(Via Ho’okele News)
Story and photo by MC1 Jason Swink
Submarine Force Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
The command of USS Texas (SSN 775) was transferred on Sept. 9 as Cmdr. Todd Nethercott relieved Cmdr. Andrew Hertel as commanding officer at a time-honored change of command ceremony held aboard the Virginia-class, fast attack submarine at the submarine piers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Hertel expressed how proud he is that he had the opportunity to be in command of the submarine for the last 32 months.
“It was the privilege of a lifetime to be your commanding officer. Thank you for giving your best every day,” said Hertel to his crew. “With Sailors like you manning such a vessel, it is no wonder everyone knows, you don’t mess with Texas.”
In command since Feb. 1, 2012, Hertel led his submarine through a 26-month maintenance availability period at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNSY).
The ceremony’s guest speaker, Capt. Brian Os-good, former commander of PHNSY, praised Hertel and his crew for a job well done.
“Andy spent much of his command tour in a mission that by no means was glamorous, but in many ways was vitally important to the future of the submarine fleet in the Pacific.” said Osgood.
The first Virginia-class submarine to execute a major depot level maintenance availability and modernization in the Pacific provided extra challenges which Os-good said the crew exceeded expectations.
“Texas is now one of the most advanced submarines on the planet, and the crew can testify to its capabilities,” said Osgood.
During the ceremony, Hertel was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his leadership during the first-of-a-kind dry-dock selected availability demonstrating exceptional leadership and superb judgment during his command of Texas from December 2011 to September 2014.
As Nethercott assumed command of Texas, he thanked Hertel for the ready state of Texas and her crew.
“You should be justifiably proud of the outstanding job you have done bringing the ship, its crew and the families through a complex 26-month shipyard period,” said Nethercott. “I want to thank the crew for all the hard work that went into getting out of the shipyard and back to sea.”
Commissioned Sept. 9, 2006, Texas was the second Virginia-class, fast attack submarine constructed and the first submarine to be named after the Lone Star State.
The state-of-the-art submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including antisubmarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.