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SECDEF Visits Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ashley Berumen
30 July 2020
KINGS BAY, Ga. -- United States Secretary of Defense (SECDEF), Dr. Mark T. Esper, visited Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, July 30.
Upon his arrival, Esper was met by Commander, Submarine Group Ten, Rear Adm. John Spencer.
“Our Team Kings Bay Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians are dedicated to the Department of Defense’s top mission of strategic deterrence,” said Spencer. “Each one of us takes pride in our mission, and we’re thankful to have the opportunity to showcase our expertise to the Secretary of Defense.”
Esper began his tour at the largest covered dry dock in the United States, by visiting the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) (Blue) led by Capt. Craig Gummer, commodore, Submarine Squadron 20, and the submarine’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Jeremy Miller.
“What an experience to see this platform firsthand,” said Esper. “America’s ballistic-missile submarines remain the most survivable and powerful deterrents on earth.”
Following the tour, the 27th secretary of defense arrived aboard the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) (Gold) led by the submarine’s commanding officer, Capt. Theron Davis.
Esper toured various spaces on the submarine and was briefed on mission and capabilities by each space’s subject matter expert.
“I am impressed by the professionalism of this team,” said Esper. “The submarine service runs silent and deep and I am glad to be here and meet these men and women in person.”
Following his tour of the submarines, Esper visited the Trident Refit Facility, Kings Bay (TRF-KB), where he met with the commanding officer, Capt. Ed Robledo, in the facility’s hull shop. He was briefed on TRF’s mission which is to provide quality industrial and logistics support for the incremental overhaul, modernization, and repair of Trident submarines.
“Today I was proud to visit and see firsthand the biggest peacetime construction project ever undertaken by the U.S. Navy,” said Esper. “I am glad to have had the opportunity to see the great work being done here at Kings Bay.”
“We were proud and honored for the opportunity to show SECDEF the important role TRF-KB plays in the maintenance and repair of our submarines and to highlight the dedicated Sailors and civilians who support that critical mission,” said Robledo. “Our Nation’s top defense priority is strategic deterrence and TRF-KB is the front line of national defense.”
Esper concluded his visit with a small group luncheon attended by enlisted Sailors and Marines, and junior officers.
“It was great to get the opportunity to have an open discussion with SECDEF,” said Information Systems Technician (Submarines) 1st Class Michael Hudson, a native of Savannah, Ga. “I never thought I would have an opportunity like this, so it was awesome that he took the time to hear some of our concerns, discuss issues and current events.”
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is homeport to all East Coast Ohio-class submarines, to include six ballistic-missile and two guided-missile submarines.
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