“It feels good to finally be up here,” said the submarine’s commander, Capt. John W. Fancher.
There are currently 16 submarines based in Groton, including the USS Minnesota. Fancher is eager for the Minnesota to support the fleet. “This is the beginning of the next chapter to get the boat ready to go out and do what submarines do for combatant commanders around the world,” he said.
In October, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus confirmed that the USS Minnesota and USS Virginia (SSN 774) will be the first two attack submarines which will have female officers as members of the crew. Since 2010, women have served on ballistic-missile and guided-missile submarines.
“It’s always nice to know you got picked to be the first to do something,” Fancher said. “To me, what it means is we have a good reputation and they know we can succeed.”
For the majority of 2014, the USS Minnesota will undergo maintenance, repairs, alterations and testing. Most submarines leave for the maiden six-month deployment within 12 to 18 months of the maintenance period.