GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Commander, Submarine Group Two hosted 15 international and U.S. fellows from Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Oct. 19.
The center, according to their website, is the largest international research center within Harvard University's faculty of arts and sciences. The center is structured to encourage the highest practical level of personal and intellectual interaction among a diverse community of scholars and practitioners.
"It was an honor and a privilege to engage with the fellows from the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs," said Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, commander, Submarine Group 2. "This visit was a great opportunity to dialogue with the fellows about our submarine force, but also to discuss the most valuable component of our national defense, which is our service members."
Richard Wright, senior civil servant, European Commission, and fellow, The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, reflected on the importance of the submariner to the U.S. submarine force.
"My overall impression from this visit was that the U.S. submarine force is a blue ribbon military capability and a key element in the U.S. security system. Crew training is intense," said Wright. "'Why become a submariner?' Camaraderie and the pleasure of working with highly drilled crew members in a team seemed part of the motivation."
The inspiration for the center's creation was inspired by the 1958 book, the Program of the Center for International Affairs, which was written by Henry Kissinger and Robert Bowie. Visiting the Naval Submarine Base New London by the center's fellows was directly aligned with the center's bedrock foundation principles and their current mission, which is to encourage the highest practical level of personal and intellectual interaction.
"I consider it a privilege to have been received by the commanding officer of USS Toledo," said Dr. Albrecht Conze, ambassador, German Federal Foreign Office and fellow, The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. "He and his junior officers were able to convey to us three things: The enormous challenges of daily life during an extended mission; the remarkable sense of duty that motivates all those who volunteer for submarine service; and - last but not least - the excitement and fun coming from life under extreme conditions which binds together ship and crew."
Conze reflected on key takeaways from visiting with submariners aboard USS Toledo (SSN 769). "They all love their job. I don't think a nation can ask for more from one of its finest services."
During their daylong tour, the fellows also toured Naval Submarine School trainers and the Naval Submarine Library and Museum.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.