Cassias Assumes SUBPAC Command
by Chief Petty Officer (SW/AW) David Rush, USN

Photo caption follows
Rear Adm. Cassias salutes as he passes through the sideboys after relieving Rear Adm. Sullivan.

Rear Adm. Jeffrey B. Cassias relieved Rear Adm. Paul F. Sullivan as Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in a change of command ceremony onboard USS Pasadena (SSN-752), Apr. 20, 2005.

Guest speaker, Adm. Walter F. Doran, Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that Cassias is ready to take the helm of COMSUBPAC. “I look forward to working with you. I know that you are the right man to guide this command and this community. There will be challenges, perhaps great challenges, but I have the utmost confidence in your ability to lead this force,” said Doran.

Sullivan is retiring after 35 years of naval service. According to Sullivan, the Sailors in the Submarine Force have had a very special place in his life.

“It isn’t long before we find ourselves teaching others – passing on to our shipmates what we have been taught, and improving it a little along the way. We continue learning, improving, and passing it on until the day we stand where I stand today...the day we’re piped ashore,” said Sullivan.

“In that sense we are part of a legacy. A legacy means that you learn from those who came before you, carry on what their traditions of excellence, and then pass them to the next generation. As I leave the Navy today, I leave knowing that this force is in excellent hands, and I leave deeply honored to have been a part of this legacy,” Sullivan added.

Shortly before ‘going ashore,’ Sullivan compared his angst as a junior officer more than three decades ago to the proud and confident fleet commander he became.

Recalling that Pier Sierra 9 was the first place he came ashore in Hawaii on his first submarine, USS Caiman (SS-323), he said, “The emotions swirling through my head today are very similar to what I felt over three decades ago. This time I have no thoughts of apprehension, but of only joy. I’m overwhelmed at the responsibility I’ve had, and I’m deeply proud to be a part of such a great team. I am very honored that I was given such a wonderful opportunity to serve our Nation.”

According to Cassias, he is looking forward to taking charge of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force. “I have been impressed by your professionalism and devotion to duty, and I look forward to working with you. The Submarine Force today is as relevant as it ever has been, particularly here in the Pacific. I have great faith in each and everyone of you and I am confident that you will rise to all of the exciting challenges that you will face during my tour,” said Cassias.

As the COMSUBPAC commander, Sullivan was responsible for more than 9,300 Navy and civilian personnel, 25 nuclear-powered attack submarines, seven ballistic missile submarines, two guided missile (SSGN) submarines, one support ship, and one deep salvage rescue vessel. The homeports include Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Bangor, Wash., San Diego, Calif., and Guam.

While serving as the Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet from August 2003, Sullivan was instrumental in implementing the SSGN program. The converted ballistic missile submarines can accommodate up to 60 Special Forces personnel and a weapons payload of more than 150 Tomahawk missiles.

Photo caption follows
Rear Adm. Jeffrey B. Cassias delivers remarks during his change of command ceremony onboard USS Pasadena (SSN-752). Cassias relieved Rear Adm. Paul Sullivan as Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

In October 2004, the ‘Silent Hammer’ exercise off the coast of San Diego demonstrated how a network of ground forces sea-based on an SSGN can fill joint gaps in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and time-sensitive strike by conducting a large scale clandestine operation using unmanned organic systems (unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned underwater vehicles) to increase capabilities and reduce risk.

Sullivan was also the guest speaker when Sailors paid tribute to USS Parche (SSN-683) and its 30-plus years of service to the U.S. Navy during a decommissioning and change of command ceremony at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) Oct. 19, 2004. Throughout its 30-year career, Parche earned numerous accolades, including nine Presidential Unit Citations and 10 Navy Unit Commendations.

Cassias’ previous assignment was as Commander Submarine Group TEN Commander Submarine Group TWO and Commander Navy Region Northeast. His sea tours have included USS Haddock (SSN-621), USS Parche (SSN-683), USS Hawkbill (SSN-666), and USS Puffer (SSN-652), and he served as commanding officer, USS Birmingham (SSN-695) from April 1992 to
November 1994.


Cover of Undersea Warfare Magazine Winter 2005