New Commander aboard USS Annapolis

Cmdr. Kurt Balagna relieved Cmdr. Chester Parks as commanding officer of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Annapolis (SSN 760) during a change of command ceremony held at U.S. Naval Submarine Base New London, Connecticut, April 2.

Capt. Butch Dollaga, commander, Submarine Development Squadron (CSDS) 12, was the guest speaker and presented Parks with his second Meritorius Service Medal.

Parks graduated in 1994 from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He assumed command of Annapolis, July 12, 2012. Under his command, Annapolis recently completed a deployment from the European and Central Command areas of responsibility on Sept. 11, where the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operation’s Maritime Strategy in supporting national security interests and Maritime Security Operations.

Balagna, a native of Farmington, Illinois, enlisted in the Navy in April 1992 as a Nuclear Electronics Technician. In 1997, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Illinois and received his commission through the ROTC scholarship program. Prior to assuming command of Annapolis the was the Virginia-class action officer on the staff of CSDS-12 and executive officer of the Tactical Analysis Group.

Fast-attack submarines like Annapolis have multi-faceted missions. They use their stealth, persistence, agility and firepower to deploy and support special force operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary’s military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity, and ensure undersea superiority.

Image: US Navy

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