Change of Command for USS La Jolla

change of command for uss la jolla

Smiles lit the faces and handshakes were exchanged at a time-honored change of command ceremony at the submarine piers for the Los Angeles Class submarine USS La Jolla (SSN 701) at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, June 6.

Cmdr. Jeff Bernard, commanding officer of La Jolla, was relieved by Cmdr. Kevin Roach.

The ceremony’s guest speaker, Commander Submarine Squadron 1, Capt. James Childs praised Bernard for his exceptional performance while in command of La Jolla.

“Congratulations on a great tour and in meeting every mission and ensuring your ship was ready to take the fight to the enemy every day,” said Childs.

Bernard said he is proud of having had the opportunity to be in command of La Jolla and working with a fantastic team of Sailors.

 “To the Sailors of La Jolla: I say thank you very much for your hard work and dedication on a day to day basis. Your ability to persevere through each and every unexpected change of plans or tasking is phenomenal and can never really be appreciated by those who have never been to sea,” said Bernard.

During the ceremony, Bernard received the Meritorious Service Medal for his performance as the commanding officer of La Jolla from February 2010 to June 2013.

Bernard’s next duty station will be at the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

As Roach assumed command of La Jolla, he thanked Bernard for turning over a great ship and an even greater crew.

 “To the warriors and families of La Jolla. I feel especially honored and humbled to take command on this day, the 69th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. As we embark on our journey of preparing for and conducting our deployment, we will face many challenges. I am confident that we will make great things happen,” said Roach.

Roach went on to paraphrase General Eisenhower in his address in the Battle of Normandy.

 “I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle – for fortune favors the brave,” said Roach.

USS La Jolla is named for La Jolla, Calif., and is the first warship named after this township. Commissioned Oct. 24, 1981, La Jolla is the fourteenth ship of the Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarines. The submarine is 360-feet long, displaces 6,900 tons and can be armed with sophisticated Mark-48 ADCAP anti-submarine torpedoes and Tomahawk guided cruise missiles.

Press release, June 10, 2013