News: USS Ohio holds change of command ceremony
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman William Blees
Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
KEYPORT, Wash. – Guided-missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726) held a change of command ceremony at the Naval Undersea Museum Jack Murdock Auditorium in Keyport, Wash., Jan. 17.
Capt. Michael Lewis relieved Capt. Rodney Mills as USS Ohio Gold crew commanding officer. Mills has been the gold crew commanding officer since March 2012.
“It is no small thing to lead these Ohio sailors,” said guest speaker Rear Adm. Dietrich Kuhlman, Commander Submarine Group 9. “Our submarine sailors are some of the smartest, most qualified, best trained and most dedicated.”
After Kuhlman spoke, Mills was awarded the Legion of Merit in recognition for his multiple accomplishments including spearheading the completion of a major maintenance period and an on-time Western Pacific deployment, where he and his crew ensured Western Pacific presence and enhanced theater security cooperation initiatives.
Before being relieved of his command Mills thanked his crew for their hard work.
“It’s been a pleasure sharing the boat with each of you for the past two years,” said Mills. “Nothing will ever replace the pride and sense of accomplishment of working with the Gold crew.”
Lewis’ most recent tour of duty was as the prospective commanding officer instructor for the Submarine Command Course.
After both captains read their orders and Lewis had officially taken the reigns he took the podium to share a few words with the audience.
“I’m excited to be part of this team,” said Capt. Lewis. “I look forward to challenging you.”
Mills next assignment will be on the staff of the chief of naval operations.
USS Ohio was the first Trident-class nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarine and the fourth United States vessel to bear the name of the 17th union.