Published on June 12th, 2015 | by The Kitsap Scene0
USS Kentucky Crew Blue And Gold Again
By Petty Officer 1st Class Kenneth Takada
BANGOR, Wash. – USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) conducted a crew split and assumption of command ceremony at Deterrent Park at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Wash., June 9.
Cmdr. Brian Freck assumed command of Kentucky (Gold) and Cmdr. John Hale assumed command of Kentucky (Blue). Hale took command of the combined Kentucky Green crew at the conclusion of the refueling overhaul in April 2015.
Kentucky entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility Bremerton in February 2012 for a 40 month engineered refueling overhaul. While in the shipyard, they merged their blue and gold crews to operate under a single chain of command for the duration of the overhaul.
Though they did not having a ship to take to sea, the Green crew of Kentucky were awarded the supply “S,” the Retention Excellence Award, the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award, as well as conducting a successful post-overhaul sea trial period; the first time the ship had sailed in over three years.
“As we move forward in the next year to deploy, we can’t do it with one crew,” said Hale. “The relationship we have between the crews is vital to the success of Kentucky’s mission and I look forward to working with Cmdr. Freck.”
During their time in the shipyard, Kentucky received many upgrades including refueling her reactor, allowing her to remain in service for the projected 42 years of the Ohio-Class ballistic submarines.
“As important as this ship is to our nation, she is nothing without the crew to bring her life and back to sea,” said Freck. “I am thankful, humbled, and blessed to be a part of the Kentucky team.”
While speaking to guests, Freck praised his Sailors and the future of the Kentucky crews.
“The sun is rising on the Kentucky and this wonderful group of Sailors, chiefs, and officers which stand here and how to comprise the Blue and Gold Crews,” said Freck. “Now, the ship has two crews to take her to sea so she can fully execute her mission of sea-based strategic deterrence.”
The Sailors of the combined Green Crew stood together until Freck issued the following order to his crew: “Gold Crew, relieve the watch.”
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.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 9, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/csg9/.