Friday, April 17, 2015

U.S. submarine force celebrates 115th birthday

LEDYARD, Conn. – The longest and most recent submarine qualified Sailors cut the cake during the 115th Submarine Birthday Ball held at Foxwoods MGM Resort, April 11. From left to right: Machinists Mate Fireman (SS) Ricardo Precella, the newest qualified submariner from the USS New Hampshire (SSN 778); ret. Master Chief Petty Officer Edwin Francis “Bud” Atkins, the oldest qualified enlisted submariner in attendance with more than 60 years qualified as a submariner; Capt David Mcall, Senior qualified officer; and Lt.j.g. Scott Kiliszweski, newest qualified submarine officer assigned to the USS New Hampshire (SSN 778).

Kristina Young/The Dolphin
16 April 2015

LEDYARD, Conn. – Submariners, past and present, from the Southeastern Connecticut submarine community, New England and New York Naval communities came together to celebrate the 115th birthday of the Submarine Force at Foxwoods MGM Resort, April 11.

More than 2,000 Sailors, spouses, and friends from Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE), Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, and Nuclear Power Training Unit in Ballston Spa, New York, filled the premier ballroom of the resort.

Master of Ceremonies, Master Chief Joseph Hundley of the Submarine Learning Center extended thanks to all attending and noted their impact.

“Celebrations like this remind us submariners of the elite family that we are all a part of,” said Hundley. “This elite family includes more than just us dolphin wearers — submarine spouses, significant others, friends and family are here from all over the northeast and their support for our force allows us to do our jobs at sea — patrolling the depths of our oceans and taking the fight to the enemy at sea!”

Capt. Andrew Jarrett, commanding officer, Naval Submarine School (SUBSCOL), echoed Hundley’s sentiments.

“This event is as special as it is because of the huge turnouts we get each year, and it just wouldn’t be the same without everybody here,” said Jarrett. “It also goes without saying that this event doesn’t happen on its own. A tremendous amount of work goes on all year-long to allow us to be here, celebrating 115 years.”

Before the evening’s formal program, the celebration kicked off with a precision drill performance by the SUBSCOL Silver Dolphins Drill team and Color Guard.

Distinguished guests attending the event included U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Rear Admiral Michael Jabaley, commander, Naval Undersea Warfare Center and deputy commander for Undersea Warfare, Naval Sea Systems Command, who delivered remarks as guest speaker.

Jabaley praised the achievements of the submariners in attendance and thanked them for their continued support.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here, and how much fun we’re going to have tonight,” began Jabaley. “It’s a great time to be serving in submarines! You are all so lucky — we are all so lucky — that this is just the best place to be.”

Jabaley emphasized the importance of submarines in protecting the nation by highlighting each and every submarine and crew homeported at SUBASE.

“Take care of your shipmates, take care of your crew and they will do amazing things for you; and take care of your families,” concluded Jabaley. “Our families and our spouses do so much for us. They are there with us every step of the way. Take every opportunity to thank them because they are out there keeping the family together, raising the kids, so we can be out there defending the country.”

USS Missouri (SSN 780) had the most attendees from a single command at the event with 132 participants; USS Minnesota (SSN 783) was a close second with 112 attendees.

Deployed units were greatly represented as well. Spouses from USS Providence (SSN 719), USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720), USS San Juan (SSN 751), and USS New Mexico (SSN 779) — all currently away from homeport — enjoyed the family and friendship of the evening’s celebration.

After dinner, toasts, and the traditional cutting of the cake, senior leadership and their spouses opened the floor for dancing, where active and retired Sailors and family and friends of the Submarine Force danced the night away.

Happy Birthday Submarine Force!

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