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    USS Tennessee Blue Changes Command

    USS Tennessee's Blue Crew Holds Change of Command

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Ashley Berumen | KINGS BAY, Ga. (Jan. 14, 2022) Cmdr. Justin Kaper (right), outgoing commanding officer...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Ashley Berumen 

    Commander, Submarine Group Ten

    KINGS BAY, Ga. (Jan. 14, 2022) - The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) Blue Crew held a change of command ceremony onboard Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, Jan. 14.

    Cmdr. Matt Wilson relieved Cmdr. Justin Kaper as the commanding officer of the ship’s Blue Crew during the ceremony held at the base’s World War II memorial pavilion.

    Capt. John Cage, commodore of Commander, Submarine Squadron 20 was the guest speaker of the ceremony, and praised Kaper and Tennessee’s Blue Crew for their hard work in getting the ship deployable after an extended refit period.

    “The proof of Justin’s leadership is borne out not only in mission accomplishment through a successful strategic deterrent patrol lasting over 100 days while providing record-level mission execution, but also in the success of his Sailors,” said Cage. “Tennessee outpaces the rest of the fleet with qualifications, inspection performance, and maintenance execution – including the early completion of a challenging dry dock period. All of this while earning the 2020 Retention Excellence Award and leading the pack in people-centered metrics – which is the overly nuclear submarine way of saying – he takes care of his people.”

    Kaper, from Washington, Pennsylvania, graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in industrial management systems engineering. He received a master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University. He received his commission through the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program.

    “When I first got orders to Tennessee Blue, I understandably started doing research on my new boat,” said Kaper. “One of the first things that struck me, was finding out that we have the absolute best motto— ‘America At Its Best!’ As I’ve gotten to work with these outstanding Sailors on both crews over the last two years, I can tell you all that USS Tennessee lives up to that motto. Getting the opportunity to work with my crew has been the ultimate experience of my professional career. This crew is full of awesome people, and you have made this the best possible tour I could have imagined, far exceeding my expectations.”

    Kaper took command of the Blue Crew in March 2020. Under Kaper’s leadership, the crew successfully completed an extended refit period and deployment. They were awarded the 2020 Commander, Submarine Squadron 20 Weapons White ‘W’ award, and achieved an above average performance on a Maintenance and Material Management Inspection, enabling the first ever completion of multiple base-wide drills.

    Kaper’s personal awards include: the David L. Llyod Award, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), and various personal, unit and service awards.

    Wilson, the incoming commanding officer, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in ocean engineering. He received a Master of Business Administration from the Naval Postgraduate School.

    “To the crew of Tennessee, you are America at its best,” said Wilson. “I am excited to have the opportunity to lead and work alongside each of you. You are critical to the success of the ship and the execution of the strategic mission and I am confident in your ability to continue to excel.”

    Ballistic-missile submarines are designed specifically for stealth and the precise delivery of nuclear warheads. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is home to all east coast Ohio-class submarines.



    Date Taken: 01.14.2022
    Date Posted: 01.14.2022 12:31
    Story ID: 412922
    Location: KINGS BAY, GA, US 
    Hometown: NASHUA, NH, US
    Hometown: WASHINGTON, PA, US

    Web Views: 1,422
    Downloads: 1