PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Cmdr. Douglas Perry relieved Cmdr. John "J.P." Heatherington as commanding officer of the submarine USS Pasadena (SSN 752) in a ceremony Oct. 13 at the USS Bowfin Museum and Submarine Park in Pearl Harbor.
Capt. Jack Nicholson, U.S. Naval Academy professor and former commanding officer of USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) GOLD, guest speaker at the event, put the emphasis on the great responsibility of command of a nuclear-powered submarine.
"When you take command of a submarine," he said, "you get billions of dollars worth of hardware. You are also entrusted with the lives and welfare of more than 100 Sailors. Take all of that hundreds of feet underwater and sneak off to strange places where the nearest help may be thousands of miles away. The upbringing we receive as submariners prepares us to handle such responsibility with professionalism and confidence."
After the guest speaker's comments, Capt. Jeffrey Powers, commander, Submarine Squadron 7 presented Heatherington his third Meritorious Service Medal.
After assuming command in June 2004, Heatherington brought Pasadena through a demanding shipyard availability and a challenging Western Pacific deployment. During the deployment, Pasadena performed three missions vital to national security and numerous exercises with joint forces. Pasadena also received Fleet Retention Excellence Awards in 2004 and 2005.
Heatherington thanked his crew for giving him the highlight of his career so far. He also thanked the Pasadena wardroom, his department heads, and the Pasadena Foundation for their support of the submarine.
"Without question, this was the best two years of my 20-year naval career because I served with the crew of the Pasadena," he said. "As a team, we accomplished many things, but most importantly, we all became better at our jobs. That allowed us to improve as a combat unit, improve as husbands and fathers, and improve as patriots of our fine country."
While assuming command of Pasadena, Perry told his new crew he was ready to get to work.
"I know onboard Pasadena the officers lead, the chiefs are technical experts and the crew stands the attentive watch," he said. "Like you, I am eager to get underway to demonstrate Pasadena's warfighting readiness, anytime, anywhere."
Heatherington's next tour is at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. His sea tours include USS Hammerhead (SSN 663), USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN 708) and USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) GOLD. He is a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
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