Guam – A change of command ceremony was held this morning for Submarine Squadron 15. Capt. David Schappert relieved Capt. Jeffrey Grimes as commander but while Grimes was still commander he gave us a tour of the submarine squadron.
Submarine Squadron 15 or SUBRON 15 is made up of 4 Los Angeles class submarines the Key West, the Oklahoma City, the Chicago and the USS Topeka. It is an important part of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific presence.
“We are the only forward deployed submarine force that we have.” said Capt. Grimes. The outgoing commander of SUBRON 15 has led the squadron for the last three years. Part of it’s mission is keeping the four submarines that are stationed here well maintained. However, SUBRON 15 also provides maintenance for any submarine that is deployed in this region.
This means Submarine Squadron 15 stays busy. “365 days a year there is at least one submarine most of the time two submarines that we are in some levels of maintenance that we are working here whether my home-ported units or the deployed units,” said Capt. Grimes.
SUBRON 15 not only maintains and repairs submarines it also trains submarine crews with it’s new state of the art training facility and submarine simulator. This training facility is comprised of an attack center or multi-mission team trainer which recreates what it’s like inside the attack center of a submarine. The trainer comes complete with periscopes and other equipment found in this part of a sub. Then there’s the ships piloting and navigation trainer which simulates what it’s like piloting a submarine into port. In fact this specific trainer simulates Guam’s Apra harbor It’s like a giant video game complete with flat screens that surround the gamer or trainee.
Then there’s the ships control operational team trainer. This is a full on simulator that even moves around to simulate what it’s like doing a deep dive, and what it’s like doing a breach or a fast ascent that results in the submarine surfacing or breaching the water.
“We gotta maintain the ship so it’s ready to fight but you have to maintain the crew so the sailors are ready to fight or do whatever missions peacetime wartime the full gamut,” said Capt. Grimes.
Much as they do with maintenance they not only train the crew of the four submarines that are home-ported here but they also train the crews of any submarines that stop on Guam while forward deployed.