USS North Dakota Gets New Commander

Cmdr. Michael Hollenbach relieved Capt. Douglas Gordon as commanding officer of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS North Dakota (SSN 784) during a change of command ceremony at Naval Submarine Base, New London, July 23.

North Dakota was commissioned Oct. 25, 2014.

Under the command of Gordon, North Dakota returned from its first-ever mission, July 20, after deploying and retrieving unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) from the ship’s dry deck shelter (DDS) in an operational environment.

The seven-week mission was conducted prior to completing the ship’s post shakedown availability (PSA), joining a small group of Virginia-class submarines to accomplish the feat. Others have been the USS Virginia (SSN 774), USS Hawaii (SSN 776) and USS New Hampshire (SSN 778).

Gordon is a 1991 graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. His next duty assignment will be Commander, Submarine Forces, NATO Staff at Northwood, United Kingdom.

Hollenbach, a native of Spokane, Washington, is a 1997 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

North Dakota is the 11th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the fleet, and the first of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are built with new Virginia Payload Tubes designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities.

Image: General Dynamics EB

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