The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) (Gold) held a change of command aboard Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, Georgia, June 12.
Capt. Seth Burton was relieved by Capt. Theron Davis as commanding officer of Florida (Gold).
“I am extremely proud of the professional men and women who bring life to Florida, a national security treasure," said Burton to the crew. "The life we live as submariners and citizen-Sailors is hard one, but a truly honorable one. The culture of trust and honor you have established in the Florida Gold family will help sustain you through the unknown challenges ahead. I sincerely thank you for your quiet and sacrificial service.”
Burton assumed command of Florida’s Gold Crew in October 2018. Under his command, the ship was awarded the 2019 Commander, Submarine Squadron 16 Battle Efficiency “E” award and completed a 27-month forward deployment, the longest in Atlantic Fleet history.
Burton, from Huntsville, Alabama, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, and studied international relations as an Olmsted Scholar at the Albert Ludwig’s University of Freiburg in Freiburg, Germany. He received a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College.
“I feel truly privileged to have had the opportunity to serve as the commanding officer of this incredible group of Navy professionals and their mighty warship," said Burton. “Their persistent performance and dedication to duty, day in and day out, to achieve the seemingly unachievable, is a testament to today’s youth and their willingness to work together for a higher purpose.”
At sea, Burton served aboard USS Jefferson City (SSN 759), USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) (Gold) and USS Newport News (SSN 750). His first command at sea was USS Scranton (SSN 756) in Norfolk, Virginia.
Burton thanked his wife, Danete and children, Evan, Aaron, Christian and daughter-in-law Kristina for their support.
“Danete, you are the epitome of a selfless servant,” said Burton. “Without you teaching our boys the importance of duty and sacrifice, and teaching them to embrace this calling, I would not have had this incredible opportunity to serve our citizenry alongside these young patriots. Thank you and the boys for sacrificing so much over the years in service to your country.
The incoming commanding officer, Davis, previously served as Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic Fleet Shipyard Representative, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine. Davis is from Minerva, Ohio, and was commissioned through the Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program in 1993. He graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering. He holds a master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University.
He contributes his success to his wife, Jodie, and his children, Randahl and Zachary.
“Capt. Burton, thank you for a smooth turnover and the development of an outstanding crew,” said Davis. “To the officers and crew of Florida Gold Crew, I look forward to working with each and every one of you.”
Florida is the first submarine and the sixth United States Navy ship to bear the name of the state. It was the second submarine to complete the conversion from a ballistic-missile submarine to a guided-missile submarine.
Burton will now serve as Chief of Staff for the Director, Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C.
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is homeport to all East Coast Ohio-class submarines.