U.S.S. Cheyenne Has a New Commanding Officer
The command of USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) was passed on Friday. Sept. 12, as Cmdr. Noel Gonzalez was relieved by Cmdr. John Stafford as commanding officer. at a change of command ceremony held aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine at the submarine piers on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
In command since May 11, 2012, Gonzalez led his submarine to complete a successful Western Pacific deployment, and was awarded the 2013 Battle Efficiency Award.
According to a news release, the ceremony's guest speaker, Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, praised Gonzalez and his crew.
"From the time he took command, he set out to sharpen this already high-performance crew into one with a reputation of achievement and success," said Harris.
During the ceremony, Gonzalez, who now hails from West Palm Beach, Florida, was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his successes in command of Cheyenne from May 2012 to Aug. 2014.
As Stafford assumed command of Cheyenne, he thanked Gonzalez for the state in which Cheyenne and her crew are in.
"No officer could count himself more blessed than to be a member of the Cheyenne family, let alone command this great warship and her fine crew," said Stafford, who calls Staten Island, New York, home.
Homeported in Pearl Harbor, USS Cheyenne is named after the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and it is the 62st Los Angeles-class submarine and the 23rd Improved Los Angeles-class attack submarine. The ship's sponsor, Ann Simpson, wife of former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, christened Cheyenne on April 1, 1995. The ship since, has lived by the city's motto, "Live the Legend."