COMSUBRON 4 Welcomes New Commander
GROTON, Conn. – Capt. Michael Bernacchi turned over command of Submarine Squadron 4 to Capt. Michael Holland during a change of command ceremony, at Naval Submarine Base New London's Shepherd of the Sea Chapel in Groton on Jan. 13.
In conjunction with the change of command, Submarine Squadron 2 was disestablished. The disestablishment consolidates all COMSUBRON 2 assigned attack submarines under Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 4 and Commander, Submarine Development Squadron 12. Under the consolidation USS Springfield (SSN 761) is assigned to COMSUBRON 4; USS Dallas (SSN 700), USS Providence (SSN 719), and USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) are assigned to COMSUBDEVRON 12.
During Bernacchi's tour as commodore, COMSUBRON 4, he transformed all squadron submarines and its crews into an advanced, finely-honed fighting force capable of bringing unmatched stealth and firepower anywhere in the world in support of our nation's defense. His charge ran the gamut from complex shipyard repair and modernization projects to the most aggressive surge deployment schedule seen on the Groton waterfront in the past decade.
Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, Commander, Submarine Group 2 reflected on Bernacchi's tenure at COMSUBRON 4.
"Mike has a spark of leadership that is innovative," said Breckenridge. "He is a leader who drives for change, strives to not accept the status quo, and leads from the deckplate."
Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney (D-2nd) also attended the change of command ceremony.
Bernacchi, a native of pleasant Ridge, Mich., has been selected to be the chief of staff, COMSUBGRU 2 and will relieve Capt. Frank Lowery. As chief of staff, Bernacchi will be responsible for the daily operations for the group and managing the 27 attack submarines based in Groton and Norfolk, Va., under the cognizance of COMSUBGRU 2.
During Bernacchi's tenure as commodore, COMSUBRON 4 he helped build a strong foundation for the Navy's newest class of submarines - the Virginia Class and its significant accomplishments, such as the USS New Hampshire's (SSN 778) participation in Ice Exercise 2011, the commissioning of USS California (SSN 781) in October 2011, the christening of PCU Mississippi (SSN 782) in Groton in December 2011, and the Post Shakedown Availability and modernization of USS Missouri (SSN 780) completed ahead of schedule in January 2012.
Bernacchi praised Submarine Squadron 4 staff and the commanding officers of all boats assigned to the squadron.
"It has been an absolutely fantastic time for me where every day I had the privilege of seeing the tremendous good our Sailors and the ships they man; do for our country each and every day," said Bernacchi.
He also praised Breckenridge for his vision for the future. "Admiral your vision of the future has been very inspiring. I didn't get where we were going with the Design until that time in your office when it was just you and me and you took the time to explain it. That was incredibly enlightening and has driven me since," said Bernacchi.
Bernacchi highlighted the Design for Undersea Warfare's impact is not only felt at the waterfront, but also with the leadership with General Dynamics Electric Boat highlighting the recent delivery of USS Missouri (SSN 780) as an indicator.
"Their willingness to embrace the design with the leadership of Mr. John Casey allowed for the early delivery of Missouri, not just ready for sea, but ready to fight. So to my Electric Boat partners thanks for all the support over the last two years," said Bernacchi.
During his naval career some of Bernacchi's significant accomplishments include earning two Battle Efficiency "E's" while serving as commanding officer aboard USS Alexandria (SSN 757), as well as 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.
Holland, a 1987 graduate of Montana State University, a finalist for the VADM James B. Stockdale Leadership Award in 2008 and 2009, reflected on both the disestablishment of SUBRON 2 and the change of command ceremony.
"While we celebrate the history of Submarine Squadron 2 today, it's important that we recognize that we are simply taking steps to maximize our ability to keep ships of the submarine force ready to defend the nation's interests. I look forward to continuing to support those efforts as commodore of Squadron 4," said Holland.
Some of Holland's past accomplishments include commanding USS Providence (SSN 719) and earning the Battle Efficiency "E" for 2008 as well as the Arleigh Burke Trophy for the most improved unit in the Atlantic Fleet for 2007.
COMSUBRON 4 is known as the Virginia Class "Center of Excellence," assigned units include: USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), USS New Mexico (SSN 779), USS Missouri (SSN 780) and USS California (SSN 781), as well as Los Angeles Class submarines USS Miami (SSN 755), USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS Springfield (SSN 761). Later this summer USS Virginia (SSN 774) and USS Mississippi (SSN 782) will join the squadron.
120113-N-AW342-070 GROTON, Conn. (Jan. 13, 2012) Capt. Michael Bernacchi, commander, Submarine Squadron 4 receives his end of tour award, a Legion of Merit, from Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, commander, Submarine Group 2 during the COMSUBRON 4 Change of Command ceremony held at the Shepherd of the Sea Chapel. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Virginia K. Schaefer/Released)
120113-N-AW342-090 GROTON, Conn. (Jan. 13, 2012) Capt. Michael Holland, commander, Submarine Squadron 4 shakes hands with Capt. Michael Bernacchi after relieving him during the COMSUBRON 4 Change of Command ceremony held at the Shepherd of the Sea Chapel. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Virginia K. Schaefer/Released)
120113-N-AW342-091 GROTON, Conn. (Jan. 13, 2012) Capt. Michael Holland, commander, Submarine Squadron 4 reports that he has relieved Capt. Michael Bernacchi to Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, commander, Submarine Group 2 during the COMSUBRON 4 Change of Command ceremony held at the Shepherd of the Sea Chapel. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Virginia K. Schaefer/Released)