine Force Museum. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Virginia K. Schaefer/Released)
120120-N-AW342-020 GROTON, Conn. (Jan. 20, 2012) Cmdr. Enrique Panlilio receives a Meritorious Service Medal for his end of tour award by Commander, Submarine Group Two Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge. Panlilio was relieved by Cmdr. Chris B. Williams during a change of command ceremony held at the Naval Submarine Force Museum. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Virginia K. Schaefer/Released)
120120-N-AW342-053 GROTON, Conn. (Jan. 20, 2012) - Cmdr. Chris B. Williams, makes his first remarks as commanding officer of USS Springfield (SSN 761). Williams relieved Cmdr. Enrique Panlilio in a change of command ceremony held at the Naval Submarine Force Museum. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Virginia K. Schaefer/Released)