Ballistic-missile submarine USS Alaska changes command

One of two crews of the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Alaska (SSBN 732) held a change of command at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, September 30.

Cmdr. Craig Gummer was relieved by Cmdr. Eric Cole as Commanding Officer of Alaska’s Gold crew.

“For the entire Alaska Gold family – your sustained superior performance over the last few years has truly embodied the ship’s motto – Alert, confident and able. I am looking forward to your continued success in the future with Commander Cole at the helm. I am certain that you will continue to set the standard by which others are measured,” Gummer said.

Before relinquishing command, Gummer spoke not only of thanks, but of inspiration in his final speech as the Commanding Officer. He gave recognition to his family for their unwavering support, to the incredible support of Team Kings Bay, and to his crew and their families. “Working behind the scenes of the Alaska Gold crew is another significant force-the families. You have also endured the early departures, early returns and other unplanned schedule changes that accompanied each patrol,” Gummer said.

Cole was last stationed at the Naval Personnel Command (PERS 42) where he was the submarine officer branch head and the submarine executive officer/post-executive officer detailer. His most recent operational assignment was as executive officer aboard USS Maine (SSBN 741) (Gold) where he completed three strategic deterrent patrols.

For his next tour, Gummer will report to Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic, as the senior member of the Tactical Readiness Evaluation (TRE) team.

Alaska is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be named for the State of Alaska and the seventh of 18 Ohio-class submarines. USS Alaska was commissioned January 25, 1986.