KINGS BAY, Ga (NNS) -- The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maryland (SSBN 738) celebrated the latest milestone in its return to service with a crew split and assumption of command ceremony Feb.22 at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia.
Cmdr. Geoffrey Patterson, who served as commanding officer of Maryland's combined "Green Crew" throughout the majority of its engineered refueling overhaul (ERO), assumed command of the boat's blue crew, while Cmdr. Christopher Horgan took over as commanding officer of the Gold Crew.
During the ceremony, Maryland also shifted its reporting command from Submarine Squadron 16, commanded by Capt. John Spencer, to Submarine Squadron 20, commanded by Capt. Bill Houston.
Patterson, who assumed command of Maryland in December 2013, spoke of the impressive accomplishments of Maryland's 320 Sailors. "I'll tell you what, these men were the men in the arena," Patterson said, after reciting an excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt's famous "Man in the Arena" speech.
In early February, Maryland completed its 37-month engineering refueling overhaul (ERO) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The overhaul, which included upgrades to numerous systems, is expected to extend Maryland's service life for another 20 years.
After successfully completing sea trials, Maryland returned to Kings Bay Feb. 20, marking the submarine's first appearance in its homeport in more than three years.
"This is big deal for Kings Bay and our Navy," said Rear Adm. Randy Crites, commander of Submarine Group 10. "We are getting one of our national treasures back into the fold, a multi-billion dollar platform with awesome capabilities - after an extended overhaul and refueling - that lasted about 37 months, and I am definitely happy about that."
Patterson credited his combined crew for their efforts in getting Maryland underway once again. "The time between undocking and sea trials was the shortest of any SSBN overhaul. Schedule pressures and the desire to go to sea caused us to really drive into the next evolution."
Maryland's Sailors remained motivated while in the shipyard, capturing U.S. Atlantic Fleet's Retention Excellence Award, supporting more than 38 thousand jobs over the course of 550,000 work days, amounting to $5.5 million dollars in work completed. They were also awarded the Damage Control Excellence award for Submarine Squadron 16.
Horgan joins Maryland from US Strategic Command, where he was branch chief for global strike capabilities. His previous assignments include a tour as executive officer of the fast-attack submarine USS Jefferson City (SSN 759).
Patterson reminded Maryland's Sailors that despite the splitting of the crew into blue and gold crews, they will always be one team. "You will always be Maryland... 738!" he said.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 10, visit www.navy.mil/local/csg10/.