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Sault Turns USS Key West Over to Ishee

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060315-19
Release Date: 3/15/2006 12:29:00 PM

By Chief Journalist (SW/AW) David Rush, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Capt. Kenneth R. Sault turned over command of the Pearl Harbor-based USS Key West (SSN 722) to Cmdr. Thomas E. Ishee in a ceremony March 14.

Sault, who led the nuclear-powered attack submarine for nearly 32 months, said the hardworking crew made his job enjoyable and successful.

“I have had a great tour on board USS Key West only because I have been able to serve with a spirited crew, an aggressive chief's quarters and an exceptional wardroom,” Sault said.

During Sault's tour, Key West completed an extensive Selected Restricted Availability (SRA), and a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific last year. The submarine participated in numerous exercises in support of Fleet and Force Anti-Submarine Warfare readiness, including RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific), Silent Fury I and II, LUNGFISH and Talisman Saber.

Rear Adm. Cecil D. Haney, who spoke at the ceremony, said Sault and submariners were essential in maintaining presence and capability in an uncertain world.

“As we continue to fight the war on terrorism in various places throughout the globe, this setting serves as a reminder of what it takes to maintain a free and democratic society - something this submarine and crew have continued to work for during Capt. Sault’s tour as commanding officer,” said Haney, who currently serves as the deputy chief of staff for Plans, Policies and Requirements for the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Haney said that Sault’s leadership experience has greatly benefited the submarine community.

“He has left his mark on submarine leadership for many, many years...he has done so with a sense of humility, unmatched professionalism, and esprit de corps," he said.

Sault said that as his crew went to sea for exercises and deployments, he relied on command ombudsman Rebecca Del Toro to keep families connected and their spirits high. Sault credited Del Toro for her outstanding efforts.

“Over the last two years, the entire time we were operational, Rebecca stood for the families, assisting them in achieving their needed support while we were underway,” said Sault.

During the ceremony, Capt. Joseph E. Tofalo, commodore, Submarine Squadron 3, presented Sault with the Meritorious Service Medal.

Sault is reporting for duty as Deputy Commander, Submarine Squadron 7.

Ishee said he was looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

“I am thrilled to be given the authority and responsibility for Key West," said Ishee. "It’s an honor to command this fine ship and lead this great crew. Today is the culmination of a lifelong dream.”

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Ishee has served on USS Narwhal (SSN 671), USS Sea Devil (SSN 664) USS Tunny (SSN 682) and USS La Jolla (SSN 701).

Key West was commissioned in 1987 and has participated in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

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