USS Hawaii Holds Change of Command Ceremony

USS Hawaii Holds Change of Command Ceremony

The warrior spear was passed to a new commanding officer at a change of command ceremony for the Virginia-class submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, March 1.

Cmdr. Stephen G. Mack, commanding officer of Hawaii, was relieved by Cmdr. William A. Patterson.

The ceremony’s guest speaker, former governor of Hawaii and ship’s sponsor, Linda Lingle, praised Mack for his exceptional performance while in command of Hawaii.

“Congratulations Cmdr. Mack. You will always have a special place in my heart and in the heart of the people of Hawaii,” said Lingle.

Mack said he is proud of having the opportunity to command Hawaii and working with some fantastic Sailors.

“These are the shipmates who sailed safely well over 120,000 nautical miles while I was in command. These are the warriors who deployed our ship to the Western Pacific executing all assigned tasking as we completed the first WESTPAC for the Virginia class and the second six-month deployment for the war canoe,” said Mack. “They are the reason Hawaii has done so well while I was fortunate enough to be a part of this team.”

Mack took the time to praise and thank many members of his crew, from the most senior officer to the newest seaman. He made various comments about how Hawaii is a special boat with an equally gifted crew. He said he was fortunate to serve on this fine ship named after the beautiful island home so rich in cultural and military history.

Following Mack’s speech, he passed on the ceremonial Hawaiian warrior spear to Patterson.

As Patterson assumed command of Hawaii, he thanked Mack for turning over a great ship and an even greater crew.

“This warship represents the confluence of two of history’s strongest warfighting mariner traditions: the Hawaiian warrior and the United States submarine force. Steve has done a great job bringing the two traditions together to improve the ship. Steve, thank you for a great ship,” said Patterson.

Hawaii is the first commissioned vessel of its name. The submarine was named to recognize the tremendous support the Navy has enjoyed from the people and state of Hawaii, and in honor of the rich heritage of submarines in the Pacific.

“The war canoe is a like an Ihe Koa – a warrior spear – pointing west, ready to throw us into the fight with our island chain trailing off behind the ship,” said Mack.

During the ceremony, Mack received the Legion of Merit award for his performance as the commanding officer of Hawaii from January 2010 to March 2013.

Naval Today Staff, March 5, 2013; Image: US Navy