CNO and Senior Flag Officers Welcome Future Submariners to Community

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Story Number: NNS140226-10Release Date: 2/26/2014 12:29:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nathan Wilkes

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- The chief of naval operations visited the U.S. Naval Academy Feb. 25 to participate in the submarine community assignment dinner and reception for the Midshipmen of the Class of 2014.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Vice Adm. Michael J. Connor, Submarine Forces commander, addressed the 135 first-class Midshipmen who were selected for service assignment in the submarine community and offered insight about the expectations for the Midshipmen in the future, as well as the challenges awaiting them in the fleet.

"The submarine community makes up less than seven percent of our active duty Navy personnel, but we operate nearly 50 percent of our major warships and the majority of our strategic nuclear arsenal," said Capt. John McGrath, the Academy's 2nd Battalion officer. "We are an elite force operating the most sophisticated machines ever built covertly in all the world's most sensitive trouble areas."

Nineteen submarine flag officers attended the assignment dinner and reception, including Adm. John Richardson, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, Vice Adm. William Hilarides, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command and retired Adm. Carlisle A. H. Trost, the 23rd chief of naval operations.

The assignment dinner is an annual event that provides a unique opportunity for the Midshipmen to meet senior submarine officers in the Navy and be welcomed into the community.

"I came in wanting to fly, but during my time here I realized that my personality fits better within the submarine community," said Midshipman 1st Class Julie Stabile, an aeronautical engineering major. "I like the engineering aspects of the community so I think I will really enjoy it."

The Naval Academy Class of 2014 received their service assignments Dec. 4, a milestone that put them one step closer to joining the fleet and Marine Corps as commissioned officers. The academy is the largest accession source for new submariners in the Navy, with academy grads typically representing one third of the submarine officers entering the force this year.

"We choose Midshipmen who excel in the Academy's moral, mental and physical mission areas," said McGrath. "All selected must have sound character, outstanding academic performance and strong physical fitness scores to screen for an interview with Adm. Richardson, the Director of Naval Reactors. The director personally screens every officer entering the nuclear community to ensure our officers are capable of leading the best crews in the Navy."

Of the 135 Midshipman selected for submarine service this year, 15 are women and 64 are non-engineering majors. The Academy's core curriculum has sufficient technical depth to allow motivated midshipmen to succeed in the submarine force regardless of major, said McGrath, who maintains that a diverse force facilitates increased problem-solving and critical thinking when facing the challenges of submarine warfare.

"I'm open to anything right now," said Stabile. "I'm excited that they are saying the Virginia-class subs are going to be open to women by the time I get out there. I'm looking forward to whichever one they put me on."

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