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    USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) (Gold) Holds Change of Command



    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Ashley Berumen 

    Commander, Submarine Group Ten

    The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) (Gold) conducted a change of command onboard Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, Oct. 16.
    During the ceremony, Cmdr. Erek Kasse relieved Cmdr. Jay Bijeau as commanding officer of the ship’s Gold crew.
    The guest speaker, Cmdr. David Backer, repair officer for Trident Refit Facility, Kings Bay praised Bijeau for his accomplishments as commanding officer.
    “A commanding officer’s tour starts and ends with two definable moments, the day they relieve and they day they are relieved,” said Backer. “Sandwiched in this period are your many successes.”
    Backer listed off the crew’s accomplishments under Bijeau’s command, including: three strategic deterrent patrols, 25,000 miles steamed, the pinning of six first class petty officers to the rank of chief, and a forty-five percent advancement rate for the crew.
    Bijeau took the opportunity to thank the crew for their hard work, both deployed and in port.
    “It was an absolute privilege to see the dedication and drive in your eyes that I got to see every single day,” said Bijeau. “To say that I’ve asked a lot of you over the last 18 months would be an understatement.”
    The incoming commanding officer, Kasse, reminded the crew that USS West Virginia commissioned 30 years ago on Oct. 20, 1990.
    “In those 30 years, West Virginia has earned the reputation as a vital and dependable member of our nation’s strategic deterrent force,” said Kasse. “In that time, highly professional Sailors like you have silently stood watch, patrolling the depths and making our adversaries think twice about testing America’s resolve and combat power. Your sacrifice has directly contributed to the relative peace the world has known since the end of World War Two. I will be forever in awe of your professionalism, drive, and commitment to that end.”
    Bijeau is from Berlin, N.H. and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. He holds a master’s degree from the Inter-American Defense College in hemispheric defense and security.

    Kasse, from Bellbrook, Ohio, graduated from the University of Dayton with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, and received his commission through officer candidate school. He earned a master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University.
    USS West Virginia is the eleventh Ohio-class submarine and is homeported onboard Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, the home to all East Coast Ohio-class submarines. SSBNs are specifically designed for extended deterrent patrols.

    For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 10, visit



    Date Taken: 10.16.2020
    Date Posted: 10.16.2020 15:52
    Story ID: 381124
    Location: KINGS BAY, GA, US 
    Hometown: BELLBROOK, OH, US
    Hometown: BERLIN, NH, US

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