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Change of Command Held Aboard USS Albany

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS091016-11
Release Date: 10/16/2009 5:45:00 AM

By Kevin Copeland, Commander, Submarine Force Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk Oct. 15.

Cmdr. Thomas R. Buchanan Jr. relieved Cmdr. Thad E. Nisbett as commanding officer.

Retired Rear Adm. Michael C. Tracy was the principal speaker at the ceremony. Tracy's Norfolk ties include command of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Newport News (SSN 750); Submarine Squadron 8; and Carrier Strike Group 10. He also commanded Submarine Group Two and Navy Region Northeast in Groton, Conn., during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Cmdr. Nisbett, I salute you for a job extremely well done in guiding the crew of Albany, and fighting this great warship with skill and professionalism during your tour," said Tracy. "You led your crew to consistently demonstrate both tactical and technical prowess during inspections and real world operations, as evidenced by the extended deployment with the Fifth Fleet and with the European Command."

Capt. Christopher Thomas, Commander, Submarine Squadron 6, presented Nisbett with a Meritorious Service medal. The medal cited Nisbett for "his superior tactical prowess, unrivaled initiative, and steadfast perseverance while leading Albany on a deployment to the European and Central Command areas of responsibility in support of overseas contingency operations, and on four highly successful missions spanning three theaters of operation and focusing heavy on national anti-submarine warfare objectives."

"It has been a tremendous privilege to command such a fine Los Angeles class attack submarine," said Nisbett, who took command of Albany, June 14, 2007. "I took over at a time when Albany had just completed much needed maintenance, and was modernized with some of the latest and greatest equipment.

"But even with all of the technological equipment that makes up a submarine, it is the crew combined with the support from outside the pier which makes Albany such a great asset to the Navy. Without my tremendous crew, Albany would be just a hunk of metal. They really are Albany, because they maintain the spirit of the ship as long as it is part of the fleet.

"But the most important group that supports the crew is the families. They keep us going, and having that family stability makes the long absences we endure manageable.

Nisbett will report to the Defense Liaison Division. Buchanan's most recently served as a special assistant to NATO's Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, and Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command.

"As you can imagine, this day means a tremendous amount for my family and me," said Buchanan, who became the ninth commanding officer of Albany. "It just so happens that I have the good fortune to command a ship that was launched on my birthday in 1987. I humbly stand before you to tell you that I am absolutely ready to assume command of this awesome warship, and will do everything to ensure that Albany continues to make history."

Albany was commissioned April 7, 1990 as the 43rd nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class submarine, and is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of New York's capital city. Albany's crew complement includes 13 officers and 121 enlisted Sailors.

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