USA: COMSUBPAC Welcomes New Commander

COMSUBPAC Welcomes New Commander

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) and Commander Task Force 134 held a change of command ceremony at the submarine piers on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Aug. 7.

Rear Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer relieved Rear Adm. James F. Caldwell Jr.

Caldwell assumed command in December 2010 and ran the daily business of 60 percent of the U.S. Submarine Force. This included oversight of the Pacific portion of the nation’s ballistic missile submarine force, on behalf of U.S. Strategic Command, and the oversight and execution of manning, training, and properly equipping the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System community.

“It’s been an honor to be a part of this force for over 30 years. I am humbled to have commanded such a force. God bless the Pacific Submarine Force,” said Caldwell.

During his command, Caldwell deployed 25 fast-attack submarines, two Navy Trident submarines, 34 ballistic missile submarines and 22 surveillance towed-array sensor system crews in support of national defense initiatives.

Caldwell’s forward-thinking and communication skills provided COMSUBPAC’s undersea forces with a vision for maintaining dominance of the undersea domain while guiding the professional and personal development of submarine force personnel.

He was instrumental in sweeping changes to anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations in the Pacific Fleet, to include implementing a new concept of operations for theater ASW with forward-deployed submarines.

Caldwell led the submarine enterprise in research and development efforts with several units conducting one-of-a-kind missions that yielded extraordinary intelligence gathering unachievable with any other platform.

In addition, he was central to the development of the Design for Undersea Warfare and its initial update which has generated submarine force-wide alignment.

In quality of life, Caldwell helped lead the effort to end smoking on submarines and planned and coordinated the incorporation of women in submarine crews, resulting in the success of these personnel initiatives. His leadership laid the groundwork for the future expansion of opportunities to include women on fast-attack submarines and female enlisted submarine Sailors.

Caldwell will be promoted to vice admiral and assigned as the Navy’s next inspector general.

At the ceremony were guest speakers Gen. C. Robert “Bob” Kehler, U.S. Air Force, commander, U.S. Strategic Command and Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

“Frank, you have done a remarkable job, thank you for everything you have done,” said Kehler.

Kehler said that because of Caldwell, the country is safer and more secure.

Haney also commended Caldwell for his outstanding job while in command.”

“Thank you Frank for your leadership especially for the submarine force,” said Haney.

During the ceremony, Caldwell received the Distinguished Service Medal for his superior and loyal service.

Sawyer will be promoted to rear admiral (upper half) and most recently served as commander, Submarine Group 7 in Yokosuka, Japan.

As Sawyer assumed command, he expressed how happy he is to be at COMSUBPAC.

“Our duty will be to continue delivering forces ready to execute. I am honored and humbled to be your new commander,” said Sawyer.

The Pacific submarine force provides anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, precision land strike, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and early warning and special warfare capabilities to U.S. Pacific Command and strategic deterrence capabilities to U.S. Strategic Command.


Press Release, August 9, 2013; Image: US Navy