Story Number: NNS140220-17Release Date: 2/20/2014 3:02:00 PM
By Kevin Copeland, Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs
NORFOLK (NNS) -- Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753) held a change of command ceremony Feb. 20, at Naval Station Norfolk.
Cmdr. Wade Landis relieved Capt. Dave Soldow as commanding officer.
Retired Navy Capt. Mark Ginda, currently the director of Fleet Integration for the Research and Development Support Activity, was the featured speaker at the ceremony.
"The submarine crew will follow its commanding officer to the depths of the ocean and ends of the earth and back again," said Ginda. "Dave, you did a great job in command. You took care of your crew and you led them to grand achievements not only for the U.S., but for them individually as well. They earned awards and accolades on the waterfront, re-enlisted in droves, and they brought honor to the name Albany. For this hard work, today you will hear music play, hear the words of a grateful nation in an award citation, and then you will go to Camp Smith for more hard work. But you take your wife and kids, and all of those enduring memories that make command-at-sea so, so special."
Capt. Blake Converse, commander, Submarine Squadron 6, presented Soldow with his fourth Meritorious Service Medal, citing "impressive leadership, superior professionalism, and unmatched technical competence as he guided Albany in executing all assigned tasking without incident during exceptionally demanding and arduous independent submarine operations, and measurably contributed to national, theater, and fleet objectives."
Soldow became Albany's 10th commanding officer after assuming command in December 2011. He attended the Virginia Military Institute and Oxford University, graduating in 1992 as the Distinguished Naval Graduate and Burke Scholar. His previous assignments prior to commanding Albany were as the anti-submarine warfare head at Tactical Training Group Atlantic and as commanding officer of the now decommissioned Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Philadelphia (SSN 690).
"The change of command ceremony is steeped in history, yet remains a relatively simple process," said Soldow. "It is crystallized in Navy Regulation 0807 that directs the outgoing commanding officer to assemble the crew, ensure his and his relief orders are read, and then relinquish command. Life at sea in the service of your country is rewarding, challenging, demanding and dangerous. At times we, by design or circumstance, must perform flawlessly at the edge of our capacity and capability. This is the nature of the service we have committed ourselves to, and is, quite simply, what we do.
"Doing all things the right way requires a hard-won ability to train, to certify, to execute, and to self-critique. None of us as individuals, departments, teams, and ships are perfect. We should all strive to be our toughest critics, understanding that while the goal is perfection the result is excellence. This pursuit is what drives us to challenge ourselves.
"I want to thank the crew of the Albany for allowing me to be a part of this great team and share in the last two plus years of "Making History." You are the finest crew that I know in the fleet. Professionals - you regularly distinguished yourselves across the full spectrum of submarine missions and operations. I know how privileged I have been over the past two years. I have thoroughly enjoyed my tour aboard Albany, being part of this great team. It's about the experiences that will stay with me forever. I look forward to hearing of the continued achievements of Albany, and it would be my distinct pleasure to have the opportunity to serve with any of you in the future in any capacity."
Soldow's next duty assignment will be as Commander, Cruise Missile Support Activity Pacific at Camp Smith in Hawaii.
Prior to assuming command of Albany, Landis served as the career development officer at Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, and also earned a Master's in Business Administration from George Washington University in 2003.
"I would like to congratulate Capt. Soldow for completing two highly successful command tours," said Landis. "Most of us get only one command, but you did so well you got a second. Thank you for turning over a crew at the top of their game. And to the crew, Capt. Soldow alluded to our next mission - safely and efficiently putting the good ship Albany back together so we can take her back where she belongs - at sea. Through interactions over the last month and with an impressive track record, I realize there is nobody I would rather take on this challenge with. Let's go "Make Some History, Again."
Albany, whose motto is "Still Making History," is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of New York's capital city. Built by Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat Division, Albany was commissioned April 7, 1990 as the 43rd nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class submarine. The 360-foot ship was the last one to slide down the incline of the greased wooden shipways at Newport News Shipbuilding. Albany's crew compliment includes 13 officers and 121 enlisted Sailors.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/sublant/.