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USS Bremerton Holds Change of Command Ceremony

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080311-19
Release Date: 3/11/2008 2:51:00 PM

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- USS Bremerton (SSN 698) held a change of command ceremony March 4 in Pearl Harbor.

Cmdr. Howard Warner relieved Cmdr. Thomas Zwolfer as commanding officer.

Capt. Lindsay Hankins, commander, Submarine Squadron 1, guest speaker at the event, emphasized the Chief of Naval Operations' platform on the strong character required in the Navy's leaders.

"For this job [commanding officer] the Navy selected Cmdr. Tom Zwolfer. They chose wisely," said Hankins. "Tom's performance … was superb. Demonstrating unmatched leadership, technical savvy, dedication and vision, the ship's professional performance during this time can only be described as phenomenal."

Following the guest speaker's remarks, Capt. Hankins, presented Cmdr. Zwolfer with his third Meritorious Service Medal.

Since assuming command in December 2005, Zwolfer led Bremerton through a three-year engineering refueling overhaul and taking her back to sea, while Bremerton also received the commander, Pacific Fleet Retention Excellence award through his entire tenure as commanding officer.

In his closing remarks, Zwolfer let his crew know he was very proud of their accomplishments and teamwork.

"Today Bremerton is a gleaming warship ready to deploy and conduct any mission at any time," said Zwolfer. "This has nothing to do with the commanding officer but everything to do with the team and how they work together."

While assuming command, Warner likened assuming command of Bremerton to "accepting a baton in a relay" and is ready to "run the next leg of the journey and carry on the mark of excellence."

To his new crew, he said they were "some of the most eager and talented submariners I have ever known." He also mentioned the words of John Paul Jones, "'men mean more than guns in the rating of a ship,' and from what I have seen over the past few weeks, Bremerton is no exception to this rule."

Zwolfer's sea commands include USS Charlotte (SSN 766), USS Maine (SSBN 741) Gold and USS Providence (SSN 719). He is a 1988 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

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

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