Rear Adm. Douglas Perry looks on as Rear Adm. Robert Gaucher delivers remarks during the Submarine Group 9 change of command ceremony. (U.S. Navy/MCC Rebecca Ives)

BANGOR, Wash. - Commander, Submarine Group 9 held a change of command ceremony at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, June 8.

Rear Adm. Douglas Perry, from Richford, Vermont, was relieved by Rear Adm. Robert Gaucher from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, during the ceremony which was held at Deterrent Park.

“In order to carry out the missions tasked to our ballistic-missile and guided missile submarines, our crews must be ready for the fight at all times,” said keynote speaker Rear Adm. Jeffrey Jablon, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “Our submarines here in the Pacific Northwest, under Rear Adm. Perry’s outstanding leadership, have achieved this mission time and time again because they are the world’s most capable submarines operated by the world’s most capable crews.”

Perry assumed command of COMSUBGRU-9 on Jan. 25, 2019. During his tour, he directed the historic transition of operational and tactical control from Submarine Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet to COMSUBGRU-9; implemented advanced counter unmanned aircraft systems to protect the SSBN mission in port at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and at-sea; oversaw the successful completion of 52 SSBN maintenance availabilities including two complex extended refit periods; and spearheaded the Pacific Northwest’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The response to COVID-19 required COMSUBGRU-9 and subordinate commands to find ways to mitigate the threat and continue to meet the mission by generating operationally ready submarines.

“Team Bangor responded like a long-distance runner. They didn’t obsess over the distance of the entire marathon, they just focused on taking that next step, and the one after that, and the one after that,” said Perry. “The results speak for themselves. Our team never missed a mission, and in many cases, they exceeded our pre-COVID operational tempo. That is something special, and something that this team has added to our Submarine legacy. I am proud of the distance we have come and everything you have accomplished.”

Perry’s next assignment will be as Director, Undersea Warfare Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

“Leading these Sailors is a sacred and crucial mission. They deserve our very best, and with my relief I believe they are getting just that,” said Perry. “I’m turning over command to one of the most capable, forward-thinking and all-around best officers we have in our submarine force in Rear Adm. Robert Gaucher.”

Perry was relieved by Gaucher who recently served as the director, Maritime Headquarters at U.S. Pacific Fleet. His previous command tours include the Los Angeles-class fast-attack USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705) and Submarine Development Squadron 5.

“To Team Bangor and particularly Submarine Group Nine and our units, I look forward to taking on the many challenges that surround us as we continue to generate readiness while taking on the new role as operational commander of the Pacific ballistic-missile submarines,” said Gaucher. “I’m excited to be here with Team Bangor. Now, let’s get to work!“

Subordinate to Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, COMSUBGRU- 9 exercises administrative, tactical and operational command and control authority for assigned Trident fleet ballistic and cruise missile submarines and subordinate commands and units in the Pacific Northwest.

Rear Adm. Douglas Perry, left, receives the Legion of Merit from Rear Adm. Jeffrey Jablon during the ceremony. (U.S. Navy/MCC Rebecca Ives)