Commander, Submarine Group Two



CNO Reenlists PCU Minnesota Sailors

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Two Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Minnesota (SSN 783) Sailors were re-enlisted by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead at a reenlistment ceremony held at the Pentagon, Aug. 19.

"There is nothing that I enjoy more than being able to either enlist or re-enlist a Sailor in the Navy," said Roughead. "To me it's a statement that an individual makes to be more than just themselves, and serve their Navy and our country."

Electrician's Mate First Class (SS) Perry Benzschawel, from Eau Claire, Wis., and Machinist's Mate Third Class Michael Low, of Bonham, Texas were selected for the re-enlistment by Cmdr. John Fancher, Minnesota's commanding officer.

"Petty Officers Benzschawel and Low took the bold initiative to request that the CNO preside over their reenlistments. Given our ship's unique relationship with the Rougheads, I thought it was a great opportunity to bring them and my crew together to celebrate the commitment of all of Minnesota's Sailors to the ideals of service as represented by these two Sailors reenlisting," said Fancher.

Benzschawel enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2003. Prior to arriving aboard Minnesota in October 2010, he served aboard USS Newport News (SSN 750).

"Being reenlisted by the Chief of Naval Operations is an honor for me," said Benzschawel. "The U.S. Navy has provided me immense opportunities to advance in my field and I'm honored to serve my country."

Benzschawel's current assignments aboard Minnesota include the assistant command fitness leader, Engineering Department command career counselor, electrical division repair parts petty officer, and a supervisor in divisional qualifications.

Low, who enlisted into the U.S. Navy in 2009 after graduating from Sam Rayburn High School, Ivanhoe, Texas, reported aboard Minnesota in July.

"I will always remember this day, not because it was my first re-enlistment, but that the Chief of Naval Operations performed the ceremony," said Low.

The ship's sponsor, Mrs. Ellen Roughead, also attended the reenlistment for Petty Officers Benzschawel and Low.

Minnesota will be the 10th Virginia-class submarine. Construction of the 377-foot long, 7,800-ton ship began in February 2008. The ship is planned to be delivered in 2013.