SANTA RITA, Guam –
Submarine Squadron (CSS) 15 held a change of command ceremony on
board USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705) at Polaris Point in Piti,
Guam July 22.
Capt. John Russ relieved Capt. Douglas
Wright as Commander, Submarine Squadron 15.
Rear Adm. Robert Thomas, commander, Submarine Group 7, was the guest
speaker at the event. He praised Wright’s leadership in ensuring
CSS-15 is able to support submarines in the Pacific.
“Out here at Squadron 15, it is literally ‘you are alone and
unafraid’ and the incredible things you do everyday to send
submarines to sea is just paramount,” Thomas said. “You just can’t
understand, unless you’re sitting at the 7th Fleet morning brief,
how important it is that Squadron 15 makes that happen, and Doug
Wright has made that happen everyday for two years. His performance
in Guam is unmatched.”
Wright was awarded the Legion of Merit award for his exceptionally
meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and
achievements since taking the helm of CSS-15 in 2008. The award
citation noted that as commodore of the Navy’s only
forward-deployed, fast-attack submarine squadron, Wright’s
operational experience, keen understanding of submarine operations
and strong command presence were vital in the oversight of three
homeported submarines and a submarine tender on Guam.
Wright’s ability to balance operations maintenance and homeport
tempo led to an increase in submarine operational availability while
simultaneously preserving the crews’ quality of life.
“The material readiness of the squadron, the operational readiness
of the squadron -- that’s a testament of how he has brought
Submarine Squadron 15 up to the next level,” Thomas said.
Under Wright’s leadership, CSS-15 units completed numerous highly
successful missions vital to national security and conducted
successful theater security cooperation events in seven Asia Pacific
countries. CSS-15 also provided outstanding maintenance,
administrative and logistics support to numerous deployed submarines
The squadron’s Sailors also reached out to the local community,
which led to CSS-15 earning the Environmental Stewardship and Good
Neighbor Awards for two consecutive years.
Through a partnership with the command’s sister village of Inarajan.,
Sailors contributed more than 200 man-hours of service in removing
more than 1,200 pounds of debris from the shoreline and shoal waters
of Inarajan Bay. More than 80 volunteers contributed more than 700
hours to picking up trash at parks, roadsides, and school grounds.
CSS-15 also modified its recycling program for aluminum cans in
response to a new program initiated by the Department of Education,
giving recycling-based revenues to the village public schools based
on each community’s aluminum can recycling efforts. Also, 48 Sailors
contributed more than 440 hours of service restoring and improving
the facilities of Inarajan Middle School. Sailors provided the
school with a much needed facelift via field day and painting
“There are 1,700 active-duty people alone, not counting the spouses
and everybody else who worked with Submarine Squadron 15 to do the
things we do, supporting not only our submarines but the submarines
coming through here on their way to and from operations on this side
of the world,” Wright said. “It’s been a great opportunity. We’re
sorry to go, but it’s time to turn over the reigns.”
Wright will report to North Carolina Piedmont Consortium Naval
Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
Thomas said he couldn’t ask for someone more qualified to lead
CSS-15 in the next few years than Russ.
“(Capt. Russ) brings operational excellence,” Thomas said. “He has
signed up for the toughest major command job in the submarine force,
and he is the perfect individual to do that.”
Russ said he is looking forward to working with the Sailors of
CSS-15, with the leadership and crews of the submarines, and forging
relationships with the local community.
“I think we’ve already established some great relationships between
the squadron, USS Frank Cable, the boats, and with the community,”
he said. “I’m going to be here to build on those relationships. I’m
coming in as a new member of the team and look forward to working
Russ comes to Guam following his assignment as commanding officer
instructor on the staff of Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific
The mission of CSS-15 is to prepare assigned units for
forward-deployed operations in the Western Pacific and maintain the
highest level of readiness at all times to permit surge operations
when called upon to respond to emergent theater commander tasking in
support of the nation’s Maritime Strategy efforts. Guam currently is
homeport to submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), and three Los
Angeles-class attack submarines -- USS Buffalo (SSN 715), USS
Houston (SSN 713) and USS City of Corpus Christi.