GROTON, Conn. – The future USS Idaho (SSN 799) has its first skipper as the latest Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) preps to join the fleet.
Cmdr. Nicholas Meyers, the commanding officer of the nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarine, assumed command during a ceremony at Flasher World War II Memorial in Groton, Conn. on Friday, an achievement he calls the highlight of his 18-year naval career.
“It’s an honor and privilege to lead the Idaho crew into preparations to take custody of the ship, take her out to sea and answer the nation’s call,” said Meyers. “This is our first profound milestone. As these milestones progress our mission is to be ready, both independently and as a team and ready to fight if called upon.”
Meyers’ assumption of command is an integral step in the road to commissioning. The ceremony was followed by a keel laying ceremony attended by former Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, Aug. 24 at Electric Boat’s hull fabrication facility in Quonset Point, R.I.
Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 4 commodore Capt. Andrew Miller presided over Meyers’ assumption of command calling the event an important step in the ship’s life cycle.
“This is really the first major ceremony in the life of this ship,” said Miller. “You all should feel honored to be a part of the unique legacy and history associated with the USS Idaho.”
Idaho’s namesake is the USS Idaho (BB 42), a historic WWII-era battleship named after the 43rd U.S. state. The new submarine is the fifth U.S. Navy vessel named for the state of Idaho with the first commissioned in 1864 – a steam sloop that served as a store and hospital ship. The newest Idaho submarine will hold a crew of 135 including three native Idahoans. Meyers said the ship is currently manning and training the crew and are on track to begin nuclear propulsion training next.
Navy leadership anticipates christening and eventual commissioning in 2023 and the boat will be sponsored by Teresa Stackley, wife of former acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley (2017).
“As the ship is constructed we will be constructing our own warfighting readiness,” said Meyers. “That process has already begun and it will continue as the ship proceeds ultimately through christening, commissioning, and upon being delivered to the United States Navy.”
Meyers, a native of Cumberland, Md., is a career submariner and his previous tours include the USS Columbia (SSN 771), USS Alaska (SSBN 732), and USS Greenville (SSN 772).
PCU Idaho is currently being constructed at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Quonset Point, RI. The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine will ultimately join SUBRON 4, one of two submarine squadrons based out of Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.