Los Angeles-Class Attack Submarine USS Helena Holds Change of Command Ceremony

The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Helena (SSN 725) held a change of command ceremony on board Naval Station Norfolk, July 20.

Cmdr. Jeffrey Lamphear relieved Cmdr. Paul Dinius as commanding officer.

“I am honored to share in this wonderful event today – the change of command celebration between Cmdr. Paul Dinius and Cmdr. Jeff Lamphear,” said Capt. Daryl Caudle, chief of staff, commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, who was also Helena’s 10th commanding officer. “Today is truly a celebration – as the meaning and understanding of the words responsibility, authority, and accountability are renewed and strengthened in our minds and souls.

“Paul, your level of performance across all lines of effort did not happen magically. It required detailed planning, thoughtful prioritization, and a level of execution that only a commander such as you could ever achieve. Through diligence, drive, and stamina, you were able to demand and achieve excellence by establishing high expectations for your crew, understanding the aspirations of yours leaders, and articulating and energizing your vision as a coach and a mentor by building trust, admiration, loyalty, and mutual respect throughout your ship. Under your leadership, Helena is combat ready – a reliable, well-trained and tactically proficient fast attack submarine destined for continued greatness. I am extremely proud of you, your officers, and crew.

“Jeff, I want to personally welcome you and your family to the brotherhood of command. Having been selected for command, you have proven your leadership abilities, your tactical skills, your technical competency, and your desire to take charge of a ship of war. Commanding a submarine will test you. You will have to look deep inside and tap your creativity, ingenuity, and innovation to develop solutions to challenging problems.

“You will have to trust your command team, your Department Heads, your Wardroom, and your crew to provide you with options and results. The ultimate goal is being ready to answer the call of our nation while having fun along the way. I truly look forward to Helena’s future successes under your command and leadership,” said Caudle.

Capt. Eugene Sievers, commander, Submarine Squadron 6, then presented Dinius a Meritorious Service Medal citing him for leading his team through the fastest completion of an engineered overhaul ever at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and for brilliantly guiding his team through an extremely-compressed deployment to the Southern Command while executing a national-level mission.

“As commanding officer of Helena, I have had many memorable moments,” said Dinius, a native of Santa Barbara, Calif., who was commissioned through the Naval Officer Training Corps at Norwich University in Vermont. “Seeing the cheering families on pier on our arrival in our new homeport in Norfolk following the fastest shipyard overhaul in history at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine, and then returning back to Norfolk after our highly successful Southern Command deployment, and the beaming pride of the crew will be moments I will remember forever. The opportunity to have my son ride the boat from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Norfolk on a Tiger Cruise is another highly unforgettable experience.

“I want the nation and the friends and families of the crew of the Helena to understand the monumental and unprecedented achievements of the past three years. By ending the overhaul on-time, millions of dollars were saved by preventing the cost-overruns that exist when a project exceeds the allotted time frame for execution. After leaving the shipyard, the rapid and unprecedented execution of national-level tasking allowed for the collection of important intelligence vital to the national security of the United States that would have otherwise not been obtained. Our mission is to execute tasking as directed by the President in support of our national defense in a fiscally responsible manner with a high level of personal conduct and ambassadorship. We could not have accomplished these events without a group of professional submarine warriors working together every day as a team. Mission accomplished,” said Dinius.

While Dinius said he would miss the teamwork of Helena, he was looking to the challenges of his next command and spending more time with family.

“As a senior board member of the Submarine Force Pacific Tactical Readiness Evaluation Team, I expect to work tirelessly to help ensure our submarine force remains combat ready and to stress the force in assessing our ability to handle the challenges of our emerging adversaries,” said Dinius. “Although my family won’t miss the near round-the-clock phone calls, I know that they have immense pride in having a father and husband in command of an awesome force like a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine. They are all looking forward to shorts and flippy-flops and the great beaches of Hawaii….and a few less phone calls.”

Lamphear, a native of Livonia, Mich., has become Helena’s 13th commanding officer. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin receiving his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Mechanics, he obtained his commission through Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla.

“Cmdr. Dinius, thank you for turning over the best maintained ship on the waterfront, and very professional and motivated crew,” said Lamphear. “To the families of the crew, I know you have shared the same sacrifices that my wife and children have. While not easy, your dedication is essential to Helena’s continued contribution to our nation’s defense. Every one of your Sailors play a vital role in Helena’s ability to execute her mission, and your support is just as important to your Sailor’s success. Thank you for your past support, and as commanding officer of Helena, thank you for your continued support.

The country relies on the submarine force’s ability to take the fight to any of our potential adversaries, anytime, anywhere accessible from the sea and into places other forces cannot go. The expertise, skill and professionalism the crew of Helena has shown in achieving this warfighting capability cannot be understated. To the crew, thank you for your commitment to our profession and country. I am honored to be your shipmate and captain, and I look forward to serving with all of you over the next few years,” said Lamphear.

Lamphear’s previous assignment was at the Navy Warfare Development Command, and prior to that as executive officer of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Norfolk (SSN 714).

Dinius’ next duty assignment will be as a member of the Tactical, Readiness and Evaluation team at Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Before assuming command of Helena in July 2009, Dinius’ sea assignments have been as a division officer on board the Sturgeon-class attack submarine USS Pargo (SSN 650); the Tactical Systems Officer on board the Ohio-class ballistic-submarine USS Alabama (SSBN 731) (Gold); the Combat Systems Officer on board the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hampton (767); and as executive officer on board the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Jefferson City (SSN 759).
His shore commands have been as the NROTC assistant professor of Naval Science at the University of Oklahoma; the Submarine Department Head detailer at Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn.; and the deputy director of the Commander’s Action Group at Commander, U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Neb.

Fast-attack submarines like Helena have multi-faceted missions. They use their stealth, persistence, agility and firepower to deploy and support special force operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary’s military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity, and ensure undersea superiority.

Helena is the 38th Los Angeles-class attack submarine and fourth ship to bear the name of the capital city, Helena, Mont. The submarine was built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, Conn., and commissioned July 11, 1987. The 360-foot ship has a current crew compliment of 16 officers and 134 enlisted Sailors, and displaces more than 7,100 tons of water.

Naval Today Staff, July 23, 2012