GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London April 23 in Groton, Conn.
Cmdr. Dave Soldow relieved Cmdr. John Spencer as commanding officer of Philadelphia during the ceremony.
Guest speaker, retired Capt. Ron Steed, former commander of Submarine Squadron 2, lauded Spencer's leadership saying Philadelphia is still ready to serve, even as she prepares to decommission.
"The Philadelphia has a great team," said Steed. "John, you have done a magnificent job while in command. That's why when this ship was on its last deployment, this crew and her commanding officer were as much a threat to our enemies and a friend to our allies as any submarine we have out there."
During Spencer's tour as commanding officer, Philadelphia's crew completed their final overseas deployment and began preparations to decommission the vessel.
Spencer said he entered the ceremony with great excitement for the new adventures that the Navy will offer but was also sad to be leaving the great team that is the crew of Philadelphia.
"For the crew of the Philadelphia, I finished my incoming speech two years ago by saying I wanted the Philly to finish strong," said Spencer. "Men, you have made me proud in every challenge we have faced. You have proven to me that you will finish strong as you complete the last demanding operations of this wonderful ship."
Spencer will next serve as deputy commander of Submarine Squadron 8 in Norfolk.
Soldow thanked those who helped him reach the milestone of command and told the crew their reputation preceded them.
"In the last few weeks," said Soldow, "I have had the privilege of meeting 135 of the greatest Americans that our country has produced. I am simply awestruck that I will now work for this team and complete USS Philadelphia's legacy."
Soldow, a native of San Fransisco, previously served aboard USS West Virginia (SSBN 736), USS Pasadena (SSN 752) and USS Hampton (SSN 767). His most recent assignment was as a staff member for Director Submarine Warfare Division (OPNAV N87).
Philadelphia is the sixth U.S. Navy vessel to be named after the "City of Brotherly Love." The contract to build the submarine was awarded Jan. 8, 1971, and the submarine's keel was laid Aug. 12, 1972. The submarine was later commissioned June 25, 1977, with Cmdr. Robert B. Osborne in command.
Philadelphia, which has been in service for more than 30 years and spanned eight presidents, will be decommissioned at a ceremony June 25.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.