GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- More than 300 people attended the Commander, Submarine Group (CSG) 2 change of command ceremony at Shepherd of the Sea Chapel Aug. 26.
Rear Adm. Michael McLaughlin turned over command of CSG 2 to Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge.
Vice Adm. John Richardson, Commander, Submarine Forces couldn't attend due to preparations for Hurricane Irene, but his remarks were read during the ceremony.
"It took the combination of an earthquake and a hurricane to keep me away," said Richardson. "And although, I could not be there in person, I did not want to let this day go by without expressing my admiration and respect for the two officers involved in today's ceremony, Admiral Mike McLaughlin and Admiral Rick Breckenridge."
Richardson highlighted the significance of McLaughlin's time in command at CSG 2.
"Your greatest accomplishment -- your legacy -- will be the people you trained, mentored and took care of," said Richardson. "Our Sailors and families were always first in your mind and heart."
Richardson also reflected on Breckenridge's successes and the path that led him to command CSG 2, especially his assistance in crafting the Design for Undersea Warfare.
"You went far beyond just devising the strategy; you were also tireless in making sure that our key national leaders and the entire submarine force understood and supported our way ahead," said Richardson.
During his address, McLaughlin welcomed his successor.
"Rear Admiral Breckenridge. You have the opportunity to work with the best professionals our nation has to offer," said McLaughlin. "They are fortunate to be able to work with you, and given their track record, you will be impressed with them. Good luck and Godspeed."
Prior to Breckenridge assuming command of CSG 2, he served as Acting Director, Submarine Warfare Division (N87) on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, Pentagon, Washington D.C.
"The key 'silent principle' of our national security is that you, America's elite undersea force, prevent major war and inhibit bad behavior from others seeking to disrupt our way of life in the midst of all the sacrifices you make, all the hardship associated with the arduous nature of submarine sea duty that you and your families endure," said Breckenridge.
"Know this: your service to country is super-meaningful and delivers tangible and significant stability in an otherwise chaotic and disorderly global security environment. Thanks for what you do to make this element of our national power so effective," said Breckenridge.
McLaughlin led the group since February 2010 and provided leadership and oversight to more than 6,000 military and civilian personnel, including four Atlantic Fleet submarine squadrons containing 27 fast-attack submarines, two Submarine Support Centers, the Regional Support Center and the Navy Submarine Torpedo Facility.
McLaughlin praised the shipyard partners who were instrumental in preparing boats for sea and the wisdom gained and lessons learned from working with them.
"When you get real old, you realize that the shipyards, which both build and maintain our ships, are the heart of our success," said McLaughlin.
"Electric Boat, their partner Huntington Ingalls International, and the public yards, have forced us submarine drivers to figure out how to prepare crews for at-sea operations as quickly as possible to keep up with their efforts, and I both appreciate and welcome the challenge," McLaughlin added.
Seventeen SSNs from CSG 2 were on deployment while McLaughlin was in command and the rest of his boats were preparing to deploy in turn. He also played a key role in the delivery of the newest Virginia-class submarines as the officer in tactical command for the sea trials of USS Missouri (SSN 780) and PCU California (SSN 781).
McLaughlin's next course is his transition to a second career in the civilian workforce.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.