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Bill Stephens

April 11th, 2022

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Kentucky’s namesake ship, USS Kentucky, changes command

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle HaferCommander, Submarine Group Nine    

SILVERDALE, Wash. (April 6, 2022) – U.S. Navy Cmdr. Randy Fike, from Grand Prairie, Texas, middle-right, assumes the duties as the commanding officer for the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) from Cmdr. Joseph Campbell, from Atlanta, center left, during a change of command ceremony, April 6, 2022. Kentucky commissioned on July 13, 1991. The ship is the 12th submarine in the class, and the third U.S. Navy ship to bear the name. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Hafer)

SILVERDALE, Wash. (April 6, 2022) – (NNS) The Gold Crew of the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) conducted a change of command at the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport, Wash., April 6.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Randy Fike, from Grand Prairie, Texas, relieved Cmdr. Joseph Campbell, from Atlanta, to assume the duties and responsibilities as Kentucky Gold’s commanding officer.

Campbell commissioned in 2002 and served as Kentucky Gold’s commanding officer since December, 2019.

“You have met and exceeded every one of my expectations every day,” said Campbell, addressing the Sailors of Kentucky Gold. “Despite the challenges, you delivered to the American people a credible, ready, strategic deterrent whenever asked. I will always marvel at your unlimited ability to get the job done and remain positive. I am grateful for your trust in me as your skipper.”

Fike enlisted in 1997 as a nuclear machinist’s mate. In 2000 he was accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy where he earned his commission in 2004.

“It is an honor, privilege and realization of a lifelong dream to stand here as the Kentucky commanding officer,” said Fike. “The daily hard work from the crew assures our nation, allies and adversaries that Kentucky is combat ready. I look forward to continuing this important work together.”

Since the 1960s, strategic deterrence has been the SSBNs sole mission, providing the United States with its most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability.

Kentucky commissioned on July 13, 1991. The ship is the 12th submarine of the Ohio-class of ballistic-missile submarines, and the third U.S. Navy ship to bear the name. For more news about Kentucky and other Commander, Submarine Group 9 units, visit www.facebook.com/SubGru9 or www.navy.mil/local/csg9/.

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With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

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