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    USS Topeka Conducts Change of Command

    USS Topeka Conducts Change of Command

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Amanda Gray | 210514-N-UD469-1071 JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (May 14, 2021) -- Rear Adm. Oliver...... read more read more

    PEARL HARBOR, HI, UNITED STATES

    05.14.2021

    Story by Chief Petty Officer Amanda Gray 

    Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

    JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR- HICKAM (May 14, 2021) - The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754) conducted a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, May 14.

    Cmdr. James Fulks, from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, relieved Cmdr. Richard Salazar II, from Toledo, Ohio, as Topeka’s commanding officer during the ceremony, which was held at the Parche Memorial.

    “Not even a global pandemic could slow down the Sailors of Topeka,” said Salazar. “The crew overcame unique challenges brought on by quarantines, extended underways, and increased family separation. The crew persevered through all of the difficulties, showing that they truly are Guam Tough.”

    Under Salazar’s command, Topeka successfully completed two Guam mission cycles to include back to back deployments and multiple surge underways as the tip of the spear forward-deployed submarine. He ensured the ship was ready for every mission, including two Chief of Naval Operations missions and numerous multi-national fleet exercises in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. Following the second deployment, Salazar managed a compressed change of homeport plan, successfully transitioning his crew and all families from Guam to Pearl Harbor.

    “Thank you for trusting me with the welfare and safety of your cherished family members,” said Salazar. “They performed brilliantly under pressure and overcoming the unique challenges of being forward deployed out of Guam. I hope you are as proud as I am of their service to their country.”

    Salazar is going to the U.S. Delegation to the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium.

    Rear Adm. Oliver Lewis, deputy director for Political-Military Affairs (Europe ,NATO, Russia) Joint Staff, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

    “When Captain Salazar took command in March 2019 we only wore masks at Halloween and sequester was something for jury duty,” said Lewis. “But COVID came and changed that. Our adversaries didn’t take a knee and we, as the greatest Navy in the world, sure as hell wouldn’t either. Our Navy stepped up under the toughest circumstances, as we always do, led by Topeka.”

    Fulks comes to Topeka from the Chief of Naval Operations staff for Operations, Plans, and Strategy.

    “I really look forward to joining the Topeka crew,” said Fulks. “These men are extremely talented, resilient, and committed to our mission. Topeka owns a vital role in our national security. People are counting on us to get back out there and we aren’t going to let them down.”

    Topeka’s keel was laid down May 13, 1986 and was commissioned October 21, 1989. Topeka is the third commissioned vessel to be named for Topeka, Kansas. Measuring 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Topeka has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Topeka is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.14.2021
    Date Posted: 05.20.2021 21:16
    Story ID: 396981
    Location: PEARL HARBOR, HI, US 
    Hometown: OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, US
    Hometown: TOLEDO, OH, US

    Web Views: 476
    Downloads: 0

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