GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine, USS North Dakota (SSN-784) held a change ceremony at the Dealey Theater onboard Naval Submarine Base New London on Thursday, Nov. 9.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum were in attendance at the ceremony where Cmdr. Mark Robinson relieved Cmdr. Michael Hollenbach as North Dakota's commanding officer.
The fast-attack submarine, the second U.S. Navy vessel to be named in honor of the state of North Dakota, and its crew maintain a close relationship with the commissioning committee and the state of North Dakota and its residents.
Burgum presented a proclamation to Hollenbach which named Nov. 9 as "USS North Dakota Day."
Burgum said that the citizens of North Dakota are extremely grateful to be connected with USS North Dakota and its crew because of the great work and service that they provide.
Burgum also spoke about his personal connection to the Navy through his father who joined the service after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Hollenbach said he was grateful for the close relationship that North Dakota and its crew maintained with the state and its residents. He went on to thank leaders throughout the Groton submarine community and former commanding officers he served under during his career.
The outgoing commanding officer praised the North Dakota crew as, "...talented, dedicated and hard-working..." Hollenbach went on to say, "These Sailors met the challenge head on, they met every milestone they were tasked with on time, and they brought the boat out of the shipyard and back to operations."
Hollenbach thanked his parents for making him the person he was today and his wife and children for their support throughout his career.
When Robinson spoke he also thanked his parents for helping him to reach his full potential, while following his dreams.
Like Hollenbach, he thanked members of the Groton submarine community and former leaders that he served under.
Robinson said of all his accomplishments, he was most proud of his three boys and most grateful for his wife Andrea.
Robinson addressed the crew by saying, "I am truly humbled to be standing before you. In a few short years you've built an incredible team, you've met every challenge put in your way and blazed new ground for the submarine force, proving new capabilities that expand our ability to keep our nation safe. Then you got our mighty warship and yourselves ready to be back out at sea and on deployment."
Robinson looked to the future when he said, "As a team we will be tasked to do important and challenging things. Only as a team can we succeed and what I've seen so far gives me every confidence that we'll be ready."
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