GROTON, Conn. -- Thirty officers and enlisted Sailors from the Los Angeles class attack submarines USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS San Juan (SSN 751) were recognized under the SUBVETS Submarine Qualification Recognition Program, at the Submarine Veterans Clubhouse in Groton, Jan. 7.
The Sailors, who previously received their coveted gold and silver "dolphins" onboard their respective submarines, were recognized by former submarines, many of them Holland Club veterans in attendance, who warmly welcomed the newest submarine warfare qualifiers into the special community.
"We had never recognized Sailors from two boats at one meeting," said John Carcioppolo, president, Submarine Veterans Groton chapter.
Cmdr. Steve Wilkinson, commanding officer, USS Hartford attended the rite of passage ceremony and reflected on the caliber of the Sailors serving in the submarine force today.
"As you can see, your legacy is in good hands. These men represent all the best of our nation," said Wilkinson.
Groton Base Member Phil Marshall from Narragansett, R.I., who served on 13 submarines, called out his submarine qualification, which was earned in 1955 aboard USS Sterlet (SS 392), reflected on how great it was to see the newly qualified Sailors referring to them as "our future."
Master Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Eric Mathley, chief of the boat, USS Hartford also reflected on the legacy of the submarine force.
"It's great that these young Sailors, who worked so hard to earn their dolphins, have an opportunity to see the long legacy of the submarine service," said Mathley. "I think it means more to them, having seen that. They can really appreciate the lineage of their service."
Master Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Gaylord Humphries, chief of the boat, USS San Juan, also sounded off his qualification date, providing his solid support to the next generation of submariners.
"This is the new generation of submariners and the submarine force is in good hands," said Humphries.