USN Exchange Officer Commander Bids Farewell to Australian Colleagues

USN Exchange Officer Commander Bids Farewell to Australian Colleagues

In a quiet gathering held at Fleet Base West this week, United States Navy (USN) Exchange Officer Commander Travis Petzoldt was fare-welled by his colleagues at Australia’s Submarine Headquarters.

During his two year tenure with the Royal Australian Navy, Commander Petzoldt performed the role of ‘Principal Staff Officer – Operations’ for the Submarine Force. During his farewell, Commander Submarines Captain Mark Potter commended Commander Petzolt for his professional knowledge, dedication and unwavering commitment.

“Commander Petzoldt has served with distinction. He has been instrumental in addressing long standing deficiencies, and has systematically improved the operational planning and audit processes onboard the submarines.”

“He has also used his Mk48 ADCAP torpedo knowledge to not only ensure the most optimal use of each weapon, but to also broaden the knowledge of each and every submariner associated with its employment. His operational planning and forethought has served the Australian submarine community well during this tenure,” said Captain Potter.

Commander Petzoldt’s performance during his exchange tour in Australia has also been recognized by the USN, highlighted by his selection to be the Commanding Officer of the Fast Attack Submarine USS City of Corpus Christie (SSN 705), based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

He’ll reluctantly hand over his Australian position to incoming USN Officer Lieutenant Commander Travis Zettel, who has just completed his studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Commander Petzoldt says he’ll leave with fond memories of Australia.

 “My wife Kulia, daughter Maya, and I, absolutely loved our time in Australia. It has an amazing amount to offer in natural splendour, culture, lifestyle and sport, and we know we didn’t cover it all. We are definitely leaving with a bit of sadness, but so overjoyed that we had the opportunities we did. We met many great people and made some very, very good friends,” said Commander Petzoldt.

The experienced USN Submariner said he’d also leave with a high opinion of Australia’s Submarine Force.

“The crews are great – very good at what they do and dedicated to ‘the trade.’ Submarines are complex machines; they require a lot of effort and technical expertise, no matter what Navy you are in.’

“It was great to be working alongside the superb submariners and the rest of the Royal Australian Navy, to achieve so much success over the time I have been here.”

“Everyone made me feel right at home, and I felt like I belonged pretty quickly, which was fantastic. I’m excited about the future of Australia’s Submarine Force, and I look forward to working with them again,” said Commander Petzoldt.

His replacement on the exchange program, LCDR Travis Zettel, also has a wealth of experience, having served onboard both the SSN and SSBN classes of USN submarines.

Naval Today Staff, March 12, 2013, Image: Royal Australian Navy