SANTA RITA, Guam -- Cmdr. Richard Salazar relieved Cmdr. Steven Tarr as commanding officer of Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754) in a time-honored change of command ceremony at Naval Base Guam, March. 1, 2019.
Capt. Timothy Poe, Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen, was the guest speaker for the ceremony. He congratulated Tarr and the crew of Topeka on an outstanding job during his tenure.
“The United States has the most powerful Navy because of the men and women who serve their country every day,” said Poe. “They are the brightest and best and there is no better example than the crew of warship Topeka!”
Poe went on to say that he could always rely on Tarr and the crew of Topeka to rise to any challenge.
Following his speech, Poe presented Tarr, a native of South Amboy, New Jersey, with a Meritorious Service Medal for his tenure as commanding officer.
As Tarr took the podium for the last time, he spoke to the crew of the Topeka.
“It has been an honor to serve with you," said Tarr. "All of you will be in my thoughts as you sacrifice for the defense of our great nation. I wish you fair winds and following seas."
Tarr is scheduled to report to Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C. as his next command.
Salazar excitedly addressed his crew upon assuming command of Topeka.
"This is a very exciting day for Topeka," said Salazar. "We turn another page and start a new chapter for this historic warship. You and I have a tremendous opportunity to lead the charge from the tip of the spear.”
Salazar, a native of Toledo, Ohio, began his Navy career by enlisting as a nuclear trained Electrician’s Mate. He later earned his commission through the Enlisted Commissioning Program where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida.
Topeka is one of four Los Angeles-class attack submarines assigned to COMSUBRON 15, which is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands. Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.