USS Virginia Changes Commanders After Maiden Voyage
GROTON, Conn. – Cmdr. James Waters turned over command of USS Virginia (SSN 774) to Cmdr. Tim Salter during a particularly windy change of command ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London April 29.
The ceremony comes shortly after Virginia’s maiden full-length voyage, which paved the way for the role of Virginia-class submarines in the undersea Navy.
Guest speaker Capt. Rick Breckenridge, Deputy Director Submarine Warfare Division, offered insight on how the day should be remembered.
“In a short twelve years from now, the Virginia-class will make up one-half of our attack submarine fleet,” said Breckenridge, who has been selected for promotion to Rear Admiral. “Historians will look back to this time, this deployment, and this skipper as the watershed tipping-point that forged the path of success for those who followed.”
During Waters’ tour as commanding officer, Virginia’s crew completed their Post-Shakedown Modernization Availability (PSA), accomplished an intensive class developmental and operational testing program and executed the first six-month, multi-theater deployment of its class.
Waters reflected on his “outstanding” crew and their performance over the past three years.
“I will miss seeing men I checked in as fresh-faced and inexperienced sailors develop in to professional submariners,” said Waters. “[They are] submariners who know what it means to prioritize ship and shipmate over self.”
Waters will next serve as Deputy Commander, Submarine Squadron One at Pearl Harbor Naval Station, Hawaii.
Salter gave his first order for the crew to continue down the path of greatness.
“It is an honor and privilege to serve you as commanding officer,” said Salter. “My first words to you, Virginia, is ‘Steady On’. We have many transitions ahead of us for the next few months. While today’s is the most public, it is, by no means, the most important. In order to safely navigate those transitions, I ask that you ‘Steady On’ with the fundamental submarine tenets that have made you so successful.”
Salter, a native of Buffalo, NY, previously served as Reactor Control Assistant and Communications Officer aboard USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716), Engineer Officer aboard USS Greeneville (SSN 772) and Executive Officer aboard USS Philadelphia (SSN 690).
100429-N-3090M-288 GROTON, Conn. (April 29, 2010) – The crew of USS Virginia (SSN 774) observes as Cmdr. Tim Salter assumed command of the submarine from Cmdr. James Waters during a ceremony aboard the submarine at Naval Submarine Base New London. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Myers.
100429-N-3090M-270 GROTON, Conn. (April 29, 2010) – Cmdr. James Waters receives the Meritorious Service Medal during a change of command ceremony aboard USS Virginia (SSN 774). Waters was relieved as Commanding Officer by Cmdr. Tim Salter. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Myers.