GROTON, Conn. – The Virginia-class submarine USS Colorado (SSN 788) hosted a prestigious award ceremony for its executive officer and Albuquerque, N.M. native, Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Wheelis, at Naval Submarine Base New London, Oct. 20.
The Naval Submarine League Vice Admiral Levering Smith Award for Submarine Support was presented to Wheelis for “outstanding performance” during his time at Submarine Group (SUBGRU) 7 in Yokosuka, Japan, where, “he was the driving force behind the superb material readiness and bow-to-stern- maintenance of all submarines deployed to 5th and 7th Fleets,” from the award citation.
“The whole mission is to maintain and keep submarines at sea,” said Wheelis of his time in Japan where he kept upwards of 35 boats deployed. “It was absolutely a worthwhile effort while doing it, but now being recognized for it, makes it that much more of a deeper feeling.”
The submarine-specific award is presented annually to officer or enlisted submariners and recognizes specific or continuing support actions for the Navy’s Submarine Force to include maintenance, training and operational actions.
Colorado’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Garth Storz, said Wheelis has been a great addition to the crew and brings a wealth of experience.
“Bringing him into the fold continues to enhance the pointy end of the spear here in Groton and I look forward to working with him,” Storz added.
Capt. Andrew Miller, Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 4 commodore presented the award on behalf of Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, and retired Admiral Kirkland Donald, Chairman of the Board for Naval Submarine League.
“This award is a testament to Lt. Cmdr. Wheelis’ hard work to keep our boats materially ready to perform on the front lines when our nation calls,” said Miller. “His expertise will only strengthen USS Colorado, SUBRON 4, and the entire Groton waterfront.”
Colorado and crew operate under SUBRON 4 one of two SUBRONs based out of Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn. SUBRON 4’s mission is to man, train and equip Sailors assigned to fast attack submarines to ensure that they are combat ready and capable of taking the fight to the enemy. Its submarines are able to bring strength, agility, firepower and endurance to the battle space like no other platform in the U.S. Navy.