USS Virginia welcomes new commanding officer

Capt. David Youtt, Commander, Submarine Squadron Twelve (front left) presents the Meritorious Service Medal to Cmdr. Jeffrey Anderson (front right) during a change of command ceremony for USS Virginia (SSN 774), June 7, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. Anderson's relief is Cmdr. Michael Poplawski.

KITTERY, Maine - First of its class, attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 774) welcomed a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony, June 7.

Cmdr. Michael Poplawski relieved Cmdr. Jeffrey Anderson as commanding officer of Virginia during a ceremony held at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Anderson assumed command of Virginia in September 2016. During this time, Virginia completed a highly successful European Command (EUCOM) Deployment, developed advanced warfighting tactics, and implemented the first use of additive manufacturing aboard a submarine.

“We were the first submarine to get a 3-D printer, blazing a trail in additive manufacturing for the submarine force and Navy,” said Anderson. “I started out this conversation about innovation and creativity, it only took a few days for the Sailors to figure out how to work [the 3-D printer]. We had individuals teach themselves Computer Aided Design and we were off to the races to improve the ship.”

As Poplawski assumed command of Virginia, he expressed that he was humbled and honored to be there that day, and was committed to putting everything he had into training, mentoring, and leading the crew day in and day out, to always do his very best, and to uphold Virginia’s proud history of excellence. "We are serving at a critical moment for our country, a time at which we are competing with nations that wish to infringe upon our freedoms," said Poplawski. "We must continue to be ready, we must strive for the highest levels of technical and operational competence, always demonstrate strong character, and epitomize the toughness necessary to persevere and see the mission through."

Poplawski, a native of Austin, Texas has a degree in electrical engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland at College Park in business administration. Poplawski served aboard USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735), USS San Juan (SSN 751), and was the Executive Officer on USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) (Gold). Ashore, Poplawski served as a Navy budget programmer on the staff of Director, Programming Division, OPNAV N80; action officer and project manager at Defense Liaison Division; and as Squadron Material Officer for COMSUBRON 19.

Anderson's next assignment will be at the Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut where he will serve as Director of Training.

Virginia is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance work and system upgrades at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is the Navy’s center of excellence for attack submarine overhaul, repair and modernization. This marks the second time Virginia has undergone planned maintenance at Portsmouth. The submarine had its first major maintenance availability at the shipyard in 2012.

Connecticut Media Group