Rear Adm. Charles A. “Chas” Richard relieved Rear Adm. Joseph E. Tofalo as the Commander of the Atlantic Fleet's Ohio-class ballistic missile and guided-missile submarines, Submarine Group 10, during a change of command ceremony Friday at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
"As I look back over my past two years here I can say without reservation that I am more passionate about what I do than I was 13 years ago when I arrived here as an SSBN CO," said Tofalo, who had commanded Submarine Group 10 since August 2011. “Without question the thing that drives this incredible pride and satisfaction is the people."
A 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Tofalo ensured consistent operational readiness for one quarter of the nation's strategic assets during his two years in command. He also oversaw certification 30 units with 100 percent on time deployment and 100 percent mission coverage, as well as the return of the USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) to strategic service after a 31-month refueling overhaul.
Tofalo noted some of his proudest accomplishments included the successful introduction of Women in Submarines in the Atlantic fleet, and significant improvements made in disaster preparedness and multi-hazard response.
He also reflected on the importance of the ceremony’s date, as it coincided with the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, and how the strategic deterrence mission ties into our country’s perseverance through the post-Kennedy 1960s, and emergence as the leader of the free world today.
“For the young Sailors sitting across the back this morning, all of whom were not alive on that fateful November Dallas day in 1963, I ask them to imagine a national domestic atmosphere charged with the assassination of the president and the threat of nuclear war with the former Soviet union, violent racial tensions in parts of the country, and extreme Vietnam war protests. All of that puts some of our current domestic issues in perspective. That perspective should include the fact that we are an absolutely amazing country to have. It is undeniable that strategic deterrence has been a center piece of that world leadership.”
Vice Adm. Michael Connor, Commander, Submarine Force served as the guest speaker for the event and presented the Legion of Merit to Tofalo for his outstanding job at Submarine Group 10.
“This group has been doubly blessed with a commander whose character is a credit to our profession. Joe impressed me from the day I assumed my current duties. Under his leadership, Kings Bay was the most reliable producer of ready ships and crews,” said Connor. “Whether the metric was getting ready ships to sea on time, helping our UK partners conduct testing, or aiding an SSN that pulled in here after an accident, the Kings Bay team was brilliant.”
Tofalo leaves the southern Georgia coast to move to Washington, D.C., taking his position as a special assistant to the deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems.
Richard, a 1982 graduate of the University of Alabama, previously served at U.S. Strategic Command as the Deputy Commander of Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike. He becomes the 15th commander of the submarine group and is enthusiastic about working with the Kings Bay community.
“I’m honored to be a part of Submarine Group 10, as well as a part of Team Kings Bay,” said Richard. “The teamwork here is impressive and evident from day one, and it is clear that we understand that we have been entrusted with the nation’s most important ‘no-fail’ missions and execute them well on a daily basis.”
Richard continued to praise Team Kings Bay’s superior contribution to the undersea warfighting and strategic deterrence missions, “I believe the ability to maintain strategic deterrence is the fundamental, bedrock assumption on which our entire defense strategy rests. Similarly, this nation’s capability in Undersea Warfare is one of our ‘Crown Jewel’ asymmetric advantages over a potential adversary. Both require significant effort every day to maintain, and I thank you for that effort.”
Submarine Group 10 is located at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. and is the Nation's pre-eminent provider of sea-based strategic deterrence, strike and unique Ohio-class guided-missile submarine special operations capabilities.