USS Louisiana Welcomes New Commanding Officer


USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) welcomed a new commanding officer for its Gold Crew March 16.

Cmdr. Robert Peters relieved Cmdr. Joseph Turk during the ballistic missile submarine’s change-of-command ceremony at the Naval Undersea Museum.

“Team Louisiana, you are a group of elite professionals doing an incredibly challenging and important job,” said Turk. “You can all take great pride in the foundation of safety and security you provide our nation.

During his command tour, which began in May 2009, Turk completed four strategic deterrent patrols with the Gold Crew. In addition, working with his Blue Crew counterparts, Cmdr. Eric Woelper and Cmdr. Paul Varnadore, Turk delivered Louisiana on time from the most complex Ohio-class extended refit ever completed.

“I’m confident that Joe’s leadership is the catalyst that kept the crew focused on the tasks at hand,” said Vice Adm. Timothy Giardina, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, who served as the event’s guest speaker. “Under his inspirational leadership, the Gold Crew of USS Louisiana has excelled in virtually every area with respect to submarine operations.”

Turk will next serve as deputy commander of Submarine Squadron 17 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

The ceremony marked a homecoming of sorts for Peters, who was raised in Oak Harbor, Wash., and received his commission from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Washington State University. Peters attended the Naval War College and the Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine Command Course, and served as Gold Crew executive officer aboard USS Tennessee (SSBN 734).

You are a proven and exceptional team that gets the mission done every time, on time and at a high standard,” said Peters. “I promise to give you my complete dedication and effort in the execution of our strategic mission.”

Louisiana is one of eight Ohio-class Trident ballistic missile submarines stationed at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, providing the survivable leg of the nation’s strategic deterrent forces.

Naval Today Staff , March 20, 2012;