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Here's a great article I found at www.northwestnavigator.com:
Family, friends and special guests filled the Jack Murdock auditorium at the Naval Undersea Warfare Museum to witness Cmdr. Mark Ryan, commanding officer USS Columbus (SSN 762) turn over leadership to Cmdr. Charles Marquez Feb. 11.
The guest speaker for the event was Capt. Charles Leidig Jr., commandant of Midshipmen United States Naval Academy. During the ceremony, Leidig spoke about all of the commands accomplishments under Ryan’s leadership.
“Over the last 24 months, Columbus has been a standard bearer, a leader, and one of the greatest symbols of military might due to her extraordinary accomplishments. Columbus posted a 9-0-1 record against the most elite submariners in the Japanese Navy during the submarine competition 2004, becoming the very first U.S. SSN to win the competition,” said Leidig.
Columbus’ specific accomplishments also include the 2002 Red Green Navigational “N”, the 2003 Tactical “T”, the 2003 Communications “C” and the 2004 Medical “M”.
Leidig went on to say that while under Ryan’s leadership, Columbus also made history.
“Columbus was the first 688-class submarine to carry the BYG-1 fire control system, the installation of which required the complete overhaul of the sub’s control room, sonar shack, and combat systems space. Columbus was also the only ship in Squadron-Seven to pass her pre-deployment strike certification on the first try, and went on to become the recognized experts in BYG-1 strike procedures for the Pacific Fleet,” said Leidig.
He went on to say that it was because of the Columbus’ commitment to the mission, the Columbus became known as one of the best prepared ships to ever enter the western theatre, and posted the best tactical performance of a ship on any mission to date.
The sub’s accomplishments are credited to a hard working crew and a great leader.
“The common thread in each of these memories was Ryan’s extraordinary character, determined effort, and strong sense of mission accomplishment in which he put the ship and shipmates before himself. It brings me a great degree of satisfaction to look upon Ryan as one of the submarine force’s most successful commanding officers, an unrivaled submarine technician, and one of the great superstars in our force,” said Leidig.
After his kind words, Ryan addressed the crew of Columbus one final time.
“As I finish up my tour, I just want to say to the entire crew, over the course of my 20 year career I have never felt happier than I do today to have had the honor to serve as your commanding officer. You have left me with memories and sea stories I will be able to take me wherever I go. Just know that I will be watching you from the sidelines as you complete the maintenance overhaul eagerly awaiting your return to the operational fleet. And if you happen to hear some rumblings in the distance, it will probably be me cheering “Go Columbus,” said Ryan.
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