BANGOR, WA, UNITED STATES
BANGOR, Wash. -- Commander, Submarine Group 9 conducted a change of command ceremony July 11 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
Kuhlmann oversaw certification and conduct of 32 strategic deterrent patrols by Trident ballistic missile submarines maintaining 100 percent readiness during his tenure, as well as training and certification of crews for the guided-missile submarines USS Ohio (SSGN 726) and USS Michigan (SSGN 727) in support of six forward-deployed mission periods.
Kuhlmann's tenure also saw USS Maine (SSBN 741) earn the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) for completing 349 underway days in a 14-month period supporting various operations, USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) earn the MUC for completing the fastest return to strategic service ever for an ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) following a major maintenance period and subsequently complete an Ohio-class SSBN record-setting 140-day patrol, and USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) earn the 2013 U.S. Strategic Command Omaha Trophy for excellence in deterrence operations.
Kuhlmann acknowledged a number of key areas in the submarine mission, but it's the Sailors, he said, that are the most important.
"Our platforms are marvels of science and engineering, but in the end it has always been about having the best trained and motivated people," said Kuhlmann. "As we work together to adjust our Naval capabilities to the new fiscal realities, I am confident our Sailors will continue to make a difference."
"The submarine force sets the bar high, higher than the rest of the Navy, but together this team under your leadership has cleared that bar," said Vice Adm. Joseph P. Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources, the ceremony's guest speaker. "I personally applaud your ability to command this team and to meet those objectives put forward by the chief of naval operations."
Commander of Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer presented the Legion of Merit to Kuhlmann, after which Kuhlmann read his orders to the guests and service members in attendance. Once Kriete read his orders, Sawyer received his report of relief, marking the official change of command.
Kuhlmann's next assignment will be the Deputy Director for Resources and Acquisition, J8, Joint Staff.
Kriete comes to Submarine Group 9 from U.S. Strategic Command where he served as deputy director of Plans and Policy. His previous command tours include USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) Blue crew, and Submarine Squadron 6. While assigned to the Navy Staff from 2008 to 2010, he started the Ohio Replacement program.
"I believe that our job is not to tell our submarine crews how to do their jobs, but rather to create every opportunity for them to succeed," Kriete said. "Our job is not about us. It's all about the submarine crews There is no limit to what they can achieve if we all pull together in the same direction, with a steady strain every day."
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