January 29, 2023

Groton, Connecticut—Cmdr. Nicholas Meyers, the crew’s first commanding officer for the future USS Idaho (SSN 799), relinquished command to Cmdr. Randall Leslie at a traditional change of command ceremony held Friday, December 2, at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

“It is a special honor to be the first commander of a warship,” said Capt. John Stafford, commander of Submarine Squadron 4. “When the history of the submarine Idaho is made, Cmdr. Meyers will be remembered as the very first commanding officer of the crew and leader who prepared those extraordinary sailors who made Idaho a battleship of the line.”

The future Virginia-class fast attack submarine, USS Idaho, is currently under construction at General Dynamics Corp.’s Electric Boat facility. built in Groton. Its crew is referred to as the Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) until the submarine is commissioned as an operational vessel.

“Serving as the commanding officer of the first crew on the future USS Idaho is the pinnacle of my Navy career,” said Meyers, who is from Cumberland, Maryland. “I am immensely proud of the Sailors on this team, the dedication they have shown to getting themselves and their submarine operational, and the incredible relationships they have forged not only within the Navy, but also in… of community with the public Good.”

Several times during Meyer’s tenure, he led crew members on visits to the submarine’s eponymous state and worked with the Civilian Commission Committee to build strong bonds in the community there.

“I am grateful and deeply honored for all of the support I have received over the past few years from this outstanding crew, squadron personnel, the patriotic ship builders of Electric Boat, the people of the great state of Idaho and, perhaps most of all, my wonderful crew received family,” said Meyers. “I look forward to seeing all that the future USS Idaho under the skillful leadership of Cmdr. Leslie and in defense of the United States of America.”

The future USS Idaho is intended to be the 26th Virginia-class submarine to join the fleet and the eighth in Block IV of the class. Block IV submarines feature minor design changes that increase the number of sorties a submarine can perform for each period of regular shipyard maintenance.

SSN 799 will be the fifth US Navy ship to be named after the Gem State. The last ship to bear that name was a New Mexico-class battleship that served during World War II.

“Cmdr. Meyer’s inspirational leadership prepared the crew of the future USS Idaho for many years of success. It is a true honor for me to now assume command and serve with this amazing crew as we work with our electric boat teammates to get the jewel of the fleet seaworthy,” said Randall, who is a native of Highland, California and attended high school in the nearby Redlands. “I could not have reached this point without the wise counsel of my Navy mentors over the years and the loving support of my family, and to them I extend my deepest gratitude. To the Sailors of Idaho, I am delighted to join you as we continue the martial legacy of the men and women who have served in the history of the land we now call Idaho.”

The future USS Idaho will be based in Groton and will operate under Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 4. During his tenure, Meyers enabled up to 60 percent of PCU-Idaho sailors of all pay grades to temporarily join operational submarine crews in Georgia. Virginia and Connecticut to support a number of ongoing missions critical to national security to deliver valuable experience to Idaho Sailors while enhancing the skills of other crews.

“It was a real pleasure working with Cmdr. Meyers over the last two and a half years to build this pre-commissioning unit into a crew that not only supports the shipbuilders building the Idaho, but also the operational submarines along the coast,” said Stafford. “Cmdr. Leslie is an exceptional talent inheriting a great crew. I am confident that he is the right leader to lead this team at sea. Commander Leslie, as you prepare to lead Idaho into a world of increasing geopolitical uncertainty, my squadron headquarters and I stand ready to assist you.”

Rear Admiral Robert Wirth, deputy director for strategic targeting and nuclear mission planning at US Strategic Command, was the guest speaker at Friday’s event. Meyers served under Wirth as Commanding Officer of the Gold Crew of the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Alaska (SSBN 736) during Wirth’s tour.

Fast attack submarines are multi-mission platforms that enable five of the six core capabilities of the Navy’s maritime strategy – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast Attack Submarines project energy ashore with Special Operations Forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles to prevent and respond to regional crises.

Date of recording: 02/12/2022
Release Date: 02/12/2022 11:36
Story ID: 434377
Location: GROTON, CT, USA

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