USS Springfield Visits U.S. Naval Academy

The crew of Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761) visited the U.S. Naval Academy, Oct. 19-22, providing a force awareness during the academy’s homecoming weekend.

In addition to providing platform for midshipmen to tour, the Sailors of the Groton-homeported ship instilled an awareness of the undersea domain and imparted strategic uses of the submarine to future naval leaders.

The crew also attended the USNA’s homecoming game against Indiana, which Navy won, 31-30.

For most of the Sailors it was a time to attend a homecoming game at one of the nation’s most well-known venues, but for Cmdr. Chris Williams, USS Springfield commanding officer, the visit was nostalgic because it signified his return to his alma mater.

“It was a great opportunity to bring the ship and crew to my alma mater for Navy homecoming and to share the excitement of today’s Submarine Force with the Brigade of Midshipmen,” said Williams. “We are proud to support the Naval Academy’s professional development programs.”

Springfield’s Damage Control Assistant, Lt. j.g. Joe Sheffield, also a Naval Academy alumnus, enjoyed returning to where his naval career first began.

“It’s kind of like going full circle, when you’re at school you can’t wait to hit the fleet,” said Sheffield. “Now I get the chance to show some of my buddies where I went to school, that’s pretty awesome.”

Sheffield is one of four U.S. Naval Academy graduates currently serving aboard the attack submarine.

Graduating in 2010, the San Jose, Calif. native is able to lean on the variety of training he received at the academy and uses that knowledge to succeed aboard Springfield.

“The Naval Academy gave me a solid foundation that I have been able to build upon,” said Sheffield, “I will always remember my years at the Academy and I continue to share those experiences with my shipmates on USS Springfield.”

The last Groton-assigned boat to visit the U.S. Naval Academy was the Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779). The attack submarine’s crew visited the military school to likewise share some of their experiences and provide some insight to the future of the Navy. Last fall, the crew of USS Alexandria (SSN 757) visited the U.S. Naval Academy and attended the Academy’s homecoming game.

Springfield was commissioned Jan. 9, 1993 and was the 47th Los Angeles-class submarine to be commissioned. The submarine, built by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division, has a crew compliment that includes 15 officers and 120 enlisted Sailors.

Since its commission in 1993, Springfield has conducted eight deployments and has been awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation, along with numerous accolades for operative, engineering, weapons, food service, and retention excellence.

Naval Today Staff,October 23, 2012