NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Pre-Commissioning Unit California (SSN 781) held a change of charge ceremony at The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Va. June 7.
Cmdr. Dana A. Nelson relieved Cmdr. Kevin E. Winslow as officer in charge.
Rear Adm. Michael McLaughlin, commander of Submarine Group 2, was the guest speaker for the event.
Under the leadership of Kinslow, California began to take shape. The crew was formed Oct. 14, 2008 and the boat completed three major testing programs requiring weeks of 24-hour per day shiftwork. The crew also participated in an aggressive ride program in which California's Sailors completed 32 strategic deterrent patrols and more than 42 Virginia-class rides.
"Kevin, thank you for setting the bar high for others who follow," said McLaughlin. "You've been an excellent example of the kind of leadership we will need to meet the challenges we face in the 21st century. Congratulations for the excellent job you have done here."
Kinslow, born and raised in Washington state, graduated from the United States Naval Academy, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies. He will next serve as force navigator at Commander, Submarine Force U. S. Atlantic Fleet.
Nelson, a native of Clinton, Conn., graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1992, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering. Later, he earned a Master of Arts degree in national security affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. His operational assignments include tours as executive officer aboard USS San Francisco (SSN 711) and as the executive officer aboard USS Columbus (SSN 762).
"Command doesn't come automatically just because you were an executive officer," said McLaughlin. "You don't get this job by seniority. You have to have a proven record. Cmdr. Dana Nelson has proven himself."
Currently under construction at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., California will be the eighth Virginia-class attack submarine. Construction began in February 2006. The submarine was named Jan. 30, 2008, and a keel-laying ceremony was held May 1, 2009. California is expected to be delivered in 2011. The submarine's sponsor is Donna Willard, wife of Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander, U.S. Pacific Command.
The Virginia-class is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; battle group support; and mine warfare missions. By doing so, California will directly enable five of the six Maritime Strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.