NORFOLK (NNS) -- Two Norfolk-based submarine squadrons consolidated during a ceremony aboard Naval Station Norfolk, April 28.
During the ceremony, Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 8 consolidated under Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 6, and Capt. Frank Cattani, commander, COMSUBRON 8, transferred his leadership role to Capt. Eugene P. Sievers, commander, COMSUBRON 6.
COMSUBRON 6 will be the immediate superior in command for the six Los Angeles-class attack submarines home ported in Norfolk: USS Albany (SSN 753), USS Boise (SSN 764), USS Montpelier (SSN 765), USS Newport News (SSN 750), USS Norfolk (SSN 714), and USS Scranton (SSN 756).
The COMSUBRON 6 staff will be responsible for preparing and certifying their submarines and crews for operations and warfighting in support of the Combatant Commanders' objectives.
COMSUBRON 8 was originally commissioned in February 1946 in Groton, Conn. It was decommissioned in December 1969 and re-commissioned in August 1979 in Norfolk, where it has remained until the consolidation.
"It is a great day for the Navy and the submarine force, and I am honored and privileged to be here to speak and recognize these two superb officers," said Vice Adm. John Richardson, commander, Submarine Force Atlantic (COMSUBLANT). "The ceremony today is unique. With command at sea comes absolute responsibility, authority, and accountability. It is a tradition that predates even our Navy, and is unremitting. Whenever we try to dilute or diffuse it, the sea bites back, reminding us that there is no room for ambiguity, unpreparedness, wastefulness, or dishonesty.
"This is the world that Commodore Cattani has lived in, thrived in, and excelled in - not only as a commander himself, but a trainer of command. Captain Cattani assumed command of Squadron Eight in July 2009, and he has been spectacular in everything a commodore should do. Most importantly, he taught his men and his commanding officers to establish and maintain the high standards required to safely and effectively operate a submarine for months with no external support. In doing so, he always kept his main focus on our Sailors, officers, and their families," said Richardson.
Richardson presented Cattani his second Legion of Merit award for superior leadership and tireless dedication in significantly contributing to the combat readiness and unparalleled performance of submarines during North Atlantic and Arctic deployments.
Cattani earned his commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Cornell University in 1986 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. His next duty assignment will be on the COMSUBLANT staff, as the director for training, tactical development and doctrine.
"My tour over the past 22 months has been an extraordinary experience for me," said Cattani. "It is the assignment that I asked for, and it has certainly lived up to expectations. As evidenced by recent world events, the demand signal for our submarines to perform relevant, challenging missions on short notice remains high and will continue to remain high in the foreseeable future. The crews of our Norfolk-based submarines train continuously to hone their operational skills and work constantly to keep their submarines well-maintained so that, when called upon, they will be ready and able to arrive on scene, and demonstrate the stealthy, resilience, mission capability and, if necessary, the firepower that are our force's trademark.
"I have been privileged to work with some very talented commanding officers, and my tour as commodore has led me to reaffirm my opinion that submarine command is the hardest job in the Navy. I'm always impressed with the ability of our submarine commanders to guide their crews through a variety of personnel issues, logistical, complications and scheduling conflicts, and to keep training, material and personnel readiness at the top of the priority list.
"My job was made easy by a dedicated, multi-talented staff, while overseeing the operational readiness of our boats. I've enjoyed the privilege of leading Submarine Squadron 8. It's been a challenging and professionally rewarding assignment."
Sievers graduated from West Virginia University in 1987, and received his commission through the Nuclear Power Commissioning Program. He also earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Florida Institute of Technology. A native of Johnstown, Pa, Sievers assumed command of COMSUBRON 6 in September 2010.
"Consolidating commands is a new experience for me but the traditional transfer of command authority and responsibility is both important and familiar," said Sievers. "The consolidation represents an effort to improve efficiency while maintaining the level of training and readiness support that we provide our assigned units.
"As we move forward under the consolidated command structure, it will require close teamwork and strong communication. We will miss the presence but remember the legacy of Submarine Squadron Eight as we strive to meet the impressive record of submarine warfighting readiness earned by Commodore Cattani's team," said Sievers.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/sublant/.