The Gold crew of the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) held a change of ceremony at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on July 12.
Cmdr. James Hurt, from Excelsior Springs, Missouri, relieved Cmdr. Brian Freck, from Vienna, Virginia, and assumed the duties and responsibilities of the Kentucky Gold crew commanding officer during the ceremony at the Bangor Chapel.
Freck assumed command of Kentucky Gold June 9, 2015, during a crew split ceremony at Deterrent Park. Kentucky was a combined green crew during the ship’s 40-month refueling overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. The overhaul was necessary to extend the life of the submarine for another 20 years.
“Looking back at what Kentucky has been through over the last three years and being part of the crew as it has transitioned from being a shipyard boat to one that is now fully certified and back on the line, it gives me, and should give each and every member of the Kentucky team a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment,” said Freck.
Under Freck’s leadership, the boat returned to strategic service. The crew completed two deterrent patrols and 15 major inspections. The crew received the 2015 and 2016 Retention Excellence Awards and the Deck Seamanship Award. Also, 99 Sailors received their submarine warfare qualifications (dolphins) during his tenure.
“Being in command of Kentucky has been an absolutely fabulous experience, and will be the highlight of my career,” said Freck. “It has had its challenges, both in port and at sea, but the Kentucky team has always been able to push through those challenges to complete the mission and get the job done.”
Freck’s next assignment will be at Commander, Submarine Squadron 17, in Bangor, Washington, where he will serve as deputy commodore.
Kentucky is one of eight Ohio-class Trident ballistic missile submarines stationed at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, providing the most survivable leg of the nation’s strategic deterrent forces.