GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) held a change of command ceremony April 22 at Naval Submarine Base New London's Shepherd of the Sea Chapel in Groton, Conn.
Cmdr. John E McGunnigle, Jr. relieved Cmdr. Michael Stevens of command of New Hampshire at the ceremony.
Guest speaker Rear Admiral William Hilarides, program executive officer for Submarines, spoke about the hard work Stevens and his crew put into New Hampshire.
"The crew was instrumental in getting the boat delivered early," said Hilarides. "Without a high performing crew, there is no way of hoping to finish early and to deliver the full mission capability that was demonstrated afterwards."
With Stevens at the helm, New Hampshire's crew transitioned the ship from a shipyard project into a deployed, combat ready submarine that successfully executed the first overseas deployment of the Virginia-class, operating in both the U.S. European Command and African Command Areas of Responsibility.
Additionally, the crew was awarded the first Submarine Squadron 4 Battle Efficiency "E" for fiscal year 2009, prior to its post-shakedown availability (PSA).
A PSA is the last major repair and upgrade opportunity before a multiyear, multideployment period in a ship's life.
"To your left and right is the crew of the USS New Hampshire," said Stevens. "Daily, I have been granted the immeasurable good fortune to serve with these men. John is a gifted naval officer, and I am relieved to be leaving my crew in the hands of such a capable commanding officer."
Stevens will next serve as a staff member in the Chief of Naval Operations Office.
For McGunnigle, a native of Boston, Mass., this is an opportunity to take command of his first submarine.
"To the crew of the New Hampshire," said McGunnigle. "I am honored to join the New Hampshire team and am extremely privileged to be your commanding officer."
McGunnigle previously served as navigator and operations officer aboard USS Wyoming (SSBN 742)(Blue) in Kings Bay, Ga., and executive officer aboard USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) in Bangor, Wash.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.