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JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - Cmdr. Sterling S. Jordan assumed responsibility as the commanding officer of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) during a change of command ceremony on the historic submarine piers of Pearl Harbor, Aug. 2.
Jordan properly relieved Cmdr. John C. Roussakies and assumed the duties and responsibilities of commanding officer of a crew of 160 highly qualified submariners.
Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Plans and Strategy Rear Adm. Stuart B. Munsch was the guest speaker and encouraged the new commanding officer to rely on his highly-capable crew in moments of indecision.
"In times of uncertainty, the answer is likely already onboard and if you foster the right environment, the solution will always bubble up," said Munsch. "You will recognize that this crew largely already has all of the answers."
After taking command, Jordan promised to continue Roussakies' legacy to maintain a family that he created fostering a culture of respect, devotion, and teamwork.
"The preservation of freedom begins and ends with the sacrifice you make every day you step aboard this great ship as a family," Jordan said. "My promise to the USS Hawaii is that I will always act as if this is the last job I will ever have. There is no other profession and no other sacrifice that I hold more respect for than this assignment."
Following his remarks, the out-going commanding officer said farewell to his crew.
"I had heard that it is difficult for a commander to turn the reigns over to another person. I say that would probably be true for me, except that I know, I am turning over this ship to the right person at the right time, and with the right mindset and leadership to lead this team to new heights," said Roussakies.
Under Roussakies' leadership, Hawaii demonstrated highly effective war-fighting skills during a Combat Readiness Evaluation, achieved the highest marks during recent engineering examination, and recently participated in the world's largest fleet exercise, Rim of the Pacific.
"To say I am simply proud of the accomplishments of the officers and crew would be a huge understatement," said Roussakies.
Sharing a parable of a Greek philosopher, Roussakies emphasized the importance of a good attitude and teamwork adding that when working as a team, they will continue to be unstoppable.
As one of his last acts as commanding officer of USS Hawaii he pinned gold dolphins on two submariner officers and reflected on the deep history that surrounds Pearl Harbor.
"It is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the courage and sacrifices of our submarine heroes. They faced overwhelming odds as they were outnumbered and outgunned. They had no right to win, yet they did. In doing so they changed the course of a war in the Pacific. Seventy years later that responsibility and heritage have been passed on to you Hawaii," said Roussakies.
Hawaii is the first Virginia-class fast-attack submarine named after the Aloha State to recognize the tremendous support the Navy has enjoyed from the people of Hawaii, and in honor of the rich heritage of the submarine force based here.