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NEWS | Feb. 4, 2022

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Holds Change of Command

By PNS Public Affairs Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS) held a Change of Command ceremony Friday, February 4 were Captain Daniel W. Ettlich was relieved by Captain Michael C. Oberdorf as Commander, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan were the shipyard’s honored guests at this event. PNS Business and Strategic Planning Officer, Captain Samuel Cordero presided over the ceremony as Master of Ceremonies.

“I'm pleased to join my colleague Senator Hassan, and know that our colleagues from Maine, Senators Collins and King are here in spirit because the delegations of Maine and New Hampshire, both Senators and members of Congress are united in supporting the shipyard, in every way we can, any time we can,” said Shaheen. She went on to emphasize the importance of family support for military members by thanking the family members who braved the harsh weather to attend the ceremony. “We're really delighted that you're here and we know that [military members] would not be able to perform their duties without their families and those who support them.”

Shaheen addressed Capt. Oberdorf regarding the importance of his role to the people of the seacoast community. “The shipyard is an invaluable economic driver here on the seacoast, and through your position of leadership, you will have the unique opportunity to have an outsized impact on the larger community,” said Shaheen. “This really is an exciting time to be associated with the shipyard. These new state of the art infrastructure projects will continue to transform and modernize how we do business here.”

Hassan congratulated Ettlich and Oberdorf and went on to thank the PNS workforce for their hard work. “Thank you for the work that you do. Thank you for being such examples of excellence. You are so easy to advocate for as we do the important work of making sure we are investing properly in this wonderful shipyard and keeping our country and freedom safe.” She went on to thank Ettlich for his steadfast leadership in the face of a global pandemic. “Captain Ettlich, your service has helped continue Portsmouth Naval Shipyard's standard of excellence. You have led this dedicated and skilled workforce who keeps our country safe … and helps strengthen communities throughout the region.”

Ettlich assumed command August 9, 2019 as the 86th Commander of PNS. During his tour, Ettlich was challenged by running a highly-functioning shipyard during a global pandemic. There was no playbook to reference when COVID-19 hit a few short months into Ettlich's command tour. Nevertheless he endured every day, and led with positivity and determination. The PNS workforce rallied behind Ettlich to meet submarine maintenance milestones critical to the ongoing infrastructure upgrades currently taking place at PNS. USS California (SSN 781) was completed as the fastest availability of its kind, USS Newport News (SSN 750) was delivered on time for fleet operations, and USS Annapolis (SSN 760) was delivered back to the fleet six days ahead of schedule. Ettlich was selected to fill a senior position with the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, as the Director of Fleet Maintenance.

“I look forward to watching Portsmouth Naval Shipyard continue to perform from my new position, as Director, Fleet Maintenance U.S. Pacific Fleet, and I will support you in any way I can.  Remember, over half of the assets you work on either belong to the Pacific Fleet or are going back to the Pacific Fleet,” said Ettlich. “It has been the highlight of my career to be welcomed into the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard family and to become a part of your heritage and legacy. Fair Winds and Following Seas as I close out this chapter on, truly, my favorite and most rewarding tour in my 29-year naval career.” 

Oberdorf comes to Portsmouth from his previous assignment as Operations Officer at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY). Oberdorf has considerable naval maintenance knowledge and experience as he also served as the Submarine Repair Officer, Deputy Operations Officer, Business and Strategic Planning Officer as well as Production Resources Officer, all at NNSY.

“I want to thank Captain Ettlich for his tremendous leadership and accomplishments over the past two and half years and for the great transition over the last couple of weeks,” said Oberdorf. “To my new Portsmouth Naval Shipyard family, I look forward to joining the team and serving you as your Commander as we execute NAVSEA’s Mission Priority #1, the on-time delivery of submarines in support of our national security.”

Oberdorf, a native of Penn Run, Pennsylvania, enlisted in the Navy in 1992 and received his commission in 1999 from Penn State University through the Enlisted Commissioning Program. He has served in variety of assignments both afloat and ashore throughout his career as a Submarine and Engineering Duty Officer.  His sea tours include USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), USS North Carolina (SSN 777), USS La Jolla (SSN 701) as Executive Officer and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) as Chief Engineer from June 2017 to August 2019.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is the Navy's center of excellence for attack submarine overhaul, repair, and modernization. As a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command, PNS is committed to maximizing the material readiness of the fleet by safely delivering first-time quality, on time, and on budget.