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    USS Olympia (SSN) 717 Changes Command

    USS Olympia (SSN) 717 Changes Command

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Allen Lee | 191105-N-DI108-1145 BREMERTON, Wash. (Nov. 5, 2019) Cmdr. James W. Steffen, left,...... read more read more

    BREMERTON, Wash. (Nov. 5, 2019) – USS Olympia (SSN) 717 held a change of command ceremony on Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Nov. 5.

    Cmdr. James W. Steffen relieved Cmdr. Benjamin J. Selph as Olympia's commanding officer in a ceremony attended by distinguished visitors, guests and crew members.

    “My crew is the best crew in the Navy,” said Selph. “We are tight-knit, we’ve earned sea experience through tenacious discipline and its what’s required when you operate the oldest SSN that we have. It has been the honor of my adult life, after marrying my wife and having my kids, to command this submarine and this crew. It has been a fantastic experience and one that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

    Capt. Paul Davis, commander of Submarine Squadron (CSS) 7, attended the event as Selph’s guest speaker. Davis was previously assigned to SSN 717 early in his career.

    “Even amongst the best submarine force in the world, mighty warship Olympia stands out,” said Davis. “There is something about this boat that sets it apart. Frankly it’s kind of hard to describe, but I think it ultimately comes down to the fact that, regardless of the circumstances, Olympia always answers the call. In doing so, this boat has left a lasting impression on the Navy, on the world, and on each and every Sailor that served aboard her.”

    Steffen delivered his remarks and thanked Selph after receiving command of SSN 717.

    “Ben, congratulations on an awesome tour and setting me up with the finest crew anyone could hope for,” said Steffen. “I am definitely not the first commanding officer of the mighty Olympia, but I am proud to be the last. To the crew of the mighty Olympia, I could not ask for any better. Together we will decommission this fine boat with the dignity and respect she deserves.”

    The submarine arrived in its new homeport of Bremerton, Oct. 29, after spending the majority of its active time based in Hawaii. Olympia was commissioned on Nov. 17, 1984, and after 35 years of service, will begin the inactivation and decommissioning process at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

    For more news from SSN 717, visit



    Date Taken: 11.05.2019
    Date Posted: 11.05.2019 17:46
    Story ID: 350593
    Location: BREMERTON, WA, US 

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