USS Hartford holds change of command

Cmdr. Stephen Wiegel (right) relieves Cmdr. Matthew Fanning (left) during a change of command ceremony for the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) at Naval Submarine Base, New London in Groton, Conn., July 29. Capt. David Youtt (center), commander of Submarine Squadron 12, presided over the time-honored naval tradition of the ceremony.

GROTON, Conn. – The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) held a change-of-command ceremony at Naval Submarine Base, New London in Groton, Connecticut, July 29.

Cmdr. Stephen Wiegel relieved Cmdr. Matthew Fanning as commanding officer of the submarine.

Fanning took command of Hartford in August 2016. Under his command, the ship completed two deployments. Hartford earned the Commander Submarine Squadron 12 Battle Efficiency Excellence award and won the 2017 Battenberg Cup for the best all-around ship or submarine in the Atlantic Fleet.

Fanning’s next duty will be the officer-in-charge of training perspective submarine commanding officers at the Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut.

Before reading his orders, Fanning spoke about his time as commanding officer of Hartford.

“After so many days at sea together, I think I can recognize each of you in the dark, but I cannot find a way to properly recognize every one,” said Fanning. “There are too many names and far too many memories.”

During Wiegel’s speech, he praised Fanning and his crew for their accomplishments.

“Cmdr. Fanning, thank you for turning over such an incredibly capable ship and crew,” said Wiegel. “The proof of your dedication to the Hartford family is in the accolades recounted here today.”

Wiegel also addressed the crew and noted their accomplishments.

“To the crew, congratulations on all of your hard work and success these past three years,” he said. “You are the standard for warfighters from the deep, an example to the fleet, and I look forward to being part of the continued success.”

Wiegel graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. He also holds a Master’s in national security from the Naval War College. He completed nuclear power training in 2002. His sea tours include serving as division officer aboard the USS Seawolf (SSN 21), engineer officer aboard the USS Alaska (SSBN 732) and the executive officer aboard the USS Alabama (SSBN 731).

Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.

Commissioned on Dec. 10, 1994, Hartford is the second ship to be named after Hartford, Connecticut. It is 360 feet long with a beam of almost 33 feet and draft of 29 feet.

Connecticut Media Group