USS Jacksonville Conducts Change of Command

Story Number: NNS200625-09Release Date: 6/25/2020 3:42:00 PM
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By Petty Officer 1st Class Andrea Perez, Commander, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs

SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) held a change of command, June 25.

Commander James “Andy” Wiest, from Anderson, South Carolina, relieved Cmdr. David Vehon, from Apache Junction, Arizona, to assume the duties and responsibilities as Jacksonville’s commanding officer.

Vehon took command of Jacksonville shortly after the inactivation process began and Wiest will lead the crew through final decommissioning.

During his time as commanding officer, Vehon safely guided Jacksonville through an extended inactivation period and returned an entire crew of Sailors to the active fleet, which immeasurably and positively impacted overall fleet readiness.

“I am most honored and humbled to have been the commanding officer onboard Jacksonville,” said Vehon. “Leading the amazing warriors of this mighty warship has been the greatest privilege of my military career and I know that nothing in the future will ever compare.”

Capt. Richard Massie, commodore, Submarine Squadron 19, had much to say about Jacksonville’s accomplishments and unique firsts and lasts under Vehon’s command.

“Your team blazed a new trail that others will soon follow,” said Massie. “From qualifications to administration to watch standing practices, there was virtually no aspect of running a ship that your team did not have to reinvent. Very well done!”

Massie also welcomed Wiest as Jacksonville’s new commanding officer.

“We look forward to working with you as you lead through the final victorious chapter in the impressive life of the United States Ship Jacksonville – Welcome!” said Massie.

Wiest previously served as Naval Submarine Support Center Bangor’s commanding officer.

“I am conscious of the extraordinary privilege and honor I have been given to command the crew of Jacksonville. I recognize that they are placing an extraordinary amount of trust in the Navy and in me personally as their commanding officer,” said Wiest. “I commit that I will do my best to be a fair, approachable leader who is interested not only in the command’s success, but in their personal and professional success as well. As such, my commitment to you, Commodore, and my crew is that I will strive to earn this extraordinary privilege every day I’m in command,” said Wiest.

Jacksonville completed their last deployment Aug. 10, 2017 and arrived at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton to commence the inactivation and decommissioning process, Dec. 12, 2017, after completing 36 years of service.


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