Published on April 24th, 2015 | by The Kitsap Scene0
USS Kentucky changes command
By Petty Officer 1st Class Kenneth Takada
BANGOR, Wash. – Cmdr. Jeffery S. Smith, a native of Independence, Ky., was relieved by Cmdr. John W. Hale as commanding officer of USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) (Green) during a change of command ceremony at the Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor chapel.
“The crew of the Kentucky is the finest I have ever served with,” said Smith. “Your spirit is untamed, your energy unbound, and your potential, limitless.”
Recently, the ship successfully completed a week-long sea trial, marking the first time the ship has been at sea since she entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for an engineered refueling overhaul, a process which took 40 months to complete.
Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines like Kentucky were originally intended to have a service life of 30 years before being replaced with a new class of submarine.
“Some years ago, as a Navy, we came to understand that 30 years just wasn’t enough, the importance of the ship’s mid-life maintenance period, it’s engineered refueling overhaul, became one of the most vital missions the submarine would ever undertake,” said Smith.
Smith’s next assignment is to Submarine Group 9, also located at Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor.
“America is stronger from your dedication and years from now, our children will sleep well under the watch of those Kentucky Sailors,” said Smith. “I know what I will recall fondly many of the experiences I’ve shared with you all.”
Kentucky is one of eight Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines stationed at Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor, Washington, providing the survivable leg of the nation’s strategic deterrent forces.