After 27 months in the shipyard and a change of homeports, the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) conducted a change of command at Naval Station Norfolk, ready its next deployment, according to the U.S. Navy.
Cmdr. Jared Smith relieved Cmdr. Jim Morrow as commanding officer of New Mexico.
Capt. Jeffrey Juergens, commander, Submarine Squadron 6, said Morrow demonstrated exceptional leadership in guiding his shipyard crew into a combat-ready team of submarine warriors.
“After 27 months in the shipyard, Cmdr. Morrow returned New Mexico to the operational fleet fully fit and ready to fight,” Juergens said. “Jim led New Mexico through one of the most successful change of homeports and preparations for deployment I have ever seen. He set New Mexico up for years of future success.”
Cmdr. Morrow said: “I am extremely proud of the way the New Mexico team worked to bring the submarine back to life coming out of an arduous shipyard period. They worked tirelessly to ready themselves and the ship to return to the tip of the spear, and in doing so achieved sweeping success at sea and outstanding results when evaluated against their brothers and sisters across the Submarine Force. I am humbled to have led the team, and truly excited for the future of the ship and the crew.”
His next assignment is at Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, in Norfolk, Virginia, where he will serve as the combat readiness evaluation team senior member.
Cmdr. Smith said: “I look forward to the opportunity of working with such fine Sailors. I appreciate all the hard work the crew has put in transitioning from shipyard to at-sea operations in preparation for future deployments.”
Smith graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2002, and later earned a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Catholic University of America and an Executive Master of Business Administration from the University of Memphis. At sea, he served aboard three attack and nuclear-armed submarines. His most recent shore assignment was as the Submarine Enlisted Community Manager.
Fast-attack submarines like New Mexico are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core-capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. The submarine is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare and mine warfare – from open ocean anti-submarine warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, to projecting power ashore with special operation forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.
The Virginia-class submarine is 377 feet long and 34 feet wide, and weighs about 7,900 tons when submerged. Underwater, it can reach speeds in excess of 25 knots.
In September 2017, the nuclear-powered attack submarine and her crew of 15 officers and 117 enlisted personnel arrived at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the Navy’s center of excellence for submarine overhaul, repair and modernization.
The submarine is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare – from open ocean anti-submarine warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, to projecting power ashore with special operation forces and cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.
In February 2012, New Mexico rendezvoused with Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute (S119) underwater in the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center, Bahamas, for a series of war games. Present aboard each submarine were the head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and the head of the United States Navy, Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert in a historic underwater meeting between the leaders of both navies.