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    USS South Dakota (SSN 790) Holds Change of Command

    USS South Dakota (SSN 790) Holds Change of Command

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class STEVEN HOSKINS | 181102-N-LW591-005 GROTON, Conn. (Nov. 2, 2018) Ohio native Capt. Ronald Withrow,...... read more read more

    GROTON, Conn. (November 2, 2018) – Cmdr. Craig E. Litty relieved Capt. Ronald L. Withrow, Jr. as commanding officer of the Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine USS South Dakota (SSN 790), Nov. 2, during a change of command ceremony held at the Dealey Theater at Naval Submarine Base New London.

    “As the first commanding officer of the PCU [Pre-Commissioning Unit] South Dakota, Ron built the ship and crew from the ground up,” said Rear Adm. Leonard C. Dollaga, Commander, Undersea Warfighting Development Center, during his remarks as guest speaker. “As the ship was put together, he trained his crew with a warriors’ ethos – because ‘We exist to fight our nation’s wars and defend our way of life!’ We are in a Great Power Competition with a resurgent Russia and a rising China. Our National Defense Strategy’s first line of effort is to ‘Build a more lethal’ force because as it says, ‘the surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win one.’”

    Dollaga went on to note that he could think of no better way to prepare to win wars than to deliver the most technologically advanced submarine to the Submarine Force.

    “In a few months, the South Dakota will be fitted with the Large Vertical Array – this innovative technology will absolutely change undersea warfare and help us maintain our undersea advantage over our adversaries,” said Dollaga.

    Dollaga then thanked Withrow and his crew for completing the first phase of the life of the ship.

    “You forged your crew into a proficient team of submarine professionals who fully understand the technological marvel that they will expertly operate,” said Dollaga.

    After thanking Dollaga for his kind words and the positive influence he’d been for the sixteen years they had known each other during their careers, Withrow took time to also thank friends, family, former leadership, those who had constructed South Dakota, and fellow submariners who were in attendance at the event.

    “It has been an honor to serve beside this crew,” said Withrow, while noting that they epitomized the final words of Senator McCain, which is a letter that closes with the quote, ‘Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.’ He then addressed the crew directly.

    “Even during the most trying of times of an incredibly arduous new construction program, you never quit,” said Withrow. “Demonstrating the tenacity that submariners are known for, you turned to, because you knew the job needed to be done. You labored over the crests and troughs of the wave, and with sheer determination and teamwork achieved excellence. Our incredible warship exists because of you. I am extremely proud of each of you. Hoka Hey!”

    Withrow assumed command of South Dakota in October 2015 and, following the change of command, will report to Carrier Strike Group TEN (USS Eisenhower Strike Group) in Norfolk, Virginia, where he will serve as Chief of Staff.

    Litty reports to South Dakota from the Undersea Warfare Development Center Tactical Analysis Group where he served as the Systems Employment Development Department Head.

    Litty began by thanking the official party and guests, and acknowledging the important roles many played past in bringing him to this point in his career.

    While speaking to the crew, Litty noted that they’d made quite the impression on him since reporting onboard.

    “South Dakota! Men, since reporting, I have been extremely impressed with your outstanding accomplishments in building this great warship and your passion, professionalism, and drive for excellence,” said Litty. “These traits are exactly what our warfighting family needs to develop South Dakota into the most capable and combat ready warship ever to sail on nuclear power.”

    Although he was impressed with all the work they’d put in to date, he was quick to reiterate the need to stay focused on the mission at hand and continue to improve.

    “I challenge each of you to never lose sight of our mission,” said Litty. “We are warriors, charged with executing combat operations to fight and win our nation’s wars. To meet these demands, we must train hard, never accept failure, and continue to be relentless in our pursuit for excellence. I am excited to be a part of South Dakota, humbled by the opportunity to lead such a fantastic crew, and I look forward to the many great adventures we will share together.”

    The Pre-Commissioning Unit South Dakota (SSN 790) is the seventeenth Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine and the seventh of the Block III construction. South Dakota is scheduled to be commissioned at Naval Submarine Base New London in early 2019.



    Date Taken: 11.02.2018
    Date Posted: 11.02.2018 16:05
    Story ID: 298685
    Location: GR, CT, US

    Web Views: 890
    Downloads: 2