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US sub base New London welcomes two new submarines

USS Texas
Virginia-class submarine USS Texas (SSN 775) arrives at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn. on Sept. 1, 2020. Photo: US Navy

The US naval submarine base New London has welcomed two submarines to the waterfront in Groton, Connecticut, where they will join Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 12.

The Los Angeles-class submarine USS Newport News (SSN 750) arrived in Groton on August 31 for a scheduled homeport shift from Norfolk, Virginia.

SUBRON 12 commodore, Capt. Matt Boland, who recalls his first tour on the submarine as a junior officer, said he was excited to see Newport News again, albeit in a different capacity. Newport News expects to complete an overhaul while pier side at Groton’s waterfront, an evolution that will be overseen at the squadron level.

“I was a junior officer on Newport News and it’s truly a unique opportunity to serve as the commodore of a boat that I served on early in my career,” said Boland. “We’re really excited to have Newport News here and they are going to do great things in SUBRON 12.”

Cmdr. David Fassel, commanding officer of Newport News and a native of nearby Warwick, R.I., was excited to bring his boat to the submarine capital of the world.

“It’s a unique experience to change homeports like this,” said Fassel. “This gives not only myself but the entire crew a different perspective by operating in different ports and locations. This is a worldwide deployable force and this opportunity only serves to enhance that experience.”

The three-decades-old Newport News, commissioned in 1989, will complete scheduled maintenance while in Groton, which Boland says is standard for the lifecycle of any submarine.

“Newport News has an availability next; she’ll be in dry-dock here on the waterfront and then she’ll be a contributing part of SUBRON 12 and we’ll make sure she’s ready for deployment,” said Boland.

The other submarine arriving in Groton is the Virginia-class submarine USS Texas (SSN 775), which had been homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, since 2009. The submarine was originally homeported in Groton following her commissioning in 2006.

“Texas is coming from Pearl Harbor through the Panama Canal and it’s great to have another Virginia-class submarine in SUBRON 12,” said Boland. “The boat has a fantastic history and great crew and they are coming to the submarine capital of the world and the best homeport for submariners in the Navy.”

Texas is shifting homeports to Groton after completing a seven-month deployment to the Pacific and US Central Command area of operations earlier this year.