NSB New London Community
USS Montpelier (SSN 765) Holds Change of Command
Story by CPO Monique Meeks on 02/05/2019
GROTON, Conn. (February 1,2019) Cmdr. Rod L. Hodges relieved Capt. Todd D. Moore as commanding officer of the Los-Angeles-class, fast-attack submarine USS Montpelier (SSN 765), Feb.1, during a change of command ceremony held at the Dealey Theater at Naval Submarine Base New London.
Moore was quick to apologize for the short-notice ceremony with a dose of shipyard humor. He began by saying he knew many didn’t get invitations until the week before because that is when he received his invitation in the mail, partly faulting the overhaul schedule for the difficulty with knowing when anything will occur for certain.
“It was only recently that the ship submitted the deficiency form indicating that the current commanding officer was not installed according to plan,” joked Moore. “I’m told the Supervisor of Shipbuilding submitted a Departure from Specification to maintain me in service, provided my mouth was danger tagged shut, but the departure was held up in review. Meanwhile, happily enough, the new part has arrived and is ready for installation. Since the new part needs to be installed to support Sea Trials, we decided we had better conduct the swap-out as soon as possible, which brings us to today. Again, I apologize for the short notice, but one needs to be flexible to complete a ship’s overhaul.”
Moore went on to thank the distinguished guests, guest speaker Capt. Brian Sittlow, Commodore, Submarine Squadron Four, the Silver Dolphins Color Guard and Navy Band Northeast for their presence at the ceremony. He also thanked the workers of Electric Boat for all of the effort they had put into Montpelier’s Interim Dry Docking period, specifically thanking Mr. Dan Veiera, the ship’s manager.
“There is possibly no one in the world who has worked harder than Mr. Dan Veiera to complete the Montpelier Interim Dry Docking,” said Moore.
Though Moore only served as commanding officer of Montpelier for seven months, the bond he had formed with his crew was evident in the pride he had for them as he thanked the department heads, junior officers, chiefs and crew for the roles they played as his shipmates, saving his most powerful words for last.
“Now, for the men who do the real work on the ship, who protect her in the sweltering heat and frigid cold, who patrol her passages and take her pulse, who hang the tags, sweep the decks, serve the food, shred the burn, grease the rams and run the machines, you are Montpelier,” said Moore. “You are the Mighty Monty, a name forged in the trials of World War II, which saw our forebears in combat from Guadalcanal to Leyte to Japan itself, earning thirteen battle stars. I know, if called upon, you would equally rise to the occasion.”
Moore noted that what was initially going to be a two or three-month tour as temporary commanding officer had become seven months and he was now sad to be leaving Montpelier because of all the boat was about to go do.
“You will take Montpelier out on sea trials, which from our current vantage point, seems like a daunting task,” said Moore. “You will do so much more, however. You will become a member of the mighty Groton waterfront, joining the likes of Hartford, Minnesota, Toledo, California, North Dakota, and others who, on short notice, can travel to any navigable ocean in the world, remaining undetected, and gather vital intelligence on our enemies, or deliver crushing blows in time of war.”
With that, Moore read his orders directing him to detach from USS Montpelier (SSN 765) and report to Naval Submarine Base New London, Commanding Officer, for duty.
The Chief of the Boat then presented Moore with the commission pennant and the prospective commanding officer, Hodges, read his orders.
The two officers exchanged the traditional hand salute and reported to the presiding officer, Sittlow, that Hodges had assumed command and Moore had been relieved.
As Hodges stepped forward to offer his remarks, he was grateful for all the hard work that had been done, but also clearly focused on shifting course to what lie ahead.
“Officers and crew of Montpelier, out boat’s successes throughout the Interim Dry Docking are owed to the hard work, perseverance and sacrifice of you and your families,” said Hodges. “In the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a team of eager warfighters capable of handling what lies ahead. And supported by an amazing cast, our Family Readiness Group and ombudsman, I am confident we will be ready because I know that you will make it happen. Fortune favors the bold!”