GROTON, Conn.– A Royal Navy officer earned the honor to wear the submarine warfare insignia during a ceremony at Naval Submarine Base, New London in Groton, Connecticut, July 2.
Lt. Stephen Cox, a foreign exchange officer from the United Kingdom Royal Navy, qualified submarine after six-months of serving aboard the Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine USS Colorado (SSN 788).
The submarine warfare device, known as "dolphins" or "fish", is a uniform breast insignia worn by U.S. Navy Sailors and officers after successfully completing a rigorous qualification. The process includes months of study on all submarine systems and damage control methods, culminating in a qualification board that tests thorough knowledge of submarine construction and operations.
The commanding officer of USS Colorado, Cmdr. Jason Geddes, spoke about Cox’s determination when presenting him with the warfare device.
“After only serving aboard approximately six-months, the hard work and effort it took to get his dolphins is pretty amazing. That just goes to show how much he has worked for it and how excited he is to be working with us, the United Sates Navy,” said Geddes. “He has endeared himself to the crew; pretty much everyone on the ship respects Lt. Cox.”
Earning the right to wear the insignia can be a very special moment for anyone who serves on a submarine. It signifies to the crew that that Sailor can be relied upon, and it highlights intuitive, professional pride and dedication.
“Earning dolphins shows that a Sailor can be trusted under high-stress situations, has high technical and leadership skills, responds to any situation and keeps the ship safe to do her mission,” said Geddes.
During the ceremony Cox thanked the crew and expressed his gratitude to those who helped him earn his dolphins.
“I always wanted to see what serving with other submariners would be like, now I can say you’re loyal, kind, and welcoming as long as people work hard,” said Cox. “It has been an absolute privilege to serve with you and say that I wear our dolphins. And I will continue to do so when I return back to the U.K.”
Cox is only the fifth Royal Navy officer to earn their dolphins aboard a U.S submarine.
The history of the submarine warfare insignia dates back to June 13, 1923. Captain Ernest J. King, Commander, Submarine Division Three, recommended the qualification to the Secretary of the Navy via the Bureau of Navigation. On March 20, 1924, the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation recommended the concept to then Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. who approved the design. Today the insignia of the U.S. submarine service is identified by two dolphins flanking a submarine. The Dolphins were chosen to represent the submarine service because of the similarity in which they dive and surface.