Rear Adm. Blake Converse delivers remarks during the change of command ceremony for Submarine Group 9. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Amanda R. Gray)

BANGOR, Wash. - Commander, Submarine Group 9 held a change of command ceremony at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Jan. 25.

Rear Adm. Blake Converse, from Montoursville, Pennsylvania, was relieved by Rear Adm. Douglas Perry, from Biloxi, Mississippi, during the ceremony which was held at the Bangor Chapel.

“It is a bittersweet day for me to be leaving the Pacific Northwest,” said Converse. “On one hand, I am honored to have been selected for my next duty assignment. On the other hand, I can’t imagine a more impactful and important job than the Commander of Submarine Group 9, our Navy’s largest strategic deterrence force here in the epically beautiful and inspiring Kitsap county.”

Converse assumed command of Commander, Submarine Group 9 (COMSUBGRU-9) on Dec. 15, 2017. During his tour, he implemented the ballistic-missile and guided-missile task forces to study and recommend improvements to operations training and maintenance performance. Also, the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) completed its first strategic deterrent patrol in four years, and he improved efforts to counter unmanned aircraft systems across the region.

“I would like to thank the staff of Submarine Group 9 for their absolutely eye-watering performance over so many years, to enable the consistent, effective strategic deterrence that for over 60 years has prevented major power war. The officers, civilians and Sailors of Submarine Group 9 are the unsung heroes of our national defense.”

Converse’s next assignment will be as Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“As sad as I am to be leaving you all, it’s a huge consolation to turn over command to such a brilliant submariner and wonderful human being, Adm. Doug Perry,” said Converse. “With that, I wish you fair winds and following seas.”

Converse was relieved by Perry who recently served as the director, Joint and Fleet Operations (N3) at U.S. Fleet Forces Command. His previous command tours include the Los Angeles-class fast-attack USS Pasadena (SSN 752) and Submarine Development Squadron 5.

“I am honored to be back in command once again, and ecstatic to take the helm here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Perry. “I look forward to leading the team Bangor that you have put under my charge. You, the men and women of the submarine force and supporting organizations are the foundation of our strength. Thank you for your service and thanks to your families for their support and sacrifice.”

Subordinate to Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, COMSUBGRU-9 exercises administrative command and control authority for assigned Trident fleet ballistic and cruise missile submarines and subordinate commands and units in the Pacific Northwest. Subordinate commands include Submarine Squadrons 17 and 19 and Naval Submarine Support Center, Bangor.

Rear Adm. Douglas Perry receives honors from the sideboys as the official party arrives during the Submarine Group 9 change of command ceremony. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Amanda R. Gray)

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) transits the Hood Canal as it returns home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in July 2018. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Amanda R. Gray)