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USS Key West Holds Change of Command Ceremony

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080311-08
Release Date: 3/11/2008 11:09:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Cynthia Clark, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- USS Key West (SSN 722) held a change of command ceremony at the USS Bowfish Musem March 7.

Cmdr. Robert Koonce relieved Cmdr. Thomas Ishee as commanding officer of Key West.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, was the guest speaker. A distinguished career submariner himself, Greenert marveled at the long history of the Los Angeles class submarine as well as the crew of the Key West under Ishee's leadership.

"The Los Angeles class transcended from the Cold War to the global war on terrorism and they're out there getting it done," said Greenert. "Tom Ishee and his crew have shown that in spades over the last three years. It comes as no surprise that these wonderful people were Capt. Edward Takesuye's squadron's Battle "E" Efficiency Award winner for 2007."

Following the guest speaker's remarks, Adm. Greenert presented Cmdr. Ishee with the Legion of Merit.

Since assuming command in March 2006, Ishee led USS Key West through two years of "challenging" operations where, according to the award citation, Key West set the "standard for national and theater operations, war-plan development and ambassadorship … while operating in the most challenging environments in the world."

In his closing remarks, Cmdr. Ishee let his crew know the award as well as the success of Key West under his leadership was because of their efforts during his time as commanding officer.

"For my crew," said Ishee. "Although I get to wear the award, it belongs to each of you. It [the award] recognizes your achievements and hard work during my command tenure. The crew of the Key West has been outstanding and has risen to every challenge."

While assuming command, Koonce thanked Cmdr. Ishee for the great turnover and promised to "carry on his excellence."

To his new crew, he said "I am extremely proud of this wardroom and crew already, you've all impressed me greatly with your resourcefulness and tenacity." Cmdr. Koonce also reminded them, in spite of being in the shipyard, they're still a mighty warship, and "we're going to return Key West to a front-lining warship on time and in superb condition."

Ishee's sea commands include USS La Jolla (SSN 701), USS Tunny (SSN 682) and USS Sea Devil (SSN 664). He is a 1987 graduate of the University of Georgia.

For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit

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