BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Submarine Squadron 17 (CSS-17) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Aug. 3.
Capt. Nicholas Tilbrook, from Chicago, Illinois, relieved Capt. Mark Schmall, from Des Moines, Iowa, as commodore, during a ceremony held at Deterrent Park.
"To each SSBN Sailor, through your eye-watering performance over the last two years, you have my undying admiration, respect and gratitude for the things you willingly do every day to support the submarine force, the United States and our allies," said Schmall. "I ask you to continue to provide this same effort to Capt. Tilbrook as he takes over. Capt. Tilbrook, I wish you all the best and tell you, you are taking over the best crews and staff I have ever served with."
As the squadron's commander, Schmall oversaw 46 strategic deterrent patrols and 35 maintenance refit periods. He also revised the ballistic missile nuclear submarine (SSBN) certification process to support improved realism, while reducing the impacts on SSBN material readiness.
"Because so much is at stake, the Navy goes to tremendous lengths to ensure that only the most talented and successful officers are given command of a submarine squadron," said the event's guest speaker, Rear Adm. John Tammen, commander, Submarine Group 9. "You men and women on the staff and submarines of Submarine Squadron 17 have been blessed to have one such man as your commodore, Capt. Mark Schmall, and will soon have another in Capt. Nick Tilbrook."
Schmall's next assignment will be at the Pentagon, where he will serve on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, Undersea Warfare Division.
"To the staff of Submarine Squadron 17, thank you for the warm reception," said Tilbrook. "Your ability to support and mentor the 14 crews that keep these seven awesome warships going to sea is inspirational. I look forward to being part of the team and will do my best as your commodore."
Tilbrook comes to CSS-17 from Washington DC, where he served on the staff of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.
Submarine Squadron 17 is responsible for manning, training and equipping seven ballistic missile submarines and 14 crews homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
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