Story by PO3 Kristen C Yarber on 07/29/2019NORFOLK, Va. -- The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) held a change of command ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia, July 26, 2019.
Cmdr. John Strunk, who served as commanding officer of Wyoming's Green Crew, during its Engineered Refueling Overhaul (ERO), was relieved by Cmdr. Benjamin Pollock.
Strunk, a native of Woodland, California, assumed command of Wyoming in September 2016. He completed two strategic deterrence patrols prior to changing homeport to Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia for the submarine's ERO.
Strunk lauded his crew for the work they have accomplished in the shipyard and what Wyoming will bring to the fight once back to its homeport at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, in Kings Bay, Georgia.
"Crew members, you accomplish our country's most important mission every day: strategic deterrence," said Strunk. "As Sailors on USS Wyoming, you are the face of strategic deterrence in the eyes of the world. Your actions on and off the boat build the trust that our nation has in this force! Well done, shipmates!"
Wyoming entered its ERO in February 2018. The EROs are a complex, major shipyard availability during which the submarine will be refueled and upgraded before returning to support the country's nuclear deterrence strategy, extending the life of the submarine more than 20 years.
Strunk recognized he did not complete a successful ERO on his own, including the vital support of friends and families.
"Our families are the foundation upon which we serve," said Strunk. "Thank you to our families for the silent service that you render, often raising the kids and doing the work of mom and dad in our absence."
Strunk also spoke about Pollock, who he met when they were both stationed in Groton, Connecticut.
"Cmdr. Pollock, I could not be happier that you have been selected to relieve me on Wyoming," he said. "As we have observed your professionalism and demeanor during the past six weeks of turnover, we are even more confident that Wyoming is in good hands."
Pollock, a native of Ithaca, N.Y., joins Wyoming from Bureau of Naval Personnel where he served as the Submarine Non-Nuclear Enlisted Community Manager. His previous assignments include a tour as executive officer of the USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) Blue Crew.
Pollock expressed his appreciation for what the crew has accomplished and the importance of their mission.
"To the crew, we have several challenging years ahead of us," said Pollock. "Our nation needs the Wyoming back out on strategic deterrent patrol, and each day every one of you will do your part to get our ship, our crew, and ourselves closer to that goal. The importance of your personal contribution to the defense of our nation cannot be overstated."