Virginia-class submarine changes command in Pearl Harbor

USS North Carolina (SSN 777), the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class, fast attack submarine held a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, January 20.

Cmdr. Gary Montalvo, commanding officer of North Carolina, was relieved by Cmdr. Matthew Lewis.

Capt. Robert Roncska, commander, Submarine Squadron Seven was the guest speaker for the ceremony and shared stories of his time working with Montalvo.

“There is no doubt in my mind the secret ingredient that made North Carolina so successful was Gary Montalvo’s leadership,” said Roncska. “Gary is the leader others try to emulate.”

Roncska also welcomed Lewis to the waterfront.

During the ceremony, Capt. Richard Seif, commander, Submarine Squadron 1 presented Montalvo with a Legion of Merit Medal for exceptionally meritorious conduct while serving as commanding officer of the USS North Carolina from June 2014 until January 2017.

Lewis addressed his new crew for the first time and commended them on their recent accomplishments.

“To the crew of North Carolina, you have celebrated many achievements and have a proven track record,” said Lewis. “As we work to return our ship to sea, we will tackle many challenges ahead of us, and I’m excited for our continued success in the future.”

Lewis served as executive officer aboard USS Oklahoma (SSN 723), where he completed numerous deployment cycles form the homeport of Guam. He most recently attended the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy and earned his Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy.

Commissioned May 2008, North Carolina is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to carry the name North Carolina. The Virginia-class boat was built by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn. and Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. and joined the fleet in December 2006.