KINGS BAY, Ga. -

Submarine Squadron 20 held a change-of-command ceremony Friday at the chapel aboard Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.

Capt. William J. Houston relieved Capt. Christopher L. Harkins as the submarine commodore.

Rear Adm. Chas Richard, commander, Submarine Group 10, guest speaker for the ceremony, commended Harkins for his excellent leadership.

“Chris, your performance in direct support of our strategic deterrence mission as Commodore of Squadron 20 has just been superior,” Richard said.

Harkins, a native of Pittsburgh, praised the personnel at Kings Bay and accredited his successful tour to their performance.

“These past two years at Submarine Squadron 20, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the highest caliber people in our submarine force,” said Harkins.

Harkins went on to acknowledge the collective “Team Kings Bay,” to include all major commands at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.

“Each of the organizations directly contribute to the nation’s strategic deterrence mission readiness, and without them, none of our submarines in Kings Bay would be able to do their jobs,” he said.

Richard awarded Harkins with the Legion of Merit for his service as commodore.

Houston took command of Submarine Squadron 20 which is responsible for the maintenance and operations of five Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines: USS Alaska, USS Tennessee, USS West Virginia, USS Rhode Island and USS Wyoming.

“[Ohio-class] submarines have two crews because you have to be that good,” said Houston. “It takes a team; team Kings Bay. I am honored and humbled to take command of Squadron 20.”

Harkins will report to commander, Submarine Force Atlantic for his new assignment.