USS Hartford Welcomes New Commanding Officer
GROTON, Conn. – A new commanding officer took command of Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) during a change of command ceremony aboard the submarine, Nov. 4.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Steven Wilkinson relieved Cmdr. Robert Dunn as commanding officer.
Capt. Frank Lowery, chief of staff, Commander, Submarine Group Two spoke at the ceremony praising Dunn for a successful tour. “Your determined leadership, keen intellect, and technical expertise were the driving forces in accomplishing crew certification and returning the Hartford to operational status, which will allow for many years of operational success,” said Lowery.
During his speech, Lowery praised Dunn’s wife and family for the support they have provided him during this tour and his naval career. “To Valerie and the rest of the family, thank you for sharing your husband and dad with us; your support is valuable and truly appreciated. We cannot serve the Nation without you,” said Lowery.
November is National Military Family Appreciation Month. In a recent proclamation by the president of the United States the freedom and security our country enjoys is credited to the military and their families. “Behind our brave service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide unending support.”
Lowery also recognized Wilkinson’s family for the support they have provided him especially at the pinnacle of his career, commanding a submarine.
“To Carmen and the rest of his family, I want to say thank you for everything you have done to allow your husband and father to reach this pinnacle in his career. Your support is also valuable and truly appreciated,” said Lowery.
During the ceremony, Dunn emphasized the importance of each submariner to the overall mission.
“Hartford was delivered in February of this year and in short order the crew racked up a series of successes culminating in being certified to surge and support theater contingency operations in September,” said Dunn. “The learning curve has been steep to this point and it gets steeper as deployment preparations continue. I’m confident each of you are up to the task.”
During Dunn’s tour as commanding officer, Hartford completed a 19-month, emergent shipyard period resulting in the ship’s rapid and safe return to operational status. Dunn’s focus on crew morale created a positive command climate responsible for the highest retention and lowest attrition rates of any ship in a major shipyard availability for 2010.
Continuing esprit de corps aboard Hartford, in October, 17 Sailors from Hartford participated in the 18th annual ING Hartford half and full marathon.
Similar to preparing for a marathon, training and dedication are keys to success. Wilkinson thanked all guests and crew for attending the ceremony and emphasized these same values and discussed the importance of teamwork and the inherent value each submariner is to the command.
“During my short time on board you have impressed me with your talent, capability, motivation, and commitment,” said Wilkinson. “Your motivation and commitment to team Hartford will be the foundation from which we will grow.”
Wilkinson previously served aboard USS Alabama (SSBN 731) Blue, USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) and USS San Francisco (SSN 711).
Dunn’s next assignment will be the Office of Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
USS Hartford is the second U.S. naval vessel to be named in honor of the city of Hartford. The first Hartford had a long and distinguished career. It was a steam and sail-powered sloop of war commissioned in June 1859 with a displacement of 2,790 tons and an overall length of 225 feet.
111104-N-8666B-114 GROTON, Conn. (Nov. 04, 2011) - Cmdr. Robert Dunn receives a Meritorious Service Medal during the change of command ceremony of Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768). Cmdr. Steven Wilkinson relieved Dunn during the ceremony held onboard USS Hartford at Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Conn. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Michael Bevan/RELEASED)
111104-N-8666B-181 GROTON, Conn. (Nov. 04, 2011) - Cmdr. Steven Wilkinson gives his remarks after assuming command of Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768). Wilkinson relieved Cmdr. Robert Dunn during a change of command ceremony held onboard USS Hartford at Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Conn. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Michael Bevan/RELEASED)