USS Olympia attack submarine changes command

U.S. Navy’s Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) held a change-of-command ceremony on the submarine piers in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, May 25.

Cmdr. Thomas H. Shugart III, commanding officer of USS Olympia, was relieved by Cmdr. Benjamin J. Selph.

Under Shugart’s leadership and guidance, Olympia completed a seven-month Western Pacific deployment and recently completed a successful docking selected restricted availability at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, April 2016 to May 2016.

Guest speaker, Capt. Marc Stern, Maritime Operations Center Director, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, commended Shugart for his successful tour and professional development.

“While we celebrate Cmdr. Shugart’s success today, I know he would be the first to point out that all the great things he did in command were accomplished because of the hard work of the incredible team assembled here today,” Stern said.

Stern presented Shugart with the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding meritorious service as commanding officer of Olympia from Nov. 2013 through May 2016.

After the formal reading of official orders and passing of leadership, Selph thanked the Olympia crew for the time-honored tradition as the 14th USS Olympia commanding officer.

“I am deeply honored and thoroughly excited to be on this platform taking command of this ship,” Selph said. “What a privilege to lead such a fine crew of men on this outstanding ship.”

Selph graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.

Selph’s operational tours include serving aboard USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716), submarine watch officer for Commander, Submarine Group Eight, engineering officer aboard USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) (Gold), material officer for Commander, Submarine Squadron 17 and executive officer aboard USS Topeka (SSN 754). Most recently, Selph served as lead planner for U.S. Naval Forces Africa and as deputy executive assistant to Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet.

USS Olympia is the second ship of the Navy to be named after Olympia, Washington. Commissioned on Nov. 17, 1984, Olympia is the 29th ship of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines. The submarine is 362-feet long, displaces 6,900 tons and can be armed with Mk-48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.