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USS New Hampshire Changes Commanders

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS121217-07

By Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Commander, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The third commanding officer of Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) assumed command during a time-honored change of command ceremony at the Naval Submarine Library and Museum in Groton, Conn., Dec. 17.

Cmdr. Sean Fujimoto relieved Cmdr. John McGunnigle. Capt. Michael Bernacchi, chief of staff, Commander, Submarine Group 2 served as the guest speaker.

During McGunnigle's two-year tour as commanding officer of the fifth Virginia-class submarine commissioned, he obtained several poignant benchmarks to include completion of two demanding overseas deployments, the first to the Arctic in support of Ice Exercise 2011, and the second, a six-month deployment 6th Fleet Area of Operations.

'John is a tactical mater demonstrating his crew skills over several different mission sets greatly enhancing the security of our nation,' said Bernacchi. 'He led the best ship overall with his crew's achievements in a squadron of nothing but super stars, which lead to me naming New Hampshire as the 2011 Submarine Squadron Four Battle Efficiency 'E' Recipient.'

McGunnigle will leave the Groton waterfront for a new skyline in Millington, Tenn., where he will report to PERS-42 responsible for all detailing of submarine and nuclear officers in the U.S. Navy. McGunnigle reflected on his command tour and the lessons gained from leading the officers and crew of New Hampshire.

'Leading the officers and crew of USS New Hampshire has been one of the best assignments so far in my Navy career,' said McGunnigle. 'I couldn't have asked to serve with any other crew, and have the utmost respect for their service to our nation, and especially the support provided from our families.'

Fujimoto, who returns to the Groton waterfront following a tour with the Joint Staff in Washington, DC, looks forward to commanding the helm of New Hampshire during his command tour.

'It is an honor and a privilege to take command of USS New Hampshire,' said Fujimoto. 'The ship and crew have established an outstanding reputation of being ready to answer the call of our nation and accomplishing the mission. I look forward to building on that legacy.'

USS New Hampshire was delivered to the Navy Aug. 28, 2008, and then was commissioned at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, Oct. 25, 2008.

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