GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine, Pre-commissioning Unit Colorado (PCU-788) held a change ceremony onboard the submarine at Naval Submarine Base New London on Friday, Nov. 3.
Cmdr. Reed Koepp relieved Cmdr. Ken Franklin as Colorado's commanding officer.
Annie Mabus, The ship's sponsor and daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy, Ray Maybus, addressed the audience and spoke of change. "For Sailors and their families; change is the rhythm of life, the most familiar port. Change being normal doesn't make it any less meaningful, and that is certainly true today."
Mabus praised Franklin for his efforts and accomplishments as Colorado's first Commanding Officer, "You have led this boat and crew through the arduous and daunting task of becoming sea-worthy, setting precedents and defining the spirit of the Colorado. You will be sorely missed."
On a day of change Mabus looked to the future as she addressed Koepp, "The Colorado and her crew are the most exceptional in the Navy, and you will be with her as she is commissioned into service and lead her into unknown waters."
Franklin emphasized the role the crew played in his and Colorado's success. "While Electric Boat was building an amazing ship stacked with leading edge technology, we built an equally amazing crew full of brilliant, dedicated and motivated men who surpassed all expectations."
Franklin said over the last few weeks, many people thanked him for the things he had done for them, but he wanted to set the record straight. "They have done much more for me than I could have ever done for them."
Franklin told the crew of Colorado and those in the crowd that the change of command ceremony was, "...an opportunity to pause and take notice of the years of hard work required from an extraordinary group of people to build a submarine, crew and family from scratch."
Franklin called the day bitter sweet. "I feel Colorado's journey is only just beginning. I also feel that I am leaving behind 141 of my closest family and friends. But, I can think of no one that I would rather pass the torch to than Cmdr. Reed Koepp. I am supremely confident that he will invigorate Team Colorado with renewed energy and vigor with an eye toward the future."
Franklin finished his speech by asking one final time, "How high?!"
The Colorado crew standing, in formation, responded loudly and energetically, "Mile High!"
Before taking the reigns as Colorado's new commanding officer, Koepp thanked the franklin family for their support during the turnover, his previous executive and commanding officers for their leadership, and shipmates for their advice and counsel.
On a personal level Koepp thanked the members of his family and his extended church family.
Koepp addressed the Colorado's crew last. "I am honored to have the opportunity to serve with you and be your captain."
He talked about the personal and the professional aspects of meeting his crew and many of their families and seeing them operate in trainers and at sea. He praised their efforts in getting Colorado built and out to sea and thanked them for their service and sacrifices.
Like many who spoke at the ceremony Koepp had an eye turned to the horizon, "The coming months will be challenging, but exciting as we test this ship and ourselves to the limits, deliberately accomplishing the peacetime mission but poised and ready to fight. This is what we swore an oath to do. This is Colorado!"
Koepp closed his remarks by saying, "May God bless the Colorado, the submarine force, the Navy and our great nation. Thank you."
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