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Commander, Submarine Group Two


 
 

USS Boise Wins Battenberg Cup

NORFOLK, Va. - The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Boise (SSN 764) has won the 2010 Battenberg Cup Award as the best all-around ship in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The announcement was made by Adm. John C. Harvey, Jr., Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command via a Navy message, May 9, 2011.

Boise is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va., and is only the third submarine to win the Battenberg Cup. The other winners were the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Memphis (SSN 691) in 2005 and the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) in 1999.

"The outstanding achievements by the crews of each ship nominated for the Battenberg Cup made the selection process extremely difficult," said Harvey. "All of the finalists distinguished themselves through exceptional performance and should be proud of their accomplishments.

"For the crew of USS Boise, you have shown yourselves to be among the best Sailors we have, and you made Boise the best ship in the Atlantic Fleet. I'm very proud to serve alongside you and congratulate you for your achievement. Bravo Zulu."

The other ships in the Battenberg Cup competition were the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) representing Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic and the amphibious warfare ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) representing Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

"Boise was outstanding this past year. They approached every challenge in a dedicated and very thorough way," said Vice Adm. John M. Richardson, Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic. "Every member on the Boise team knows their job and knows they are valued by their command and the Navy as national treasures. Boise's integrity and humble sense of purpose really set them apart as an example for others to follow. I'm super happy about them receiving this prestigious award."

The Battenberg Cup, also known as the British Challenge Cup, was initiated by Rear Admiral Prince Louis of Battenberg. Under his command in 1905 four armored cruisers from the British Second Cruiser Squadron made a goodwill cruise to Annapolis, Md., Washington, D.C., and New York. The visit was hosted by Rear Adm. Robley D. Evans, Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet.

After returning to Great Britain, he created the cup to recognize the "good fellowship and wonderful entertainments" he and his men experienced in their visit to the United States. The large silver trophy he made stood an impressive three feet high and 11 inches in diameter at the top.

Battenberg mailed the cup to Evans, with an accompanying letter stating the cup was intended for the enlisted men under Evans’ command The letter also requested the cup to become a challenge cup. In accordance with Battenberg’s wishes, Evans subsequently set up racing rules so that British Sailors would compete with American Sailors in using U.S. Navy standard racing cutters. From 1906 until 1940, competitions were held until the war years disrupted them and they never resumed until 1978.

That year Adm. Isaac C. Kidd, Jr, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet reinstated the Battenberg Cup Award, not for racing cutters, but as a symbol of operational excellence within the Atlantic Fleet.

"Boise had a great 2010, which included a very successful European Command deployment," said Cmdr. Brian L. Sittlow, commanding officer. "Many crew evaluations and inspections produced high marks. There were also numerous individual accomplishments that collectively supported our teamwork philosophy."

Throughout 2010, the submarine and its crew performed exceptionally across a myriad of challenging operations and initiative, both in port and at-sea. Boise successfully completed an accelerated Deployment Preparation Period after completing a demanding Docking Selected Restricted Availability. While deployed to two different theaters of operations, Boise achieved all operational objectives, maintained an operational tempo of 84 percent, steamed 34,800 nautical miles and had zero missed mission days. The submarine flawlessly executed three missions vital to national security which key decision making intelligence to Combatant Commanders.

"The crew was very excited and appreciative in being recognized for their hard work and accomplishments," said Sittlow. "We took a short moment to celebrate the announcement while underway. I am most proud of the way they professionally went back to work and continued to operate the ship with a high amount of skill – humbling maintaining their professional reputation.

"We have a phrase on the ship, ‘submarining is the ultimate team sport,’ and I am glad to be part of that team. Personally for me, winning the Battenberg Cup was very satisfying, but the demonstrated team success was fun and rewarding. I am very proud of our team."

During the 2010 calendar year, Boise was recognized for effective leadership and commitment to establish and maintain a foundation of personal, professional, and operational excellence by earning the 2010 Commander, Submarine Squadron Eight Battle Efficiency "E" award. In addition, the ship was awarded the Engineering "E,"

Navigation "N," Communications "C," Supply "E," and Medical "M" awards for departmental excellence.

The senior enlisted member of the crew says teamwork and mentorship are the keys to Boise’s success.

"To say Boise has worked any harder than any of the other men and women in the Navy would be unfair," said MMCM(SS) Stephen Capps, chief of the boat. "I think that any recognition of this magnitude is slightly overwhelming to most Sailors and Boise is no exception. Boise Sailors have a firm belief in the teamwork aspect of our command philosophy, so at the end of the day I think we are all just excited for each other being given this type of recognition.

"Not everyone who joins the Navy walks across the brow motivated and ready to go to work believing that they are part of something meaningful. As the chief of the boat you spend a lot of time selling a system with the belief that if everyone buys into it, we will achieve a higher standard. When you get recognition like this it helps the buy-in process you have been selling and everyone starts to believe that much more.

"The chiefs on Boise believe that an intrusive involvement with the crew is the one key to the successful completion of any mission onboard. The crew is how the work gets done, and without a good crew guided in the right direction it does not matter what other aspects of planning, leadership, and equipment you have in place. We asked the captain when he relieved to let the chiefs run the ship so the officers can fight the ship, and honestly we have not looked back. The challenge now, in the midst of all the accolades, is continued success, and the determination to not rest on our laurels. Best ship in the Atlantic Fleet or not, I honestly think we certainly have the best crew, and I know there are a lot of good ones out there."