The U.S. Navy Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) held a change of command ceremony at the submarine piers on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 13.
Cmdr. Jacob A. Foret, commanding officer of Santa Fe, was relieved by Cmdr. Christopher Hedrick.
Foret expressed his deep admiration for the crew whom he recognized as talented and resilient professionals.
“I couldn’t ask for a more talented or dedicated warship team to rage with on the high seas,” said Foret. “Command at sea; it has absolutely been an awesome daily adventure worth every bit of the challenge and reward.”
Foret lauded the ship’s chiefs and junior officer’s performance during his tenure and credited them with much of the ship’s success during its most recent deployment.
“The talent and capacity that our submarine junior officers provided gave us our edge and drove our improvements,” said Foret. “It took a resilient crew led by a talented chief’s quarters with a ‘fix it now’ attitude to keep us on point during deployment.”
While in command, Foret led his submarine through the completion of a successful deployment and participated in Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2016. On liberty, his crew participated in community relations projects at home and abroad.
Foret also thanked the ship’s ombudsman Arin Lelevier and the Family Readiness Group board, Jennifer Davis, Valerie Waugh, Jennifer Singer and Franny Taylor for their work keeping the command and families connected.
“The fruits of your labor are evident when you watch our spouses and kids enjoy hanging out together,” said Foret. “I didn’t know how resilient I would need our families to be until this past deployment.”
During the last three years, the Santa Fe Committee and the U.S. Navy League of New Mexico have continued to support Santa Fe and were amongst those in attendance.
“Our namesake support is unmatched,” said Foret. “From crew visits over Veteran’s day to care packages of local hatch chilies, spices, and fresh local honey, you have always been ready to ensure our crew and namesake remain connected.”
The ceremony’s guest speaker, Capt. Robert Roncska, commodore, Submarine Squadron 1, praised Foret for bringing the best out of his crew and noted the success of Santa Fe’s most recent Western Pacific deployment.
“The Santa Fe executed a 94% operational tempo while steaming more than 40,000 nautical miles,” said Roncska. “Jake’s fingerprints are all over Santa Fe’s success.”
During the ceremony, Foret was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his performance as commanding officer of Santa Fe from October 2015 to April 2018.
As Hedrick assumed command, he thanked Foret for turning over a strong, mission-executing crew, and passed along guidance to the crew.
“We each have the rare opportunity to serve on one of the nation’s premier warships, and it’s something that each one of you should be extremely proud of,” said Hedrick. “No measure of technology or automation will ever replace the professional submariner that each one of you are. I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to be your captain, and I look forward to serving with each of you.”
USS Santa Fe is the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of the capital of New Mexico. An improved Los Angeles-class fast-attack nuclear-powered submarine, she features an advanced fire control system, retractable bow planes, and 12 vertical launch tubes for Tomahawk cruise missile strikes.
USS Santa Fe combines stealth, endurance, and agility to provide a highly cost-effective and capable ship, ready on a moment’s notice to carry out a multitude of missions. A versatile platform, it is equally at home in the roles of tactical intelligence gathering and surveillance, regional sea denial and task group support. Should a conflict arise, her inherent covertness, near invulnerability to attack, and cruise missile capability provide Santa Fe a unique ability to be in place and undetected offshore for a precision strike or ground warfare support.
MC1 Daniel Hinton USS Santa Fe